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1.0 out of 5 stars Well if you want a fairy story..., 30 Sep 2010
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This review is from: The Sidhe: Wisdom from the Celtic Otherworld (Paperback)
I have long been interested in the fairy folklore of Ireland and the Celtic Countries, and so I was really looking forward to reading this book when it arrived, hoping for some well researched facts on the Irish Folk Tradition. Ha! Well researched this book certainly isn't, and fact here is an alien concept. This slight volume purports to be the author's experience of an encounter with a representative of the ancient fairy race known in Ireland as The Sidhe. A term originally referring to the burial mounds, and later associated with the fairy folk who are said to dwell among them. I hadn't realised when I ordered the book that it was "channelled", but despite doubts I decided to keep an open mind and judge the content on its own merit as I have with other texts claiming inspiration from otherworldly sources. Unfortunately, however, my initial misgivings were soon justified.

The book begins with details of an apparent discussion between the author, a popular writer and teacher on contemporary Celtic Spirituality, and a field archaeologist friend of his. The archaeologist informs the author of an amazing discovery in Ireland, in which a remarkable ancient site has been discovered. Apparently the discovery is being kept secret for the time being, whilst archaeologists carry out research. Because this find is somewhat unusual, the author's friend thinks he (the author) should be given access to view the site on account of his interest and experience in the less traditional approaches to ancient archaeology, and arranges for him to visit the location.

So the author visits the site, and finds an ancient earthen chamber unlike any other yet discovered, complete with quartz crystal imbedded in the walls, and a spiral design lifted straight from a reiki manual (not that the author mentions this of course). He then has some kind of visionary experience in which an impressive elf like being appears and tells him he has a message for humanity, and that he should prepare for another meeting soon. The author sketches a copy of the glyph, and then later uses it in meditation, and eventually to open a 'gateway' to the realm of the Sidhe. Before we get the details of the second appearance of this otherworld ambassador, which occurs sometime later, the author precedes to tell us how he's always had a healthy distrust of channelled messages, and how he agonised over going to print with this material, blah, blah...

We then get details of the second encounter and the message this representative of an elder race has for us, which lo and behold, is the usual generic nonsense that passes for profound among the ranks of enlightened beings if most 'channelled' messages are to be believed. Here's a taster:

"...as long as you continue to act as if you had a warring tribe within you, you cannot be whole. Yet wholeness is what you must aim for, otherwise you will continue to fragment until there is nothing less but broken crumbs of your true selves."

Deep! Thousands of years of waiting to deliver humanity a message from the otherworld and we get this. Is it too much to expect an ancient messenger to have at least something worthy of our own philosophers to say? Rather than troubling Kant, however, what we get is the kind of material anyone doing a foundation course in New Age Drivel could write. Of course this elder being also has something to say about his would be critics:

"Even now, when the world around you teems with energy, and more of your race are enabled to see these things with the eyes of Spirit, there is constant mockery of such things. Be aware that you too, will receive such a response if you choose to share these words with others." Indeed!

For me the worst bit about this book is not the vapidity of its message, it's the nonsense at the start about the archaeological site, which co-incidentally still hasn't been discovered or reported anywhere. It appears to me to be a ridiculous attempt to provide some credibility, and to make this story seem as though it happened somewhere other than in the author's head. The fact that this would be the first ever discovery of an ancient structure decorated with crystal reiki symbols pushes it beyond the realms of the absurd. From start to finish this whole book seems to be one big fib cobbled together from various sources.

For the record, after many years of study and practice in the esoteric sphere, I'm not a classic sceptic. My critique of this book is not based on me being closed to spiritual phenomena. It is based on me being able to spot a load of hot air when I see it. This book completely tarnishes the author's reputation in my mind. It belongs in the - not quite true, but in the name of providing an alleged "teaching story" (and making a few bob on the side) we'll pass it off as so - tradition enjoyed by Messrs Castenada and Buxton among others. If you want something with a little substance on the perception of the fairies in the Celtic Countries, I suggest you read The Secret Commonwealth by Robert Kirk. This I'm afraid is only for the gullible.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Sep 2012 13:54:38 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Sep 2012 13:54:58 BDT
Prokopton says:
100% agree. I loathed this book. Its author now has zero credibility with me.

Which makes me afraid to read Spangler's on the same subject:

A Midsummers Journey with the Sidhe

... even though he has seemed to have much more integrity than Matthews, I note Matthews provides a quote in support of that book. Ugh.

Yes we still have Kirk -- and Evans-Wentz and Harpur...
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