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The Celtic Shaman: A Handbook (Earth Quest) [Paperback]

John Matthews
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Nov 1991 Earth Quest
Presents for the first time the techniques and methods derived entirely from Celtic source material. Written by an internationally recognized expert.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons (28 Nov 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852302453
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852302450
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 557,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight 12 Dec 1999
By A Customer
Were the Druids of old closer to shaman than the insipid white-robed hermetics magi of today?.......Probably.This work offers a more hollistic, natrual way of Celtic magic, drawing on myth and race memory.I`d recommend it to anyone interested in both shamanic and Celtic traditions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a Celt ,,, 29 Sep 2011
You don't even need to have Celtic aspirations to benefit from reading and working through this book. It helps if you know a little about the Celtic tradition - the myths & legends, gods & goddesses, but there is sufficient explanation of the 'back history' without interruption to the flow of the text.

This book is an introductory guide to shamanic practice, from a native British (pre-invasion - hence Celtic) perspective. It adds an easier accessiblity to the familiar Western traditions of Native American or Siberian descent, and is skilfully written. Not a word is wasted; at the same time the text contains a satisfying mix of poetry and prayer, without ostensibly being either, and the reader is led forward without being lectured.

The guided visualisations and practices are excellent - not too lengthy (i.e. easier to remember), but with sufficient detail to help the practitioner along on his/her journey.

Don't expect or believe that this book defines 'the Celt' or an associated way of life; rather, immerse yourself in its easy access to a complex and multi-layered lyrical and mythical tradition. If you've read Michael Harner and are thinking 'where next?', or if you're looking for an introduction to Shamanic practice, read this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique exercises, with a nice sense of history and tradition 23 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on
This is a wonderful book for beginners, with enough accurate research to satisfy advanced students and purists. People drawn to Celtic practices, particularly Shamanism instead of Wiccan traditions, will find this book a valuable addition to any Pagan/religious library.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Misappropriation Dressed Up as Authentic Tradition 27 Jan 2002
By Francine Nicholson - Published on
John Matthews is a gifted wordsmith, and he has written many books. However, what he writes is not handed down from any Celtic tradition. He has taken Michael Harner's core shamanism and, in place of North American Indian images, Matthews has substituted a variety of unrelated motifs and images from Welsh, Irish, and Arthurian tales. For example, Matthews substitutes the "crane bag" of Mannanan Mac Lir (an Irish figure) for the medicine bag that Harner adopted from various indigenous peoples. There is no evidence that Irish religious figures ever had "crane bags," and the symbol is not found in any other Celtic tradition. Yet on Matthews goes, mixing images and symbols from various eras and traditions, ignoring their integrity and twisting them to suit his purposes. Almost any meditative technique will produce certain results, and you may find that Matthews' techniques (in this book and others) work for you. However, what you will be using is an adaptation of Harner's core shamanism, not anything passed down from Celts of any tradition. You might as well read Harner's book _The Way of the Shaman_ or take a course from him and substitute whatever symbols appeal to you. For accurate examination of shamanic elements and behaviors in various Celtic traditions, see L.E. Jones' _Druid, Shaman, Priest_.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The indispensible guide on Celtic shamanism 23 Feb 1998
By A Customer - Published on
For those called to or interested in a Celtic path, Harner's "The Way of the Shaman": is useful in a broad sense, but basically useless in the specific, as it ignores almost totally the Indo-European traditions. This books fills that information gap, and does much more as well.
More scholarly than some of the other books on the subject, but still very practical, it provides a good mix of information and exploration. The only major problem is in the early exercises; Matthews emphasizes their importance, but the instructions to do them are very vague, making this book a little more difficult for the beginner to enter into; nonetheless. it is still where to begin..
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat disappointing 30 Dec 1999
By S. parker - Published on
John Matthews is an important New Age writer on Celtic and Arthurian topics, and has written some valuable books on Celtic 'Shamanism'. Unfortunately, this book is essentially a reworking of Michael Harner's 'core shamnism', dressed up in some Celtic motifs. While that approach may be useful for beginning students, it shouldn't be mistaken for actual Celtic practice.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good beginners book 15 May 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Matthews offers a concise introduction into the realm of Celtic traditions. This book is especially useful, not only to those who are new to the "old religions", but also to those who are looking for a more solitary approach. My only problem with the text is the generally phallocentric viewpoint of the material, and those who endeavor to read this title should take that into consideration.
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