Beginning with a personal account from the author how he began his journey and path to working with the Goddess Abnoba. I love when authors give a personal glimpse of themselves in the book as I feel it helps readers connect with the author better. These insights from the authors perspective help set the cozy tone of the book and you feel like you are chatting with a friend over some nice hot tea. While this book has a lot of great historical information on the Goddess, I personally loved the sprinkling in of the author’s personal relationship to the Deity and his journey.
Abnoba is known as a Goddess of the wild and is a huntress. She is connected to the Black Forest region of Germany and part of the world of Gaulish Polytheism. The ancient Celts saw hunting as a form of ritual activity and when a life was taken in the hunt, an offering was then given to the hunting deity, in the authors case this would be Abnoba. The author continues to let the reader know that while he does not hunt, there is still a connection to the animals and that is one of the aspects of Abnoba as a protector of the animals and respect for wildlife. McClain provides most of his personal experiences in the book as there is a lack of Gaulish Polytheism myths and stories. Personally I found the book more charming as I love to read about others experiences when it comes to deity. The reader may feel drawn to working with Abnoba and have similar or different experiences with her, but either way she is an interesting Goddess to study and work with.
The author does provide some examples of ways the reader can connect to the wilderness no matter where they reside. It can be as simple as finding a tree that feels a spark of the divine or if you are fortunate to have walking trails or some woods to explore, the reader to connect in these locations. The reader can also help with forest conservation, picking up trash at a local park, or any other type of environmental activism to further connect with Abnoba. Abnoba is also seen as a protector of those who are marginalized. She is also a protector of those who may be labeled as ‘other’.
Throughout, the author explores what he can find of historical context on the Goddess. She is associated with Mount Abnoba from the Abnobaei Mountains in Germany as a Goddess of the land and nature in this region. Further reading provides the various inscriptions and mentions of the Goddess from historical texts. These early mentions are interesting to explore and provide some possible historical data for the Goddess.
The book breaks down into eight chapters. These chapters include: Encountering Abnoba, Historical Record, Related Goddesses, Epithets and Symbols, Sacred Festivals, Altars and Offerings, Prayers and Meditation, and a Dedication Ritual.
While the book is not a long one, it is filled with great personal accounts and some historical information on the Goddess. For anyone that has felt drawn to learn more about her or work with her directly, I recommend this book!
~review by Amber Barnes
Author: Ryan McClain
Moon Books, 2022
pp. 112, $12.95