As someone who honors and serves the Irish goddess, Brigid, you’d think I’d have a greater interest in blacksmithing due to her connections to the anvil. You’d think I would have read more on the topic or perhaps taken a workshop, but you’d be wrong. Well, you would have been wrong up until recently when I delved into an ebook of Metal Never Lies by Sam “Bo” Thompson.
I first learned of Thompson’s work through a fellow Pagan acquaintance online. She shared a photo of a metal tool she’d purchased from a polytheist blacksmith. I’m always keen to support other Pagan artisans, so I naturally started following Raven’s Keep Forge on social media. When he updated that he’d made and stocked small copper offering bowls and anvil dust, I was moved to purchase the items for my Brigid shrine and devotionals. Later, I purchased an iron hair stick with a swirl at the top. It doubles as a wand with which to write sigils into candles. Beautiful and twice and functional? Sign me up.
Then Thompson wrote and published his book, Metal Never Lies. I was interested in deepening my understanding of metal lore, and he serendipitously offered me an ARC copy to read and review.
Metal Never Lies is a great primer on incorporating metal into your magical practice. The author’s friendly voice shines through as he shares stories, insight, and wisdom on the ins and outs of metallurgy, folklore, and working with the medium from a Pagan point of view. It’s both insightful and very accessible to newcomers.
If you aren’t a metalsmith, I promise you’ll get something from this book as I did. Thompson shifted my perspectives on incorporating metal in my own spiritual path as a Druid and animist. Each chapter contains reflective exercises, and I soon realized I’m not paying enough attention to my metallic allies.
The author himself states that he’s not an expert in the lore, but he offers a multicultural list of deities and myth associated with metallurgy. I was a little surprised and saddened he didn’t spend more time discussing Brigid or Goibniu in the section on Irish lore, but they at least get a mention. Once more, Thompson never asserts his text is definitive, and the bits of info he supplies is enough to get a seeker on the right path.
I would have liked some more images or photos to go along with the text, especially when he speaks about tools or Ogham. Though I have enough knowledge of the ancient Irish alphabet, anyone unfamiliar to the folklore may be taken out of Thompson’s narrative flow wondering what he’s describing. That’s a very minor critique, however. As long as the reader goes into this book knowing it’s a very informal introduction, they will glean a lot of knowledge and perspective. I definitely recommend this book to any polytheist seeking to explore new avenues of magic.