Heavily slanted towards the Wiccan way of things, The Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson was written in a way that anyone can take the information included and edit it to their own way of things. Indeed, immediately on page three Patterson explicitly encourages the reader to do so, which I find quite refreshing. That being said, given the title of the book and description I initially read, I was expecting something with more advanced techniques in it; something written for an experienced practitioner. Instead this is yet another beginners book on Wiccan style ritual, wonderfully written though it is.
The Art of Ritual begins with an opening section explaining just what a ritual is. The book is then broken down into two parts; Ritual Basics and then the cleverly worded May We Present To You a Host of Rituals. These two parts are further broken down into smaller sections including information on the tools usually used in pagan rituals, the small workings often included in larger rituals, information on inviting Deity and so forth. The second part is exactly what it sounds like, a section that includes basic ritual outlines for rites of passage such as initiation and baby naming, the sabbats and Celtic tree rituals.
These rituals are written in a very basic format and those written by others are credited as such. It's nice to see how basic they are so, once again, the reader can fit them into their personal practices. Additionally, there are some very unique rituals in here such as a Gaia meditation, a modern-day ritual for Thesmorphoria and kitchen witch rituals for the elements. However, there are dozens of books about pagan rituals out there, especially ones written for novice practitioners. From that perspective, excluding those unique rituals included at the end, there is not one thing about this book that stands out to me.
All in all this really is a great book with wonderful information. Especially given those unique rituals at the end of it, I do recommend this book to any practitioner from beginner to someone with a lifetime of experience. However, if you do not have any interest in the different rituals at the end, you could replace this with any other beginner style ritual book and get the same basic information.
~review by Jessica Elizabeth
Author: Rachel Patterson
ppg 215; $16.95
Moon Books; 2015