So you’ve gotten a group together, and you want to celebrate the lunar cycles and the solar Sabbats. However, you can’t string two words together, and everyone else is too shy to take charge. On top of it, you have a Gardnerian, a Dianic, three Eclectics and a fam-trad Witch (not Wiccan, thanks) in your merry collective. How on earth are you going to manage a ritual that’ll make everyone happy?

Well, while magic and paganism aren’t one size fits all, Deborah Blake has offered a nice collection of prefabricated rituals for the Sabbats and the full and new moons. They’re designed for groups that aren’t necessarily made of one single Wiccan tradition who want to celebrate together. Along with a full year’s worth of rituals divided by month, there’s auxiliary information (including another rehash of Wicca 101 that probably wasn’t necessary, but wasn’t terrible either) to support your own customizing efforts.

Blake is an excellent writer, both of ritual poetry and of prose. I enjoyed how she worked natural imagery into some of the rituals, and made them truly interactive instead of “Okay, the HP/S and I are going to do the work, and the rest of you just stand there and watch”. It’s obvious she’s had plenty of experience with a group setting, and conveys what she’s learned quite well.

I do have the occasional quibble with the book. For instance, in the Beltane ritual she suggests cutting down a tree as an option for obtaining a Maypole, at which I literally cringed. Also, one of her appendices includes the Elder futhark of runes, written by an associate of hers. Unfortunately, the associate also includes the blank rune which, if she’d researched respected Norse pagan authorities, she would have found was created in the 1980s by a less-than-respected author rather than being an original part of the futhark.

Still, these are pretty minor complaints buried in what’s a pretty good book, particularly for the beginning group. It’s largely composed of rituals, so if you’re looking for a book on pagan group dynamics, this isn’t it. But if you want some convenient rituals to use throughout the year, this is a great choice.

~review by Lupa

Author: Deborah Blake

Lllewellyn Publications, 2007

pp. 254, $14.95

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