Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions

by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill

Bantam Trade, $14.95

The paperback edition of "Circle Round: Raising Children in GoddessTraditions" should introduce this comprehensive guide to Earth-centeredfamily rituals and activities, first published in hardcover in 1998, to awider audience. Written primarily to aid Pagan parents, "Circle Round" isalso a wonderful resource for parents of any religion who want to teachtheir children a reverence for nature. The authors show that the practice ofGoddess/Earth-centered spirituality is not a once-a-week break from the restof our lives, it is embodied--woven into our eating, sleeping, working,playing, and even breathing.

The book's three main sections cover the eight seasonal holidays of thePagan calendar, the human life-cycle, and the elements. Each sectioncontains activities and rituals, including stories and recipes, and coversthe basics while weaving in many unexpected gems. Suggestions range from thewidely-practiced (carving pumpkins on Samhain- - the Pagan New Year, a.k.a.Halloween) to ones that would seem 'out there' to all but the mostopen-minded of families (a community-wide 'first blood' ritual celebrating agirl's first period). Highlights include a recipe for Mexican Day of theDead sugar skulls, Starhawk's delightful contemporary fable for Brigit (theholiday marking the beginning of Spring), and many beautiful ideas forcelebrating pregnancy and birth.

If "Circle Round" has a flaw, it is that it risks overwhelming parents withits abundance.

Many of the activities, while quite inexpensive, are labor-and time-intensive (baking bread, making candles, etc.), and even sortingout which ones to try and which to let go of on any given occasion could bea bit daunting. But any investment of time promises rich rewards in familyhappiness.