Blurb about the Book: (source: the author’s Facebook page)
There are eight earth centric festivals (referred to as sabbats) that make up the “Wheel of the Year”, which celebrate the journey through the seasons. In Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats, the author draws from her own experience of following a traditional Pagan spiritual path and creating ritual over the last 20 plus years in southern central Australia. In doing so, she combines traditional Pagan lore with personal experience, history with ritual, as well as developing an underlying relationship with her local environment. She also offers invaluable pointers as to how to incorporate the localised elements into something that also provides a “traditional” feel.
From the familiar to the not so familiar, the author provides the reader to excerpts of ritual, as well as suggesting things to consider in order to gaining a deeper ritual experience each time the “Wheel of the Year” turns.
This book not only provides an in-depth look the folklore and myth associated with each of these eight sabbats, but also discusses ways of creating specific rituals and observances that acknowledge each seasonal “gateway” when the local environment is reflecting something completely different.
Whilst the focus of Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through Southern Sabbats is for the Southern Hemispheric practitioner, the author sets about to challenge the reader, regardless of which hemisphere they reside, to draw inspiration from their local environment, and to create a “Wheel of the Year” that is completely unique for them.
Size: 5.3in x 8in (134mm x 200mm)
Est Page Count: 250 pages
Est Weight: 0.304 kg
Publisher: TDM Publishing
I’ve recently made my way through Frances Billinghurst’s “Dancing the Sacred Wheel: A Journey through the Southern Sabbats.” (available from the author here: http://www.templedarkmoon.com/sabbatbook )
Whilst at times it can read a little like an academic thesis (perhaps this is aggravated by the regular footnotes on many of the pages?) it does make the point that simply turning the wheel of the year 180 degrees for we Southers isn’t necessarily the best option if we’re trying to work within our unique environment(s).
Frances provides good general information regarding the celebrations and associations for the 8 sabbats, and in my opinion it makes a good ‘101’ kind of read. I like that there’s not a slew of ‘this is how you celebrate’ ritual instructions; it allows the reader scope to build their own rituals, and thus develop their own practice and Grimoire information.
Personally, I’d have liked the information regarding the Aboriginal seasons to have been more than an appendix, perhaps having been blended into the general information on each sabbat, but with so many regional variations on the seasons I can understand that attempting this wasn’t really feasible. I appreciate that Frances doesn’t go into great detail about the Aboriginal seasonal observations/cultural information; I have a personal argh! reaction to writers that delve (apparently with ‘depth’) into cultures that are not their own, adding their own slant on things and simply confusing and loosing the original rites and culture along the way. It takes a wise person to say they’re not going to go into depth about a culture that’s not their own, despite living in the land it’s in!
All in all, I’ve enjoyed the book, even as a long-time practitioner and it’s given me avenues to consider in future, as well as a handy quick-reference that’s southern hemisphere specific.
🙂 🙂 🙂 1/2 out of 5 🙂