My rants and reviews
by Melanie Marquis
I liked that the series introduction acknowledges the differences in the northern and southern hemispheres and how they fit into the wheel of the year. There's some really good comments about various beliefs in entities that made me expect good things from the book.
This book is well researched, but a little dry and academic. Sometimes it feels like a list of historical information bytes. Before I read the author's history in the back, I had no sense of her having any personal experience or connection to ritual.
She seems unaware that traditions like Morris dancing are still widely practiced in England and much of the information was very much from an American perspective, especially the 'denominations' of Paganism that might practice Beltane. What I found most 'off' in this section was the explanation of Eclectic Witchcraft, which the author seems to connect specifically with sex magick. In my experience, sex magick is more often practiced by magicians and Eclectic Wicca is just a name for those who borrow rituals and traditions from a variety of sources.
There's a section on festivals, but none of the really well-known ones like Starwood seem to have been included.
This seems to be directed mainly at beginners. There are a few simple rituals, which are pretty elementary, and there is a section on recipes and crafts. No traditional Honey Cakes, but the 'Sun cakes', which are basically orange cookies, sound nice. There are instructions for wand and crown decorating that many may find useful.
There's a section called Prayers and Invocations which provides some rituals of celebration, but they put too much emphasis on deity for my personal taste. Also given are Correspondences for Beltane, which is basically a collection of lists.
Further reading is also suggested, which included material from Ron Hutton which I would certainly recommend.