We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Book Review: "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures"

I have just finished reading the book, "The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures" written by John  & Caitlin Matthews. The authors' of this book are well-respected experts in the area of mythology and folklore. They have also written the books, "The Encyclopedia of Wisdom," "Walkers Between the Worlds" and "The Winter Solstice."

In the Introduction, there is an interesting little traditional Irish reckoning of lifetimes which reads:

'Three fields to a tree
 Three trees to a hound
 Three hounds to a horse
 Three  horses to a human-being
 Three human-beings to a deer
 Three deer to an eagle
 Three eagles to a salmon
 Three salmon to a yew
 Three yew to an age of the world'

What I liked about this book is that not only is it an encyclopedia listing all creatures from A-Z, but it also gives us their history and envolution. For example, the Gargoyle was originally known as a "gargouille" in French folklore and, although they are now recognized as "protectors," they were regarded as something much different in the 7th Century.

This book covers all of my favorite creatures such as mermaids, Cheiron (Centaurs), Mermen, The Green Man, cats, dogs, dolphins, dragons, The Morrigan and much, much more!

I also loved the beautiful poetry which elegantly complimented the history and descriptions of these magical creatures. Among the ones I enjoyed the most was this one about The Morrigan whose name means "Great Queen"~

"Peace up to heaven,
 Heaven over Earth,
 Earth under heaven,
 Peace in everyone."

But I think the thing I liked the most about this book; however, was how it explored the connection bewteen us and them. It shows us how the animals and their stories have a certain kinship in relation to us as human-beings.


  1. This looks like a wonderful book, thanks for the review. I must have it! An excellent reference book to have handy. I very much liked the poetry you referenced. How have I never heard of these authors? Have a great Sunday!

  2. Hi Looks like a fun book to read - will ask our library to get it in.

    Love Leanne