Author: Lora O'Brien
Trade Paperback, 221 pages
Publisher: New Page Books
Publication date: 2004
List: US$14.99, C$21.95
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
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
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
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