Wednesday, March 17, 2010
St. Patrick's Day Book Review: Liz Babbs' "Celtic Treasure"
A very blessed Fhéile Pádraig (Feast of Patrick) to all! Author, performer and retreat-leader Liz Babbs was kind enough to share a copy of her book (Celtic Treasure: Unearthing the Riches of Celtic Spirituality) if I'd write a review of it by Ireland's highest holiday, so here goes!
It so happens I'm studying Celtic Christianity formally this semester, so while much of the background is familiar its been a real delight to have Liz's book brings it to live with breathtaking images of the Irish, Scottish and British landscapes and sacred sites her sources evoke. The book seems crafted to pay tribute to those two ancient Irish specialties, the breathtaking manuscript tradition that preserved so much of Europe's literature, and wild, bold journeys of the spirit into the wildest and windiest places on Earth.
Babbs' little book carefully reads like a pilgrimage in fact, through both time and space as she covers topics such as the great Celtic saints, prayer and solitude, God and Creation, and hospitality. It is full of story, history and ancient verses that have made their way down to us, and combines a simple accessibility with a careful treatment of what scholars know of these times -- making it an enjoyable, but authentic window into Celtic Christian traditions. She intersperses the text with her own poetry, evocative scripture and more recent poets as well, really giving one a sense of being immersed in a full "Communion" of spiritual voices. Its a lovely book for daily devotion, for Celtic worship groups or anyone simply wanting to learn more about this fascinating spiritual tradition.
You can find out more about Liz at her blog, or go to her website for information on her book: