Posted by: Nyxks | December 12, 2007

Magic of the Celtic Otherworld

Magic of the Celtic Otherworld
by Steve Blasmires © 2007
Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN 978-0-7387-0657-3
327 Pages
Paperback
$17.95 (U.S.) $20.95 (Canada
Reviewed by: Mike Gleason

I got this book because my daughter was enthusiastic about the bit she read while browsing at a local bookstore. I wasn’t sure about it for a couple of reasons: First, I didn’t recognize the author’s name and second, it seems that everybody is writing books about their interpretations of the Celtic culture. So I approached it with caution.

One thing which impressed me early on in this book was the sincere manner in which the author approached the subject. There are numerous “fluffy” books on the market about Celtic Magic, and there are many “serious” (i.e., “This is the way it is and you must do exactly this.”) books available. In this case the author lays out some foundations, provides sources for further personal research and offers some common sense advice, and then says, basically, “The rest is up to you.”

It was a pleasure for me to read his warnings about contacting some of the more primal deities of the Celtic pantheon. Far too many Pagans today assume that “good” or “beneficial” deities may be safely contacted by anyone without learning the culture and lore associated with them. That can be like assuming that since electricity can heat and light our homes, it is safe to embrace without taking precautions. You can get seriously hurt in either case.

More primitive, less civilized entities may have very different concepts of acceptable behavior. If you have ever experienced (even second hand) possession (such as in a Santeria or Vodun ceremony) you may have been surprised by the behavior exhibited by the possessing entities. It is perfectly acceptable to them, even if your sensibilities are offended.

This book is intended as an introductory work on the subject of the Celtic Otherworld. It is, therefore, fairly basic. It does give a broad outline of beliefs, festivals, and word pronunciations as well as a simple glossary. I found it to be a useful, easy to understand and informative book. If you are interested in Celtic culture and beliefs, this is a good book to start with. The bibliography and discography provide further inspirations and are a valuable addition, even if they are short.

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