Book review: Witchy Books for Winter
Observing natural cycles is one of the main jobs if you are of the witchy persuasion: the moon and the lunar month, the sun and the equinoxes. The pagan wheel of the year and its festival celebrations teaches us that each season has its own merits, even the deep mid-winter, where we let what is no longer of use die off from our lives and light fires and candles to remind ourselves of the return of the sun.
January is a very good month (regardless of your beliefs) to hibernate. Eat root veggies, drink hot tea, curl up under a warm blanket and read lots of books. The following are three books I recommend for wintering this year...
The Haunting Season: Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights (various, Pegasus)
If you want to be petrified out of your petticoats, this is a good place to start. Period ghosts and eerie happenings combined with sinister old manor houses and creepy moors, where entities smash up kitchens or lie frozen in death, these stories are original, engaging and un-gory enough to read before bed.
Hagitude (Sharon Blackie, September)
Middle aged women have traditionally had a hard time in folklore and fiction, the mad witch, the evil stepmother - we all know that it's traditional for women over 50 to become invisible and quietly disappear into their comfy elasticated waist trousers. But wait, what if we don't want to go quietly? What if we want to rip up that rule book and begin again for the second part of life? Sharon Blackie explores what it's like to discover your true self, with the aid of her extensive knowledge of mythic figures and archetypes.
The Wheel: A Witch's Path to the Ancient Self (Jennifer Lane, September)
Part memoir of a millennial witch, part twitcher's observation of the pagan celebrations. Jennifer is a bird lover, and this book documents her travels to spot them in the wild as well as her trips to perform rituals in line with the season in northern nature spots. It's a refreshing and light read, suited to beginners on the path and seasoned witches alike. And bird watchers.