Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

March 18, 2005

Dancing The Fire: The Ins and Outs of Neo-Pagan Festivals and Gatherings

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 4:31 pm

Dancing the FireDancing The Fire: The Ins and Outs of Neo-Pagan Festivals and Gatherings
By Marian Singer, Citadel Press, 2005

Marian presents a well-rounded, comprehensive book for the new Gatherer as well as the old. She gives equal weight to all aspects of a Pagan Festival, from the newest attendee, the lecturer, or to the organizer.

Although many of her points are what one might call “common sense”, she thoughtfully points out that common sense may not be so common. Ms. Singer takes the would-be Gatherer through what to expect at a festival and what to bring. More importantly she includes the what-not-to do and bring things as well. Her readers are gently led to choose a Gather that will be most enjoyable for them. She also discusses the mechanics of creating your own Gather; the joys and pitfalls of being a festival organizer are both considered.

Ms. Singer speaks from her own experience of being a speaker/attendee of over 200 gathers. She shares some of the more humorous events of her travels, some of which make you shake your head in wonder at the audacity of some folks. She includes numerous spells and charms meant to enhance your travel and festival experience. The spells are set out in boxes throughout the text, making them easy to find for future reference after the reader has digested the main text of each chapter.
The second half of the book contains an abridged listing of events and gatherings in the continental US and Canada. Each listing contains contact information, approximate timing of the event, facilities, service, amenities, (including wheelchair accessibility and the availability of interpretation for the deaf), and attendance costs, plus some listings have short descriptive paragraphs describing additional details.

This is where I feel a very strongly written book was somewhat weakened. I realize that trying to provide a comprehensive list of all the possible events that happen in our community is literally impossible. No one could hope to list anywhere near all the events. The author does refer readers to witchvox.com, an on-line resource for the Pagan community that has numerous listings. I found the information in the book lacking two important items. The first one was the length of each event. As an experienced event attendee, I know an event can last anywhere from a single afternoon to several weeks. Many events happen to fall on different dates each year but their length tends to be consistent.

The other bit of information I would have like to have seen was whether an event was clothing optional. As the parent of a preteen who has made her feelings know about NOT wanting to see strangers various body parts, I would hate to show up at a gather that boasts a kid track but isn’t “child-friendly”. I’m sure that there will be many other readers for whom this information would be important. Another minor point that could be added to the listings is whether a site is alcohol-free or not.

This is an excellent book and an easy read.

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Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 4:27 pm

Magic of the Celtic Gods and GoddessesMagic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses
A Guide to Their Spiritual Power, Healing Energies, and Mystical Joy

By Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds
New Page Books (The Career Press, Inc.) © 2005

Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses is a well-written resource for anyone looking for a basic understanding of the Celtic pantheon. The reader will find many well known and some not so well know Celtic deities discussed in this books pages.

While this relatively short book (203 pages) only touches briefly on each deity, the information is presented in a scholarly manner. Myth and legend pertaining to each God or Goddess is written down. Even though some of the stories conflict with each other the reader is presented with an honest assessment of available knowledge regarding each major Celtic deity.

Each section of the book is divided into chapters devoted to a specific deity or group of deities. The stories and history pertaining to each chapter’s subject are presented first. Then the traditions associated with the Holy Day special to the God or Goddess is presented, followed by suggestions on how to honor the deity in daily life throughout the year. In cases where there are many incarnations of a particular God or Goddess that cross cultural or geographical boundaries, all names and stories are outlined, even when there are conflicting details.

This book is a good jumping off place for any person wanting to delve deeply into the Celtic Mysteries. The authors offer practical advice on visualizations, rituals and meditation exercises designed to bring the seeker closer to the Celtic Higher Powers. It is a thoughtful look at one of the most elusive of all the popular pantheons studied today.

March 17, 2005

366 Celt: Year And A Day Of Celtic Wisdom And Lore

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 6:23 pm

By Carl McColman, Elements (Thorsons) 2005

In a small volume just slightly larger than pocket size, Mr. McColman
gives us all we ever wanted to know about Celtic wisdom and lore, past
and present. Bite sized pearls of wisdom grace the pages of this book.
Each of the 366 essays of the book is only a page long.

Mr. McColman packs a wallop into each paragraph. The book is divided
into sections with such headings as “The Path of the Fairies”,
“The Path of the Night” or The Path of Sacred Days”
with each section focusing on information reflective of the heading title.
Although the information does overlap in numerous places, the author does
such a good job in his collection of daily meditations that the book never
becomes repetitive.

Mr. McColman also avoids the all too familiar format of daily meditation
books by not placing a date on each page. In his brief but very informative
introduction, he explains that he wants the reader to enjoy the bits of
wisdom on whatever day they may choose to read them instead of being forced
to read certain passages in a prearranged progression. Spend a year and
a day in any order you like, but make sure to not miss a single page.
And for the avid reader who wants more there is a bibliography in the
end matter as well.

The author takes us through all forms of Celtic wisdom and lore. This
book crosses religious boundaries and historic ages. This book is an excellent
introduction to the many facets of the Celtic mythology and culture. Even
experienced students will find tidbits of interesting facts and wisdom
to sink their teeth into. The past is explained in relationship to the
present. Saints are given passages alongside mythic heroes and Gods and
Goddesses. While it’s main audience may well be a Pagan one, a person
of any religion will find much wisdom in its pages. Another winner from
Mr. McColman!

Buy 366 Celt at Amazon.com

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