Book Review – Pagan Portals: Breath of Spring: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Spring Festival by Melusine Draco

Book Review

Pagan Portals:
Breath of Spring:
How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Spring Festival

by Melusine Draco

Publisher: Moon Books

96 Pages

Release Date: February 1, 2023





Breath of Spring: How to Survive (and Enjoy) the Spring Festival is another lovely offering from Moon Books’ Pagan Portals series, this time exploring the various festivals of spring as they developed in Western cultures.

In the first chapter, author Melusine Draco explores the origins of Candlemas and the related Pagan festival of Imbolc, from possible Greek origins (the return of Persephone) through the Christian era in Britain. This chapter explores some of the historical traditions surrounding the holiday and how these traditions evolved over the years. In the second chapter, Draco talks about the astronomical origins and cultural celebrations of the Spring equinox. There are several delicious-looking recipes in this chapter for foods traditionally associated with the Spring equinox.

In the third chapter, Draco discusses the specific festival of Ostara, which originated in Teutonic Paganism, and European traditions associated with the Christian and cultural celebration of Easter. This includes traditions such as playing cricket, egg hunts, and eggs as symbolic of the Christian Resurrection. In the fourth chapter, Draco discusses the fire festival of Beltaine, and its history and traditions, including the Beltane bonfire, the Maypole dance, and bannock. There are several more recipes in this chapter, along with an exploration of May Day, Walpurgisnacht, the Roman flower-festival of Floralia, and other European festivals held at the same time of year.

In the fifth chapter, Draco discusses the rest of the wheel of the year and recommends several of her other titles, such as Sumer is Icumen In, Harvest Home: In-Gathering, and Have A Cool Yule. The book ends with a note on the value of establishing family tradition, engaging in public ritual, and celebrating the festivals of the passing seasons.

This is a book centered primarily on European tradition, especially the Celtic and Ancient Greek and Roman traditions ? but there are occasionally injected observations about other cultures’ Spring traditions as well, such as the Chinese New Year. The book has a few rocky bits, and needs a bit of editing. The difference in the Spring and Autumnal Equinoxes between the Southern and Northern Hemisphere is not really a confusing concept, but it is somewhat confusingly explained in this book. A graphic showing the sun’s path might have been useful.

I loved the bones of the book, but would love to see more magical content in a book like this, especially rituals for solitary witches or groups. There are, however, a few other fun exercises and recipes given that should help you enjoy the Spring Festival. The rest of the content is basically just fun facts and anecdotes about the holidays, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. None of it is prescriptive, and it is all presented in a very open way. Overall, I thought this was a fun book, and I learned a lot about the traditions of the spring festivals.

About the author
Mélusine Draco

Mélusine Draco originally trained in the magical arts of traditional British Old Craft with Bob and Mériém Clay-Egerton. She has been a magical and spiritual instructor for over 20 years with Coven of the Scales and the Temple of Khem, and writer of numerous popular books including Liber Agyptius: the Book of Egyptian Magic; The Egyptian Book of Days; The Egyptian Book of Nights; The Thelemic Handbook; The Hollow Tree, an elementary guide to the Qabalah; A Witch’s Treasury of the Countryside; Root & Branch: British Magical Tree Lore and Starchild: a rediscovery of stellar wisdom. Her highly individualistic teaching methods and writing draws on ancient sources supported by academic texts and current archaeological findings. She now lives in Ireland near the Galtee Mountains and has several titles currently published with John Hunt Publishing including the Traditional Witchcraft series.


Pagan Portals: Breath of Spring on Amazon



About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is a visionary artist, author, and witch. Pulling inspiration from trance states, dreams, auras, psychedelia, and the natural world, she weaves together themes of nature and the occult in her artwork and writing. She has created art and written for books, magazines, games, and more, as well as producing digital fine art prints and acrylic paintings. 
She is the creator of The Entanglement Tarot, a hex-shaped occult Tarot deck designed for spell-craft. 
She is co-runner of Pagan Pages, for which she also writes articles and book reviews, and she also publishes art on her Portfolio site and other work on her Tumblr.