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Posted August 13, 2005
I was very disappointed with this book, and for several reasons. First of all, it's not about what its subtitle (Ireland's Celtic Medicine Traditions) indicates it's about. From the subtitle I expected a book filled with interesting historical and medicinal tidbits from the Celtic healing traditions, but what I got was a book filled with standard modern herbalism, decorated with bits of Celtic this and that, and an attempt to weave it all around the Goddess Brighid. Giving a few pages on Brighid and a few pages with tidbits on a few other Irish deities does not make it a book on the Celtic/Irish Healing Traditions. Quoting a few good Brighid stories from the Book of Lismore does not make it a book on the Celtic/Irish Healing Traditions. A few Brighid-related ritual suggestions at the end of each chapter does not make it a book on the Celtic Healing Traditions. Given that there is no historical component to this book, no information on what the ancient Irish actually thought and did about health/healing/herbs, one is forced to conclude that the book is not really about Celtic Healing in any kind of traditional sense. Secondly, the information contained in the book is a bit thin, and not well presented. Much of the information is in the form of bullet points or lists - with not much elaboration. There really should have been more definitions, explanations, and details. Third, the publisher must have decided they couldn't afford to pay editors and proofreaders, because editing and proofing seem non-existent in this book. Typos, duplicate words, hunks of text in the wrong chapter - there are a lot of technical problems with this book. One would hope that by the next printing these will have been these tidied up. And finally, the book is without Index or Bibliography - which is simply irresponsible and unforgivable in a book of this nature. Now, having said the bad stuff, here are some good points about the book. As an herbalist, the author knows her stuff. Although more detail should have been provided, her summation of the body's organ systems and herbs to help them is fairly good. The herbal information provided throughout seems accurate, although sketchy and incomplete. Still, it does provide a very good starting place for those who may want to know more hopefully people will take what's there and go searching. Also, there are some interesting recipe ideas (though few have mixing/fixing instructions provided), and her section on flower essences was quite nice. The suggestions on how to journey into a plant to make a connection with its spirit and learn from it were excellent - my favorite part of the book. A strange thing about this book is that not much of it is actually 'writing' by the author. So much of it is comprised of lists and bullet points. When she DOES write, her 'voice' is sweet, cheerful, and informative. Too bad there's not more of that in the book. If one can forget that the book is supposed to be about the old Celtic Healing Traditions, it's not bad as a somewhat lightweight introduction to herbalism.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.