Full Title: The Silver Bough Volume 1 Scottish Folklore and Folk Belief. (1 of 4)
Author: F. Marian McNeill
Publisher: Canongate Classics
Published: 1956 by William MacLellan, first published by Canongate Classics in 1989
ISBN: 0 86241 231 5
Pages: 242, with the notes starting on page 169
Synopsis: A marvellous and indispensible treasury of Scottish folklore and folk belief from the world of Celtic magic, gods and fairies, to the prophesies of the Brahan seer, second sight, witchcraft, earth magic, selkies, changelings and a host of traditional spells and cures. The Silver Bough involved many years of research into both living and recorded folklore, and remains a classic of literature.
Review: I’m not going to review this book on whether or not it can be trusted factually. It can’t. This was first published in 1956 and since then, a lot of new discoveries were made and a lot of information in this volume of The Silver Bough has either been completely debunked or shown to be missing or incomplete. However, for its time it was cutting edge.
What I will do is tell you what this volume discusses. The Silver Bough volume 1 sets up the rest of the volumes of this series. It gives you the background to the festivals and where they may have come from, it discusses the druids, witches, the Gods, magic, fairies, and Christianity.
Now let me tell you what I got out of this book. I got a general sense of what in 1956 was known about the Celts, and I got the set up of a general outline of what the next three volumes of The Silver Bough will be talking about. The text also has some quotes from classical writers about the Celts, and the Druids.
I would not recommend it as a book to start out your studies with but as one that you can read after you have some history about the Celts- especially the Scottish people- and the Druids.