Book Review: Irish Paganism: Reconstructing Irish Polytheism by Morgan Daimler

“Irish Reconstructionist Polytheism is an often misunderstood path, but it is one with great richness and depth for those who follow it. This short introductory book touches on the basic beliefs and practices of Irish Polytheism as well as other important topics for people interested in practicing the religion using a Reconstructionist methodology or who would just like to know more about it. Explore the cosmology of the ancient Irish and learn how the old mythology and living culture show us the Gods and spirits of Ireland and how to connect to them. Ritual structure is explored, as well as daily practices and holidays, to create a path that brings the old beliefs forward into the modern world.” –

This book is part of the Pagan Portals book series, which is a fantastic series of books by a variety of authors, on a variety of pagan topics, all of which are in the 100-150 page length and are meant to be brief introductions and jumping off points on their given topics. I’ve read several of the Pagan Portals books, including several of Morgan Daimler’s, and I’ve found them all incredibly helpful in this time when I am taking the first steps in my investigation of paganism. I’ve found Daimler’s books especially helpful, as she practices a combination of Irish Polytheism and Heathenry and honors both the Irish and Norse pantheons — my family is of primarily Germanic and Celtic heritage, and these are the two pagan faiths that I am most interested in, so it helps me a lot to see how someone like Daimler combines the two.

As always, Daimler in Irish Paganism introduces a whole lot of information in a very short, condensed package. She covers all the basics of Irish Reconstuctionist Polytheism, from the gods and goddesses to the major holy days to the use of magic in ritual and in daily life. Her writing style is casual and engaging, and she assumes no prior knowledge on her reader’s part, so this book is extremely beginner-friendly.

That being said, this is probably my least favorite of Daimler’s Pagan Portals books. I almost feel like it condenses and simplifies things too much, and I really feel like it could have benefited another 25-50 pages of content, if only so that the topics introduced could be explored in a little more depth. Like I said, the whole point of this series is to serve as a brief introduction to these topics, and I realize that Daimler was tasked with cramming an ENTIRE RELIGION into one pocket-sized book, but it really did feel rushed. I feel like this book is meant to give readers enough of a taste to know if they should do further research into Celtic paganism, but not much more than that.

Fortunately, the quality of content is great, and I do feel like I have a better understanding of Irish Polytheism after reading it. I love how Daimler includes personal anecdotes in her books about her own practice, as it makes them feel much more grounded and gives good examples of how this faith can translate into someone’s real life. She also includes a decent-sized “recommended reading” list at the end of the book, with lots of resources for people who want to look further into Irish Reconstructionist Polytheism. I’m reading one of the books from this list right now, and it’s equally helpful but much more in-depth. I’ll be sure to do a review on that one once I finish it!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Do I Recommend This Book? Absolutely, but go into it knowing that this is a brief introduction and that you will need to do further reading to really feel like you have a grasp of the faith’s basic concepts.

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