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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch Search

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Book Review:
Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch

Author: Lora O'Brien
Trade Paperback, 221 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$14.99, C$21.95
ISBN: 1564147592
Price & More Info: Click Here

According to the Foreword, this book is a first, and I can believe it. There have been many books on the subject of Irish Witchcraft, and many books about Irish myths. What makes this book unique in that the author is not only native-born Irish, but she has spent her entire life living in Ireland.

I am sure that Ms. O'Brien will find many objectors to her statements about Wicca/Witchcraft/Paganism and the similarities and differences among them. I don't agree with all of them, personally, but I must respect her right to state her opinions. She is careful to make it clear that what she is presenting is not necessarily facts set in stone, but interpretations of facts and personal opinions. She does provide a guide to some Irish pronunciation, which is much appreciated.

It is refreshing for an author to say (on page 32): "Of you want to do this Irish Witchcraft thing, you will have to do the work yourself." To that end, there are no sample rituals or invocations in this book. No matter how often an author says "These (words, motions, rituals, etc.) are only a suggestion. Feel free to change to modify them," many people feel bound for some reason to use only those suggestions. Effective ritual must be affective. It must cause changes within you. It must mean something to you, not to someone else.

The first three chapters of the book concern "How It Was", and cover the myths and legends, the folk and fairy tales, and the trials of a Witch's life. These aren't the cute little fairy stories. There are no Tinkerbelles here.

The next three chapters concern "How It Is", and cover the lands and gods, cycles and sabbats, and stages of a Witch's life. You will find suggestions for some rituals in this section, but no suggestions as to how to perform them.

The final chapters are in reference to "How It Will Be." Enough said.

If you are looking for a "how-to" book on Irish Witchcraft, keep looking. If you want an authoritative statement of Irish Witch beliefs, you will probably be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you want to read an account of one individual's perceptions of Irish Witchcraft, this is the book for you. Ms. O'Brien writes an enjoyable book (even if some of her suggestions will have some readers tearing their hair out). Her resource section is quite impressive as well.

I have read and reviewed over 100 books this year, and this was among the ones I most enjoyed.

Reviewed by Mike Gleason

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