Extract from publishers info
A young woman follows her lover and finds her spiritual calling in theAutumn realm of the dead; a first-time mother gives birth on the Wintersolstice; a daughter’s grief heals in a Spring garden; a joyous ceremony of mature sexuality celebrates the peak of Summer: these stories and more explore magickal realism in ordinary life. Following the Pagan Wheel of the Year through the experience of the characters,this collection of stories demonstrates how the changing of the seasons is a spiritual model for the soul.
The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post is part of this books blog tour. I don’t really have a lot to say about this work. The stories were pleasant reads. They had a diverse cast of characters. Many forms of relationships and sexualities were highlighted. They were a pleasant heartwarming read. They had a strong message. But, as stories, they felt rather insubstantial. In the preface to the work the author says that this book was written for a specific reason;
“For years, students, congregants and friends have been asking me when I was going to write a book. However, by now so many books on magick-making are available. Does the world need another how-to book on the subject? I didn’t think so. But then it occurred to me I knew of no books of fictional stories that depicted everyday people engaged with nature in a magickal way. .. stories that could enhance sabbat rituals, or help readers connect to nature spiritually. So I began to write them.” (preface)
I think that may have been the problem. These stories were slight because they weren’t stories they were parables. The characters at times felt like plot points in the narrative rather than fully fleshed out people. In addition, there was very little jeopardy involved. Since, you knew that the character would take the prescribed spiritual path, The language was workaday and good but you couldn’t call it poetic or lyrical. As you can see from the following extract;
“The blankets were too warm, her pregnant belly too heavy, and its pulling and tugging kept her awake for most of the night. And now, late morning, this spasm in her sacrum told her that her baby was on its way. As she had done a million times before, she imagined her birth canal to be smooth and wide, open and relaxed, but it didn’t seem to ease the tension in her body..” (loc. 112)
The author made no attempt to play with form. It reminded me of one of those books that I was given as a Sunday School prize. Books where the spiritual message came before story or writing.
But, to be fair, this book was not written as a literary masterpiece. As the quote above tells us, the author intended it to be an introduction to her faith. So, let’s look at it from that perspective. It does offer a fairly useful introduction to paganism, as it operates today. Each story has an informative introduction. The stories work to illustrate the points made in the introductory text Therefore, if you want a literary work, or even a good fantasy, this is not for you. But, if you want a spiritual, life affirming introduction to paganism, then you should reach for this book. It would make a great morning meditational reading.