This its another gorgeously-illustrated release from author Maia Toll and illustrator Kate O’Hara, which takes the reader around a full turn of the year with seasonal practices and wild wisdom offered to encourage and inspire.
Starting in late autumn and following the year-wheel around, Toll guides the reader through the seasons, equinoxes, solstices, and fire festivals with journal prompts, questions for reflections, and suggested practices designed to honour the turning of the year and encourage self-awareness and personal growth. The book itself it split into twelve chapters, each with its own elements, symbols, animals, crystals, and plants. There are also energy centres, which are basically the chakras, recipes, and relevant quotes.
This book is packed full of information and would be great starting place for anyone wanting to work more consciously with the seasons, and it is suitable for both North and South Hemispheres. I like how the seasonal symbols are given with both gifts and challenges, so that they are offered with perspective and balance. I’m not sure I understand why Toll chose to include the Witch as a season symbol of late summer, however, but I appreciated the inclusion of making and working with flower essences. The additional cards at the back are great for working spreads and going further with meditations or journal prompts, and many of the questions sprinkled throughout the book are meant for deep personal inquiry, which is a nice touch.
Speaking as a Witch myself, there were only a few things that stopped me short of fully enjoying this book. One was in the Late Autumn chapter, where Toll advises honouring and connecting with “those you had a troubled relationship with who have passed on”. I appreciate the attempt at some ancestral healing here, but working with toxic and troubled ancestors is not easy work nor advisable for beginners, so I would be highly cautious with this suggested practice. Another thing was the glossing over of chakras as “energy centres” and the repeated use of “animal medicine”, a concept that comes from indigenous cultures and peoples; Toll doesn’t appear to acknowledge these roots, despite pulling freely from other religions and cultures (e.g. Taoism, Celtic spirituality, etc).
Overall, this a good introduction for beginners to seasonal rhythms and the year-wheel, with some good practices and excellent prompts for self-reflection. It’s also gorgeous — Kate O’Hara has outdone herself with this one.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Storey Publishing, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.