The Celtic World Edited by Miranda J. Green

Synopsis: The ancient Celts, in their heyday, inhabited much of Europe north of the Alps. This new and exhaustive study examines this fascinating people from the first evidence of Celts in the archaeological and historical record to the early post Roman period. The Celtic World is one of the most comprehensive studies of the Celts in recent years, with new research material from leading Celtic scholars from Europe, Britain and America. The book includes chapters on archaeology, language, literature, warfare, rural life, towns, art, religion and myth, trade and industry, political organization, society and technology. It also looks at the Celts in Italy, Spain, France, Eastern Europe, the Rhineland, England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and concludes with a survey of modern Celts and how they view their Celtic identity. The Celtic World will be invaluable for students and academics of Celtic studies, and of interest to anyone fascinated by the Celts.

Review: This book was a surprise for me.  It was recommended to my by a friend and based on this recommendation as soon as I found it I just snapped it up.  When it arrived I just couldn’t figure out why it was so heavy!  So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package.  I also thought that Miranda J. Green wrote this book but the truth is Miranda J. Green EDITED it.

This book is based on a good historical and archaeological research and it makes for a good reference book for Celtic studies. It covers many different and important topics and is very well written and edited. The book is a collection of essays centered on different topics and written by such names as Daphne Nash Briggs, Jeffery L. Davis, D. Ellis Evans, Proinsias Mac Cana, Ruth and Vincent Megaw, Stuart Piggott, Barry Raftery, David Rankin, Ann Ross, Miranda Green and many others.

This book is copyrighted to 1995 and 1996 so it is a little out of date but not by much I would say.  The information in it was a delight to read, the essays are well thought out and easy to get into.  The information is very interesting and encompasses every aspect of the Celtic culture and life and it looks at all the Celts that lived in Europe. I consider this book a little Encyclopedia (not so little with 839 pages).

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Samhain Ritual 2010

As I usually do every year I went to the desert to be sort of alone to do my ritual and meditate (I say sort of because no one should go to the desert alone, I had my boyfriend with me but he was in a different tent during the whole time and basically kept to himself).  I was there before the sun set and watched it do so and after that I set up my alters and got everything ready at a spot near a shrub that always seem to vibrate with energy.

The Ritual:

What is needed: four candles (three for representing the gods, ancestors, and spirits, and one to represent the central or ‘hearth’ fire), offerings (bread, raw meat, and apples) a drinking vessel, a vessel to hold offerings (apple juice). Purifying water (I use rain water or spring water).

Purifying My Self Before Ritual:

I dip my hand into water, touch my forehead and say:

“May I be pure that I might cross through the sacred.”

I dip my hand again, touch my lips and say:

“May I cross through the sacred that I may attain the holy.”

I dip my hand again, touch my heart and say:

“May I attain the holy that I might be blessed in all things.”

Main Part of the Ritual:

Opening Prayer:

The fertile land below,
the blue sea about,
the vast sky above,
their blessings here tonight.

Kindling the Fire:

Lighting the candle.

I light the hearth candle,

May it grow strong,

May it grow bright,

May it carry my prayers to the gods.

Prayers to the Hosts:

Light a candle

A fire for the gods is here,
Excellent Hosts,
proficient in wisdom and skill,
splendid and hardy troupe,
generous patrons,

Morrígan, great warrior goddess, prophetess, and sorceress, I raise my voice in praise of you with wonder and awe.  I sit in your presence, oh great source of terror and comfort.

Lugh Lamhfhada, great warrior and god of many arts, I praise you.  Bright and shining god and flaming spear out of the chaos I honor you.

Fáilte!

Give offering

Light a candle

A fire for the ancestors is here,
for those whose graves we rest on
and whose fame we seek to follow.
A lamp to guide your way
through the mists
from Tech Duinn.

Fáilte!

Give offering

Light a candle

A fire for the Fair-Folk and land spirits is here,
auspicious and kindly denizens,
hosts of the abundant land,
gentry of the hills and mounds,

Spirits and guardians of the desert,
People of Peace,

Fáilte!

Give offering

Hail and Greetings to
The Three that are here,
Excellent Gods,
Beloved Ancestors,
and Kindly Spirits;
the three eternal fires
that illuminate the world.

Purpose of the ritual:

This ritual is to celebrate Samhain.

Main Offering/Sacrifice

To the Ever-Living Three
I give this raw meat and bread
in honor and in gratitude and in love,
honoring the ancient and ancestral
contract that binds us.

Give offering

Peace to sky,
sky to earth,
earth beside sea,
strength in each.

Hail to the gods,
love to the dead,
peace to the Good-Folk,
noble is each.

Personal Prayers:

As this year draws to its end,

I give thanks for the gifts it brought.

I give thanks for all I’ve learned.

I give thanks for all I’ve loved and lost,

and for all the friends I’ve gained.

Ending the Ritual:

Drinking cup filled with apple juice

I thank the gods of my ancestors for joining me in my ritual, I thank my ancestors for guiding me, and I thank the land spirits for aiding me.  I thank you all for being a witness to my endeavor.

Libate and Sip

After the ritual I like to sit and meditate on the passed year.  I also take out my last year’s resolutions see what I accomplished from that list asses what I didn’t and why; and write out the new year’s resolutions. For a look at what the result of my meditation and my resolutions please see: Samhain 2010 journal