Celtic Mythology Resources Part 2: Spiritual
In Part 1 of Celtic Mythology Resources, I showed you some resources that were more academic and covered a lot of the Celtic mythology and folklore so you could get a good foundation of knowledge. In Part 2, I’ll be sharing more Celtic mythology resources for spirituality. I think both sides are important and one doesn’t have to be more correct than the other. But, if you’re wanting to incorporate Celtic knowledge into your daily practice, then you will be blending the two. There will be some contradictions and confusion— that’s just the nature of it. Don’t let it frustrate you in your quest!
Celtic Mythology Resources for Spirituality
This first book is a great bridge between the academic and the spiritual, as it’s an academic look at the spiritual practices and beliefs. The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries was published over 100 years ago but is still one of the best sources out there. Here is where the myths have real-life meaning, and people work with faerie in their everyday lives. W.Y. Wentz traveled all over Celtic Europe to collect the accounts of people of all kinds, from the country farmer to the city doctor. This book is unique in the way that it approaches the spiritual aspects with total acceptance and curiosity— not a hint of mockery— and still presents it in a way that is academically “valid.” It is a gem. Above all, it’s also easy and inexpensive to find, and if you have a Kindle or Kindle Unlimited, then it’s free!
Connecting with the Sídhe
Faery Craft: Weaving Connections with the Enchanted Realm, by Emily Carding, is more than just a guide. It is also a personal account and collection of interviews and a modern understanding of human-faerie relationships. Carding connects faery lore to the beliefs of many religions, showing parallels in beautifully mind-blowing ways that serve to connect instead of divide. For this reason, this book is a MUST READ if you are interested in understanding Faery in a spiritual manner. Many of the exercises are more shamanic, so suitable for any spiritual path.
Emily Carding is a person I respect deeply. I believe her connection to the Sídhe is real, and her Tarot of the Sídhe is a deck that I work with daily. This book is one I will be reading over and over.
When I bought A Legacy of Wisdom: The Genius, Power, and Possibility of Ireland’s Indigenous Spiritual Heritage, by Judith L. Nilan, I was in Ireland and found it in the information center near Rathcroghan. To find it online, it’s best to go right to Judith’s website. Don’t even bother looking for it on Amazon— it’s stupidly expensive. This book is a beautiful argument for why we should connect with the spirituality of Ireland. No, you don’t have to be genetically Irish to feel called to Irish ancestral heritage.
Awakening: Life Lessons from the Sidhe, by Rionagh na Ard is one of the books that has had the greatest impact on my relationship with the Sídhe. I have read this one three times cover to cover and keep going back to re-read parts. Rionagh shares her very personal experiences of finding her connection. She bravely discusses what it’s like to have a deeply loving relationship with a Sidhe partner. Her partner, Nial, has much to share as well. His voice is patient and loving, answering Rionagh’s questions with humor and understanding.
Fairycraft: Following The Path Of Fairy Witchcraft by Morgan Daimler brings us into contemporary works. This one is a practical guide to working with the faerie as a witch or magical practitioner. You’ll love how easy to read this well-researched book is. There is a list of resources at the back to launch you into the next area.
Books Specific to Deity
Anyone who works with The Morrígan or is interested in working with her will come across the writings of Stephanie Woodfield. Celtic Lore & Spellcraft of the Dark Goddess is pretty much modern cannon for working with The Morrígan and her different aspects of Anu, Badb, and Macha. This is a practical reference, with recipes for oils and incense, rituals, and invocations. Stephanie Woodfield has a personal connection with The Morrígan. However— Stephanie does have a section on The Morrígan as a sex goddess. While I can understand the need for women to reclaim their sexuality and sensual power in the face of constant slut-shaming, etc., you should know that the lore of The Morrígan does not support her being a sex goddess. Much of the writings that call her sex-crazed were from very biased sources with clear agendas relating to the Church. The Morrígan is a very complicated person, and to make assumptions about her sexuality and her lovers is putting a lot of human judgements and morality on someone who isn’t human. I include this book in this list because many women have benefited from it, and there are parts that I think are great. But, if you want to work with The Morrígan, don’t take shortcuts. Learn the lore first and then maybe pick up this one and see how it sits with you.
Speaking of learning the lore, it’s time to mention Morgan Daimler again! I have read two more of her books in the Pagan Portals series– The Morrigan: Meeting the Great Queens and The Dagda: Meeting the Good God of Ireland. As a scholar, these are meticulously researched from reputable sources. As a spiritualist, it is clear that she takes the next step beyond academic research. She understands The Morrígan and The Dagda on a much deeper level. From what I’ve seen, all of the books in the Pagan Portals series are held to the same high standards.
Soon to come: Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen. I don’t have this one yet, but I’m dying to read it. When I do, I will update this page.
Worth checking out is Dr, Jenny Butler. She is a contemporary pagan scholar, and I believe a practitioner as well. Her work focuses on just how people connect spiritually with Celtic paganism and mythology in modern times. Her website has lots of resources, from videos to conference papers.
A modern Irish “seanchaí,” or storyteller, is Eddie Lenihan. He collects the living folklore and keeps it alive by telling the stories. I did not get to meet him in my travels as our schedules did not meet up, but you can find his stories on YouTube, and he was featured in the documentary, In Search of the Fairy Faith in Ireland. Here is his website.
If you want to learn Irish lore from an actual Irish person, then visit Lora O’Brien’s website. Lora is a native Irish traditional magic practitioner. They have worked as a guardian and guide for many of Ireland’s sacred sites, especially those relating to the Morrígan. Their Irish Pagan School is a literal goldmine of information and has many excellent courses that are free. Although, their courses are worth paying for. In fact, I’ve learned more actual lore and how to find credible resources from Lora than I did in graduate school. They also have several books. I would recommend any of them.
Lora’s partner, Jon O’Sullivan (a.k.a. An Scéalí Beag), also has a wonderful blog, DagdaBard.com. I have loved his Dagda stories and have been known to disappear for hours at a time, reading his posts.
Incorporating Celtic Mythology into your Spiritual Practice
A final note: I’ve shared a ton of Celtic mythology resources for spirituality, and honestly it barely scratches the surface of what’s out there. However, if you want to make this knowledge part of your spiritual life, then you have to do more than read! Connect with the stories, make them a part of your ritual or meditation. Talk to the Sídhe and the local faerie where you are, and listen with your heart for their answer. Most Importantly, see yourself as connected to the worlds both seen and unseen around you. Embody the bravery of the warrior and the fierceness of the magician and the self-awareness of the sage. Be humble and make choices in your daily life that will be better for those around you as well as yourself. There is great wisdom available here, but you have to take an active part in it.
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