Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

I have to admit, I was skeptical about this book before I began reading it. The title suggests it’s yet another fluffy New Age volume that randomly and superficially connects the spiritual practices from one part of the world with those from another, with no real ‘meat’ to it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

Celtic Chakras demonstrates that an amazing amount of information is hidden in the folklore and magical traditions of the West. No, the Celts, their predecessors and neighbors did not use the term 'chakras' but they were intimately familiar with the subtle energy system associated with the human body. This book takes the reader on a journey through this energy system, teaching how to approach and understand it through both explanation and meditative activities. It is obvious Ms. Sentier practices her subject and is intimately familiar with the workings, and dangers, of the body’s system of energy centers. She gives clear directions and warnings where appropriate, leading even the novice through the guided visualizations and rituals with confidence. I was fascinated to read about the spiral path through the body's energy centers (chakras). I have intuitively used a spiral path in my work as a Reiki master for a number of years; I must have been hooking into some ancestral knowledge and am gratified to have this practice affirmed.

This book brings together the threads of tradition and symbolism for three goddesses: Elen of the Ways, Arianrhod and Ceridwen and relates them to the body’s energy system in a way that makes sense. If you are familiar with any of these goddesses, or interested in them, you will find a deeper layer of meaning in their mythology after reading Celtic Chakras. Ms. Sentier’s journeys (guided visualizations/meditations) to the realms of the goddesses are inspired and inspiring. And her activities involving the Cauldrons of Poesy are deeply moving. I do wish the section about Brighid had been longer and more thorough, with more deep insights; it seemed to end abruptly compared to the chapters about the other two goddesses. However, I am grateful that Ms. Sentier chose not to pad out that section with repetition and meaningless fluff simply to reach a particular page count. Every page of this book is packed with real, meaningful information. It is easily approachable for the beginner but also gives the advanced practitioner something solid to chew on. And there’s nothing else like it out there.