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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Overview of the Lammas/Lughnasa Holiday, 30 Dec. 2005
Margaret A. Foster (Quakertown, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest (Paperback)
This is another of the books in the Sabat Series that has been carefully crafted by Llewellyn. Anna Franklin, an English author and witch, teams up with English artist Paul Mason to give us a book on the history and folklore of the holiday of Lammas or Lughnasa.

It seems right to have an English author give us the background of the holiday of Lammas, or Lughnasa, celebrated on August 1. It is indeed a very English/Irish holiday in origins. But, again, in reviewing the bibliography, along side some very noteworthy historical references are references to the author's own works and works done by other Llewellyn authors. However, in the case of this book, the historical references are noteworthy, and there are a few classic English/Irish authors, both historians and pagan, that stand out in the crowd, like Nigel Pennick and Daithi O'hOgain to name a couple. So, for this installment in the series, it appears to be better researched than previous volumes and it shows in the reading. It also does not have much of that "pagan spin" that dominates the series. The history of this holiday is not as "threatening" as others are perceived, so the heavy handed "pagan spin" was not necessary with this book, and it makes for a better read.

The history/customs/lore section is fascinating. The inclusion of many English/Irish festivals held at this time of year sheds light on the origins of this holiday. While some of the conclusions drawn might be strictly on the part of the author, it is easy for the reader to see the background of this holiday as being one of a harvest festival, and we can see how bread and berries have a major impact and are key to this holiday. There are some tidbits from other areas around the world focusing on other Deities, but it is very clear this is a Northern European celebration and this is the main focus of the book.

The discussions on Lugh, for whom this holiday is named, shed some light on this well known Celtic Deity. Ms. Franklin presents us with several stories of this Hero, from the Welsh and Irish. She also provides a "reconstruction" section, going over some customs and associating legends with these. She does bring out the harvest association with Lugh, and her historical references seem to agree with this.

The book is dotted with endnotes for the person wanting to do further research. The historical section of this book is probably the beefiest of all the books in this series so far and it is a credit to Ms. Franklin. The book is also well illustrated by Paul Mason, from the cover art to the black and white illustrations that pepper the pages of the book.

Overall, this is a nice addition to the Sabat Series, offering an English view of the first of our Harvest Holidays. This is a well put together overview of the holiday, including some information on other aspects of the Harvest. It is easy to read, has some interesting history that appears to be well researched. This is, of course, focused on the beginner or the curious who would like to get a feeling for the holiday, and it achieves a well rounded view of the myths, lore and practices of modern day pagans. It's a nice addition to your library. boudica
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Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest
Lammas: Celebrating the Fruits of the First Harvest by Paul Mason (Paperback - July 2001)
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