Review: Circle Round

Review: Circle Round June 29, 2011

The day before Samhain, Diane Baker stood in her kitchen thinking about needing to plan a celebration for her family and wondered, “Why isn’t there just a book I could open?”  So she collaborated with Anne Hill and Starhawk to write the book she wanted to read, Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions.

Circle Round offers resources divided into four sections:

  • *Part One: Welcome to the Circle introduces the book and the practice of Goddess traditions with children.
  • *Part Two: Cycles of the Moon and Sun covers new and full moon activities and the wheel of the year.
  • *Part Three: The Life Cycle addresses birth, growth, and death.
  • *Finally, Part Four: Circle of Elements covers ritual and play with the five sacred elements.

This book covers so much ground that only the first chapter in Part Three – Beginnings could specifically address the childbearing year.  The chapter begins with these words:

Births need no ritual to make them sacred.  The energy of birthing casts its own circle . . . That being said, it is also true that birth is a time to make special magic.

The special magic offered here includes visualization, altar-building, newborn blessing, and umbilical cord magic.  This short chapter packs in chants, ritual descriptions, and mythology, all derived from families’ real experiences.  The chapter also addresses adoption and miscarriage.

If you’re just looking for the 13 page Beginnings chapter, it might be best to borrow this 439 page book from the library, but if your Beginnings will lead to raising children, you may want your own copy on the shelf for the other 426 pages on raising children.

Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill, Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions.  New York: Bantam Books, 1998.


Sarah Whedon teaches in the Department of Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary and is the founding editor of Pagan Families: Resources for Pagan Pregnancy and Birth. Sarah’s teaching, research, and advocacy work center around topics of spirituality, feminism, and reproduction. She makes her home in San Francisco with her partner and their children.

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