Author: Galen Gillotte
Hardback, 118 pages
Publication date: May 2001
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Book of Hours is a book of prayers to the (Wiccan) Goddess. In the tradition of similar books for other religions, Gillotte's book provides prayers to the Goddess for every "hour" of the day. Gillotte divides the day into three "hours:" morning, evening, and night. She provides a special prayer for each hour for each of the seven days of the week. There are also special morning, evening, and night prayers for the new moon, the full moon, and all eight Wiccan Sabbats. Each day's prayers are accompanied by suggested meditations and affirmations. There is also a section of prayers for specific needs such as healing, blessing a house, or the loss of a beloved person or animal.
You might be inclined to pass over this book if you see it at the bookstore. Book of Hours is a hardback book with a very plain cover. There's no art of youngsters who look like gang members or the like to attract your attention. However, both the book itself and the prayers within it show signs of careful crafting. It's obvious that a great deal of time and effort have been put into this small volume, both by the author and by the publisher.
The brief introductory material talks about the four different types of prayer: prayer of expectation, prayer of thanksgiving, prayer of celebration, and prayer of contemplation. It also touches upon the issues of creating sacred space, the ethics of prayer, and private versus communal prayer. An appendix gives some basic information of the various Goddesses mentioned in the volume. Unfortunately, some of the information given isn't quite historically correct. This is something that may not matter as much to the average Wiccan, who probably considers these deities just "faces" of the Wiccan Goddess, as it does to this non-Wiccan reviewer. That minor quibble aside, my only real complaint about this volume is that there are no prayers to the Wiccan God.
Some Wiccans will probably write off this book as a waste of money because they do not need a book of specific words to say when they talk to their Goddess. In a way, they are right. Some people do not need such a book. Prayers flow from their tongues without effort. However, not everyone is so gifted. Many people I've met over the years have trouble praying. They either don't know what to say and how to say it when they pray or they are afraid they don't. For those Wiccans, especially solitary Wiccans, who have trouble putting words to their desire to pray, Book of Hours may seem to be a gift from the Goddess herself.
Many Wiccans complain that most books on Wicca cover the same material and provide little truly new and original. That complaint can not be made about Book of Hours: Prayers to the Goddess. It breaks new ground and does so beautifully. Galen Gillotte's prayers are poetry. Literally. As I said earlier, this book will not jump out at you on the book shelves at your favorite bookstore. If you are Wiccan and tongue-tied when you wish to pray, don't let that stop you from picking this book up and looking at it. I suspect many such Wiccans who do so will not be able to put it back on the shelf.
Reviewed by Randall