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Celtic Goddess Grimoire, by Annwyn Avalon

Celtic Goddess Grimoire: Invoke the Enduring Power of the Celtic Feminine Divine, by Annwyn Avalon
Weiser Books, 157863802X, 224 pages, March 2024

At the end of 2023, I signed up for a thirteen-moon prophecy reading with Danielle Dulsky. The intention I set for the reading was furthering my understanding of the “flavor” of my magic. I was curious about what spiritual pursuits were most aligned for me right now. A very significant piece of my prophecy was the Awen symbol, so important that Dulsky explained it was the mythic image for me to draw upon this year. In a pursuit to learn more about this symbol, I’ve been doing increasing research on Celtic traditions, particularly Druidism. I felt an instant pull towards Celtic Goddess Grimoire: Invoke the Enduring Power of the Celtic Feminine Divine by Annwyn Avalon, as though connecting with the Goddesses of the Celtic tradition is the next step in my journey.

Avalon is the perfect person to write this book. She is a Celtic witch and water priestess, who has years of study in water mysteries, witchcraft, and magic. Her previously published titles include Water Witchcraft and The Way of the Water Priestess. Currently, she serves as the keeper of the White Spring, a sacred spring in Glastonbury where she lives. As if all isn’t cool enough, she is also the sacred steward of Chalice Orchard, the former home of Dion Fortune.

Avalon begins by sharing with readers a journey of her life, from growing up in a conservative Christian home to becoming a devoted priestess of the Divine Feminine. Her story felt very relatable, as I’m sure it will be for many others who feel called towards Goddess worship. She explains how while initially she wanted to write a scholarly book about the goddesses, she realized in the process that the dynamic Celtic goddesses could not be confined to specific categories. The book took its own form, which she describes as:

“I wanted to build a bridge between the vastness of each goddess and those who seek her. In the end, I embarked on a goddess-guided journey, allowing them each to show me the highlights of their magic, and teach me what they wanted emphasized in the pages of this book–the best pathways for others to find them and experience their energy.”1

This connection to the energy of the many Celtic goddesses is exactly what I felt while reading this book! Since I am still in the beginning phases of learning Celtic spirituality, I decided to see which goddesses I was naturally drawn to while also keeping an open heart and mind in case any of the goddesses came to me. Avalon does offer some insight into the process of  connecting with a goddess, noting relationships will be different for each person, the goddess you call upon might not answer, while another goddess might abruptly come into your life. Above all, Avalon encourages listening to your own “unverified personal gnosis”2, or UPS for short, even if the information you’re receiving isn’t verifiable by outside sources.

For those new to the Celtic belief system, Avalon covers a bit of history (Roman conquest strongly impacted the Celtic cultures), the role of women in the Celtic world, the Celtic otherworld, and Celtic rituals and practices. Some exercises she shares are how to build an altar, create your own sacred image or blessed candle, and make a goddess simmer pot, incense, and bath soak. These exercises don’t require too many materials, and most could probably do them with the items they have on hand, which is something I always appreciate as a devotee on a budget.

The Part II – Part VII of the book focus on different types of goddesses: Goddesses of the Sacred Waters and Landscape; Goddesses of Abundance, Fertility, and Healing; Goddesses of Battle and Justice; Faery Women; Goddesses of Magic; and Horse Goddesses. Within every part there ranges from two to seven chapters which each cover an individual goddess. At the start of the goddess chapters, Avalon shares name variations, regions, sacred associations, offerings, and body of water. While not every goddess has each one, this plethora of information is fascinating and useful for building a connection with the goddess. It really made me want to go visit these locations and sites on a goddess pilgrimage!

Avalon delves into the history and folklore of each goddess. She covers things such as what the goddess is most well-known for, what artifacts reveal about them, the cultures that revered them, and how goddesses evolved through time, many having their names changed or Christianized by Romans. At the end of each chapter, Avalon provides customized exercises for the goddess. For example, for the Andraste, Invincible Goddess of War, one of the exercises is a prayer for justice, while the exercise for Melusine, Mermaid Goddess of the Fount, is a ritual bath to ask her blessing.

While every goddess was fascinating to learn about, the one that was most awe-inspiring for me to learn about was Rosmerta, The Great Provider. She was an abundance goddess associated with “springs, healing, prosperity, abundance, protection, and fruitfulness.”3 I was intrigued to learn in continental Europe, she was considered the consort to Mercury. Mercury is one of the primary deities that I work with, and never before had I come across any material about him having a consort. I am absolutely going to be weaving in working with Rosmerta as well, hoping the couple will enjoy sharing in ritual together! Exercises that Avalon shares for Rosmerta are an invocation to her and an abundance ritual where fruits, vegetables, and spring or blessed water are given as offerings. I am looking forward to building an altar to Rosmerta and performing the invocation and ritual!

Another goddess that I felt drawn to is The Giantess Cailleach. Avalon writes how she “is often depicted as the personification of winter” and is “variously known as a creator goddess, a storm goddess, a destroyer, and as a giantess who can move large boulders, make mountains, raise seas, and create windstorms.”4 Now, this is one incredible goddess! Exercises Avalon includes for The Cailleach are using storm water for protection and creating a harvest spirit doll, both of which I plan on doing when the timing is right.

Oh! And guess what? In the midst of being immersed in reading about Cerridwen, I flipped the page to see the Awen symbol right there! I did not realize Cerridwen’s mythology was related to this story, and it gave more insight into the meaning of Awen for me. I knew I was meant to read this book!!

At the end there are two appendices for added convenience. Appendix A is titled “Glossary of Celtic Goddesses and Faery Women ” and Appendix B is titled “Index of Exercises and Rituals”. Both make quick-references extremely easy. And one more really neat feature of the book is the maps on the front and back cover. The front cover is a colored map of modern Celtic lands, while the back cover is a map of the historical dispersing of Celtic tribes. For someone not as familiar with the Celtic landscapes, these maps are very helpful when reading about the goddess’s associated locations.

All in all, Celtic Goddess Grimoire is an awesome resource for learning more about the Celtic divine feminine. As a beginner, Avalon made the material very easy to navigate, focusing on providing ample information to provide a full perspective.Those already working with the Celtic pantheon would surely benefit from reading this book too, as Avalon’s insight add new perspectives and the exercises and rituals are good to have available. This is a book that I’ll surely be referring to time and time again, as well as sharing with others I know are feeling called to explore the roots of their Celtic ancestry.

The Ways of the Water Priestess, by Annwyn Avalon

The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic, by Annwyn Avalon
Weiser Books, 1578637249, 238 pages, January 2021

The Way of the Water Priestess: Entering the World of Water Magic is a profound initiation. As you dive in, author Annwyn Avalon makes clear the distinction between being initiated into a lineage and going straight to the source of your own channel with spirit, your own intimacy with water. This is a sacred text that attunes you so deeply to what you are mostly made of. 

Avalon is a water priestess and a water witch. She is the founder of Triskele Rose,  an Avalonian witchcraft tradition. This book called to me because I wanted to deepen my relationship to water as an act of devotion.

“The work of a water priestess is expressed in various sacred practices like enchanting the waters, facilitating rituals, creating healing ceremonies, and preparing sacred baths.”1 

Each of these rich chapters had me diving into portals of sovereignty and healing. Avalon does a fantastic job weaving together concrete practices, lineages and history, as well as myth and story. In my personal practice, this book was the first step in so much unfolding. I embraced her invitation to me, “While you cannot initiate yourself as a priestess, you can dedicate your life to the sacred waters.”2

For me, this began with building my own water altar. This first step has been potent in my work as a priestess.  And when I say priestess, I mean  being willing to show up and do the work in devotion to tend and clean the altar; to center your acts of service to the water. 

The Way of the Water Priestess is created in such a way as to offer us that sacred journey of initiation, pulling on deities and archetypes, myths, as well as daily devotional practices. This book is beautifully written with a wealth and depth of knowledge. All geared towards you, discovering your own information. Avalon creates a framework for you to foster your own intimacy with the waters. These are concrete and specific tools to connect you to your path. 

My daily devotional, as Avalon calls it, with the water has deepened. Avalon offers prayers to help guide you through every step of the journey. There’s such an incredible wealth of knowledge, rooted, most particularly like Celtic and Roman traditions. I have found myself turning to this book over and over as I’ve struggled with my human being life. “You will find that the lesson of the river is different from the lesson that floral water, a sacred bath, or a gem elixir might teach you.”3 I so appreciated being guided to discover my own sacred relationship with the river, allowing it to be my guide in surrender and flow. 

I drink so much water every day. I’ve experimented with some of the ways that Avalon offers us to bless the water. “Sound is also a good way to create healing water… You can simply start with your voice and tone the water with vowel sounds.”4 You can find a beautiful water prayer on that same page. I love this practice as a way to begin my morning and set intention for my day. The more I’ve dedicated myself to this practice, the more I’ve found my words to honor and bless the water I put in my body. My stepdaughter’s favorite practice is to charge her water with the full moon

Avalon’s way of being in deep ritual practice with water is an invitation to reclaim your sovereignty through devotion and service. 

“As priestesses, it is vital that we honor the water and spirits we work with. But we must also become trusted conduits for their energies by living in sacred union with them and tending their temples–our own physical temples, the temple of our bodies, and the natural temples where the water flows. When in these states of sacred union, we become a vessel through which the spirit can speak.”5

This book serves such a depth and breadth of wisdom as to belong on every bookshelf, from novice to maven water carrier. It accessibly unpacks fundamentals like working on the holy days of Beltane, Samhain, and the like. It explores the art of ritual, water divination, and the path of the priestess. For those steeped in their own traditions and lineages, it offers context and spell work

If you are looking for your activism in this world, I invite you to welcome your devotion and service to water as being a part of how we collectively transform the world. I feel so much more able to hear the message of the water for me in encountering these practices and tools, and the power that comes when approaching this work as a devotee. As a being in service to something so much greater than myself. Everything you need to start is in The Ways of the Water Priestess.