Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Celtic Book of the Dead by Caitlin Matthews review

I had a bit of a time finding a full set, the book, cards and spread cloth.
Here is what I saw when I opened the package it was mailed in-

After lifting the box lid-

The first thing I reached for was the cloth.  It has a beautiful silky feel to it.  I am not sure what fabric it is, it does feel like silk.  The scarf has the Imram one layout  printed on it.

The cards are 3.5 by 2.5.  So they are a little smaller than a standard size deck of playing cards. They are firm, and feels as if they can stand up to a long time of use.  They are not glossy, nor slick. I don't think shuffling would be very good, moving hand to hand feels much better to me.
Here is a picture -

The cards are illustrated by Danuta Mayer.
 They do have an 'otherwordly' feel to them, and remind me of both wood cuttings and the old cave paintings. They just ooze Celtic.
There are dragons, trees, horses, salmon, apples, the silver branch, falsons and otters to name a few.
There are a few of the cards that feel like 'home' to me - the Island of Invisible Riders has horses running on the shores of a lake - very much reminds me of a place in Kentucky where I grew up, along with the card Island of the Hermit, reminds me of a small beach outside of Carlisle, Ky.  I grew up in Kentucky right down the road from the Horse Park.  There is another card that just made me laugh, it is the Island of Giant Ants- so you even get a touch of Science Fiction!!!

So now we get to the book!
It is a nice hardback book, and it lays open easily.  There is a nice Bibliography in the back.  I love a good bibliography.  My poor aching book shelves can attest to that!  For me, bibliographies are recommended reading lists.

Music to my ears- "The Celtic Otherworld exists as a complementary reality that can be visited."
Doesn't that just make you want to go exploring?  I remember when I was a young'un (I am 58 and will be 59 on the 21st of Nov) going exploring out in the fields surrounding the farm house where we lived.  Climbing the cherry tree and grabbing a handful of juicy fruit then following the dirt path down between the waist high weeds to the crik to go fishing with my bamboo rod. Yes, I did live like that, not making it up.  I was between 4th and 5th grade,  The feeling of excitement and what could be down at the crik (creek) never went away.  That is the way that one sentence makes me feel inside.
Like I am going to be drawn into an adventure that might take me far away from home.

Caitlin goes on to say "Sacred sites are often distinct gateways to the Otherworld."  Those gateways are everywhere when you are a child.  Caitlin's writings continually take me away to another world.  This book is full of descriptive images that fill your mind with hills and valleys and strange animals and people who are tall and small, light and dark.
Here is a picture of one of the cards sit in the middle of the page that describes it-

Here is a small sample of what is on this page- I don't want to share too much because of copyright.
The meaning of this card- Caution is needed. Respect.  Restlessness and dissatisfaction.  Impulsiveness.  Theft.  Appropriation of other's things or resources.
The challenge:  Have you violated the rules of society by your actions?

Every card has  a background, meaning, challenge and image description.

This deck is very unique in that it is intended to be consulted when you are in a hard time, a crisis.
Caitlin explains that the true definition of divination is 'a method of asking the Gods'. The cards are meant to help us access the answers that are lying within us.

In chapter 4 it is explained how to use the deck, the kinds of journeys that can be done with it and how to interpret the deck.

It is going to take some time to build a firm connection with these cards, but I know spending time with them, getting to know them will be fun, interesting and life changing.  I am serious.
This is no deck to just grab up and do a quick 3 card read with. I am excited to start my journey with them.

I would suggest that if you resonate with things Celtic, if you like to do journeys, then you really need to search out this book and deck.

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