Capall Bann Publishing, 2003

ISBN 978-1861631695

Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain


Patterson’s book was obviously written for a Pagan/Wiccan audience, sprinkled as it is with references to ‘magick’ and spells. I found that a bit alienating, since I’m not part of that subculture. I also had problems with his tendency towards vagueness. His ideas are great but they often bog down in wording so unspecific as to be meaningless. And I wish he hadn’t included so much of what appears to be raw data from his personal journal, formatted to look like poetry. To me as a writer, poetry intended for public consumption needs to be well-worked and refined. But that’s a personal bias.

Nevertheless, I liked his book for three reasons. Firstly, it teaches a slow, careful and highly conscious way of interacting with – and appreciating – place.

Secondly, in sharing some of his own experiences the author reminds us that whenever we’re able to move into a state of heightened awareness, especially alone and in the wild, we soon rediscover our native, intuitive powers and start to trust in a much deeper way than is our wont. Whenever we do this, the experience renews in us our understanding and belief that we are an intrinsic part of the whole. I think it’s important to keep reminding each other about this.

Thirdly, this is the first bookof its kind I’ve read that blends a mystical appreciation for Nature and the spirit world with a thoroughly down-to-earth attitude to ecological responsibility. You want to do something nice to honour the spirit guardians of this lovely little patch of woodland you have found? Well never mind the incense and the incantations – how about picking up all the plastic bags and beer cans and polystyrene take-away containers? The devas will thank you and you may save a few little insect lives too.