Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween is another excellent book in Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials series!

The Old Ways section for Samhain talks about the Fire Festival itself and moves in the Christian influences on the sabbat. It discusses the exporting of Halloween and the reassertion of Samhain by the late 1970s and early 1980s in North America. There is a good discussion of "night lights" and how we celebrate ancestors and the Mighty Dead, as well as pushing back some of the darkness to stay safe from the things that go bump in the night. It continues with trick or treating and the pranks, costumes, parties, and games that go along with the less spiritual side of the sabbat.

New Ways explores the modern themes and common elements in city and country life around the celebration. It also debunks some of the myths around the holiday. There is talk of the different ways some diverse paths celebrate: Wicca, Celtic Reconstruction, Druidry, Traditional Witchcraft, Eclectic Witchcraft, Neopagan, Stregheria, Heathen, Hellenic, Feri, Reclaiming. There's a list with descriptions of other holidays and practices. It finishes up with different events that some people attend and different activities that could be part of those.
Spells and Divination contains nearly two dozen spells in the categories of Spells of the Living, Spells of the Dead, Protection Spells, Love Spells, Threshold Magick, Faery Magick, and Divination. Recipes and Crafts includes ten recipes, nine crafts including ritual crafts, 5 decorations, and three ways to divine.

Prayers and Invocations brings us three prayers to the Morrighan, as well as prayers to Dagda, Cerridwen, Persephone, Hecate, Psyche, the Fates, Janus, Anubis, Osiris, Isis, the Crone, the ancestors, beloved departed elders, young ones lost, souls reincarnated, witches gone before, and pets that have passed on. There are prayers for and to the Fae, prayers for the season, blessings for the coming year and the land and a strong marriage. The sheer number -- and not all are listed here -- is somewhat mind-blowing.

The Rituals of Celebration section has an extensive solo ritual to see beyond the veil, a group labyrinth ritual, and a Samhain ritual for a couple. And finishing it all up, tying it up neatly, we have an extensive list of correspondences, a nice Further Reading list and an impressive bibliography.
Rajchel's Samhain definitely holds its own with the rest of the series, and it's one of the better Samhain books on the market.

~review by Jeremy Bredeson

Author: Diana Rajchel
Llewellyn Books, 2015
252 pages

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