Baharna Books: Celtic Studies

A collection of works that provide some insight into old Celtic spirituality.

Celtic Mythologies

Introductions

T. W. Rolleston, Celtic Myths and Legends

A thick, rather charming introduction to Irish and Welsh myth, written in the early years of this century. Combines discussions of Celtic religious belief with short retellings of the prominent legends. Many black and white illustrations.

Charles Squire, Celtic Myth and Legend: Poetry & Romance

Essentially the same type of book as Rolleston's, and just as much fun to read or browse through.

R. J. Stewart, Celtic Gods, Celtic Goddesses

Discussion of popular types of Celtic deities, as they were known under various names in different Celtic countries. Profusely illustrated, including a number of full-page color plates.

Retellings

Marie Heaney, Over Nine Waves: A Book of Irish Legends

Immensely readable retellings of the major Irish stories of the Mythological cycle, the Ulster Cycle, and the Finn Cycle.

Peter Berresford Ellis, The Chronicles of the Celts: New Tellings of Their Myths and Legends

A massive new collection of traditional legends from Ireland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man, in engaging, readable versions by a noted scholar of Celticism. 

Lady Augusta Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland

Turn-of-the-century retellings of the Mythological cycle and the Finn cycle, by a key figure of the Irish literary renaissance. Very flavorful versions, with a lilting and poetical use of language. Influential and a bit challenging.

Lady Augusta Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne: The Story of the Men of the Red Branch of UIster (Forgotten Books)

"I think this is the best book that has come out of Ireland in my time. Perhaps I should say that it is the best book that has ever come out of Ireland; for the stories which it tells are a chief part of Ireland's gift to the imagination of the world—and it tells them perfectly for the first time." —W.B. Yeats. Another collection of retellings in Lady Gregory's rich and leisurely style. The same book is also available (at a somewhat lower price) as part of A Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend & Folklore: Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, a gigantic omnibus that also includes one of Yeat's collections of Irish folklore.

Translations

Tom P. Cross and Clark Harris Slover (editors), Ancient Irish Tales

An amazing, 600-page collection, including Tales of the Tuatha De Danann, The Ulster Cycle, The Cycle of Finn, Ossian, and their Companions, Tales of the Traditional Kings, The Voyage of Bran Son of Feabal, and Place-Name Stories. Apparently these are direct translations, rather than retellings, though somewhat abridged in places (indicated by ellipses). Reprinted by Barnes and Noble for their bargain shelves.

Jeffrey Gantz (translator), Early Irish Myths and Sagas

Translations of a number of well-known tales, many of them dealing with the hero Cuchulain.

Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones (translators), The Mabinogion

The key collection of Welsh mythology, in the best translation that I have seen. Tales that are by turns tragic, comic, and mystifyingly suggestive.

Reference Works

Mike Dixon-Kennedy, Celtic Myth & Legend: An A-Z of People and Places

A handy reference volume in an attractive and relatively inexpensive edition.

James MacKillop, A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

The mother of all Celtic mythology dictionaries, a huge achievement of scholarship. I found more detail here than in any other reference source.

Celtic Spiritual Practices

Alexander Carmichael, Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations from the Gaelic

Prayers for many purposes, collected in the Scottish highlands in the late 19th Century. Most are explicitly Christian, but are believed by many to be based on underlying traditions dating back to pagan Celticism. This is an English-only reprint of a work that was originally bilingual English/Scots Gaelic.

Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual

Somewhat general work by one of the founders of Celtic Reconstructionism, a neopagan spiritual movement that attempts to base itself strictly on ancient Celtic roots, while eschewing all Wiccan or Romantic Druid Revival influences. Presents a series of guidelines for founding and running a neoceltic circle. Not a detailed how-to, but an interesting starting point.

Erynn Rowan Laurie, A Circle of Stones: Journeys and Meditations for Modern Celts

Short collection of pagan meditations, rituals, and prayers in Gaelic and English, including directions for a sort of pagan Celtic rosary.

Caitlin and John Matthews, Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom: A Celtic Shaman's Sourcebook

Large collection of articles about various aspects of Celtic and Druidic practice, including translations of myths and other texts that illustrate these ideas.



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