Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

February 19, 2008

Priestess of the Forest by Ellen Evert Hopman

Filed under: Book Reviews,Fiction — magickware @ 6:07 am

priestessforest.jpgPriestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey by Ellen Evert Hopman
$18.95 US $21.95 CAN
ISBN13 978-0-7387-1262-8 360 pages
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. http://www.llewellyn.com

A masterful written, fictional, love story based in third-century Ireland, this book animates the basic life style of the ancient Celts. Penned along the same lines as The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Priestess of the Forest examines historical class systems, symbols and life passages as seen through the eyes of the Druid class.

The author, Ellen Evert Hopman, currently the co-chief of the Order of the Whiteoak (Ord na Darach Gile) masterfully moves from writing non-fiction to this historical fantasy. Her aim was to engage the reader while teaching the ways of Druidic practice, ancient Celtic daily life, rites and rituals.

The story begins with the main character, Ethne, alone in her woodland hut. Her peace is shattered when a seriously wounded Fennid warrior is brought to her for healing. As she battles to keep him from death, she falls in love with him and he for her as he regains his strength. Unfortunately for them, the world they know is being invaded by a new religion, one that demands they leave behind their own beliefs and practices.

As with all good narratives, there are good guys and bad guys. Ethne is asked by the high Priest and Priestess to become the King’s bride. As Queen, they hope she will keep the Druidic ways strong in the land. Since we know the book is a historical fiction, the new religion of Christianity will win out in the end, but I kept hoping for a different conclusion. In the end the bad guys win, but Ethne’s personal story has a happy, if bittersweet, finale.

I was fascinated by the brief author interview, which followed the story. Ms. Hopman goes into detail about historical Druids as well as their modern day counter parts. She hopes that this book will be used to further teachings of the rites and passages she included as samples throughout the story line. Also included in the book’s back matter is a very useful recommended reading list of books divided by various categories.

If you are looking for some light reading, but want more than a bit of fluff, this is the book for you. This is a masterfully crafted tale that teaches as well as entertains.

February 4, 2008

The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals by Florence Mégemont

Filed under: Book Reviews — magickware @ 10:38 am
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metagemscryst1.jpg The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals
$24.95
ISBN 159477214-2 (ISBN13 978-159477214-6) 312 pages
Healing Arts Press (Inner Traditions) http://www.healingartspress.com

This book is beautifully presented with full color images of each crystal or gem on its own description page. The book is divided into three sections. Part one lists chemical composition, color, principle deposits, hardness and density immediately under the image. Following that are brief paragraphs with bold headings of ‘Etymology and General Description,’ ‘Therapeutic Uses,’ and lastly, ‘Zodiac Correspondences.’ These listings are generally between two and three pages. Some include additional images of the rock being discussed. This section makes up the bulk of the book. Also in this section are chapters on the use of, and care of crystals.

Part Two is devoted to correspondences of the charkas, colors or zodiac. Part three is devoted to the treatment of specific conditions be they physical, emotional or spiritual.

For the most part I found the images, although beautifully presented, useless. Some show raw crystal, some show finished stones and others are very tight shots of the striations of the stones, more like modern art than useful in identifying that particular specimen.

Some entries contained contradictory information. For example in alabaster under therapeutic uses one paragraph says “The calcium contained in alabaster would be as effective as talcum, but because it’s often impure and can contain other, more toxic substances, it’s better not to use it.” In the paragraph immediately following, powdered alabaster, diluted in water, is recommend as a daily dosage for a week to relieve mood swings.

I found the book difficult to use unless one is already familiar with each stone or gem. Part three lists each entry by condition rather than by stone, so if you have a stone but don’t know what its particular uses are, you need to read each entry to see if your stone shows up under a particular condition.

The portion of the book devoted to charkas was interesting, as were the color language and zodiac entries but at almost $25 for this book, aren’t enough to justify the expense of a purchase.

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