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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews

*Previously published elsewhere - please see note at end of article.

Prayer crosses all cultural boundaries and doesn't need to be formal. However, even those who don't belong to a specific spiritual tradition would like a personally fulfilling regular prayer practice. Caitlin Matthews provides a basis for such a practice with the Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings. It has prayers for people regardless of what spiritual path they follow.

Devotional Calendar Layout

The calendar begins in November since that was the beginning of the year for the early Celts. There are four main sections which follow the ancient Celtic fire festival seasons. Matthews describes these as seasonal quarters as explained further below.

  • Winter quarter: Samhain (pronounced "Sow-in") is from November to January.
  • Spring quarter: Imbolc is from February to April.
  • Summer quarter: Beltane is from May to July.
  • Fall quarter: Lughnasadh is from August to October.

Prayers honoring the seasons open each quarter. The sections within the quarters are each divided into the seven days of the week with each day containing morning and evening meditations and prayers. These weeks are meant to be repeated throughout the months of the season. By presenting the information this way, the author provides a daily standard of prayerful spiritual practice which encourages practitioners to metaphorically equate the gifts of each of the earth's seasons with the phases of their own lives.

Along with the seasonal patterns, Matthews created specific devotions centered around the sun and moon. The morning devotions contain what she terms solar questions to ponder while the evening devotions have lunar meditations to help end the day on a peaceful note. Madeleine Johnson devised the perpetual lunar calendar used in the book to help calculate the lunar phases appropriate to daily devotions.

Knowing that special circumstances come up in everyone's life, later in the book Matthews offers prayers for different circumstances such as good dreams, happy relationships, newborn children, animals and times of sorrow.

Illustrations and Quality of Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings

This 144-page, hardcover book is beautifully illustrated by Katty McMurray with a theme reminiscent of the illuminated manuscripts of the early Celtic Christian era.

There are illustrations unobtrusively placed throughout the book which draws the reader into the devotions rather than detracting from them. The book itself doesn't seem as strongly bound as it should be considering it's meant to be used as a daily prayer book.

An Interfaith Devotional

Matthews states that she wrote this book for "people with a questing spirit who want to lay down a personal pattern of spiritual practice but who do not wish to practice within a specific religious framework." Specific deities aren't mentioned in the prayers. Rather, terms like "Sustainer of Life" and "Revealer of Dreams" are used so people of different faiths can adapt the prayers to their beliefs.

She created this work that is inspired by Celtic tradition but not a recreation of it. The lore of the Celts and Druids is what she draws upon, much of which was oral and later recorded by Celtic Christian monks. The Celtic Devotional will appeal to those who want to increase their sense of the divine in their every day lives and celebrate the seasons as an integral part of their spirituality.

About Author Caitlin Matthews

Caitlin Matthews is author of over 50 books on subjects within the Western Mystery traditions and the ancestral spirituality of Europe. She was trained in the schools of thought put forth by noted metaphysicians such as Dion Fortune and Gareth Knight. She teaches neo-shamanic workshops around the world and at the Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies in the UK which she co-founded with her partner John Matthews and friend Felicity Wombwell.

She and John have co-authored many books and oracle systems with Celtic and neo-shamanic themes as well as on Christian mysteries including the holy grail. She has studied Celtic lore extensively and brings her expertise and considerable poetic talent to this devotional.

Sources:
Note:  The widget below is the the American Amazon page but the book seems to be harder to come by in the US nowadays.  As of this writing, it's not available for order at the author's website but it's much less expensive at Amazon UK than here in the US.


[Note:  This is an original article by me that was first published at Suite 101.  Unfortunately, unscrupulous people have copied much of my work and posted elsewhere.  Please rest assured that all of the content on this site is my original work unless otherwise noted.]

FTC Disclosure:  I bought this book with my own funds and have not been compensated by the publisher for this review.




© Trish Deneen