HelliwellPilgrimage with the Leprechauns by Tanis Helliwell

Book Reviewer Ed Farolan

In the preface of her new book, Helliwell says:"Some years ago I lived in an old cottage in the village of Keel on the west coast of Ireland. I shared Crumpaun Cottage with a leprechaun and his family who had lived there for a very long time. The leprechaun befriended me and taught me about elementals, and especially about those, with whom he works, ...."

Immediately, my curiosity was piqued because we have someone who talks to spirits. Naturally, a more objective reviewer would be skeptical and classify this book as fiction, but by the way it was written, it's more of a religious travelogue, more non-fiction than fiction. The author's main occupation: a travel guide through the mysterious pilgrimages around the world, and she has written a number of similar travelogues.

She leads tours and walking pilgrimages to sacred sites of the Earth, which she has been doing for the last 20 years. These tours include Ireland, India, Nepal, Egypt, Israel, England, Ireland, France, Peru, Bolivia, the American Southwest, New Zealand, Spain, Japan, Greece and Kenya.

We've seen movies and also read books about death and factors such as weightlessness, the light at the end of the tunnel, etc. associated when we die. We've also in our childhood believed in fairytales--the gnomes, the seven dwarfs in Sleeping Beauty, and so forth, and now we dismiss all these as fiction and fantasy, now that we're adults.

In this book, however, we are brought back as adults to fairyland, as we tour with her, and where the pilgrims see and talk to the leprechauns, particularly Helliwell who refers to the "second sight", or ESP, or psychic powers as we're more familiar with these terms. Here, like Joan of Arc, she sees, hears and talks to her friend, Lloyd, the Leprechaun.

Is this fantasy reborn? Or is it truth? As Catholics, we're always told about mysteries: the mysteries of the holy rosary, the mystery of the Trinity, and now, we have, as the subtitle to this book, "A True Story of a Mystical Tour of Ireland", where she narrates this journey as she leads pilgrims to the sacred sites of Ireland, including St. Brigid's Holy Well, and climbing The Reek (the local name of Croagh Patrick, the highest mountain in Ireland, almost a mile uphill), for St. Patrick devotees.

It is an amusing book to read, especially when Helliwell talks to Lloyd, and you wonder again about mediums who can see spirits and talk to the dead. In this case, to the "elementals", the spirits of nature. We also see in this book the connection of how the Druids were connected with the nature spirits, and how Lloyd was one of these spirits that gave birth to the Druids' faith.

I might join Ms. Helliwell one of these days in one of her mystical pilgrimages to Ireland, and see for myself these mysteries of nature that surround us.

Her book costs $20 plus shipping charges, and can be bought through her site at Tanis Helliwell.

© 2011 Ed Farolan