The Inner-City Path: A Simple Pagan Guide to Well-Being and Awareness was developed as a pagan-centric look at how we move through our local areas, "achieving a sense of well-being and awareness so that even in the city’s throng we feel the freshness of the streams as per Longfellow’s ‘Prelude’." Draco notes that when we feel emotionally overloaded, taking a walk helps us process, and shed, the negativity and restores us to balance.
After an excellent introduction (A Gleaning of Seasons), Draco launches right into Getting Out There. Thereafter, each chapter follows a cycle of seasons. Spring is the Path of New Beginnings, Summer the Path of Flowers, Autumn is the Path of the Harvest, and Winter the Path of Mid-Winter. The book closes with The Path of Mindfulness.
Each Path encourages us to note how this season, this walk, is different from previous walks. We note the changing of the season in the landscape around us. Creatures appear in Spring that have moved on by Autumn. Kits grow into rabbits, bulbs into flowers, buds into apples. The chapters include an Exercise to tie into the theme of the season. For Spring, we begin with Awareness -- the cultivation of mindfulness about our environment, a kind of meditation. Summer's Exercise has us contemplating what we see, hear, and feel as we move through our path. Autumn's exercise focuses on self-reflection, and Winter encourages us to cultivate a sense of deliberation. Each chapter concludes with an excerpt from The Wild Larder by Elen Sentier. These bits encourage us to engage in wild foraging with an occasional recipe.
One thing that almost put me off this book right at the outset is that it was, apparently originally called The (Inner-City) Path: A Gleaning of the Seasons and is referred to several times in the introduction. Such a glaring error really needed to be caught by the editor, presuming the marketing folks made the change (the author clearly didn't!). It also irritated me that Winter's Path did not follow the thematic inspiration of the other seasons. It would have been more appropriately titled, Path of Stillness or similar.
That said, this is a lovely book. Not particularly one tradition or another, it is firmly a pagan book of practices. Highly recommended.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Melusine Draco
Moon Books, 2020
pp. 88, $10.95