Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book reviews

I should have known better than to make a specific plan about posts. That usually means something else will come along and beg to be written instead. I will try to post about music once for each letter, but will no longer make promises. ;)

This week I'm making good on a promise made months ago. As a bookseller, I like to keep up with what's new and popular. I signed up on a site called Netgalley to receive advanced reading copies (in eBook format) to be reviewed on my blogs. Llewellyn was one of the first publishers to give me automatic download rights to any books available on NetGalley. I was very excited and chose several books that seemed interesting. Then nothing. I've read a couple and never blogged about them until now. I'll try to post reviews in a more timely fashion (and not only Llewellyn titles). This time I'm reviewing one book I received free and one I purchased., I'll talk about Rituals of Celebration: Honoring the Seasons of Life through the Wheel of the Year by Jane Meredith. It is like others in that it talks about all of the Sabbats; their histories, what they mean, and ways to celebrate them. A major difference here is that the author starts each with her own experiences. She talks about her most memorable ritual with each Sabbat. Then she includes a full group ritual and activities. Her rituals are described in a way that you almost feel like you are with the group, celebrating as well.

I will admit that I didn't read the entire book, though not due to poor quality. It is geared to covens or group rituals and I am very much a solitary, rarely including more than a couple of people in my magick. I would still gladly recommend this to fellow Pagans who love to work in groups. The whole book gives the celebrations a very intimate and personal feel.

The other title is Llewellyn's Complete Book of Correspondences by Sandra Kynes. I learned about this title through an e-mail I received from Amazon about upcoming books I might like. They don't always get those right. I immediately added it to my wish list and bought it shortly after it was released. I LOVE this book. The subtitle, a Comprehensive & Cross-referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans, is exactly what this book is. I'd recently been trying to compile for myself and my website a list that gave all the different correspondences for the intentions I use the most; candles, incense, herb, stones, deities, and more. Now I have that and more in a handy resource that I access regularly. The seven chapters each cover the different correspondence lists, starting with Intention. This is the perfect first section, as we tend to have a reason for a spell and then search for the perfect tools to help. The cross-referencing goes way beyond that. It includes sections on the plants, minerals, animals, deities, astrology and time, and other miscellaneous options. If I want to know what to use when working with Artemis, my primary Goddess, the chart will show everything from element and Sabbat to herbs, animals, and intentions. Or I can see the way to use my hematite or patchouli incense. It is indeed the most comprehensive list I've seen.

I do have my own ideas about some correspondences, some that make more sense to me. And I think everyone should choose what feels right to them. A wonderful example of this is a blog post I read recently when looking for tree correspondences for a novel I'm working on. The author adjusted her use of certain trees to reflect her local area. Like me, she's from Texas. We don't have some of the trees typically suggested for certain correspondences so she revamped her list for her location. The state tree of Texas is the Pecan, so naturally that will have more significance for a Texan than it might for others.

This is book is a great starting point and what every beginner could use to try out tools and see which ones work best for them. It puts lots of information in one easily-accessed location.