Samhain: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for Halloween (Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials) by Diana Rajchel

For individuals who celebrate Samhain this work by Diana Rajchel seems like it would include everything a person could possibly dream of to celebrate the ending of the harvest season. The book was manufactured by a reputable publisher of Pagan materials (Llewellyn), the author has overall good reviews, and the blurb describing the book is well-written and catching. However, I simultaneously found it intriguing and lacking.

It was well-written for the most part, with clear sentence structure, and flowed well from topic to topic. Though it had a tendency to often be repetitive which was immensely frustrating at times. Particularly, I found the history at the beginning of the book the most interesting, but felt that it fell short of providing a more detailed view of the holiday in that regard. While I previously did not know (but am now acutely aware!) that Samhain was a time of year for divining a future spouse, I felt that the large section of ‘love spells’ was superfluous.

The prayers to individual deities was refreshing, as many materials tend to be more vague in the attempt to include everyone seeing as the individual faiths of Pagans is so vast. However, from experience I have learned that conjoining deities and/or individuals from differing faiths can be catastrophic, so I felt that the intermingling of Christian angels and goddesses such as Hecate could be potentially harmful to the reader. You can certainly do this depending on how you approach your faith, such as from a viewpoint more along the lines of a Druid, but your intentions need to be very clear in your mind and heart for this to end well.

The inclusion of recipes and spellwork was immensely helpful and I do intend on trying out all of the recipes, particularly the Apple Curry Soup. Overall, I took most of the invocations with a grain of salt, as I’ve learned that creating my own tends to provide better results when worshipping and doing spellwork. Which would be my advice for anyone who intends on picking up this book. Rajchel’s book works well as a guide, but I would also read other materials about the Sabbats and Wheel of the Year. 

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