I was very excited when I saw this title on Moon Books' list of forthcoming releases. Non-fiction books about Celtic horse goddesses are rarer than rocking horse droppings. But, to be honest, I was also hoping that I wasn't going to be disappointed. This is part of Moon Books' popular "Pagan Portals" series, which requires authors to keep their books quite short. Some rise to this challenge well, but others produce little more than something like a long blog post. Tantalizing, but not containing information that can't be found in - well - a blog post.
Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons
Telyndru has a formal background in Celtic studies, and it shows. Her approach is scholarly, with citations and a solid bibliography, however her style should be perfectly approachable for readers who don't usually read "heavy" non-fiction.
As an introduction to Rhiannon, this book will be great for the curious reader who doesn't know much about this goddess. The different threads of the horse goddesses can be rather tangled, but here they are fully and patiently explained, and there is an occasional re-cap of important points before the next layer is added. However, the "scholarly" portion of the book, which takes up most of the chapters, is not unduly repetitive, and should offer a number of insights and ideas for further study, even for those who are familiar with the basic material.
I was also impressed with the chapters which concern Rhiannon, the goddess, as a living deity, and approaches to devotional work. Jhenah Telyndru is the founder of the Sisterhood of Avalon, and I'm guessing that she has done a great deal of teaching. As a teacher, myself, I value her ability to offer so much useful information in such a coherent and mature manner. There is nothing here to intimidate the seeker or make them feel unworthy. Instead, the author welcomes and encourages the reader to explore these mysteries, offering a number of practical approaches and suggestions, and sharing generously of her own experience. That she manages to move gracefully from the scholarly material into this new territory, makes the book a real joy.
I only had one concern as I read this book. Knowing that I was going to review it, I was wondering what criticisms I could make, in order to keep my review "balanced". So here they are: First, I was disappointed that in the devotional section, where the author has included lyrics for a couple of chants or songs in praise of Rhiannon, there are guitar chords included, but no melodies, which make the guitar chords rather useless. And second, I am about to embark on writing my own book on the horse goddesses, and this is going to be a tough act to follow!
Rhiannon: Divine Queen of the Celtic Britons is available now to pre-order from Amazon, and other booksellers, with an expected release date of April 2nd, 2018.