Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Seasons of the Sacred Earth

Title: Seasons of the Sacred Earth: Following the Old Ways on an Enchanted Homestead
Author: Cliff Seruntine
Format: egalley edition
Pub. Date: August 8th 2013
Source: Netgalley and Llewellyn Publications


Five stars.

Seasons of the Sacred Earth: Following the Old Ways on an Enchanted Homestead follows a year of life for the Seruntine family as they live close to their natural roots in Nova Scotia. They live their lives in a manner that is harmonious with nature, taking only what they need and in return cultivating and protecting the forests and lands that surround their secluded home. Part spiritual guidebook, part cookbook, and part campfire-like storytelling, Seasons of the Sacred Earth gives great insight into a life that most of us don't get to live, and often forget about.


I loved this book. Cliff Seruntine writes with such beauty and detail that the reader can easily recognize the pure passion of nature and its spirits about which he speaks. I quickly became mesmerized by the landscapes and way of life that he narrated. Indeed, this book is nonfiction, but between the Celtic, Cajun, and Norse stories (among others) that are flawlessly woven throughout this book, the entire narrative has this magical tone to it that is hard to describe.

This book has a lot of components that work together to make this a unique piece of literature. First and foremost, this book tells about a natural, rural way of life. Cliff Seruntine describes the jobs and tasks that he and his family perform in order to keep the homestead afloat, as well as stories that happen in the surrounding woods, family memories, and animal tales from the critters on the land. Two things are certain in this book: the family's respect, adoration, and understanding of Nature and its spirits, and the family's love and strength of each other.

Then too, this book serves as a how-to guide and cookbook. From how to start an herb garden to how to properly make cheese, practical and helpful advice pepper this book. I know for sure that I'll be trying a few recipes provided in this book.

And then, there's the rich storytelling. Cliff Seruntine does a great job of mixing myths and legends from different belief systems/geographic locations, and tells them in such a fashion that one who is unfamiliar with them will understand. A very, very important part of this story telling that I appreciated is the emphasis on non-English words. If a word was in a different language, the author provided a definition, explanation, and a proper pronunciation along with it.

Throughout this novel, pictures accompany the text, giving more insight into the life that the author so vividly describes.

All in all, this book made me want to get back to my natural roots. It reminded me how much we as a society take for granted, and how little we give back. In all honesty, I found myself wanting to visit this homestead so that I could see this enchanted-sounding wood, drink some homemade cider, and eat tasty cheese hand made from their goats.

Written in a way that's comparable to Farley Mowat, Seasons of the Sacred Earth is a book that many pagans would love to have on their shelf, as well as naturalists and those with a high respect for nature.

Thank you to Netgalley and Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. for my copy.


  1. Oh my god, this book sounds like such a delight. I really want to read this, thank you for such a great review!

  2. It really was. It was hard to formulate a review for it.