Irish Paganism

Full Title: Irish Paganism – Reconstructing Irish Polytheism (Part of the Pagan Portals series)

Author: Morgan Daimler

Publisher: Moon Books

Published: 2015

ISBN: 978-1-78535-145-7

Pages: 89 including Appendix A – Pronunciation Guide, Appendix B – Recommended reading for Irish Polytheists, Appendix C- Myth titles in both languages, bibliography and endnotes.


Synopsis: Irish Reconstructionist Polytheism is an often misunderstood path, but it is one with great richness and depth for those who follow it. This short introductory book touches on the basic beliefs and practices of Irish Polytheism as well as other important topics for people interested in practicing the religion using a Reconstructionist methodology or who would just like to know more about it. Explore the cosmology of the ancient Irish and learn how the old mythology and living culture show us the Gods and spirits of Ireland and how to connect to them. Ritual structure is explored, as well as daily practices and holidays, to create a path that brings the old beliefs forward into the modern world.


As can be seen from the page count, this is a very short book, typical for a Pagan Portals book. Even so, it packs in quite a bit. There are so very few books out there written on Celtic Reconstructionism and Daimler’s book on Irish Reconstructionism is a welcome addition. This book is a well-researched look at the basics and should serve as a great introductory text for people interested in walking this path and don’t know where to start.

The book is made up of 7 chapters and discusses the methodology behind reconstructionism, the basic beliefs of the Irish, rituals, the holy days, and mysticism. Chapter six deals with controversial topics like race, cultural appropriation and sexuality. In the final chapter, the author wraps up the book with a conclusion.

I really enjoyed reading this book, twice. It has just the right amount of information as to not leave people wanting or confused but also just the right amount of push to get you on your own exploration of this path. Highly recommended for people who have read the Celtic FAQ, have decided that Ireland will be their hearth culture and are ready to get the specific basics for that hearth culture.

The Celtic Question: Modern Constructs and Ancient Realities

Author: Kim McCone

Publisher: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

Published: 2008

ISBN: 9781855002104

Pages: 56 including References


This very short book is a modified version of a lecture given by Kim McCone at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies on April 24, 2008. It was for the Myles Dillon Memorial.

McCones’ books are usually a hard read for me because I keep feeling like his anti-nativist attitude colours everything (usually he makes good points, it is just that I always feel like he is talking down to his audience). So, I was steeling myself to read this and keep an open mind. I’m glad I did.

This book can be seen as a rebuttal of the arguments made by Chapman (1992), James (1999) and others that have as the central premise of their books the fact that there is no such thing as Celts, or in the case of James, there is no such thing as Celts in the British Isle.

McCone pretty much refutes all their arguments effectively, using the same sources that they do more effectively. These sources include the classical writer, archaeology and linguistics. Be prepared for a bit of linguistic reconstruction for the word Celtic and be prepared to be wowed.

Quick Reminder

So I have two announcement today.

  1. The submission door for the next issue of Air n-Aithesc is still open and if you are thinking of submitting please do. Here are the submission Guidelines and the  door closes on December 31, 2015.

Call for submissions AnA

2. I’m putting together a prayer book for CR and CR minded people so if you have a prayer that is your own work and you’d like to see it published please consider submitting them. Here are the guidelines and the doors close on January 31, 2016:

Call for submissions An Leabhar Urnaí

Review of Shadow of the Hooded Crow

Today I wanted to share with you the work of someone I really respect when it comes to the Warrior path or The MorrÍgan. This someone is Saigh Kym Lambert, and her blog is called Shadow of the Hooded Crow.

I want to start with her contributions to the Warrior Path.

She has a lot of thought provoking articles on her blog about this path but I recommend you start with Walking the Warrior Path in which she explains what this path means to her as an Outlaw warrior and just follow the links provided there.

She also has a link to her own training program which is called Outlaw Warrior Path Training. This page includes training for both the body and the mind.

Next I want to talk about her contributions as a writer/researcher.

I couldn’t decide on a favourite of mine for her works so I’m just going to list them in no special order and tell you where they were first published and where (when possible) they can be found now.

  1. Musings on the Irish War Goddesses: This is an article about The Morrígan and her sisters. It was first published in an anthology called By Blood, Bone and Blade: A tribute to the Morrígan, however, Saigh now offers it as a download on her blog if you just want to get that article alone (Musings on the Irish War Goddesses).
  2. The following articles were all first published in Air n-Aithesc and are now (or will be) offered as a download on her blog if you are just interested in getting her work (Air n-Aithesc Articles).
    1. “By Force in the Battlefield” – Finding the Irish Female Hero: This article looks at the Women warriors in Irish literature. It was first published in Air n-Aithesc Volume I Issue I.
    2. Going into Wolf Shape: A look at the connections between warriors and canines. It too was first published in  Air n-Aithesc Volume I Issue I.
    3. Muimme naFiann – Foster-mother of Heroes: A look at Scáthach, Bodbmall, Líath Lúachra (and other names used for Finn’s foster-mothers) and how their stories can inspire women, especially older women, involved in fénnidecht. This was first published in Air n-Aithesc Volume I Issue II.
    4. Chase to Nowhere – Thoughts on Fénnidecht Rites of Passage: Exploring evidence for the very non-linear rites of passage into and out of the wilderness warbands and how this might be of use to us today. This was first published in Air n-Aithesc Volume II Issue I.
    5. Warriors for the Horse Goddess: A very from the heart article about saving horses. This article is not yet on her blog since it has not passed the 90 day mark for re-publishing but you can find it on Air n-Aithesc Volume II Issue II
  3. The Hero Betwixt and Between: A look at the similarities between Finn Mac Cumhail and Cú Chulainn showing their Outlaw nature. This was published on  Keltria Journal #43 -“Heroes & Heroines”
  4. Championing Ourselves: Some thoughts on her early story with her Goddesses. This was originally published in SageWoman, issue #39, Autumn 1997 (Championing Ourselves).
  5. Books, academic papers and primary sources: This is a page where you can find all the important works out there about the War Goddess. (Resources)

Shadow of the Hooded Crow

If you want to learn about the Warrior Path and The Morrígan then just click on it.

Celtic Britain and Ireland 200 AD to 800 AD

Full Title: Celtic Britain and Ireland 200 AD to 800 AD – The Myth of the Dark Ages
Authors: Lloyd and Jennifer Laing
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: 1990, reprinted 1991
ISBN: 0-312-04767-3
Pages: 263, including Index and Bibliography.

Synopsis: The term ‘Dark Ages’ was coined to describe a period which was seen as a period of anarchy and violence, following the collapse of civilisation. Recent discoveries by archaeologists and historians have, however, radically altered this traditional view of the Dark Ages, and the period is now seen as one of innovation and dynamic social evolution. This book reconsiders a number of traditionally accepted views. It argues, for example, that the debt of the Dark Age Celts to Rome was enormous, even in areas such as Ireland that were never occupied by Roman invaders. It also discusses the traditional chronology suggesting that the date of ‘AD 400’ usually taken as the start of the ‘early Christian period in Britain and Ireland now has comparatively little meaning. Once this conventional framework is removed, it is possible to show how the Celtic world of the Dark Ages took shape under Roman influence in the centuries between about 200 to 800, and looked to Rome even for the immediate inspiration for its art. Such questions as the extent of British (that is, Celtic) survival in pagan Saxon England, and the Celtic and Roman contribution to early England are considered.


Review: Honestly, I’ve read so many “old/out of date” books lately that I was settling down to another “been there and learned that”. I was pleasantly surprised though. Sure this book did have an element of “been there and learned that” but there are also some “Oh, huh, interesting” and “oh, huh, so that is why people these days assumed it was like that” elements too.

Over all I think that the Laings wrote an easy to read and follow book, telling the reader about a period in Britain and Ireland that the rest of the classical world called the Dark Ages. The book itself was organised very well, and it is very easy to find things that you want to find just by skimming to relevant chapters and sections because they were so clearly labeled, or by going to the Index.

They showed that in Britain and Ireland it was hardly the Dark Ages, and along the way you get to know how some interesting archaeology was done and by whom, and how some antiquarian societies came into being and how they became so much more than just amateur hour.The bibliography was also pretty interesting and extensive.

Two Book Reviews

Title: The Rise of the Celts (The History of Civilisation Series)

Author: Henri Hubert

Publisher: Dorset press

Published: 1934, second edition 1988

Review: This book talked about the history of the Celts, starting from the origins up to the Hallstatt period. It also gave an overview of the history as a whole in the beginning, with linguistic and archeological analysis.

For me this was an interesting read. It too me a while to get through it mainly because it was old and a translation from a French text; so at times it felt awkward and some of the terms used for the time periods were a bit confusing because there were no dates attached to them for reference.

So why did I find this interesting? I liked the parts of the book where the author discussed the current (1934) hypotheses on the origins of the Celts, and I liked comparing how different (or similar) they were to the current hypotheses on the same subject.


Title: The Greatness and Decline of the Celts (The History of Civilisation Series)

Author: Henri Hubert

Publisher: Constable and Company (first English edition) Routledge (Second edition)

Published: 1934, First English edition 1987, Second edition 2013

Review: This is part two of the series on the Celts. The book picks up where it left off from the previous one and takes us up until the decline of the Celts after the Roman conquests.

For me, part three of this book was where it was all at. It talks about the social and political structure of the Celts. I found the discussion on some concepts like reciprocity totally fascinating. Of course I should say that the author in this part of the book kept talking about the “unity of the Celts”, which was annoying because the author had previously made an effort to differentiate between the continental and insular Celts.


So would I recommend these books? Yes, with the following caveats. Don’t read them if you are just starting out, they are definitely not for the beginner. Keep in mind that the author favours the hypothesis that says the Celts came from Gaul, and everything is about France. Be prepared to be a little confused on some of the period names.