Review: The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred

The Soul's Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the SacredThe Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred by Christine Valters Paintner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My interest in things Celtic (however you might wish to define that term) stretches back over twenty years, to a moment when I first heard a recording of The Deer’s Cry, also known as St Patrick’s Breastplate from a musical composition entitled The Pilgrim composed by Shaun Davey. When I first heard this piece of music something stirred deep in my soul, something that I suspect had laid dormant until that point in my life. In the intervening years, I have attempted to deepen my understanding of that nebulous reality known as “Celtic spirituality”, a journey that continues to unfold even now.

This book is part of that continuing exploration and one that has made a small but significant contribution to that ever-unfolding journey. In a series of easily accessible chapters, Christine Valters Paintner provides some insight into spiritual practices drawn from the history of the Irish saints and monastics, practices that have as much significance today as they did in the past.

However, this is no mere theoretical exploration, though there is a goodly degree of rigour found in the text. The book draws on the personal experience of Christian and her husband, John, which has then been distilled through the great mystical and theological tradition of Christianity. Examples from their own lives are used to help illustrate the practices being discussed, which enables the reader to see that what is being explored and explained is not outside the reach of the beginning seeker.

I consider this book to be one well worth reading whether you are particularly drawn to “Celtic spirituality” or not; there is wisdom here for anyone wishing to explore a more definite and deliberate spiritual life.

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