Book Review: Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson
This book is being released on May 27, 2016 (PRE-ORDER). I was given a free pdf copy for an honest review. All thoughts are my own!
One of the biggest surprises I’ve had since going more public with my Pagan and Druid practice on youtube, has been the amount of questions I get from other folks. I am by no means an expert but try to share from my own experience. One of the topics I’ve seen over and over again has been about Ritual. What does ritual look like? Am I doing this right? How do I start a ritual? What resources are out there for crafting a ritual? So, when offered a chance to review a copy of another Pagan Portal, but on the topic of ritual, I jumped at it. I was certainly not disappointed!
The Art of Ritual by Rachel Patterson is a simple, short, but surprisingly compelling resource for answering questions about ritual in a Pagan setting. All the basics are covered like tools, where, who, and more. It recognizes that there are other paths than Wicca and at the very least attempts to acknowledge that the diversity in Pagan ritual can be vast and enriching. I found that view in a introduction geared book refreshing!
The book really shines once we get past those basic, but important, conversations you expect to find. Entire ritual scripts and instructions are given for a myriad of situations. Here are a few: the eight-fold year, Celtic alphabet, different gods/goddesses, and so much more. I appreciated that the author incorporated contributors from other paths and a selection that included both solitary and group rituals.
The biggest hang up for me was in the section for Rites of Passage. The adulthood rituals did not really dedicate much to what I believe is an important topic in our community. The rituals were geared, mainly for biological females. Very little was provided for males let alone trans individuals. It’s a short book and that is a lengthy conversation, though.
I also wanted just a bit more attention given to how one crafts ritual. People struggle to translate need and inspiration into real ritual. It’s an overwhelming task for many. This book could have been in a great position to help alleviate some of those concerns. Not to say nothing is mentioned on crafting ritual, just not as much as I hoped for. Maybe that will be in a follow-up book!
Overall, this is a fabulous read. You might be surprised and find yourself actually wanting to use it as a reference book all year round.