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By Ellen Evert Hopman
Illustrated by Lauren Mills
Destiny Books, ISBN 978-1-64411-414-8
A holiday is not just a sacred occasion, but a festive one, full of anticipation and celebrated with foods and customs unique to the season. The trouble for many modern Pagans is that these are typically folk and family customs and if you aren’t in a family where Pagan holiday customs have been handed down to you, it’s easy to feel at a loss of how to celebrate once the circle is over. In Once Around the Sun, Ellen Hopman fills in the gaps, offering a rich trove of holiday traditions to enhance the experience of the sacred year.
Each beautifully illustrated chapter is stuffed with lore, recipes, poems, stories, activities, games and crafts. It feels a bit like reading your grandmother’s recipe books, each page bringing a tingle of delight and familiarity, evoking the eagerness with which you awaited your childhood holidays. Families with children of all ages will enjoy the crafts, but they are useful guides for grownups as well. Projects include making besoms, Brighid dolls and Kupalnocka wreaths—these make excellent crafts for covens to make together or for individuals to create sabbat-specific sacred objects in which to ground the cycle of the ritual year. Most holidays include multiple recipes such as Beltane bannock, La Befana cake for Yule, sour cherry pierogi for midsummer and spring greens soup for the equinox, all of which can add a touch of tradition to your holiday table.
Once Around the Sun truly is for every Witch and Pagan—if you already have a rich set of practices to honor the solar holidays, you will surely find something delightful to incorporate. If you are looking for ways to connect to the Sabbats or to the cycle of the year, Ellen Hopman offers you a feast of inspiration.