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Book Review: Kindling The Celtic Spirit
by Bridget Haggerty

Did you ever wish you could be inside someone's head and instantly absorb all of their knowledge, skills and expertise?

This is precisely what happened when I began reading Mara Freeman's comprehensive work on "ancient traditions to illumine your life throughout the seasons."

As soon as Kindling the Celtic Spirit arrived, I was immediately drawn to the beauty and grace of its design, and then, in typical fashion, I casually leafed through, stopping here and there to read a paragraph or two.

To say I was entranced is an understatement. In great anticipation, I turned to the beginning and began to enjoy one of the most thoroughly satisfying reads I can ever recall.

Drawing from more than 30 years of experience, Mara takes the reader through the Celtic Year, month by month, season by season, sharing with us her vast knowledge of customs, traditions, myths, saints and scholars. An entire chapter - February - is devoted to St. Brighid, my patron saint, and I learned a great deal about her that I didn't know before. And that is the beauty of this wonderful book. Mara offers unique perspectives that I've yet to find in any other work.

I still have my nose in the book and I find myself carrying it with me, stealing precious minutes from my busy schedule to read just a little bit more. It's become a constant companion and for anyone as interested in the Celtic way of life as I am, I highly recommend that you purchase this book before buying any others. For while there are many works that are similar in scope, this is the first one that I've found which is interactive. Not only does Mara teach us what the ancient Celts did and why, she also describes in great detail how we can apply the old ways to modern life.

In summary, this book will teach you about the festivals, gods and goddesses, faeries, saints, animals, music, poetry and storytelling that anchor the magical tradition of the Celts. You'll learn about the myths, rituals, recipes and crafts for every month of the year. And you will discover traditional blessings, ancient lore, and guided meditations that will inspire you to reconnect with the rhythms of the natural world.

A supremely talented author, story-teller and teacher, I am grateful to Mara for the exposure to her practical wisdom. Truly, this book is definitive nourishment for the Celtic soul.

Author's Bio:

Mara Freeman is a keeper of the ancient Celtic spirit whose life is dedicated to reweaving the ancestral traditions of the British Isles and Ireland for today's world through teaching, writing and storytelling. The legacy of the Bards and Druids is embodied in her transformational workshops, pilgrimages and retreats. To learn more, Mara invites you to visit her web site: The Celtic Spirit


Thu, Dec 7, 2017

Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*

Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.

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