In her book Legends of the Grail, author Ayn Cates Sullivan takes the reader on a journey of discovery, uncovering the fascinating details of some of Ireland’s most famous Goddesses. Throughout history, some of these legendary figures were seen in a negative light, making them appear cruel and unjust. However, the author has retold their stories in this book and the reader is given a different insight into the misunderstood myths surrounding these famous goddesses. Each chapter starts with an introduction to a particular goddess and then a story or legend that is associated with her. In an interesting twist, the author has chosen to tell each story from the point of view of the goddess, which is rare and allows the reader to really explore these legends in a new way. Many times these stories are told from the point of view of the human who saw a glimpse of light in the distance, or a shift in the shadows at night and claimed it was a goddess approaching. However, in this book the reader is able to open up a whole new world as these stories are told in a way that explains their supernatural occurrences while at the same time being easily relatable. In addition, each chapter contains information about what represents each goddess including colors, plants, and animals. This adds to the idea that each of these goddesses can be seen, felt, or heard anytime we happen to be walking through the woods or strolling by a bubbling stream. Some of the goddesses that were misunderstood include a solar goddess by the name of Aine, who in myths was shown to be a bad and disrespectful wife of King Ailill. However, when author Ayn Cates Sullivan shines some light on this particular myth she reveals that in fact Aine just held her freedom and independence above all else, which are admirable qualities. She uses this freedom and independence to be available when someone calls her that needs a light in their lives. After all she was a solar goddess and wanted to make sure she was there to help anyone who was in need of her help. Then there was the goddess Cailleach who would many times disguise herself as an old woman, or a terrible giantess who would throw boulders out of her apron pockets. In reality, she was adamant about protecting the land, animals, and plants, for she had a deep love of nature, and would only punish those who disrespected it. Meditations and visualizations are offered to allow intimate contact with the Goddess herself. The author includes personal practical suggestions for utilizing the archetypal values embedded symbolically and firmly in the specified Goddess in order to facilitate psychological revival and continued health, and finally a poetic blessing to access the less structured but higher nature of the human mind.
Lovely Read, Wonderful Illustrations
I enjoyed this book and got a lot out of it. It dovetailed nicely with other things I’ve been reading and learning about recently. I will definitely be reading the sister book, “The Heroines of Avalon.” Worth the read. Good overview without being too overwhelming.
If I have a complaint it’s that Judaeo-Christian traditions were very obviously allowed to come into the equation in one place that wouldn’t have existed in pre-Christian society.