Book Reviews

Book Review: Pagan Portals: The Cailleach by Rachel Patterson



This book was reviewed via Netgalley


The Cailleach, by Rachel Patterson, is one of the Pagan Portals series. This nifty series offers snapshots on a wide variety of pagan topics. The Cailleach focuses on the eponymous deity, little known and misunderstood by many. This little guide covers myths and legends related to the Cailleach, or the Old Woman of Winter. Most chapters focus on regions (Ireland, Scotland, England), though others focus on aspects (Lady of Beasts, balance with Brighid), and a few on magical aspects and working with the Cailleach.

I enjoyed the topic of this little book. The Cailleach is a deity I was not as familiar with. I liked that the author listed the different ways this word could be pronounced. Celtic language of any flavour can be a doozy to suss out if you aren’t familiar with it. I liked the number of stories given. Kudos, too, to the author for making it clear little is truly historically known of the Cailleach, and the true depth of meaning for Her to the Celtic peoples is now lost. Patterson also encourages pagans interested in working with the Cailleach to seek their own relationship with her, for it will not be the same for everyone. I loved the cover art, too!


I do feel that the book could have been a bit better organised. Sometimes similar stories are given in the same chapter, but not near one another. Were it me, I think I would have consolidated types of myths, rather than going by region. This book would benefit from another thorough editing.
???? recommended if you enjoy learning about Celtic paganism and myth

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