First Book

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First Book

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Apr. 30, 2007, 6:48pm

If one wanted to get serious about celtic studies, which book should be read first?

Apr. 30, 2007, 7:08pm

Good question. I'm interested in the answers to this one, too.

Mai 2, 2007, 12:22am

I'd recommend The Mabinogion and Early Irish Myths and Sagas for Welsh and Irish Celtic studies. Another good book (more about the influence of the Celtic mythological tradition) is Celtic Mythology: The Nature and influence of Celtic Myth, from Druidism to Arthurian Legend by Ward Rutherford.

These three books were the assigned texts for a class I took in Celtic Studies while in college.

Bearbeitet: Mai 2, 2007, 5:51pm

#3 pdxwoman

Thanks for that. I have read The Mabinogion, but am now reading the Sioned Davies translation. Early Irish Myths and Sagas is next on my list, after The Táin, so I guess I'm not far wrong?

As to the last book you mentioned, I've not encountered it before, but I will definitely have a look at it and see if I should add it to my "Wish List".

Mai 2, 2007, 4:17pm

The last book is not the myths, themselves, buy how they impacted literature and culture in the Western world.

Sounds like you're right on track to me -- not that I'm an expert or anything!

Mai 2, 2007, 5:59pm

Well, at only 2 pence, I've put Celtic Mythology: The Nature and influence of Celtic Myth, from Druidism to Arthurian Legend on my wish list. Thanks for the recommendation, pdxwoman.

Jun. 7, 2007, 8:46pm

I don't know if you are still looking into this but I was sort of wondering what area you were interested in.
Are you focussing on a specific geographic locale? on the languages and/or literature? the mythology? the history? In many respects the topic covers several cultures over a massive period of history.

For an overview of history I would specifically recommend Peter Berresford Ellis (touchstone is for the name under which he writes fiction - historcal novels).
hope this helps.

Bearbeitet: Jun. 17, 2007, 5:24pm

I'm interested in taking up a spiritual path that follows what we know of pre-xian peoples of the British Isles. So far, my focus has been to read the mythology, mixed in with history so I know where I'm going, etc., and essays on mythology. I am trying to stick to the British Isles (rather than any celtic cultures on the mainland of Europe).

As to Peter Beresford Ellis, I've been told he is more reliable for studies of northern religions, rather than those of the Isles.

Jun. 18, 2007, 5:30pm

I'm not really sure why you were told that about Berresford Ellis.
He is a prolific writer and might seem like he is dipping into the subject rather than writing in depth, he is also guilty of over-romanticising at times but that is quite common.
The history of the British Celtic nations is his speciality - do look him up for more information.

For example try
The Celtic Empire: The First Millennium of Celtic History 1000 BC - AD 51
Celtic Women: Women in Celtic Society and Literature
The Ancient World of the Celts

I enjoyed Alistair Moffat's The Sea Kingdoms which follows it through to modern times and should be easy to get hold of.

Also Recommended in terms of spirituality are:
L. McDonald 'Celtic Totem Animals' (Clan Dalraida. 1992)
H. McSkimming 'The Trees of the Celtic Alphabet' (Clan Dalraida. 1992)

Beware any books which claim a definitive picture of pre-christian religion - most of what we know comes from hostile or later sources. Much of modern pagan resources are based on nineteenth century folkloric research. History, archaeology and religious scholarship has changed since that period and whilst some of the ideas are important their historical background is mostly wishful thinking.

If you are trying to get the spirit of the thing; I recommend building a good historical picture looking at the laws and attitudes to each other and the symbolism and building your own picture.

Jun. 19, 2007, 4:32pm

As to laws and attitudes, I was recommended A Guide to Early Irish Law by Fergus Kelly. As yet, I have not been able to read it as I am currently reading Druids by Ronald Hutton.

Thank you for the recommendations. Do you have an opinion on The Making of a Druid: Hidden Teachings from the Colloquy of Two Sages?

Jun. 20, 2007, 8:13am

I would second the fergus kelly recommendation, it is pretty much the definitive work if heavy going.

I haven't read Ronald Hutton's Druids yet, I am reading his The Triumph of the Moon which is interesting and well researched so its on my list..

I have to admit I haven't read "The making of a druid" or even really stumbled across it so can't offer you an opinion. sorry.

Aug. 22, 2007, 8:00pm

I've also read his Witches, Druids and King Arthur, but I was a little less then impressed with some of his statements of fact about some of the modern traditions. I was not happy with his current Druids: A History, but I believe he will be releasing another book to complement the first that will be up to his usual academic standard.

Currently, I am reading Pagan Celtic Britain by Anne Ross (quite impressive so far as she gives opposing views for archaeological evidence rather than stating her opinion is correct and the archaeology backs it up.

I'm also reading Celtic Mythology: The Nature and influence of Celtic Myth, from Druidism to Arthurian Legend, The Four Branches of the Mabinogi by Sioned Davies in conjunction with her marvellous translation of The Mabinogion itself.

I am keen to get started on the Irish works and I keep looking at the cover of The Táin with anticipatory excitement.