Taliesin, Chief Bard of Britain and Celtic shaman, was a historical figure who lived in Wales during the latter half of the sixth century. Encoded within his work are the ancestral beliefs of the Celtic and pre-Celtic peoples. In addition, his verse is established as a direct precursor to the Arthurian Legends--and Taliesin himself, shaman and shapeshifter, is said to be the direct forebear to Merlin. Though the bard's work is steeped in the rich traditions of druidic practice, few have explored the revelations of his writings--the secret poetic language of the bards, revelatory information about divination, the ancient mysteries of the Druids, and the cosmological rites that were central to Celtic worship. John Matthews, one of today's preeminent Celtic scholars, sheds new light on the poems of Taliesin and on the vast body of allusion, story, and myth that grew from his body of work and shamanic practice. With the help of fellow Celtic scholar Caitlin Matthews, the author presents completely new translations of Taliesin's major poems in their entirety, uncovering the meanings behind these great works for the first time.
John Matthews has spent 30 years studying the traditions of the Celts and is an internationally acknowledged authority on the Arthurian and Grail legends. His many books include The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom, The Celtic Shaman, and The Grail: Quest for Eternal Life. He teaches throughout Europe and America and currently resides in England.
Taliesin The Last Celtic Shaman Acknowledgements Ceridwin's Boast Preface to Second Edition Preface to First Edition Introduction Part One 1. The Story of Taliesin: Gwion's Transformation 2. Shamanism and the Celts: The Fellowship of the Wise 3. The Cauldron-Born: Ceridwen and the Goddesses of Inspiration 4. The Life of Song: Taliesin and the Poetic Mysteries 5. The Bardic Schools:L Teaching the Knowledge of Things 6. The Art of Transformation: Hiding the Familiar 7. The Art of Prophecy: Remembering the Future 8. The Language of Trees: Ogam and the Cad Goddeu 9. The Region of the Summer Stars: Cosmologies and Cosmogonies Part Two The Poems of Taliesin Pen Beirdd Select Bibliography Index