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In Nature's Honor

Myths and Rituals Celebrating the Earth

Patricia Montley

Artfully and thoroughly explores the eight solar holidays that mark the turning of the Wheel of the Year. Each chapter begins with a history of the holiday—the ways in which it has been celebrated from ancient to modern times, its relationship to other religious and secular celebrations and its cultural and mythological foundations. This history is followed by seasonal activities suitable for individuals, families and small group worship. Each chapter concludes with a formal ritual for church communities and classrooms, complete with scripted narration, readings, songs, dramatic enactments, litanies of seasonal blessings and suggestions for ceremonial food.

In Nature’s Honor reconnects the modern spiritual seeker with the earth-centered practices of our ancestors. This comprehensive work pays tribute to our physical and spiritual ties to the earth.

Published playwright and award-winning theater teacher and director Patricia Montley was chair of the Theater Department at Chatham College in Pittsburgh for 17 years. She currently teaches playwriting in the Odyssey Program at Johns Hopkins University. She is co-chair of the Worship Committee at First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Maryland, where she has preached and led rituals for services.

Praise for In Nature's Honor:

“Folklore and customs from around the world, mythology and food, religions old and new, plus moving contemporary rituals for large and small gatherings—this lovely book has it all. Highly recommended for anyone who feels a connection to our Mother Earth.”
—Barbara Ardinger, author of Finding New Goddesses

"Exciting, reverent, infused with uncommon good sense, In Nature's Honor explores the common ground of our rituals and the impetus that has moved us to invent and perform them. This book brings earth and heaven—and our odd position between the two—more comfortably and more sympathetically together. 

"In prose that is fresh and engaging, Montley offers us a cultural, anthropological and mythological study of the rituals that mark the thermal and solar seasons. The book's deep learning is lightly handled as background history to the feasts we celebrate. For each festival under consideration, Montley provides private practices for individuals and formal rituals for larger faith communities. Her rituals are complete with narrations, litanies, dramatic enactments, songs, poems and essays. She even suggests ceremonial food and symbolic activities appropriate to the feast. 

"If you have ever been surprised by an unexpected need to worship and wondered why, and perhaps how, then here is your book. It is rich and inspiring. It is itself a celebration."
—John L'Heureux, author of The Miracle

"Montley's compendium of rituals provides marvelous examples of how people around the world celebrate the seasons of the year and seasons of their lives. This is a collection to consult often as faith communities, smaller circles and individuals seek to honor and make meaning of the earth."
—Mary E. Hunt, co-founder of WATER, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual

"Patricia Montley has given us all a great gift for remembering our place in the cycle of Earth's seasons. An excellent resource of young and old of many backgrounds."
—Hallie Austen Iglehart, author of The Heart of the Goddess

For more information contact skinnerhouse @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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