Once Around the Sun: Stories, Crafts, and Recipes to Celebrate the Sacred Earth Year
Written by Ellen Evert Hopman
Illustrated by Lauren Mills
Publisher: Destiny Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2022
Once Around the Sun: Stories, Crafts, and Recipes to Celebrate the Sacred Earth Year is an illustrated collection of tales with related activities celebrating eight Pagan festivals and the changing seasons. Each is beautifully done, with an illustration, an original story based on a traditional folktale meant to be read aloud, and crafts, recipes, and activities that relate to the story.
Ellen Evert Hopman identifies as a follower of the Earth religion, known as Nature Spirituality. Beginning with Cailleach at Samhain and moving into the dark winter, then to spring, summer, and autumn, the book follows the wheel of the year and the changes that occur. A ninth celebration for January 1 is also included, with the Italian tale of La Befana. Other holidays draw on Norse, Irish, Germanic, Polish, and Scottish traditions.
Using the summer solstice as an example, there is a full-page illustration, in this case, four maidens putting wreaths in the river. Key figures and term are listed with pronunciation guides and translations for foreign words. This is followed by an eight-page story, recipes for the peppermint chocolate tea and sour cherry pierogi, and instructions to make the flower crowns and a Kupalnocka wreath — all part of the story. The magical properties of thirty-one vines, herbs, flowers, and woods are listed so the wreath can be made with the desired intention. There are also photographs scattered throughout.
Readers will learn of the Cailleach, the ancient Goddess of Winter; La Befana, the Italian new year’s witch; Eostre, the Goddess of Spring; Yule among the Vikings; and other deities and celebrations.
Everything you need to know is presented; no need for other reference books to celebrate traditional holy days and festivals of the sacred earth year. Those new to the path will find a complete package and those who have been celebrating for years will find fresh ideas. It’s a helpful book to add to any collection.
About the Author:
Ellen Evert Hopman has been a Druidic initiate since 1984. She is a founding member of the Order of the White Oak, an Archdruidess of the Tribe of the Oak, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. She is the author of several books, including Walking the World in Wonder. She lives in Massachusetts.
About the Illustrator:
Lauren Mills has won national acclaim as both an author/illustrator and a sculptor. The author and illustrator of the award-winning “The Rag Coat,” she lives in western Massachusetts.
About the Author:
All my life I have known magic was real. As a child, I played with the fae, established relationships with trees and “just knew things.” In my maiden years I discovered witchcraft and dabbled in the black-candles-and-cemeteries-at-midnight-on-a-fullmoon magick just enough to realize I did not understand its power. I went on to explore many practices including Zen, astrology, color therapy, native traditions, tarot, herbs, candle magic, gems, and, as I moved into my mother years, Buddhism, the Kabbalah and Reiki. The first man I dated after my divorce was a witch who reintroduced me to the Craft, this time by way of the Goddess. For 11 years I was in a coven, but with retirement, I have returned to an eclectic solitary practice. When accepting the mantle of crone, I pledged to serve and teach. This is what I do from my skoolie – a 30-year-old school bus converted into a tiny house on wheels that I am driving around the country, following 72-degree weather, emerging myself into nature, and sharing magic with those I meet. Find me at thewitchonwheels.com, Facebook and Instagram.