If you are interested in Celtic mythology — and curious about how to integrate the ancient wisdom from the Celtic people into your spiritual life today — then The Spirit of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses might be for you.
I co-authored this book with a good friend, Kathryn Hinds; the first edition was published in 2005. It’s been out of print for a while, and Kathryn passed away after a brief illness in 2018. I’m sorry she isn’t here to see this beautiful new edition featuring an introduction by Courtney Weber and lovely cover art by Thalia Took.
In case you’re wondering: yes, this book explores Celtic mythology from a neopagan perspective. Which is to say, that the book assumes readers are not merely interested in the myths and legends of the old gods and goddesses from a purely literary perspective, but also explores how these archetypal figures can be spiritually meaningful, even to us today.
If you are thinking, “Why would a contemplative Christian like Carl write a spiritual book about pagan gods and goddesses?” Then I need refer you to another post on this blog, “You Wrote Books About Paganism?!?” — which also formed the basis of a chapter in my most recent book, Unteachable Lessons. What both this blog post and book chapter will tell you is that, yes, for several years back in the day, I explored the modern-day pagan movement: Goddess devotion, shamanism, druidism, and Wicca (spiritual witchcraft). While I was on this journey of spiritual exploration, I wrote a number of books, including one called Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses which I co-authored with Kathryn Hinds. That was the book which has now been reissued as Spirit of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. The new edition is the same book, only with a new foreword and afterword, and a much better cover design and interior layout.
So what that means, is that this book is a snapshot from fifteen years ago. My spirituality is not the same as it was then; I made the choice, actually just months after writing this book, to return to the practice of contemplative Christianity.
So — you may be wondering, why would I want to promote a book that I wrote a long time ago, especially since I no longer adhere to the spiritual path I followed at the time I wrote the book? For several reasons. First, I think it’s a good book that explains the spirituality of Celtic Neopaganism, at least from one perspective. You don’t have to be a practitioner of this particular type of spirituality in order to learn something from this book. I also recognize that some people will want to read this book for their own spiritual purposes. Granted, I no longer follow a pagan spiritual path. But I am an interfaith-friendly, contemplative Christian, which means I do not demonize other spiritual paths, just because they are different from my own. As a contemplative, I believe that the Spirit of Love — what we Christians call “God” — can be at work in people’s lives in a variety of cultural, religious and spiritual settings. It is my hope that this new edition of a book I co-wrote a long time ago will be helpful to anyone who is exploring Celtic paganism with a sincere desire to find meaning, joy, and a path to being a better person. Or, I hope the book can be educational and informative for any reader, including those who want to learn more about Celtic Neopaganism without necessarily adopting it as their spiritual path.
If you are interested in Celtic mythology or Celtic Neopaganism, I commend this book to you. And if you are just curious to see what was bouncing around in my head around the year 2004, then check it out. It’s an old friend — and like many old friends, I no longer see entirely eye-to-eye with it. But I’m willing to accept that, and value it as a chapter of my story. If you choose to read it — for whatever reason — I hope you’ll enjoy it too.