Forty thousand feet above Paris, flying above the clouds and watching the sunrise on an otherworld landscape seemed an auspicious moment to open Claire Hamilton’s book, Maiden, Mother, Crone. Claire’s book lived up to that moment: from the first page I was held in the thrall of the Celtic world she has crafted.
I have often found the Celtic tales dry and confusing in the hands of others, but with Claire’s magic retelling, the tales become insightful and compelling. The stories are written in the first person, and this brings a directness and accessibility to them.
The book opens with: ‘The Goddess is coming back! She is returning in myriad ways, some subtle, others less so … Subtly she is returning through myth, magic and intuition.’ There is a beautiful poetic Prologue, which begs to be read aloud: ‘The Voice of the Goddess spoke the first word. But it was not a word. It was an impulse, a thought, a quickening …’
The twelve ancient goddesses in the tales take you on a personal journey that is challenging, provocative and healing, showing their darkness and their light. As women they are betrayed and they endure, bringing courage and power through their trials. For me there was a feeling of reaching back through the ages to women ancestors and sharing their pain and also the gifts they offer. The book divides the tales into Maiden, Mother and Crone goddesses, and the tale of Brighid the Crone revealed a new aspect of Brighid for me. If you are like me and have struggled with Celtic tales, wondered how to pronounce Celtic names, or felt that you have not grasped the allegorical meaning of the stories then – good news – Claire also provides a guide to Celtic pronunciation and notes on the stories.
Run to get this book for it is not only a great read but also a wonderful tool for reflection and learning.