by Edain McCoy
Llewellyn Publications, 2002
Review by Daven
I originally got this book to go with the Sabbat Series that Llewellyn was putting out, one book on each of the Holidays of the year. I wanted to see what this book offered that these 8 books did not.
It’s interesting to see the contrasts. Edain does a credible job in presenting the material, despite the fact that just about every pagan author who has written a Wicca 101 book has written on the same subject. She avoids those references, as tempting as it must have been to use them. So, her book is packed with original material.
Now, make no mistake that this book is a one book reference on these holidays. It’s not. Witness the fact that Llewellyn felt it necessary to publish the other 8 books in the Sabbat Series.
This book, frankly, is a transition book from the brief references found in Wicca 101 books on the market to the Sabbat Series. It is a book that if taken by itself gives a lot of good information on these holidays, but not even a significant portion of what is available. It accomplishes it’s goal of being a “one work reference” for the Holidays.
There are some places that I have problems, however. I think that the rituals in the back of the book could have been combined with the holiday they celebrate. Several segments of information could have been combined into a set of appendixes for brevity’s sake. Making a list of common symbols for pathworking and putting it in the holiday of Yule (since pathworking and guided meditations were common at this time of the year) makes it hard when one is doing some guided meditations at Ostara to remember where they saw that reference.
I think that such information could be placed in the back and referred to throughout the text itself. I also have a slight problem with some of the terminology. Calling a besom a broom is less romantic, but I think that it would flow better when one is reading the entry for making a broom.
There are projects for almost every holiday, recipes (although there are less than in the Sabbat Series), an explanation of where the celebration came from and some of the traditional meanings of the holiday. There are a few minor factual errors, but all in all they can be overlooked.
It’s obvious that Edain is a fan of cross-stitch. She suggests cross-stitch as a project in one of the holidays and then uses an appendix to promote how to cross-stitch. Personally I couldn’t care less, but for those Pagans who are into cross-stitch this could be a valuable addition. She gives several simple patterns for cross-stitching pagan/Wiccan motifs into designs and so on.
I will say this, I found Ms. McCoy’s writing style easy to read and I flew through some of the entries. I do appreciate that she included rituals for those of us who choose to be solitary and celebrate by ourselves. I think that this makes it worth the price of purchase and adds value to this book.
Overall, I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I think it’s a wonderful reference for the novice who is ready to step up to more meaning in their Sabbats, rather than sticking to what they got out of that Wicca 101 book. Well done.