The Book of the Cailleach: Stories of the Wise-Woman Healer

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Product Details

Cork University Press
Publish Date
6.24 X 9.21 X 0.99 inches | 1.09 pounds
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About the Author

Gearóid Ó Crualaoich was Lecturer and Associate Professor (Emeritus) of Béaloideas/Folklore and Ethnology at University College, Cork and Head of Irish Studies Programme at Thomond College of Education.


"This is a breathtaking book. It returns to Irish folk material the emotional depth and imaginative meaning which it always contained in its natural context but of which it has often been stripped by the more utilitarian and commonplace interpretations long in fashion. It reminds me once again why I am charmed and enchanted by this material, and more than that, why I regularly find in it answers to the deep-seated obsessions of my own. A real gem of a book, containing an exemplary methodology showing how the Irish folk tradition can be interrogated to find answers which are vitally important to our age and times."--Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill"
The unearthing of a priceless spirit from forgotten, buried, misunderstood storytelling is like discovering Knowth or Newgrange and opening the doors to those otherworlds. Gearoid O Crualaoich s work on the wise-woman healer, the cailleach, is of immense importance, for we need access to the secrets of healing and orientation in life known well in the past but now neglected. Without that secret knowledge we are left with mere rationalism and secularism, which are inadequate for dealing with the challenges of a complex world. This book is highly professional, comprehensive, carefully interpretive, and respectful. It opens up many avenues toward the healing of our personal lives and our world. It is of special importance to Ireland, but it also addresses the needs of people around the world, who can know look to Ireland for the rediscovery of a special kind of spiritual knowledge connected to the natural world, to place, and to history. This book is so rich in detail and implication that it can be taken by the reader as a personal map to the otherworld and to the forgotten powers of nature and humanity now acessible to him. To women especially it offers an image of strength, wisdom, and healing power. We need this kind of excellent work, visionary as well as academic, all over the world to pull us out of the literalistic and materialistic vision that is limiting us and perhaps even killing us. --Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and The Soul s Religion"