Sacred Earth Sacred Soul: Celtic Wisdom for Reawakening to What our Souls Know and Healing the World by John Phillip Newell

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John Newell has lived his life passionate about Celtic spirituality and ritual within the context of western Christianity. A former warden at the Iona Abbey on the western isles of Scotland, Newell has collected and created volumes of prayers and meditations as well as led pilgrimages for spiritual contemplation. 

In this book, Newell invites the reader to rediscover what was lost as over the centuries Celtic leaders such as Pelagius were dishonored and silenced as heretics and pagans by the Church of Rome. Newell follows the movement of the Reformation into Scotland, which successfully pushed aside the Celtic understanding of humanity’s deep connection to the earth. Not only was this a theological persecution, but the people of Scotland were marginalized and suffered deeply. It is hard to know what western Christianity might have looked like if it had embraced the creation spirituality of the early Celtic Christians. 

Newell offers insights into the lives of individuals such as Saint Brigid of Kildare as it connects to the role of women in the church, John Muir and the urgency of earth care, and Teilhard de Chardin and his understanding of God as present in all created things. (The reader may disagree with some of these ideas, but they are worth examining.)

This book provides a historical perspective for many today who are drawn toward a more contemplative way of being. But Newell does not stop there. With each chapter he provides the reader with a companion Celtic text and practice. (Harper One)

About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a freelance media review and news writer for The Banner. She lives on Swallowfield Farm near Fort Langley B.C. with her husband, Dennis. Before retirement she worked as a teacher librarian and assistant principal. 

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