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Author Topic: What are the most notorious books on celtic neopaganism?  (Read 46668 times)
Gonner
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« Topic Start: April 09, 2011, 11:01:48 am »

I was reading the Steve Blamires thread and I thought Id pick up a copy and while I was there I got WITTA by edain mccoy... Ive heard the books bashed but Ive never read them and rather then jumping on the band wagon I think its a good idea to see for myself.

Can anyone recommend the best of the worst of celtic neopaganism?

edit:

I picked up a copy of thie Lebor Feassa Runda when it was being blasted by all and sundry and it turned out to be a great read from a literary perspective.

« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 11:09:35 am by Nuadu_Of_Kildare » Logged

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« Reply #1: April 09, 2011, 12:49:39 pm »

I picked up a copy of thie Lebor Feassa Runda when it was being blasted by all and sundry and it turned out to be a great read from a literary perspective.

You're joking right?  I read parts when he was posting great tracts of it all over the internet trying to convince people it was real and I can't imagine it being considered good from any perspective.

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« Reply #2: April 09, 2011, 01:04:25 pm »

Can anyone recommend the best of the worst of celtic neopaganism?

I've dedicated about half a shelf in my personal library to the bad books, just so I can respond to posts like these.   Cheesy

It's been a while since I've read them, but my votes for worst Celtic paganism books go to:

Witta:  An Irish Pagan Perspective, by Edain McCoy (IIRC, this book is the source of the "Great Potato Goddess" joke)
Celtic Myth & Magic:  Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses, by Edain McCoy (I think it's the height of arrogance to claim to be able to "harness the power of the gods and goddesses.")
Celtic Magic, by D.J. Conway
By Oak, Ash, & Thorn:  Modern Celtic Shamanism, by D.J Conway

As I said, it's been a while, but my memory of all both of these authors is that they just take Wiccish concepts and wrap them in Celtic images.

I suspect Kathy Jones might also fall into this category, but I haven't gotten around to acquiring any of her books yet.

There are also a few other authors who have tapped into the popular interest in Celtic paganism -- namely Tom Cowan, Frank MacEowan, and Caitlin and John Matthews -- but done a better job, IMO.  To me, though, these authors are doing something very different than McCoy and Conway.  They are more about relating their own experiences as context for providing the reader with suggestions for incorporating Celtic concepts into their own spirituality and tools to do so.  I know enough about Celtic history and mythology to be able to see the flaws in books like these, while also being able to use them to help me construct my own practice.  In particular, I've found Caitlin Matthews work, especially her Celtic Devotional, quite useful and inspiring.  

Just my $0.02.  Cheesy

~ Aster
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« Reply #3: April 09, 2011, 01:13:36 pm »

You're joking right?  I read parts when he was posting great tracts of it all over the internet trying to convince people it was real and I can't imagine it being considered good from any perspective.

Absent

It has no credit where recon is concerned and the neopagan rituals and sigils etc have no value for me but what I do value is represented in the book. An emphasis on and understanding of Irish tradition and the lad  has such an extensive knowlege of and insight into Irish mythology that he was able to write an almost seamless sequel to the book of invasions. If we hadnt had the occupation here Im sure what the book of invasions would have progressed into would be similar to Atkins myth. If he'd published it in the 80s or early 90s everyone would remember his name he's just behind the times now because the market has changed. He should have presented and legitimised the book differently... but its not the presentation but the material itself thats good imo.

Remember this book fooled people whove spent 50 years studying as celtic neopagans whatever ese Atkins can write like Tolkien.
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« Reply #4: April 09, 2011, 01:18:06 pm »

I've dedicated about half a shelf in my personal library to the bad books, just so I can respond to posts like these.   Cheesy

Sweet thanks for the list Cheesy

DJ Conway is great in the realm of cheese, if you compare Norse Magic with Celtic Magic they are identical except for deity names. Whatever that says about her what does it say about her audiance that they didnt notice? lol
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« Reply #5: April 09, 2011, 01:59:21 pm »

Remember this book fooled people whove spent 50 years studying as celtic neopagans whatever ese Atkins can write like Tolkien.

Who did it fool?  Every single place I saw it posted it got denounced, with more or less scholarship depending on what kind of place he pushed it.  In some places the scholarship was decried, in some the author's reputation and previous attempts at fame were brought up, and in some the book was seen as a thinly veiled appeal to racism.  The only people I saw who appeared to take it seriously were Akins himself and some pretty transparent sock puppets.

I think we had a thread a couple years ago.  *looks*  ah:

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=10179.msg170650#msg170650

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« Reply #6: April 09, 2011, 02:31:41 pm »

Who did it fool?  Every single place I saw it posted it got denounced, with more or less scholarship depending on what kind of place he pushed it

Im not going to name names, it would be bad charactor to talk about people who arent present. Really who it was doesnt detract from why I like the book it was an off the cuff remark. Having read the book I like it as a piece of literature.
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« Reply #7: April 09, 2011, 02:43:44 pm »

I've dedicated about half a shelf in my personal library to the bad books, just so I can respond to posts like these.   Cheesy

It's been a while since I've read them, but my votes for worst Celtic paganism books go to:

Witta:  An Irish Pagan Perspective, by Edain McCoy (IIRC, this book is the source of the "Great Potato Goddess" joke)
Celtic Myth & Magic:  Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses, by Edain McCoy (I think it's the height of arrogance to claim to be able to "harness the power of the gods and goddesses.")
Celtic Magic, by D.J. Conway
By Oak, Ash, & Thorn:  Modern Celtic Shamanism, by D.J Conway

~ Aster

I'd agree with all of these. I'd also add:

Scottish Witchcraft, by Ray Buckland
Celtic Sacred Landscapes, by Nigel Pennick

I'd say Buckland's book is pretty much the Scottish version of Witta. I got Pennick's book from the library and actually had to stop reading it, it was that bad.
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« Reply #8: April 09, 2011, 04:37:19 pm »

I got Pennick's book from the library and actually had to stop reading it, it was that bad.

Really? What was your problem with it?
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« Reply #9: April 09, 2011, 05:11:32 pm »

Really? What was your problem with it?

Shoddy scholarship, painfully pointless mistakes, and a pan-Celtic approach that smooshed everything together, which I just can't agree with.

There were references to The Great Mother and frequent references to Iolo Morganwg and his writings that were taken as authentic that were a little WTF. At one point, he says that "Celtic lore tells that the first woman was a rowan tree and the first man an alder." (p23) I'm fairly sure this is from Wood-Martin (Volume I, I think), but Wood-Martin himself was drawing on Scandinavian evidence.

One of the pointless mistakes was,"In a Welsh poem attributed to Amergin..." (p18). I also found the references to 'Celtia' really annoying. I had to give up at the bit with the wheel of the year written in Celtic runes. 

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« Reply #10: April 09, 2011, 09:22:16 pm »



Can anyone recommend the best of the worst of celtic neopaganism?



Edain McCoy's book Celtic Myth & Magick is pretty laughable. I bought it when i was starting out, and didn't know anything. But as I started learning more I realize this was a bunch of crap. I mean theres some things like a good glossary on the Gods & Goddesses, but the spells, and rituals and made up.
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« Reply #11: April 10, 2011, 01:37:17 pm »

Witta:  An Irish Pagan Perspective, by Edain McCoy (IIRC, this book is the source of the "Great Potato Goddess" joke)
Celtic Myth & Magic:  Harnessing the Power of the Gods and Goddesses, by Edain McCoy (I think it's the height of arrogance to claim to be able to "harness the power of the gods and goddesses.")
Celtic Magic, by D.J. Conway
By Oak, Ash, & Thorn:  Modern Celtic Shamanism, by D.J Conway


I second all the above, and add anything that Edain McCoy has written with the word "Celtic" in it is tosh. I had someone recommended her "Celtic Women's Spirituality" book to me when they found out I was a Celtic Polytheist. At the time I hadn't heard of the woman, as I didn't and don't generally go to the metaphysical/spiritual sections of the bookstore for my books. But I saw it at a used books store and picked it up. Wow. It had me on a rampage, her linguistics are all wrong, she demotes most the male deities to "wizards" or some such while making up hierarchy for the Goddesses. I was thru the first chapter with a highlighter and a pen correcting and pointing out out right lies when my partner told me I just needed to put the book down lol.

Also the Druid Merlyn books by Douglas Monroe were pretty bad from what I remember.
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« Reply #12: April 12, 2011, 07:46:24 am »

An emphasis on and understanding of Irish tradition and the lad  has such an extensive knowlege of and insight into Irish mythology that he was able to write an almost seamless sequel to the book of invasions.

Yeah, so extensive and seamless, he crowbarred all of his 'mythology' into the Nazi Thule mythos  Roll Eyes I really don't know how you can support or defend that.
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« Reply #13: April 15, 2011, 09:20:50 pm »

Yeah, so extensive and seamless, he crowbarred all of his 'mythology' into the Nazi Thule mythos  Roll Eyes I really don't know how you can support or defend that.

Seren I didnt notice any of that can you tell me where it is?

The nazi thing has more to do with the author then the thule society or any part of german neopaganism in fairness. How would I support associating Irish culture with German culture?First Id point out that the thule society predates the Nazi party and its an example of the club tradition that originated in Germany and gives us our steriotypical grove and coven groupings today. Id go on to say Germany had a large impact on celtic studies for historical reasons so itd only be appropriate for that to be aknowledged in celtic neopagan literature (Atkins myths are lit.). I might point out the drastic unfairness of demonizing an entire chunk of german culture and ignoring all that country contributed, demonization of germany by other 'western' nations for their own ends means a lot of credit is not given where its due.

Though Id be more likely to put on a cartman voice  and say "I do what I want". Thats too much of an emotionally charged argument to produce anything positive.

What Atkins did was atleast a work of literature so it has some merit, Im reading that Blamires book now and its just waffle to excuse his system of energy work. If anyone is interested in a decent breakdown of the myths Prof muireann ni bhrolchain's 'an intro to early Irish lit.' is good... its not makey uppy neopaganism you have to makey uppy that bit yourself but it gives you an analysis that you dont ususally get outside journals.
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« Reply #14: April 15, 2011, 09:38:47 pm »



1. This is driving me crazy - his name is Akins, not Atkins.  It's right there on the book cover you posted.

2.  It is beginning to feel like you started this thread specifically to defend Akins book - you barely mentioned the first two authors in your OP but you included a picture of Akins book cover while giving it a positive review, and you keep defending him while putting down or at least admitting to the flaws in the other bad books mentioned.

3.  Do you have a connection to this author?

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« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 09:44:51 pm by Marilyn (ABSENTMINDED), Reason: to rephrase part of point 2 » Logged

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Blessed are the cracked, for it is they who let in the light.

Ring the bells that still can ring
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That's how the light gets in

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