Tales of the Celtic Bards About the Book

Inspiration and vision are the stuff of Celtic Myth. These myths were first told by the ancient Bards who were the keepers of a Higher Knowledge, so they are shot through with symbolic meaning. Reading them takes us back to a time when the veil between the material and spirit worlds was believed to be very thin, a time when bards and shamans underwent an arduous training which enabled them to pass freely between these worlds. W hat they saw on their visits to the spiritual realm they held precious beyond price. They would not speak their secrets openly, but instead encoded such knowledge, incorporating it into teasing riddles and in their tales. In this way they hoped to pass it on to those who could seek it out.

But the Celts had an oral tradition in which it was strictly forbidden to write anything down. Because of this their hidden knowledge might have been lost, except that after the advent of Christianity some of the early monks decided to record the old tales. Naturally enough, however, they tended to give them a Christian perspective.

In this book the Celtic tales are put back into the mouths of the Bards in order to restore some of their original spiritual meaning. The filidh of Ireland, the bards of Scotland, the ovates of Wales and the druidesses of Brittany each in turn tell the stories of their lands, imbuing them with their own particular wisdom and guiding the reader towards a deeper appreciation of the mystical knowledge, vision and inspiration of an older and perhaps wiser generation.

Because the tales were often embellished by the bard with poems or invocations set to harp music, a CD is included in this book which features the songs and poems from the tales played by Claire on her Celtic harp.

Claire is a professional harpist as well as a writer, and she has brought her skills together to create a magical experience. Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University says the book is 'an original and compelling retelling of some wonderful stories by an accomplished mistress of the bardic art. Unusual and refreshing, the book provides within its covers the variety and colour of a complete bardic festival.'