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Celtic Myth and Religion, by Sharon Paice MacLeod

A Study of Traditional Belief, with Newly Translated Prayers, Poems & Songs

Reviewed by Ian Corrigan

Celtic Myth and Religion is an effort to summarize what is presently known, surmised and guessed about pre-Christian Celtic religion, and “indigenous religious traditions of the Celtic-speaking peoples, from the first millennium B.C.E. to the early modern era”. MacLeod does a fine job of it, combining summary recitations of facts with speculative efforts in a balanced and reasonable way. This book deserves an immediate place on the shelves of those interested in the topic.

The book amounts to 200 pages of closely-set text, and there is plenty of straight repetition of lore in the first sections. The first part provides the basics from describing the sources to general summaries of the Celtic ideas of the Otherworld, and the place of Druid, poets and seers. The tales and mythic figures of Britain, Gaul and Ireland get a very fast yet detailed summary. This is accomplished in some 60 pages, so it isn’t done in depth. This book is really a primer, and also a wonderful guide to using the indexes of other books.

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