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September 26, 2018

Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch – Sneak Peak!

I’m writing the preface to the second edition of my 2004 book, ‘Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch’ right now, and it has me a little emotional folks.

I’m going to share it here, because I sort of need any encouragment you might be willing to share?

Hit me up in the comments below with your thoughts… and I’d really appreciate some kindness.


Oh this book.

It’s the end of 2018 as I write this preface, and I’ve had the publishing rights back from the original publisher for quite a while. To be honest, I’ve been dragging my heels on getting it in print again, despite it being one of the most frequent requests I get.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it or anything. It’s just, I was so VERY young when I wrote it. 26 years old when it was first published, and in such a different place in my life. Of course I’ve grown and changed since then. Of course my personal practice has changed significantly… it would be really weird and kinda sad if it hadn’t, right?

Going deeper into the original lore of Ireland gave me a connection I didn’t have then, even after growing up here and wading through the magic of Ireland my whole life. Digging through digital manuscripts and academic papers and books that weighed more than my kids did, all gave me an insight that shifted my personal practice into a thing that is almost a part of the land itself. And then I spent a good number of years working professionally as a Guardian (manager, they called it, but whatever dudes) at Rathcroghan, and that changed me even more.

So yeah. I’m in a different place right now.

For a long time it made me ashamed of this work. Like I’d done something wrong, or at least – not good enough – in writing it. I mean, that probably says as much about my mental state as anything else, but there you go.

I began to travel to teach, and people would rave at me about how this book changed their perspective, their practice, their life. And I’d be mortified, because I knew I could have written it so much better, helped them so much more.

Until one of those conversations that stops you in your tracks, or maybe derails you a little. But in a good way, coz the tracks were laid all wrong. I met a woman called Victoria at PantheaCon in California, my first year out there, and after a long day of feeling that embarrassment as folks talked about this book, I confessed to her that I didn’t like it. That I should have done better. That I’d like to take it back and re-write it completely.

An’ you know what she said to me?

“You were where you were, back then. And there’s plenty of people who need that book as it is, because they are still there right now.”

Now, I’m paraprasing there. But that was the gist of it. And it floored me.

Because that’s exactly why I wrote this book in the first place. I didn’t want to be an author. I didn’t want to be well known, or in any way… responsible for people. *shudders*

But I wrote the book I had needed, ten years before; when I was 15, and seeking, and desperate for something that felt native and REAL to me, and all I could find were foreign voices, foreign spiritual systems, foreign magic, to try to express or explain the things I had felt and experienced and known – deep down – all of my life.

So I’m putting this book back together, with an updated resource section, a few corrections to the text, some small additions or notes for clarification, but essentially – it’s the same book. I’ll get a fresh round of folk complaining in the reviews that I’m too grumpy or snarky, that I’m expecting too much by saying they should *GASP* make a godsdamn effort to learn the language of the culture they are gaining from, and that the book doesn’t suit them for various reasons of their own devising. Fuck it, and fuck them.

This one is for you folks who are still coming ashore from almost drowning in a sea of ‘celtic’ shite. There’s a lot more work you can do, if this suits you, and you develop a grá for Ireland.

Check those resources (there’s so much more available now, it’s a pleasure to recommend them!), visit my own website LoraOBrien.ie for the blog, the other books, and the classes I teach in my Irish Pagan School there. There’s more developed Guided Journeys on there too, with audio versions, or you can check out the rewards on Patreon.com/LoraOBrien for a monthly download of stories and journeying goodness.

You have options now that we didn’t have when this book first came out, and certainly not back in the 90s in Ireland when I was starting out. Make good use of them! Enjoy them!

I’m not embarrassed anymore, to include this book among them. It’s good enough.


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About the Author

Irish Author, Educator, and Guide to Ireland. Co-Founder of the Irish Pagan School, Eel & Otter Press, and Pagan Life Rites (Ireland).

Lora O'Brien

Join our Tuath (community, tribe) to get Course and Scholarship info, and regular (free) Irish resources on topics such as Mythology, History, Society, Spirituality, Storytelling and Travel directly from Lora O'Brien and the team at the Irish Pagan School.

  • Hello Lora:

    I’m the associate publisher at Weiser Books. Last year we acquired New Page Books. I recently came across your book in the backlist. I see the rights have reverted and that you have plans to republish yourself. That’s great. If you want us to consider it please drop me a note at pturner@rwwbooks.com.



  • Hello Lora,
    We all grow and change and this book is a place marker for you but a game changer for every new person that reads it.
    I think that you could now write a volume two with all the new knowledge you have gained if you choose. But revisiting this and adding to it helps many who are finding it for the first time to have an authentic viewpoint that I hope you never feel bad about it again.
    I went through all my old books after having met you and saw the glaring “Celtic” stuff that made no sense and was not remotely authentic in scope. It was repackaged other workings with “Celtic” added to it. I kept looking and then kept coming back to your work and the resources you shared at that 2016 PantheaCon.

    And Blessings to Victoria! She was and is 100% correct.
    Thank you again for this work.

  • Hahaha no it’s perfect. Utterly perfect. I already feel the same about my first book, and you worded it very succinctly. Your reluctance is redeemed at the end, your instructions to continue the work are clear…..keep ‘er lit….x

  • Thank you for all that you do, Lora. Your work has been a tremendous boon to me and given me a more authentic and subsequently more meaningful spiritual practice. It is an amazing gift and I’m so grateful. I just signed up to be one of the first to know when the new book is out. Can’t wait! 🙂

  • Hey Lora,
    I just discovered you, and I’m inspired. I’ve been on my own Irish and pagan path for twenty years, but only recently embraced it fully. I also have a great feel for Traditional Witchcraft. Your book … I’m dying to read it. I wish i had read it twenty years ago, when I was on my own. Read a great bit recently in Ronald Hutton’s The Witch; the Irish didn’t conceive of witches the same way: bad things happened, it was the Fair Folk. Bad magic was done, maybe they deserved it. We never had the same concept of the malefic witch. To be Draoí is not to be a wicked witch. It’s just to be a person who’s in touch with the Otherworld. I’m really looking forward to discovering more of your stuff.

  • Hello Lora..
    I have been drowning in Celtic shite for years… And then I found you. I won’t lie, I am struggling with the language, where’s that goes. But I appreciate you, and your authentic viewpoints, and the reality that you show. I am excited to read this book that you wrote many years ago, and I am glad that you are not embarrassed you any longer. I love that you are not afraid to speak your truth, and that you encourage people to learn for themselves. I have been a priestess of the Morrígan for many years, but I am just now starting to realize the depths and reality of who she is. I am just now starting to see all of the garbage that is actually out there about her. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate you.

  • Keep on keeping on Lora….love ‘Irish Witchcraft from an Irish Witch’, even after all these years. I might pick up a copy of the new publication just to get the add ons! One of the best side effects of this, your first book, was my introduction to you, yourself like, and your fabulous, authentic, and very Irish courses! Keep on being you….when I think I can’t breathe anymore…..you and your evolution/revolution, are the breath of fresh air that blows all the shite away! Beannachtai, Cat

  • I felt the same way about my first film. Once it was done I pretty much hated it cause all I saw were the things I wanted to make better. But it got a really good response and this also made me wanna crawl in a hole and die. Cause I didnt like it and wanted to remake it.
    That was twelve years ago and looking at it now I feel very different and can appreciate it for what it is: my beginnings. I’m working on a sequel.

    So I relate to what you’re saying.

    Also seems like a LOT of pressure since I read it was the first book written about irish spirituality from an actual Irish person ? Correct me if Im wrong.

    And you were only 26 ?!? I commend you and thank you for sharing your past, truly is a life raft in the choppy waters of misinformation and appropriation.

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