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Group Reads > Becoming the Enchanter: A Journey to the Heart of the Celtic Mysteries

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message 1: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments I'm attempting to sort out our group read for the new year. Bear with me folks.


message 2: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments I see the word "celtic" in the title...
Will be giving that a miss I think...I get a bit ranty when folk use it in relation to magic as it's almost meaningless. Something vaguely Welsh=Celtic...slightly Irish=Celtic...granny's cousin's uncle's friend's workmate came from Edinburgh=Celtic.


message 3: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Old-Barbarossa wrote: "granny's cousin's uncle's friend's workmate came from Edinburgh=Celtic. " And auntie June! I'm not opposed to a bit of rantiness, but as you will. Do feel free to post suggestions for the group reads eh.


message 4: by Ancestral (last edited Jan 08, 2016 10:59AM) (new)

Ancestral Gaidheal (gaidheal) Old-Barbarossa wrote: "I see the word "celtic" in the title...
Will be giving that a miss I think...I get a bit ranty when folk use it in relation to magic as it's almost meaningless. Something vaguely Welsh=Celtic...sli..."


Oh, but this one is fun: people exploring the Welsh myths on the Orcadian mainland (on which trees mysteriously appear). :D


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 70 comments Becoming The Enchanter

I spied this book on a shelf at my local library. I thumbed through it checked it out and read it.

At first I wanted to keep this title to myself feeling I had stumbled onto some secret...


message 6: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I read the sample on Amazon and ended up ordering this one :)

Slightly worried about that 'At first' in Joseph's post though...


message 7: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments A question - how does the statement This is a true story affect your reading/enjoyment of a book? There's no doubt that it has the potential to double or treble its power, but if it appears then for me, the way a book is written (as well as the content) can prompt continual cross-examination throughout.

This one is well-written and even compelling, but somehow I can't turn off my inner interrogator.


message 8: by Sara (new)

Sara I haven't read this, so my reply is a general one. For me, even if the story is true, it is still shaped and influenced by the writer. This is the literary version of observation bias in science, or of different eye witness versions of a crime. Every writer brings their experiences to the page. I guess what I'm trying to say is it's one person's view of a true story. Would you say this is a memoir, then?


message 9: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments The blurb calls it a 'dazzling autobiographical account' and says it's 'as gripping as fiction yet firmly rooted in fact'. For me, it reads like very clever fiction - not because of the writing and the evocative descriptions but because the structure is such that things happen or turn up just when they're needed to grab and hold the reader's attention and move the story on. It's very page-turny, but life's not like that - even if magic is involved. It's hard to put down, in spite of some niggles...


message 10: by Nell (last edited Feb 08, 2016 08:55AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Ancestral wrote: "Old-Barbarossa wrote: "I see the word "celtic" in the title...
Will be giving that a miss I think...I get a bit ranty when folk use it in relation to magic as it's almost meaningless. Something vag..."


Re. the 'Celtic' niggle, the author speaks of her knowledge of Britain's 'secret tradition' and during a lecture dismisses witchcraft as '...made up by Gerald Gardner in the fifties.' I've no problem with that, although some would say that there's no unbroken word-of-mouth British tradition either.

Ancestral, it's interesting that you say this is 'fun'. There are things that worry me here...


message 11: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Nell wrote: "Re. the 'Celtic' niggle, the author speaks of her knowledge of Britain's 'secret tradition' and during a lecture dismisses witchcraft as '...made up by Gerald Gardner in the fifties.' I've no problem with that, although some would say that there's no unbroken word-of-mouth British tradition either..."

Caveat: I am not reading this and merely following the discussion.

Folks, I pretty much nailed my colours to the mast on other threads on this: Witchcraft is modern and there is no authentic unbroken tradition. OK...admittedly that all depends on definitions of "witchcraft"; "authentic"; "unbroken"; and "tradition".

The idea of an unbroken word-of-mouth tradition over any period of time bearing any resemblance to the initial tradition is...well...unlikely (to be charitable).


message 12: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Nell wrote: "A question - how does the statement This is a true story affect your reading/enjoyment of a book? There's no doubt that it has the potential to double or treble its power, but if it appears then fo..."

It can be a very useful literary device to claim a work is a "true story"...
Though I prefer the "found document" approach to claims of truth...a particular favourite is: The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
In a sense though, the actual "truth" of a text is given by the reader...whether events actually happened as claimed can be entirely secondary.
However, when a text claims to be a truth to the exclusion of other points of view I'd be taking it with a large pinch of salt.


message 13: by Sara (new)

Sara Old-Barbarossa wrote: "Nell wrote: "A question - how does the statement This is a true story affect your reading/enjoyment of a book? There's no doubt that it has the potential to double or treble its power, but if it ap..."

You make a good point for me, Nell, albeit outside the discussion of the book itself. Not only is a book influenced by the "observation bias" of the writer, it's also influenced by that same bias in the reader. Hmm.


message 14: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Sara, I can't claim that insight - it was Old-Barbarossa who wrote: In a sense though, the actual "truth" of a text is given by the reader...whether events actually happened as claimed can be entirely secondary. I think I do agree though. Maybe it's what happens when one's reading is mostly non-fiction - I open a book and a few pages in the old critical eye switches on.

OB wrote: The idea of an unbroken word-of-mouth tradition over any period of time bearing any resemblance to the initial tradition is...well...unlikely (to be charitable).

Old-Barbarossa, thanks for confirming my understanding of 'the British Tradition' (as the author calls it). She's so firm in her belief that it's authentic, that I was beginning to doubt all the serious studies.

I've finished the book now, but thought about it a lot yesterday. There's a sentence at the end of the blurb (so I'm not giving anything away):

- hidden within these pages - are clues and riddles that other seekers may wish to follow on the path.

Hmmm, I thought, (as you do). Then later, walking the whiplington, an answer arrived that seemed to solve the problem I have with the truth in this particular true story. It may be over simplistic, it may well be wrong, but I'm not so bothered by the book any more.

Will maybe post my idea later (hidden by spoiler tags).


message 15: by Nell (last edited Feb 09, 2016 05:34AM) (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Here goes, but first I need to say that the many dreams and states of altered consciousness in the book weren't what I was concerned about when thinking about the truth or otherwise of the story.

Please don't read the spoiler unless you've already read the book or have no intention of doing so. It really will spoil the story, which I actually enjoyed in spite of the niggles.

(view spoiler)

But of course, I could be wrong...


message 16: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Have I killed this thread? :(


message 17: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa | 591 comments Nell wrote: "Have I killed this thread? :("

Ha!!!
Thought that was my job?


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) | 34 comments oooh a new book to read!


message 19: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments I shouldn't think so Nell. It's great to have you posting again.


message 20: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Ahh, thank you Aaron... :)


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 70 comments Nell wrote: "Here goes, but first I need to say that the many dreams and states of altered consciousness in the book weren't what I was concerned about when thinking about the truth or otherwise of the story.

..."


How could something come from nothing?
Question could only be answered from first hand experience.

This is the answer I came away from the book with.


(see if this will kill the thread... I if I succeed it will be on the shoulders of others before me!)


message 22: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments I do so dislike killing threads, but seem to do it fairly often...!

Joseph, I think you've come to a strong conclusion. It's more obvious than mine and (rather annoyed by the ending) I had to find another. The author did seem to be telling readers to go form their own covens and act out the story throughout the book, but who the heck is going to do that? So in the end it seemed to me a cop-out - she practically promised the answer and then indicated one riddled with danger that few (if any) would or could begin or follow through, although a certain sort of seeker lacking knowledge might just take this on - the results could be baaaaad.....

Bet that's really killed the thread...:(


message 23: by Aaron, Moderator (new)

Aaron Carson | 1216 comments Nell wrote: "I do so dislike killing threads, but seem to do it fairly often...!"

I have the same feeling that I tend to kill the threads. It's very sad. I haven't read the book, but I feel what you're saying.


Joseph “Millennium Man” (millenniumman) | 70 comments I was taken by the process


I may have been least interested in the specific question.

More interested how, who, and where this was taking place.



(something from nothing happens in quantum physics)


message 25: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Aaron wrote: "Nell wrote: "I do so dislike killing threads, but seem to do it fairly often...!"

I have the same feeling that I tend to kill the threads. It's very sad. I haven't read the book, but I feel what y..."


It stops me posting sometimes Aaron, I have this feeling that I'm too critical...


message 26: by Nell (new)

Nell Grey (nellgrey) | 1682 comments Joseph (Millennium Man) wrote: "I was taken by the process


I may have been least interested in the specific question.

More interested how, who, and where this was taking place.



(something from nothing happens in quantum p..."


The process was interesting, although sorting out what was taking place in the material world as opposed to the experiential world of the coven members was tricky sometimes. I wondered too if those experiences were the same for them all, but the author didn't enlarge on that aspect.

I haven't explored quantum physics, but never say never... :D


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