Abnoba: Celtic Goddess of the Wilds by Ryan McClain ~ Book review by Helen Brambley
Having recently made a deep connection with Nemetona and facing the frustration of the lack of information available about her history and traditions, I welcomed the chance to read a book written by someone who had embraced a lesser known Celtic goddess.
In this book, Ryan expertly combines his thorough research of specific information available about Abnoba (although this is not much) with intuitive links to similar goddesses, along with his own personal observations and experiences. These experiences he calls 'UPGs' or 'unverified personal gnosis', which he says are often frowned upon in certain circles because they are not backed up with evidence, but these form an important part of his devotion. He feels that personal experiences in connecting with deity may often be very different to archaeological evidence. This seems to me to absolutely hit the nail on the head, not just with lesser known deities such as Abnoba, but indeed with all deities. What they show to one person may not be the same as others perceive or what is generally accepted in written records.
Each chapter builds upon the one before, beginning with a beautiful dedication, hymn or translation from ancient text to set the tone for the chapter. The research covering historical record and how it links to related goddesses is as thorough as it can be, and the adapting of the Gaulish calendar to Gregorian calendar dates to create 8 seasonal festivals to celebrate different aspects of Abnoba is a fascinating way to allow an ancient deity to be honoured within the framework of a more modern pagan lifestyle, which I particularly found useful. This adapting of ancient traditions into modern practice is developed further through including ways to create altars, offerings, prayers, meditation and a beautiful dedication ritual, all of which could be adapted for your own use.
It seems to me that many of these ancient gods and goddesses are once again making themselves known to us, and if you feel the call of a lesser known deity, this is an excellent book to read to both learn about Abnoba and to understand how to connect with a deity who perhaps little is known about.
As the author ends the book he states: 'She truly is a multifaceted deity. She longs to connect once again with Her descendants; that is, those who are truly wild at heart.'