Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Celtic Fairytale - Interesting reads

Books and Authors
Sharing some books that I wish to read. 
  • Gareth Knight

Springing from the heart of medieval France, The Romance of the Faery Melusine tells the story of Raymondin of Poitiers who accidentally kills his uncle while out hunting, and fleeing deep into the forest, encounters a faery by a fountain. Falling deeply into a mutual soul-love, the faery Melusine agrees to help Raymondin and to become his wife, on condition that he makes no attempt to see her between dusk and dawn each Saturday. On this basis the house of Lusignan thrives and prospers, until a series of treacherous events tempt Raymondin to violate his promise and shatter the magic which holds his faery wife to the human world. First rendered into written form in a text by Jean d'Arras in 1393, the legend of the Faery Melusine is well established in France, where she is credited with having founded the family, town and castle of Lusignan. However, it is very little known in the English-speaking world, despite the fact that Melusine originally hailed from Scotland. This new retelling by Gareth Knight translated from Andre Lebey's 1920s novel Le Roman de la Melusine captures the freshness of Lebey's telling of the legend and brings the benefit of Knight's expertise both in French literature and in the esoteric faery tradition.

The knights of King Arthur's Round Table - Erec, Lancelot, Yvain, Perceval and Gawain - first appeared in the works of Chretien de Troyes, who cast into Old French stories told by Welsh and Breton story tellers which had their origin in Celtic myth and legend. Chretien wrote at a time when faery lore was still taken seriously - some leading families even claimed descent from faery ancestors! So we do well to look again at these early stories, for they were written not so much in terms of mystical quests or examples of military chivalry but records of initiation into Otherworld dynamics. Gareth Knight, an acknowledged expert on spiritual and magical traditions and a student of medieval French, goes to the well spring of Arthurian tradition to unveil these original principles. What is more, he shows how they can be regenerated today. "Opening the faery gates" can have its reward not only in terms of personal satisfaction and spiritual growth but as part of a much needed realignment of our spiritual responsibilities as human beings on planet Earth.

The Breton lai is a narrative poem, usually accompanied by music, that appeared in France about the middle of the 12th century, carried by travelling musicians and storytellers called jongleurs. What is important about them is that they contain a great deal of faery and supernatural lore deriving from Celtic myth, legend and folktale. This collection of twelve tales focuses on faery lore in the lai tradition. Nine are taken from anonymous medieval jongleur sources; the other three are from the more courtly tales collected by Marie de France in the late 12th century. Gareth Knight, a scholar of medieval French as well as an established author on esoteric faery lore, provides a vivid and lively translation of each lai along with a commentary which takes a perspective both historic and esoteric.

The Mystery of the Seven Directions cuts through complicated forms, rituals and temple constructs to reveal the ever-living sacred space around us. In practice it is simple-to-learn, easily accessible, and profoundly effective. It gives us the means to integrate our spiritual outlook with daily activity so that we enhance our lives and walk in sacred ways. This book is geared to the current needs and issues of a global outlook. It draws on enduring, universal models and themes, and is an essential text for contemporary spiritual practice. "A succinct, well-written, and indeed brilliant discussion of the fundamental grid of our reality. This book enables readers to plumb the depths of the seven directions for themselves." --Richard Smoley, author of The Dice Game of Shiva: How Consciousness Creates the Universe.
  • Fiona Mac Leod aka William Sharp
Fiona Macleod was clearly a gentlelady of breeding and intellect. She was almost 'one of us' - but not quite. It was this slight difference that allowed her to deal with dark and frightening characters and subjects in a way that gave them the glamour of the Celtic Otherworld in an intriguing and believable manner. She opened up a whole new world of language, ancient songs, poems and proverbs that had never before been presented to the English-speaking peoples south of the Scottish Highlands. She was a darling of late Victorian literature and earnestly courted by the fin-de-siècle 'Celtic Twilight' movement. Only after her 'death' in 1905 was it revealed that all the works attributed to her were penned by the art and literary critic William Sharp. 

This collection, edited and selected by Sharp's biographer Steve Blamires, contains some of her more important, curious and obscure pieces, annotated and explained where necessary, including provocative dark tales, mystical parables, reveries of nature, political polemics, delightful vignettes and some previously unpublished fragments from William Sharp's notebooks.

Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: Skylight Press; annotated edition edition (30 April 2014)

Written in 1899 The Immortal Hour is moody, dreamy meditation on life, death, love and immortality. Based loosely on the Irish myth "The Wooing of Etain," the story follows the love of a mortal king, Eochaidh for an immortal fairy woman Etain who at the end of a year with him is reclaimed by her immortal lover, Midir. Woven though out is the enigmatic and dark fairy fool, Dalua, who stands on the threshold between the worlds. This critical edition of The Immortal Hour contains an introductory essay with a biography of the author, analysis of the play and the history of its success as an opera. The text of the play itself is fully annotated with the references to Celtic mythology and a comparison to an earlier publication of it.

Hardcover: 449 pages
Publisher: William Heinemann (1910)



I do not know if in anything I have a keener pleasure than in the hearing . . . by the hearthside, or looking down into green water, or on the upland road that strings glen upon glen along its white swaying neck . . . of the old tales and poems of beauty and wonder, retold sometimes in an untarnished excellence, sometimes crudely, sometimes so disguised in the savour of the place and hour that not then and perhaps not for long, are they recognized in accent or discerned in feature. Perhaps this pleasure is the greater because it is the pleasure of the tale-lover, for the tale’s sake, rather than of the tale-collector, for the quest’s sake. I do not know how many tales and fragments of tales and broken legends I have heard, now here, now there; or what proportion of these was old, or what proportion of them was of the fantasy or dreaming mind of to-day, or how many retained the phrase and accent of the past in taking on the phrase of to-day and the accent of the narrator’s mind. It is the light, the lift, the charm, the sigh, the cadence I want. I care less for the hill-tale in a book than told by the firelight, and a song is better in the wash of the running wave than in crowded rooms. Every sad tale and every beautiful tale should have a fit background for its setting; and I have perhaps grown so used to the shaken leaf, or the lifted water, or the peat-glow in small rooms filled with warm shadow and the suspense of dreams, as the background of sgeul and ran and oran, that I am become unwisely impatient of the common conditions. Yet even in these much lies with ourselves. I have a friend who says he can be happy with a gas-jet in a room in a street-house. He opens a window by the edge of an inch, if there is no wind crying in the chimney, so that a thin air may be heard rising and falling: and turns his back to the gas-jet: and keeps his eyes on the... 

Paperback: 408 pages
Publisher: Windham Press (12 Aug. 2013)
  •  Jhenah Telyndru

Paperback: 299 pages
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (7 Mar. 2005)

  • Elen Sentier
Elen Sentier comes from a long family lineage in the British native tradition. She writes novels full of magic, mystery and romance as well as books about the British shamanic ways she learned from her folk.

Following on from the author's successful book Shaman Pathways - Elen of the Ways, this is a practical handbook filled with tried-and-tested exercises, journeys and experiential work for the reader to engage in. Essential reading for anyone wanting to begin the old British paths.

A crossroads — two realities, two ways of power — the everyday and the pagan world of magic. Time for Sarah to choose. At stake: her heart, mind and soul.

Karen Clark is the founder of the Path of She, a journey of transformation with the sacred feminine. In her mid-twenties, a series of synchronistic events conspired to wake Karen up in the midst of a corporate, achievement-driven life and set her on a spiritual journey of reclaiming the lost pieces of her feminine soul and true self. Karen's writing draws upon twenty-five years of spiritual and feminist studies, gender-based consulting, and dreaming and healing with the Goddess. She reaches out to the magic and profound capabilities that lie dormant within our everyday existence, lost jewels just waiting for the touch of our conscious awareness to reawaken and blossom.

I will share more, very soon.

love and light,

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