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By Oak, Ash & Thorn: Modern Celtic Shamanism (Llewellyn's Celtic Wisdom)

by D. J. Conway, Anna-Marie Ferguson

Buy the book: D. J. Conway. By Oak, Ash & Thorn: Modern Celtic Shamanism (Llewellyn's Celtic Wisdom)

Release Date: February, 1995

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: D. J. Conway. By Oak, Ash & Thorn: Modern Celtic Shamanism (Llewellyn's Celtic Wisdom)

breaking the barriers

Meditation, astral travel, dreamtime, or whatever...Shamanism is at the root of ALL religions. Anthropologists that study shamanism know that there are similar themes that are encountered in All cultures. Different cultures use different symbology to represent those same themes b/c jaguars don't live in Siberia, and polar bears don't live in the jungle. D.J. Conway has read the celtic legends and has seen the shamanic themes that are OBVIOUS in them to anyone who studies shamanism and reads this book with an open heart. I have been Wiccan for 12 years, a high priest for 3, and a student in Celtic Studies for 5. Wicca is a MYSTERY religion (you know, the kind most closely retaining their SHAMANIC roots) as opposed to a Revealed religion(by prophets, etc. such as Christianity). Being such, it WILL show similarities to shamanism, so there is no reason for anyone to whine when it does. If you don't believe me, just read a book on Native American shamanism then read the Irish legends with those themes in mind, then read By Oak, Ash and Thorn. You will see. This book contains guided meditations that use Celtic symbolism. Read the legends, read this book...You will see, and you will "see".

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pseudo-Celtic Wicca thinly disguised...

I picked up this book a few years ago... having an interest in things Celtic and in shamanistic techniques. I found it lacking in both.

This is yet another book by Conway which is just Wicca disguised as something else. All of her books sound exactly alike and say exactly the same thing - which some 'cultural flavors' thrown in to try and deceive people into thinking it's actually something new. It's also an easy sell as many neo-pagans and New Age followers are attracted to all things Celtic and 'native'.

Now I'm not going to say there is no such thing as Celtic shamanism - as shamanistic techniques are thought to be able to cross borders, and I see no reason why you can't blend shamanistic techniques with authentic Celtic beliefs. This book, however, is disappointing on the 'authentic' level and marginally "fluff".
This book will not be a good guide for Celtic Paganism - and it definately won't make you a Shaman (tho, as has been said, no book really can - tho you can learn the techniques).
The only reason I gave it three rather than lower is because the questionable nature of this book lead me to search out better sources.

I suggest books by John and/or Caitlin Matthews on the subject of Celtic Shamanism, Michael Harner on general Shamanism, and Peter Bellesford Ellis on Celtic studies for those truly interested in the depths on such things. They're good to start.

However, for more neo-pagan (of which I am) pseudo-Celtic eclectic Wicca - this book fits the bill...

(A note on Conway in general - I question anyone who claims to be as dedicated a devotee to as many different paths as she writes about. And since every book does sound the same, excepting a few particulars thrown in mostly for flavor, this 'suspicion' only deepened the more I read of her books. The scholarship, as with most Llewellyn products, is always questionable.)

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