When I first heard about the Year of the Witch, I thought it was a book about the Wheel of the Year and celebrating the various Pagan holidays. I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was much more than that. Year of the Witch does include the traditional seasons but asks the reader to dive deeper in their path and create a personal year to connect not only with the seasons but also within themselves as they walk the nature path.
One of the elements I loved in the book is how to think differently about the Year and the approach. The author gives insight on how to be adaptive to your environment. For example as a Texan, our weather is relatively warm year round. It is always possible we may be wearing shorts and t-shirts for Yule, so our celebrations may look different.
The author focuses on using intuition to pave your own path and create your own practices for the entire year. She encourages the reader to take a new perspective on celebrations and practices that fit the reader’s surroundings, feelings, and intentions no matter the path. Author Temperance Alden provides well researched information and history on the Wheel of the Year origins. Anyone new to the path can adapt and utilize what they feel works for them to personalize their Year but also gives a traditional history and practices from which they can incorporate.
The first half of the book covers topics like trusting your intuition, basic principles, working with the cycles (seasons, death, and rebirth), elemental magick, local elementals and spirits etc. These chapters are great for beginners or a refresher for others. The second half of the book covers the Origins of the more traditional Wheel of the Year. Each holiday has a chapter, Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, and Mabon. Each chapter contains the folklore, rituals, celebration ideas and even recipes. There are some great ideas but again most of the information found within is geared for a beginner. The last section covers creating your own wheel. This is where the author encourages the reader to be creative, flexible and customized. She provides ideas for each month, or seasonal celebrations for the reader’s area. In the end her advice given is to make your path unique to you.
While there may not be much more here for the advanced practitioner, this is a good beginner book for those interested.
~review by Amber Barnes
Author: Temperance Alden
Weiser Books, 2020
pp. 224, $14.95