Book Review – Yule: Rituals, Recipes and Lore for the Winter Solstice by Susan Pesznecker.


3 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. for an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

This is a great reference book for any Pagan seeking to reconnect with the celebration of Yule and the Winter Solstice. Although I already celebrate the Solstice in question, I still got a lot of inspiration from ‘Yule’ as it not only gave me some new ideas to incorporate into our own celebrations; it encouraged me to keep doing things “my way”. So many books of faith and celebrations seem to dictate that their opinion is the ONLY way it should be done. ‘Yule’ encourages you to find your own footing on the path, giving helpful pointers along the way but allowing you to seek the balance right for you and your area of the faith.

It did feel a little odd reading this book on a very hot spring day, with Yule months behind me and Ostara just last weekend… but that’s the fault of the reader, not the book. 😉

I will say this book is more focussed on Yule in the Northern Hemisphere as a lot of the rituals and festive ideas are closely linked to Christmas time. As a Pagan of the Southern Hemisphere, I celebrate the Winter Solstice/ Yule near the end of June. And so I did get some good ideas from this book, but not everything could be carried over as smoothly. This is not meant as a negative comment as you should write to what suits you and from what you are accustomed to. If the author comes from the Northern Hemisphere, they should focus the knowledge they’re sharing on those experiences. Again, different footsteps on the same path.

The only other minor piece of constructive criticism I would give is I was a little disappointed in the food recipes. I’m a whole food, organic food, make everything from scratch person and so find recipes that are for a packet of this and a tin of that… they didn’t sit well with me. But, again, different footsteps on the same path. We need to find the balance that is true to ourselves and so if pre-made foods work for the author, then it’s how it should be in her book.

The ARC did contain a couple of typos and misspelt words too, but I’m sure they were picked up in the final edit and I never mark a book down on such things as I’m good for a typo or two myself!

Would I recommend this book to others?  Yes I would. Just because it has a strong connection to Yule in the Northern Hemisphere, this book is still a very good reference book for anyone wanting to get back in touch with the Winter Solstice. Even those also located in the Southern Hemisphere like myself. It gives us a broader look at the world and our Pagan faiths within it.

Would I buy this book for myself? I might. I do have some books that follow the Wheel that are more Southern Hemisphere orientated that work for me… but I did enjoy reading ‘Yule’ and so I won’t say no just yet. If I find myself thinking back over it and wanting to remember some of its advice next June… perhaps I will still get it. It has also made me keen to read the other books in the Wheel from this publisher as I feel they could contain the same fair guidance and inspiration.

In summary: A well written book of reference for anyone wanting to get back in touch with the celebration of Yule and the Winter Solstice. And, although aimed more for those in the Northern Hemisphere, it is still a good reference books for Southern Hemisphere Pagans too. It’s a good nudge in the right direction, rather than a strict statement of how it should be. A perfect book to embrace into your faith, and to help you find more balance in how to live.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO


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