Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams

“Myth is a cloud based upon a shadow based upon the movement of the breeze.”

Alexander McCall Smith explains in his introduction to his book, Dream Angus, that myths about Angus are “really about dreams and about love…” “Angus is a giver of dreams, an Eros, a figure of youth.” “…he represents youth and the intense, passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always an Angus within us — Angus the dreamer.

The one book I took on our road trip last week was Dream Angus. I didn’t end up reading much on the trip. The landscapes we drove through completely captured my imagination, so my focus was not on reading. But I carried this little book with me everywhere I went because these stories about Dream Angus from Celtic mythology were delightful.

Joseph Campbell once said that “Essentially, mythologies are enormous poems that are renditions of insights, giving some sense of the marvel, the miracle and wonder of life.” Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful storyteller, and in this book he took the traditional story (there’s even a traditional Scottish lullaby about Angus), and explored the myth in modern settings. The stories alternate between the retelling of the Angus myth itself, and the appearance of the spirit of Angus (the importance of dreams and love) in modern experiences. I enjoyed his exploration.

For those who love myth, this book is one in a lovely series on mythology from Canongate. I look forward to reading more of them.

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6 thoughts on “Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams

  1. Nymeth

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it, Robin. Isn’t the Canongate Myth series a great idea? I also really look forward to reading more of them.

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  2. Petunia

    Our homeschool will be studying ancient times, and thus, mythology this year. I love that Cambell quote. May I borrow it?

    I will look into the book for myself as well. While the kiddos read children’s versions of the great myths of the world, I may as well read adult versions for myself.

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  3. Robin

    Nymeth, I stopped by the library today and found Karen Armstrong’s “A Short History of Myth.” I like her a lot, so this will be my next book in the Canongate series.

    Petunia, I’m glad you liked the Joseph Campbell quote. The book it’s from is a fast and interesting read. I’m sure your kiddos will love the myths this year as part of their ancient times studies. Enjoy!

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  4. Heather (errantdreams)

    This sounds quite lovely! I was lucky when I was growing up that our local library had a surprisingly good selection of myth and folklore books, so I tended to read those rather than the children’s books. I’ve never lost my fascination for the topic.

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  5. Robin

    Heather, I was the same way. I loved reading myth and folklore when I was little. But I think I love them even more now.

    Bookfool, I just love Alexander McCall Smith’s work. I think he’s a modern Renaissance man with such an amazing range of work.

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