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Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon

Beltane to MabonLore, Rituals, Activities and SymbolsCelebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon – Lore, Rituals, Activities and Symbols
By Ashleen O’Gaea
New Page Books ((The Career Press, Inc.)

This book is the second of the series. The second half of the Wiccan year, Beltane to Mabon, follows the same format as the fist book.

The book gives the reader the history of each holiday and discusses modern day practices of the holidays. Rituals for the coven, family or solitary are thoughtfully explained. Activities and symbols pertinent to each holiday are also included.

The author has even thoughtfully included advice on celebrating one of the major holidays with non-Pagans in a non-confrontational way.

Surprisingly the chapters I found most useful in this book were the appendices. One discussed indoor celebrations. Many people cast their circles indoors even though Wicca is a nature religion. This section acknowledges that truth in a practical and non-judgmental way. Another appendix clearly states age appropriate activities for including your children in holiday celebrations.

This book is the perfect conclusion to its earlier companion book, Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara.

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Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara

Samhain to Ostara Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Samhain to Ostara
By Ashleen O’Gaea, New Page Books (Career Press, Inc.)

Ashleen O’Gaea has written another original book here. Once again this author has broken out of the tried and true formats of Wicca 101 books to deliver a unique and useful book.

The book, subtitled Lore, Rituals, Activities and Symbols, delivers exactly what it promises on its cover. In its few hundred pages we are treated to an in-depth look at the holiday, its origins from a historical viewpoint and the customs as they pertain to today’s practices. This book focuses on the first half of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. (This fall will see the publication of the sister book for the final four Sabbats.)

I have found many other books that contain Holy Day celebrations to be less than useful for my particular situation. Since I have a family, solitary solutions for ritual don’t always work, and as we are too small to be a coven, neither does group ritual. However, contained in this book’s pages are rituals that are directed toward the solitary, the family or the coven practice. Even if none of the rest of this book is used, the cost of purchase is well covered just by this feature alone.

But the rituals themselves are just a small part of the wealth of information contained between the covers. There are ideas for crafts and a few yummy looking recipes. There are also suggestions for holiday related activities that can be used no matter what your age or coven affiliations. Plus, the book is written in such a way that the reader is truly inspired in the understanding of how each Sabbat ties into the one before and after.

I found the book well written and easy to read. Even an old Pagan like myself found a few tidbits among the pages that added to my knowledge and deepened my understanding of the Holy Days. I would recommend this book for any Wiccan’s library, beginner or long-term practioner.

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Witch Crafts: 101 Projects for Creative Pagans

101 Projects for Creative Pagans Witch Crafts: 101 Projects for Creative Pagans
By Willow Polson; Citadel Press (Kensington Publishing Corp.)

What a delightful book. For the Witch with a crafty bent or for the one who wants to try creating for the first time, this book has something for everyone. The book boasts 12 different chapters. Each chapter focuses on a different craft, with projects ranging from the very easy to the more advanced.

Whether you are into sewing or gardening, you will find a project to please your creative urges. I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the fact that I couldn’t decide which project I want to start on first. In fact, I am still deciding between the Topsy-Turvy Goddess doll and the cross-stitch Green Man sweatshirt.

The directions for each project are concise and easy to follow. Patterns for those projects that require patterns are included right in the instructions, something I appreciate. Many craft books have the patterns in a separate section in the book requiring you to hunt them down. At the end of each chapter is a list of resources for any of the materials you might need for the crafts. Among the resources are names and URLs to books and websites for more information on that chapter’s focus.

The best part of the book is the 8 pages of full color photography of finished projects. The pictures are cross-referenced to the pages with the craft’s directions. I only hope that my finished pieces are as photo worthy when I finally choose my first one!

Reprinted with permission. Original printing Elements Magazine