Outside, rain wets the leaves;
White-caps on the ocean waves; sea-foam on the shore
Understanding is the light of mankind.
Funny, I couldn’t find The Celtic Book of Living and Dying by Juliette Wood at amazon.com but could find it at amazon.ca. Funny because I didn’t buy this book in Canada. Someone bought it for my son in California and he gave it to me when he was doing a purge (and yes, I passed on this wonderful or loathsome trait, depending on how you view it). Also, the inside cover of the book has a US price of $24.95 but no Canada price, which for your info would be around $30. Take a look at books that have both prices some time … it’s crazy how much higher it is to ship it over a land border! But yes, I digress.
This is smaller than a “coffee-table book” but certainly, an appropriate gift book. It’s not the kind of thing you’d normally buy for yourself. Well, actually, *I* would. Maybe you would, too? Let’s see.
This is a book of Celtic folklore and traditions. And if this were a simple thing, it would encompass 30 pages and be done with it. Ah, but it is not simple… thank goodness!
Anything and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Celtic life and wisdom is in this illustrated book filled with lush photography and intricate drawings. It’s almost like an art book… that’s how many illustrations there are. But fear not, dear readers, there are plenty of words, too!
Check out these chapter titles:
- An Eagle’s Flight
- The Wheel of Nature
- Echoes of the Otherworld
- Voyages Between Realms
- Fate and Foreknowledge
- Guardians of the Soul
- The Wisdom of Eternity
Tell me, is there anything about life that is missing?
There are narratives and poetry, Gods and Goddesses, mythologies, biographies and facts.
Throughout the chapters, there are stories of the Labyrinth and Endless Knot, which is a favorite of mine, since my husband bought one for me several years ago. It’s made from glass. Isn’t it gorgeous?
In the chapter “The Wisdom of Eternity” it says: “Christianized Celts used interlaced designs in their manuscripts to reflect the eternal truths of the biblical message. The symbol of the endless knot, which expresses infinity through the pattern of a line that can always be traced back to the starting point, is linked with the medieval legend of Solomon’s seal, a magic ring decorated with mysterious symbols which enable King Solomon to control the spirits.”
Of course, the title of the book has living and dying and one wonders (Do you?) what the whole “Dying” thing is about. Well, lemme tell ya: Remember the paragraph above, the one you read only one second ago? Yeah, that.
The Roman poet Lucan summarized the Celtic attitude to death when he states, “Death is the middle of a long life.”
And then I found this: “to leave behind a good reputation after death, and to be remembered by the bards, who praise the living and commemorate the dead, is every Celtic man’s aspiration.”
Okay, aside from the obvious (where are the women?)… this speaks to one of my favorite words: Legacy.
I pray that this space and in fact, my entire life – muck ups and all – leave a legacy that encourages my fellow humans. Yes, they may be encouraged (in some cases) not to do what I did. That’s okay.
I keep this book in my special section, never to be purged. It is that wonderful.