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Heddwas /|\ "Mi gefais Awen o bair Ceridwen" (SÓr Benfro, Cymru)

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Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation
Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation
by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book - maybe for 'improvers' rather than novice home brewers, 6 May 2013
I have been using Stephen Buhner's book to brew from on and off for ten years or so. I think there are three reasons that it's great. These are:

1. The recipes are the main reason you buy a book like this. Do they work? Yes. Also, they are grouped together (by plant / tree) so you can adapt and build on them if you wish. Another reviewer has said they wish metric quantities were given. I cook and brew using measures like 'a handful' and 'an apronful' so I'm less bothered. Horses for courses...

2. The historical, sociological, and esoteric background to the brews is well set out and written with erudition and passion in equal measure. This man loves his beer and is interesting (he is a herbalist by trade).

3. It's a really entertaining (at times 'laugh out loud') read too, full of unexpected quirky connections.

So all in all I'd say this book's the business.

Heddwas /|\

Timex Expedition Gents Watch T45581
Timex Expedition Gents Watch T45581
Price: £98.32

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very unreliable, 5 Dec 2011
I have had two of these on the trot.

Both have stopped working within 12 months, and have had to be returned for a refund.

It's a real shame as the watch looks great. However, I serve as RNLI lifeboat crew and I need a reliable watch that shows the tides.

I'm disappointed. I thought the first one that went wrong might be a one-off, but sadly this wasn't the case.

I'm going to try the Casio G-shock GW-7900B-1ER now. Let's hope that works better.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 27, 2012 11:52 PM GMT

Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain: Exploration of the "Mabinogion" (Arkana)
Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain: Exploration of the "Mabinogion" (Arkana)
by Caitlin Matthews
Edition: Paperback

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, 12 Dec 2007
A work written from the heart (as ever with this author), but one which does not withstand much critical analysis, I'm afraid. Bold though the attempt to reconstruct a Celtic pantheon (or at least part of it) is, the justification for doing so just cannot be sustained by the original texts.

As an example, her "own new translation" of Preiddeu Annwn is driven less by the actual Welsh text than the author's wishful thinking. Her subsequent derivation and/or reconstruction of a system of spiritual development based upon this, while deft and highly attractive from an esoteric point of view, has nothing to do with the original.

If you love the Mabinogion, and want to broaden the impact it has on you, then Ms Matthews' book is highly recommended. If you are a serious student of Middle Welsh, then I would avoid buying it as you will just get cross.

Think of this book as in the same vein as Graves' "The White Goddess": read it using your heart, not your head, and enjoy it as a development of the story. But no more than that...
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 20, 2011 10:41 PM GMT

The Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere
The Amateur Astronomer's Introduction to the Celestial Sphere
by William Millar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £37.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward introduction to naked-eye astronomy, 6 Nov 2007
If, like me, you haven't done much maths since 'O' level / GCSE, then this book offers a painless introduction to naked-eye astronomy. The various co-ordinate systems are dealt with first, followed by the relative motions of the major celestial bodies. I found it a really useful grounding in the basics, which I had previously skipped largely due to my fear of maths!

There are review questions at the end of each chapter so you can confirm you've understood it: one minor criticism of the book is that you have to go online to get the answers. Not a massive problem, but they could just as easily have been at the back of the book.

There are also some interesting observing projects to get your teeth into. All in all, I recommend this as a useful book for the amateur astronomer. It has certainly helped fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge, and also corrected some of my wilder erroneous assumptions!

The Island [DVD] [2005]
The Island [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Price: £2.74

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good, 5 Oct 2007
This review is from: The Island [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
My first impression of this film was of a re-hash of Brave New World... but then the twist kicked in.

Clumsily executed but intriguing plot, with plenty of chase 'n' smash to keep the action devotees happy. Not a bad movie at all. The Matrix meets Logan's Run, maybe? Worth a rental if not a buy, I'd say.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley  (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
The Wind That Shakes The Barley (Two Disc Special Edition) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Cillian Murphy
Offered by Octopussy's circus
Price: £7.99

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just about Ireland, 27 Jun 2007
Loach's movie pulls no punches. Both sides act with unrelenting savagery against their perceived enemies- including "the enemy within". Both sides are utterly convinced they have right on their side. Both sides show compassion and sensitivity to those they love, and (with an effort) suppress this humanity when called upon to do so in furtherance of their political ideals.

The raw acting draws out just how ordinary the protagonists are: these are ordinary people like you and me, caught up in conflict. The only aspect I found lacking in the movie was a lack of depth in the characterization... at least, much was left to be assumed by us as an audience. The Brits are unremitting bastards - but what would four years in the trenches turn you or me into? The rebels are single-minded to the point of dehumanising themselves and their cause - but how would we be in the face of such oppression? The Free State forces hang in the balance and urge compromise - but are they right in their view that the slaughter must be brought to an end by even more slaughter? The film asks these questions, but does not fully answer them. Perhaps we the audience are supposed to do that.

This powerful story left me full of desolation at the tragedy and waste of conflict. Whether in Ireland, Palestine, Chechniya or elsewhere, at the end of the day no-one wins. Everyone loses.

Watch this movie and then examine your own beliefs. How far would you go? And for most of us, I guess we can be grateful that we will never have to ask ourselves those questions for real.

Logic3 Rumble Pad - USB Game Pad (PC)
Logic3 Rumble Pad - USB Game Pad (PC)
Offered by CHIPS
Price: £12.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality - avoid, 17 Jun 2007
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
The vibration feature didn't work out of the box, despite reinstalling the driver twice from disk and then downloading it from the web (XP Pro). Then the L analog joystick broke within 4 hrs of light use (TRA). Very disappointing product - I'm now going to follow my initial instincts and buy a more expensive one!

Taliesin (Pendragon Cycle)
Taliesin (Pendragon Cycle)
by Stephen Lawhead
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where did all the potatoes come from?, 2 May 2007
I first read Taliesin in the eighties (when it first came out), and I loved it. I went on to read and re-read the whole Pendragon cycle, and (even better I think), The Paradise War trilogy. For me, Lawhead took over where Rosemary Sutcliffe and Geoffrey Trease left off. He writes well, at times powerfully, and his retelling of the Arthurian cycle rings true for the most part.

There are niggles: I notice the ham-fisted smearing of Christianity onto an otherwise consistent tale far more now than I did twenty years ago. His use of Welsh is questionable, and (for me the worst of all!!) every feast sees mounds of potatoes being prepared... which is some feat a thousand years before Raleigh brought them back from America (or even two hundred years before Prince Madog).

Overall, though the story overcomes the historical errors, and sweeps you along. The interweaving of the two narrative strands heightens the contrasts between old, jaded Atlantis and the young, passionate Britain. It also sets up Charis, Elffin and Taliesin, as credible protagonists before they even come into contact with one another. As I said, I'm still re-reading these books twenty years after I first bought them.

The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: Study in Druid Magic and Lore
The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: Study in Druid Magic and Lore
by Douglas Monroe
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.41

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Utter drivel, 11 Dec 2006
Historically, etymologically, medicinally, and spiritually dreadful. Sexist trans-Atlantic mumbo jumbo without a single redeeming feature.

If you are starting out on the Druidic path, I would recommend anything by Emma Restall-Orr, Philip Carr-Gomm, or Philip Shallcrass for your first steps. Don't go anywhere near this nonsense.

Unless he's taking the p!ss, of course. If so, Monroe should be congratulated on a hilarious send-up of the sloppy scholarship and downright wishful thinking which has plagued many other esoteric works in the past few years. But I doubt it... :-)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 28, 2014 7:24 AM BST

The Arthurian Tarot (Book & Cards)
The Arthurian Tarot (Book & Cards)
by John Matthews
Edition: Paperback

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding deck for anyone working within the Celtic or Arthurian traditions, 9 Dec 2006
This is far and away my favourite deck, and has stood the test of time. For me, the images and connections work even better than the OBOD "Druidcraft Tarot".

I am not a diehard fan of the Matthews by any stretch of the imagination: certainly I have taken issue elsewhere with the dubious scholarship and mistranslations that underlie some of their published work. However, in developing the Arthurian Tarot, I believe they have played to their strengths, and produced a deck of stunning beauty and deep insight.

The images resonate profoundly with anyone familiar with the magical places of Britain and Ireland: on many of the cards I just know that I recognise the background, even if I can't quite place it. There is an uncompromising combination of ethereal beauty and almost matter-of-fact savagery in the deck, reflecting the realities of life and death which have bound both us and our ancestors to the wheel of incarnation.

The acccompanying booklet, as other reviewers have noted, balances the need for brevity with sufficient information to allow even a beginner to dig below the superficial and start to make their own connections as they work with the deck.

I also recommend the companion "Hallowquest" book for further study, particularly the year-long course of meditations based upon the cards. Although I would not agree with some of the conclusions the Matthews draw, the approach they advocate definitely brings an understanding of the relationship between the suits, the Major Arcana, the passing of the seasons and the Land itself: this is highly charged and very effective. For pagans and Druids in particular, the correspondence between the outer world and the Inner / Otherworld will become clearer and deeper as they work with the deck through the year.

Very highly recommended - all in all a first class tool for divination, ritual, and personal growth.

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