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Book Review The Celtic Way of Seeing

Frank MacEowen has become one of my very favorite teachers of Celtic Spirituality. It all started when I first read (and I say “first” because I’ve read it twice now) “The Mist Filled Path” a few years ago, and then “The Spiral of Memory and Belonging.”

His newest book “The Celtic Way of Seeing – Meditations on the Irish Spirit Wheel” is his latest in Celtic inspirations.

When I first received this book, I was a teeny bit disappointed as it is only 124 pages! But I dove in with enthusiasm and found that at 124 pages it contained much more than that in wisdom.

This book is essentially a work book for the Irish Spirit Wheel which is akin to the eastern mandala, or the Native American medicine wheel. I was especially interested in this, as I’d always been attracted to working with the medicine wheel, but had longed for a tradition of my own ancestors.

“It’s really about the sun. And the moon and stars. This constant rising and setting, the slipping of day into night and back again. The turning of tides, and time, and seasons. The ambiguous line we call the horizon plays a crucial role in helping us know who we are, where we are, and where we are going.” From the book – page xiii.

The spirituality of the Celts is not rooted in some unknowable force that judges us, and determines our destiny without any input from us. Celtic spirituality is about our connection to the earth and to each other, and to the stories of our ancestors, our family traditions and God. Unfortunately, for many of us, this knowledge has not only been lost, but stripped from us at our very core.

That’s why I LOVE this book. “The Celtic Way of Seeing” is about bringing us back into connection with what has been lost from us.

Part 1 of the book talks about the Celtic Storytelling tradition. Frank re-tells the story “The Settling of the Manor of Tara,” an ancient Irish tale about what happens when we “forget.” He also gives the basics of the sacred directions and how they can apply to our own life.

In Part 2 he covers more in depth the associations with the wheel and the directions, which include the Center, (that which dwells in the middle of it all), the East (prosperity and householding), the South (the Great Song), the West (knowledge), and the North (battle and enlightened warriorship). Along with a general description, he gives an explanation on how to connect to this direction with exercises, meditations, reflections and questions. He also gives some examples on how he or his clients have used the energies of the directions for healing.

What I enjoyed about this book was his ability to clarify the energies of the directions and how they actually pertain to us. Before when I tried to study the directions, I just took them too literally – “how can East possibly help me with prosperity?” It just never made any sense before. Now I understand that the east is about how we care for ourselves and others. We need to become symbols of abundance before abundance can flow into our lives. Because of his easy exercises and meditations I feel that I’m actually connecting in with the energies of the directions, and I know that though they are literal directions, they are also metaphorical associations within me – within each of us.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in mandalas or the medicine wheel, or Celtic spirituality. This book has proven to be a valuable tool for my own personal growth, and a source of inspiration, comfort and wisdom.

No matter what religious or spiritual training we’ve had, it’s not until we get in touch with what is within us that we can move forward with faith and hope, and become that person that Spirit always intended for us to be. “The Celtic Way of Seeing” is a valuable resource for those of us following the path back to ourselves.

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