In Nature’s Honor: Myths And Rituals Celebrating The Earth by Patricia Montley
In Nature’s Honor explores the eight solar holidays that mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year: the solstices, equinoxes and quarter days. Filled with fascinating stories from a variety of cultures and faith traditions, this comprehensive volume also provides a wealth of celebration ideas, from simple seasonal rituals to more formal practices.
Each chapter begins with a history of the holiday-how it has been celebrated from ancient to modern times. This history is followed by suggested activities suited for individuals, families and small groups. Chapters conclude with formal rituals complete with scripted texts, songs, dramatic reenactments, litanies of seasonal blessings, and readings from poetry and mythology. (Amazon)
Having read a lot about the Wheel of the Year from various sources, I was interested in reading about seasonal celebrations by a non-pagan author. In this case, from the Unitarian Universalist community, who support earth-centric spiritualities such as Wicca.
The book is divided into the eight seasonal holidays:
- Winter Solstice and the New Year
- Imbolc, Purification, and Candlemas
- Spring Equinox
- Beltane and May Day
- Summer Solstice and Midsummer
- Lughnasa and Lammas
- Autumn Equinox
- Samhain, All Souls and Day of the Dead
Each chapter has sections for The Seasonal Calendar, Mythology and History, Contemporary Celebrations Around the World, and Ways to Celebrate.
It was an interesting read. I took me a year or more to get through the whole book, and I still reach for it occasionally and read the first few sections for the current holiday to remind myself of all the interesting history and folklore associated with that time.
The author pulls from various sources, including Ronald Hutton, who I respect very much and is the author of a similar book I enjoy, The Stations of the Sun (much harder to read!). Although my practice is mainly a Celtic-based one, I find the seasonal mythology and folklore from other cultures (such as Japanese, Aztec, Native American, and Sumerian) very interesting.
The celebration examples are in line with modern Unitarian Universalist ceremonies, so this is definitely not a Pagan-specific book. But I enjoyed reading the seasonal stories, and love how non-Pagans find joy in the turning of the wheel and want to celebrate it!
© West Coast Pagan