Pagan Portals – Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds, by Ryan McClain
Moon Books, 1803410248, 112 pages, October 2022
Not much is written or known about this eclectic deity. But what we do know is captured here within these pages, beautifully written by Ryan McClain.
Before discovering Pagan Portals – Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds, I had never heard of Abnoba, but I now realize why I was drawn to this particular title. McClain speaks of how he was guided to Abnoba:
“Little did I know that I had been receiving subtle messages all my life. The voice that told me to stop on a hike and just absorb the divinity that surrounded me”1
So, if you are ever “called” by something but have never been able to figure out who or what was doing the calling, maybe the universe is trying to show you your pathway to the divine. It could be that you just need to allow your mind to open to a little more. Invite the signs in and embrace the energy.
Reading about McClain’s journey with religion was an eye-opening experience for me. It has helped somewhat, with explaining the connections I feel towards certain places, objects, and especially churches or ancient sacred places; it never occurred to me that this connection might also be a sign. These feelings have always fueled my intrigue but never enough to follow any one religion exclusively. And it never occurred to me that it could be a singular Goddess calling to me.
McClain takes us on a spiritual journey of receiving the signs. It is a perfect reminder for us to be open to them and to practice mindfulness on a regular basis. The world and our surrounding universe are always talking. We just need to be open to listening.
It was refreshing and quite unexpected, to relate to something so closely, when, prior to reading this, I had never even heard of Abnoba.
There is so much more to learn about the many facets of Abnoba – her connections with children, slaves, healing, the homestead, boundaries, and transitions.
The traits she shares with other Goddesses and the connections that McClain so delicately lays out for us here.
McClain speaks of a peace that he feels – in nature, mostly when he is in the woods – and how the words to describe it eludes him. It’s a personal connection with the earth, one that shouldn’t be put into words. I feel this on another level. Some things are just not made to be verbally expressed.
I was surprised to learn that Abnoba is the Goddess of hunting, amongst her other many areas of expertise, as the author did not strike me as the hunting type, and he does admit he has zero affinity with the hunting aspect.
McClain makes it clear however, that Abnoba’s connection with hunting is merely a symbiotic relationship. Nature and herself working together. It is a respectful connection. Humans need food and sustenance, as long as you are respectful, grateful, and your need for hunting is a worthy one, Abnoba will be the Goddess you call upon to aid you.
We learn briefly about the polytheistic religion of Gaul, although not much can be said, as the recorded history of their Gods and worship has been lost to time. These types of religion are important to be reminded of though, as many places can be linked to the Gods and Goddesses who call to us now.
The myths and legends that we have for the likes of Thor and Loki in Norse mythology just do not exist for the Gods and Goddesses of Gaul. Although there are several inscriptions which bear the name Abnoba, we have nothing of significance to encapsulate her. Even the only known statue of her is missing its head.
With much of Abnoba’s history missing or simply never existing, you could be wondering how an entire book can be written about such a person. Well, most of what we read here is from McClain’s own interpretations. He has painstakingly compared and contrasted Abnoba to other Goddesses who share her assets, Goddess Diana, a Roman deity, holds a heavy comparison throughout.
And since McClain has dedicated himself to Abnoba, she speaks to him in many different ways. Through his prayers, meditations, and his dreams. It is with this that he is sure his interpretations have been correct. She leads him on the right path in order to give others an insight.
This may be difficult for some to understand, and McClain is absolutely not preaching here. His journey is for himself, and he strongly encourages others to seek out Abnoba for themselves. See what she shows them, see what she shows you. Each person will experience her differently.
There may be so much more to learn about Abnoba. It’s a difficult prospect when so much has been lost, but we can search within ourselves to know her better and ultimately share our discoveries with others.
Pagan Portals – Abnoba is a great starting point for this journey, there is just far too much to be said and to learn about Gaul, Abnoba’s ancient connections, where she was first represented, and to whom she calls. It cannot all be crammed into this book. I urge you to start your own research into this intriguing deity and see where the Goddess Abnoba visits your life.
Kate Hames is, in no particular order, a writer, a witch, and a performer. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Certificate in Natural Sciences, and loves to travel and explore. When she’s not harassing the cat, she can be found with a camera in hand, hiking a hill or eating. Find her on Insta @madeahames or FB @KateHames