On this lovely day, I should like to share three reviews with you dear readers. As usual I got the ARC’s from http://www.netgalley.com; it’s a good place for amateur reviewers to get books early, but you don’t get to keep them; they expire 55 days after being downloaded, and sometimes I have to download them again.
Holistic Energy Magic
Charms and Techniques for Creating a Magical Life
Published by: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Publication date: 8th May 2015
Learn to work magic and manifest your desires anytime, anywhere. Interweaving New Age techniques with Pagan sensibilities, Tess Whitehurst incorporates diverse modalities such as color energy, symbol interpretation, and visualization. Use the power of your own mind, body, and spirit as well as crystals, herbs, and flowers to achieve positive conditions in your life.
Organized into two sections, Holistic Energy Magic provides magical foundations and a spellbook of charms and invocations for success, love, health, and happiness. Enhance your spiritual path by fostering a strong relationship with the five elements. Develop relationships with magical allies, including angels, ancestors, and even animals. From cleansing your home to aligning with the divine, this accessible guide helps you create the magical life you want.
There’s some useful stuff in here but the author is a bit wishy-washy.
The content is very New Age, but there isn’t much in the way of ‘pagan sensibilities’. I’ve come across much of the content before and if you’ve been a part of any pagan spiritual or magical tradition long enough then you probably have too. I would say it’s a good book for those who are just starting to explore because the exercises are fairly basic and there’s a sort of generalised Divine, the author uses the phrase All That Is’, rather than an explicit reference to any individual divinity, though it feels at times like Tess Whitehurst is aiming for the monotheist market.
The writing style is direct but a little condescending and at the same time shallow. I really struggled to get through this book because I found the writing style off-putting.
Not bad for beginners, if the writing style suits the reader.
Lughnasadh: Rituals, Recipes and Lore for Lammas
Llewellyn and Melanie Marquis
Published: 8th June 2015
Mabon: Rituals, Recipes and Lore for the Autumn Equinox
Llewellyn and Diana Rajchel
Published: 8th July 2015
Both published by Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
These two books are the latest in Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series. Each book in the series looks at a particular festival in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year in depth, covering:
rituals, recipes, lore, and correspondences… includes hands-on information for modern celebrations, spells and divination, recipes and crafts, invocations and prayers
Though I am not Wiccan, I am a practicing pagan (for almost fourteen years – I feel so old!) and have celebrated both these festivals at one point or another. These books are labeled as introductory, but they are useful little books to keep on anyone whose tradition is a little eclectic. It was certainly refreshing to see the usual ‘Celtic’ origin stories for these festivals tempered by acknowledging the Germanic elements and the interweaving of the two cultural traditions. For instance in Lughnasadh, I especially found the details regarding the origins of Lughnasadh as Lugh’s funeral games for Tailtiu, his step-mother, and the distinction made between that and Lammas which has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon Feast of First Fruits – it literally translates as ‘loaf-mass’ – interesting. I also found the section regarding the Eleusinian Mysteries of classical Greece in Mabon and the information about the naming of Mabon by Aiden Kelly useful.
There are descriptions of similar festivals in different cultures. The activities are practical and look fun, although most require a group, but could probably be adapted for solitaries. Each book contains three rituals, one each for solitaries, couples and groups.
These books are balanced and packed with up to date information, hopefully going some way to counteracting the regurgitated myths of the origins of the modern pagan festivals. They also provide practical information for readers.
I have but one quibble, in Mabon the author doesn’t acknowledge that the month in which it falls, September, was in pre-Christian England, according to Bede, known as Haligmonath – Holy Month – suggesting that religious festivals surrounding the harvest took place at the time (it was later changed to Havestmonath, once the county became Christian). It’s not a major point to miss out but may have been of interest to other readers.
4/5 for both