This book does a very good job in outlining the Shamanic experience and where this mindset intersects (quite strongly) with Celtic ways. The parallels are brought out strongly and the progression of the book is nearly flawless. The book does an execellent job is emphasizing that the demystification we are suffering from is addressed nicely by aspects of both Shamanism and Celtic spirituality. If the book was consistent in its approach it would have deserved five stars.
The main problem I have with this book is that the author spends too much time on being an apologist (or promoter) for witchcraft and magic. (Check the authors other books and you will see why this is the case.) Certainly aspects of wicca and witchcraft in general are etched into Celtic myth and history. But the authors own biases bring this area up to a level not fitting with the subject of this book. Most of the chapter on 'The Soul of Nature' brings out details of witchcraft generally not supportive of the main thesis. More than occasional references to the tarot, magic, and other mystical/occult topics off subject leave the reader wondering why so much time is spent on things outside the universal/traditional shamanic experience.
A worthwhile and almost required reading for anyone interested in Shamanism and Celtic spirituality. The noted flaws keep the book from being an indispensable and serious academic contribution to the subject.
Tom Cowan is lauded in shamanic circles for this book. It is well documented and integrates shamanism with the practices of the "old folk". He makes the old tales and techniques accessible once again. A great storyteller. Goes one step further to provide ways for modern shamanic practitioners to reconnect to their heritage. Definitely fills a place of longing for us Celtic folk in North America.