Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman

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Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, Apr 1, 2002 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 357 pages
3 Reviews
A new translation of the poems of sixth-century Celtic bard and shaman Taliesin that reveals the mysteries of Druidic practices.

• The first collection of Taliesin's major poetry with commentary by John Matthews, author of more than 40 books on the Celts.

• Reveals Druidic prophecy, methods of divination, and the rites, rituals, and beliefs that were essential to Celtic spiritual practice.

• Features Taliesin's works as keys to the Arthurian legends.

Taliesin, Chief Bard of Britain and Celtic shaman, was a historical figure who lived in Wales during the latter half of the sixth century. Encoded within his work are the ancestral beliefs of the Celtic and pre-Celtic peoples. In addition, his verse is established as a direct precursor to the Arthurian Legends--and Taliesin himself, shaman and shapeshifter, is said to be the direct forebear to Merlin. Though the bard's work is steeped in the rich traditions of druidic practice, few have explored the revelations of his writings--the secret poetic language of the bards, revelatory information about divination, the ancient mysteries of the Druids, and the cosmological rites that were central to Celtic worship. 

John Matthews, one of today's preeminent Celtic scholars, sheds new light on the poems of Taliesin and on the vast body of allusion, story, and myth that grew from his body of work and shamanic practice. With the help of fellow Celtic scholar Caitlin Matthews, the author presents completely new translations of Taliesin's major poems in their entirety, uncovering the meanings behind these great works for the first time.
  

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User Review  - Bryan - Goodreads

This isn't particularly light-reading, but it is incredibly well-researched and enlightening. Read full review

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User Review  - ftmckinstry - LibraryThing

This is hardcore. Outstanding. Read full review

Contents

The Story of Taliesin Gwions Transformations
11
Shamanism and the Celts The Fellowship of the Wise
35
The CauldronBorn Ceridwen and the Goddesses of Inspiration
63
The Life of Song Taliesin and the Poetic Mysteries
90
The Bardic Schools Teaching the Knowledge of Things
120
The Art of Transformation Hiding the Familiar
148
The Art of Prophecy Remembering the Future
178
The Language of Trees Ogam and the Cad Goddeu
211
The Region of the Summer Stars Cosmologies and Cosmogonies
237
The Poems of Taliesin
277
Select Bibliography
331
Index
346
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Taliesin
The Last Celtic Shaman

Acknowledgements
Ceridwin's Boast
Preface to Second Edition
Preface to First Edition
Introduction

Part One
1. The Story of Taliesin: Gwion's Transformation
2. Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise
3. The Cauldron-Born: Ceridwen and the Goddesses of Inspiration 
4. The Life of Song: Taliesin and the Poetic Mysteries
5. The Bardic Schools:L Teaching the Knowledge of Things
6. The Art of Transformation: Hiding the Familiar
7. The Art of Prophecy: Remembering the Future 
8. The Language of Trees: Ogam and the Cad Goddeu
9. The Region of the Summer Stars: Cosmologies and Cosmogonies

Part Two
The Poems of Taliesin Pen Beirdd
Select Bibliography
Index

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