Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fantastic Book: Celtic Devotional

Celtic Devotional: Daily Prayers and Blessings
Caitlin Matthews
Godsfield Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-84181-197-1

Since the Indigo bookstore opened here in my city, I have found so many wonderful books relating to my spiritual path -- and most of them have been in the Bargain section! Last night, however, was the ultimate find.

One of the things I loved about the Anglican church was that there was a prayer book. On any given day, you could open it up, and there were prayers along a particular theme to be included in part of your morning spiritual practice (which was also nicely laid out for you). Well, for the past eight years, since I realized exactly who and what I am, I have been wishing that there were something along the lines of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, but for an eclectic pagan like me.

Last night I found it -- in the Bargain section of Indigo, for the whopping price of $5.99 (minus ten percent because of my iRewards card, even). At that price, I could also pick one up for Crone, since I know she is along the Celtic lines as well, so I did. (I'm not sure if Maiden would find it useful or not -- might pick one up for her anyway.)

I have been looking for something that would help me practice my faith on a daily basis, as bookends to my day. This book is exactly what I was hoping for.

Divided up into the four Celtic seasons (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh), it has both Morning Devotions and Evening Devotions for each day, as well as prayers for the opening and closing of each season, activities geared specifically for each season, and focus questions for each day of the month. In the section titled "The House of Life", there are prayers for every circumstance you can imagine, from blessings, to "soul-gatherings" (putting one's self back together), to prayers for courage. The layout of the book and the artwork scattered throughout are absolutely gorgeous, as well.

The part which I am most excited about is this: "The terms and metaphors by which the Divine is invoked in this devotional are sometimes neutral, sometimes gender-specific." (p12) I grew up calling God "God", and think of Him as, well, Him. It's not that I believe He's a boy -- I believe that the Divine has both male and female characteristics in equal parts -- but because I have always referred to the Divine as male, I continue to do so.

It's like if you have a friend who has suddenly started going by his or her middle name -- that friend will be First Name to you for a very long time. In this case I see no need to change what is simply a reference word. In the same vein, I don't see why anyone who refers to the Divine as "Goddess" should have to change how they speak/feel/think, either. (I tried to explain my feelings on this to Maiden and Crone one night, but I'm not yet articulate in speaking about my spirituality, and it came out in a jumbled mess.)

To make a long post a bit shorter, I am thrilled to pieces with finding this book and am looking forward to using it on a daily basis. It's exactly what I've been looking for all this time.

Thank you, Caitlin Matthews.


Vaida LaVey said...

Thank you thank you thank you, for picking up a copy of that book for me it is wonderful!

mrsb said...

Sounds like an amazing book!