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Kindling the Celtic Spirit: Ancient Traditions to Illumine Your Life Through the Seasons Hardcover – December 26, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For over 2,000 years, oppressors and natural disasters have worked against the Celts, threatening to obliterate the ancient tribe's language, traditions, and spirituality. "Yet in the past 30 years or so, many willing minds and hands have undertaken the task of rekindling the guttering flame of the Celtic spirit," writes author Mara Freeman in Kindling the Celtic Spirit. Freeman is, in fact, one of those maintaining the fire, having spent 35 years studying Celtic traditions and assembling this well-written and organized tribute. Following the format of the Celtic calendar, Freeman shares the stories, recipes, spells, and Gaelic expressions that go with each of the monthly festivals and celebrations. The February chapter celebrates the Festival of Brigit (the goddess who represents the bride or young maiden). October pays tribute to the Festival of Samhain (the celebration that marks the beginning of winter and may have been the Celtic New Year). She recounts the origins of Samhain Eve, or "Mischief Night," which Americans celebrate by trick-or-treating. She teaches magical spells, tells a spine-chilling spooky story, and shows readers how to carve turnip lanterns, using a large rutabaga.

Although she writes about faeries, tree spirits, and other mythological creatures, Freeman narrates with confidence and maturity, so that readers feel as though they are sitting with a learned scholar. The elegant pen-and-ink illustrations by Linda Carol Risso capture the humble pagan origins while respecting the sophistication of Celtic design. The upshot is a beautifully crafted book with plenty of substance for those who like immersing themselves in this enchanting, age-old tribe. --Gail Hudson

Review

?This is an excellent book, offering a bright window into the Celtic World.?--John Matthews, author of "Drinking From the Sacred Well??a stunning book, rich in enchantments, legend and lore?abounding in practical wisdom to nourish body and soul.?--Margie McArthur, author of "The Wisdom of the Elements"Mara Freeman?has a profound understanding and appreciation of [Celtic] tradition, and a talent for sharing it effectively."--Alexei Kondratiev, author of "The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual""Mara Freeman has written a book that is fun, deep, playful, serious, useful, magical and enlightening.?--Matthew Fox, author of "One River, Many Wells and "Original Blessing?A very important work...[a] long awaited and much needed inspirational manual...?--Elizabeth Murray, author of "Cultivating Sacred Space??Mara Freeman brings a depth of scholarship and clarity of presentation that outshines the rest.?--R. J. Stewart, author of the bestselling "Merlin Tarot, " and many books on meditation, music and magic..".a tempting invitation to the world of the Celts."--"Knoxville Sentinel"A fascinating book."--"The Carmel Pinecone
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (December 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006251685X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062516855
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.3 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a graduate of a medieval studies program specializing in Irish literature, I am prompted to write this review to let people know how thrilled I am to have come across a book that contributes so much to our understanding of Celtic spirituality and how to apply its teachings in a modern context. Far from being "new-agey" this book is head and shoulders above the usual Wiccan and pagan-based junk that passes for "Celtic." "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" is lucidly written, honest about what we know and what we don't know about the Celts, inspiring, and above all, offers an accessible introduction to many of the key aspects of Celtic mythology and spirituality - I particularly loved the sections about music and animals, the chapter on tree-lore and the many marvelous recipes! The author really knows her stuff and is an exceptionally lyrical writer of a caliber not to be found in most popular books on the market today. It's definitely a book to keep or to give to friends to get them hopelessly addicted to the beauty of Celtica!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a Celtic Reconstructionist (for more on that see imbas.org). This book is full of good information, though I do not like the way she puts the sun holy days in prominance (not something the old Celts did.) But she does mention Sam & Gam energies of the year (basically light and dark) which is good.
What I like most is the way she uses poetry and her choices of poetry. Most books on Celtic spirit tend to use poetry that doesn't flow or connect to my heart. Most of her choices, or choices of translations, are wonderful.
I don't like the way she collects all her information (animal lore, myths, seasonal crafts ect) under a particular month ONLY because it's hard to reference later.
Her uses of stories are also done well. She choses good stories to tell that illustrate the holy day and then tells them beautifully.
The only thing I really don't like is the fact that the book, like Faery Wicca by Stepanich, is a way to gather "followers" and bring in the dough through classes, trips, workshops and divination. At least if you don't read the appendixes you won't see that part though ;o)
Oh, another useful thing she does is give prononciations (sp) of Celtic words! :o) :o)
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Format: Hardcover
As a graduate of a medieval studies program specializing in Irish literature, I am prompted to write this review to let people know how thrilled I am to have come across a book that contributes so much to our understanding of Celtic spirituality and how to apply its teachings in a modern context. Far from being "new-agey" this book is head and shoulders above the usual Wiccan and pagan-based junk that passes for "Celtic." "Kindling the Celtic Spirit" is lucidly written, honest about what we know and what we don't know about the Celts, inspiring, and above all, offers an accessible introduction to many of the key aspects of Celtic mythology and spirituality - I particularly loved the sections about music and animals, the chapter on tree-lore and the many marvelous recipes! The author really knows her stuff and is an exceptionally lyrical writer of a caliber not to be found in most popular books on the market today. It's definitely a book to keep or to give to friends to get them hopelessly addicted to the beauty of Celtica!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This wonderfully researched, thought-out and laid-out book is seasoned with an abundance of Celtic lore. The authors knowledge and apparent love of all thing Celtic is felt on every page. The book is divided into twelve chapters, one covering each month. And each chapter has peppered throughout an array of Celtic history, poetry, ritual, recipes, blessings, songs, goddess and god stories, myth, bestiaries, crafts and much more.
This compact book has a very reader-friendly layout and includes wonderful line-art through. The resource section is nine pages long and covers everything from Irish genealogy to Celtic music.
Kindling The Celtic Spirit would make a wonderful gift for anybody who cherishes Irish/Celtic tradition or as a book to keep beside ones bed, to read before sleeps so that one may drift off and enter a magical time and place where faeries played in sacred groves, bards sang of courageous deeds, and the Tuatha De Danann lived and prospered.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book to be passed down along with its traditions and recipes. Mara Freeman makes each page one to savor, with illustrations, poetry, ancient sayings in Gaelic of the British Isles and fairy speak, that alone should make it a must for your otherworldly library. My only wish is that with the second edition there would be some pages left blank in-between to add one's own family recipe or craft into the book. BUY THIS BOOK!
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Format: Hardcover
This beautifully conceived & executed book is bursting with an abundance of Celtic lore, legends, traditions, history, resources and practical applications for enriching our lives through the ways & wisdom of our ancestors. It carries the reader from month to month through the year and brings the meaning & significance of each month and season fully alive. We have already begun using some of the seasonal rituals, crafts, recipes & meditations in our own home and know that this book will be a companion to us for years to come.
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