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The Celtic Way of Seeing
Review by Karl Schlotterbeck
The Celtic Way of Seeing: Meditations on the Irish Spirit Wheel, by Frank MacEowen
Frank MacEowen brings alive an obscure Irish story and, through his essays, helps us apply its insights to our lives, in our time. He invites us to explore an intuitive way of seeing that, he asserts, reflects the way our Celtic ancestors lived and viewed the world.
He not only relates the Wheel to our individual lives and to our social problems, but also shows how the aspects of the spirit wheel are aspects of our own souls. They are, he says, a “map of the soul – in process.” Thus, he not only brings it alive, but puts it in service to our own vision of the world and to the evolution of our lives.
To his credit, he does not present his musings as the final word, but invites us to meditate upon, elaborate and apply our own experience to his offerings. Nor is this some dry academic exposition, but includes personal experiences and those of friends and people whom he has counseled.
There are some small sections with which I might take issue – or after which I yearned for deeper exploration; but they, then, become my quest and myown vision to fulfill. In addition, I found the mix of Eastern and Western concepts somewhat distracting. (The ego of the East is not the ego of the West that would have been the subject of Jung whom he quotes.) These, however, are minor and somewhat esoteric issues that in no way detract from the value of MacEowen’s insights.
The Celtic Way of Seeing: Meditations on the Irish Spirit Wheel, by Frank MacEowen; 288 pages; published by New World Library, March 2007;.ISBN 1577315413 , $14.95. Highly recommended.
Karl Schlotterbeck, MA, CAS, LP
Psychologist, Druid Elder, Author
The Making of a Druid
Review by Tony Taylor
The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from The Colloquy of Two Sages by Christian J. Guyonvarc’h,
We all have them. A pile of books we’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I always have about a dozen in my “I need to read” pile. I particularly hate it when a book languishes in the pile for a long time and it was a gift from someone who basically said, “You need to read this.” Luckily, the person who gave me this book didn’t ask me, “How was it?” when I last saw her, thus saving me some embarrassment. It is a little book, only 144 pages in a small format (8.1 x 5.5 inches) hardcover. I figured I could crank through that in a night or two. Was I ever wrong….
The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from The Colloquy of Two Sages by Christian J. Guyonvarc’h is no easy read. At first glance, it looks fairly easy (The Fog Index is only 10.2) but it is the complexity of ideas that will enthrall you . It begins with a long introduction that is the meat of the book. The author explains what the Immacallam in dá Thúarad (The Colloquy of Two Sages) is all about and what it means. That is followed with a translation of the ancient story. A substantial set of notes regarding the story follows as the third major section of the book. The Colloquy itself is a dialogue between two Druids concerning the knowledge required for advancement to the grade of “Doctor.” This as a teacher’s examination for his student. The questions and answers provide a fascinating look at ancient Celtic teaching style.
Guyonvarc’h provides an analysis of the story, its meaning, and how it reflects Celtic Culture. Although I might disagree with Guyonvarc’h’s opinion that The Colloquy contains eschatological references that predate Christian influence, from his explanation, I can understand why Guyonvarc’h believes that it does. He fills the book with much insight into Celtic training, he explains the “Seven Degrees of Wisdom,” and he includes descriptions of the nine grades of Filid. He reminds us that, “the best of pedagogies are ineffective against foolishness and the [strictest training methods] never hinder an intelligent student from learning. In effect, Guyonvarc’h captures much of the ancient Celtic worldview. Complex and thought provoking, I highly recommend The Making of a Druid for Bards and Druids seeking Intermediate to Advanced understanding of Celtic Studies or Celtic Training. The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from The Colloquy of Two Sages by Christian J. Guyonvarc’h, 144pp; Inner Traditions; ISBN-10: 0892818743; ISBN-13: 978-0892818747; hardcover, $19.95.
Review by Tony Taylor
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