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Mother of the Isles: Landscape, myth and meaning in the Western Isles of Scotland.
Jill Smith.
 Dor Dama Press (51 Carn Bosavern, St. Just, Penzance, Cornwall TR19 7QX). Pb £9.95.

Regular readers of Wood and Water will know the writings and artwork of Jill Smith (see my review of another book by her (The Callanish Dance: the cycle of the year celebrated in the sacred landscape of the Western Isles.) Now living in Glastonbury, she lived on the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides for many years.

This book is a guide to the Goddess energies of the islands in the many forms Jill has experienced them. The Goddess is seen as Brighde, as the Cailleach, and in many other aspects. She is seen in the landscape and in the legends, in place-names and in Jillís own experiences. The book shows the goddess in the landscape and the landscape in the goddess, enriching both our understanding of the Goddess and our understanding of the character of the Western Isles. Jill comes up with many interesting speculations about the significance of names and the meaning behind old tales. Unlike many writers, she makes it clear which connections are speculative and which are well-established.

As can be expected from Jill, the book has many illustrations, including a front cover in colour. I highly recommend it.

Wood and Water 83, Summer 2003
© Daniel Cohen

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