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THE CELTIC CROSS - An Illustrated History and Celebration

By Nigel Pennick, published by Blandford at £16.99. Hbk. 160pp. ISBN: 9-780713-2641-5 (Reviewed by David Taylor)

It will come as no surprise that this latest offerign of all things Celtic comes from Blandford. What will surprise is that Courtney Davies hasn't had a hand in it!

Nigel Pennick is a well-known and well-respected author and researcher on all things pagan, so you know that as soon as you open the first page it is crammed full of thoroughly researched material. I first encountered real Celtic crosses back in 1993 when I came face to face with the beautiful St Martin's Cross on Iona. the intricate skillful carving is truly breath-taking, and it is clear form the pages of this book that Nigel also has a love of Celtic crosses. He looks at the history and development of the Celtic cross from its earliest, prehistoric, form to its modern revival, along with its spiritual meaning within both a pagan and a Celtic Christian world view. Here we see how "Celtic cross" designs occur iwth nature and how they may later have been used as not only representations of the divine, but as marking the sacred centres of each community, and even as representations of the Cosmic "World Tree" and its shamanic associations.

The book is full of black and white photographs and plenty of Nigel's beautiful illustrations. Although a specialist niche, this book should be on the shelf of every seeking into this neglected aspect of Celtic spirituality.