Irish Witchcraft From An Irish Witch
by Lora O’Brien, New Page Books (Career Press) 2005
I groaned when I opened the package and read the title of this book. I thought it was yet another in those series of inane “this is the True Way of witchcraft” books that glut the shelves on the big bookstore chains. You know the ones…real magick books, faery lore books and the White Witch spell books.
I decided to read it with an open mind, however. I was surprised by the second page of the introduction to find that Ms. O’Brien echoes many of my sentiments of walking one’s talk. She suggests that witchcraft is one of many paths to Divine enlightenment and if you choose to follow the Irish Witchcraft Path, to do so in earnest and in all seriousness. In this chapter, she discusses the various definitions of Wicca, The Rede, witchcraft, Pagan, magic and what they mean in terms of Irish witchcraft. She is very clear to explain that this is the path she is following and that it may not be for everyone. She also makes the distinction that Irish witchcraft has to do with Ireland and a strong connection to that land, and that part of the world.
Part I of the book was the most difficult for me to follow. Ms. O’Brien has a strong belief that if one is to follow a path strongly connected to a certain area/culture that you learn the language. Failing that she advises learning the proper pronunciations of the various tribes, Gods, Goddesses and holidays. I must admit my head was swimming before I was halfway through this section. I was never much good at names, and the transliterations are not quite the same as having a real Gaelic speaker sitting next to you correcting your woeful mispronunciations.
My favorite part of the book was the second section, entitled “How it Is”. In this portion of the book, which the author herself calls the most personal of the book, we follow her journey while she meets the land and its magical and supernatural inhabitants. She goes into her meeting of her chosen Goddess (or rather the Goddess who chose her). Although she maintained a rather general accounting of the actual ceremony, it was intriguing enough in the telling to hold the readers attention. The real meat and potatoes of the book are in this chapter of the book.
The final division of the book was about general Irish community, both Pagan and non-Pagan peoples. There are also numerous listings of resources and an index.
This is an excellent book, but by its very nature, it is not for everyone. However, if you are serious about following an Irish witchcraft path, this is a must for your Pagan library.