Book Review – Rituals Of Celebration
I was fortunate to receive Rituals of Celebration – Honouring the Seasons of Life through the Wheel of the Year by Jane Meredith as part of a witchy birthday gift package from my ever-luvin’ husband. Rituals of Celebration had been on my wish list for the past little while, so it was a real treat to finally have a copy to assist me in exploring how I would like to observe and participate in the various celebrations stationed around the Wheel of the Year.
Rituals of Celebration starts out the the requisite explanation and pertinent dates of the Wheel of the Year for both the northern and southern hemispheres, before breaking out into sections detailing the author’s experiences and thoughts on each holy day. Each of these sections is further broken down to follow a pattern of chapters starting with a memoir, an exploration of the themes pertaining to that particular celebration, a ritual designed to honour and explore those themes, and a themed activity in the form of an art or craft that can be incorporated into the ritual. The author also includes a chapter on ritual basics, and a list of recommended reading for those who would like to explore these topics further.
This book needn’t be read in the usual order of front-to-back, and in that spirit, I started at Beltaine, since that was the celebration closest to my birthday. The author is upfront about her path having been guided by the desire to introduce her son to these festivals of celebration, so the experiences she shared with him as he grew up participating in these rituals is at the heart of each memoir. At first, I felt a little put off by this – I don’t particularly enjoy reading parenting anecdotes, so I was skeptical whether the memoir segments would draw me in. Colour me very happily surprised that rather than a soppy “momoir” style of memoir, these stories add an additional layer of nuance and understanding to each of the 8 seasonal celebrations! Instead of skimming through the memoirs as a sense of duty to fully reading the book, I have gone back to and enjoyed these sections again after having digested the rest of the information, and found myself connecting to the theme in an even greater depth. As shocked as I am to be able to say it, the memoir chapters have become one of my favourite features of this book!
The rituals themselves are aimed at group participation, and given the author’s intent, are planned for the inclusion of children. They definitely carry a wonderful vibe of honouring not only the season, but celebrating a sense of community. For those who practice as solitaries ((ahem)) there is plenty of opportunity to adjust and amend the outlined rituals, or to simply use them as a sketch for creating your own to share with others. Like most things in life, this book can serve as a springboard where we can access information and ideas and make them our own, while still honouring the traditional values and themes of the season.
Rituals of Celebration is well-written, concise, and clear. It is thoughtfully organized so that pinpointing information is quick and simple. Featuring an emphasis on the relation of the seasonal celebrations to the cycles of life, death, and rebirth, it posesses a very sweet balance of history, how-to, and personal experience that is too often tipped one way or the other in books on this topic.
The material covered here will appeal to anyone looking to incorporate seasonal and earth-based celebrations into thier lives. More and more, people are coming to realize that many modern-day celebrations and observances have thier roots in Pagan practices – while this book isn’t aimed at exploring those connections, it can certainly assist in adding Pagan themes into holidays which may already be traditionally celebrated with with family and friends.
Where to Purchase:
Rituals of Celebration is available online from Amazon, or check with your local occult/metaphysical shop and ask them to order it in for you!