Elegantly written with passion and enlivened by Kathryn's stories, Season Songs offers the reader several paths to engaging more deeply with natural energies over ten chapters. The author is not a witch, per se, but instead works within an animistic model (animism is a perspective in which all things have a spiritual essence) and hence has what I would say is a larger, broader perspective.

"Perhaps you have always felt there is more to this world than what can be seen—that there is a depth to seemingly simple things. For example, a flower is not just a flower but is instead a part of the environment to which it owes its existence. It is the pollen carried on the wind or the tiny hairs of a bee; it is the bee itself, the hive. It is the seed from the parent plant and the parent plant itself. It is the sun and the rain, the soil; it is everything. It is spirit too." (from the Introduction)

The first chapter, The Wheel of the Year and the Cycles of the Seasons, is the most likely to feel familiar. Yet Kathryn offers a wider view as the Sabbats are not a single date but a moment in which the energy of the genus locii shifts, and we begin to move beyond the artificial boundaries of ordinary life. In doing so, we begin to link the Sabbats and Seasons to our lives and experiences. Here, we are introduced to Kathryn's exercises, created to assist us in connecting to the natural energies. 

From there, we go on to meet the Land . . . OUR land. Not a metaphorical Deity, or romantic notion, but the environment in which we live each day. For many of us, that place is urban and we can easily feel quite disconnected from it. Successive chapters look at ways we can learn from folklore, time (days of the week and times of the day), the moon, and the four seasons. The final chapter, Spiral Songs, focuses on the power of inspiration and feels a little out of place. Even so, I liked it very much.

I was particularly happy to see that having experiences (in life, or through the offered exercises) that aren't all positive and glowy was respected. We cannot begin to build a good relationship with natural energies if we ignore difficult or disappointing incidents. If anything, however, my biggest disappointment is how short the book is! Not because I felt ripped off, but because I want more of Kathryn's wisdom and guidance. 

This refreshingly different view of the wheel of the year -- as a cycle of songs given to us from every aspect of the natural world -- is a joy from the author of Reclaiming Food and Witch Life. For, as Kathryn so eloquently tells us at the end of the Introduction, "Let us not forget that we, too, are spirit and as such are a part of the land and nature. Our own voices add to the songs of the seasons of which we are all a part."

~review by Lisa McSherry

Author: Emma Kathryn
Llewellyn Publications, 2023
pp. 177, $16.99