The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom
By Carl McColman
A Review by The Topaz Owl
Don’t let the title of this book put you off – you’re no idiot! You are, however, curious about things Celtic, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom by Carl McColman is an excellent introduction to the often-times confusing world of Celtic spirituality, where, to the uninitiated, people seem to be following many different paths and calling it Celtic. Yet all have what Carl terms “degrees of Celticity” in common, running the gamut from those with “pure” Celtic ancestry to the “Cardiac Celt.” (You’ll have to read the book to understand that term!) He discusses what makes something Celtic (apart from the firmest foundation — language), and describes the various entry points into Celtic wisdom. He identifies seven distinct ‘branches” on the main trunk of the tree of Celtic wisdom, and devotes a chapter to each in brief explanation, all with further suggestions for more in-depth study. He discusses the history of the Celts, Sovereignty of the Land (Nature), the Otherworld, mythology and lore from the Irish and the Welsh, the Celtic tradition of storytelling, and a bit of archaeology, folklore, and the living tradition. He even concludes with a chapter on “applied” Celtic wisdom.
This book is designed like the popular “Complete Idiot’s Guide” or “For Dummies” series for computer education, which makes it highly readable, occasionally amusing, and quite enjoyable. Small side boxes are entitled things like “Druidspeak,” “The Seer Says,” and “Notes from the Other-world.” These give interesting tidbits and additional bytes of information. The appendix lists websites for further online exploration, and includes the Henge of Keltria website. There is even a quiz to take to see which of the paths of Bard, Seer, or Druid best suits you.
Though this book is designed for the modern seeker, even “old hands” at things Celtic may find clarification of their own particular path (or those of their buddies) among its pages. Carl McColman has a gift for breaking a very complex subject into easily understandable parts. In any event, I recommend it highly.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Celtic Wisdom by Carl McColman - ISBN: 0-02-864417-4 - Paperback: 360 pages - Publisher: Alpha Books.