The book is nicely organised into five sections, elementally. Earth is about community including finding our way home to Paganism and the families we create that nourish us. It contains stories by Margot Adler and Judy Harrow. Two of my favourites were “A Witch is Seldom Alone” by Cat Chapin-Bishop, who always manages to communicate something so special, and “Sharing a Common Flame”, a beautiful Yule ritual that Wildman recounts (and that I will surely borrow).
Air is about the learning process – teachers, students, mentors, and inner guides. We hear from Francesca De Grandis, T. Thorn Coyle, Wren Walker, Frederic Lamond, and Ellen Evert Hopman. One of my favourites here is John Yohalem’s “Leon’s Template” about the people that show us the path and those who discover it. There is value in both formal training and the spontaneity of those who are simply inspired from within to know exactly what they are supposed to do.
Fire is about magical transformation. M. Macha NightMare, Carl McColman, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Penny Novack, Sue Curewitz Arthen, and others share stories of magic, transformation, and life passages. One interesting essay from K.A. Laity, a medievalist, explores the treasury of witchcraft, charms, and hexes found in medieval texts.
Water is about the seasons and cycles of life. It includes stories of marriage, children, life, and death from Patricia Monaghan, Barbara Ardinger, Michael York, and many others. Finally, Spirit contains stories of the Gods and Goddesses in our lives from Starhawk, Grey Cat, and others.
Celebrating the Pagan Soul brings together people from various traditions including Witches and Wiccans, Heathens, Druids, and Recons, but as I read through it, it wasn’t clear or even particularly important what tradition the writer followed. These stories reveal a humanity that transcends differences in training and traditions. The quality of the writing is very good and although it’s not a guide to Paganism, it is full of insight and inspiration.