The Children’s Fire reveals the profoundly rich narrative of Britain’s tribal past and the animate world we once inhabited. It calls to the ancient sleeping beauty existing in our dormant wild heart and asserts that we can return home, link hands as a people, and redefine the purpose that guides our twenty-first century lives. It is part of a larger story that is surfacing all around the world. It is a choice waiting to be made.
Praise for The Children’s Fire
Few amongst us have both the integrity of spirit to undertake a genuine earth-walk, and the poetry-of-soul to write about it afterwards in such passionate, powerful terms. Mac Macartney is one who has both. In this time of great turning, when we each must examine our heartfelt relationship to the earth and the more-than-human world around us, Mac’s journey is a guiding light, and an inspiration, a paean to the possible, to the best that we can be. With strength in the vulnerability, spanning the wide, wide spectrum of what it is to be human on this earth at this time, there could not be a more important – or timely – work.
Mac Macartney is a prophet of cultural renewal, an interrupter of the Western egocentric-consumer worldview, a wild man, an elder, a humble pilgrim, perhaps a present-day druid, and an enchanting storyteller. In The Children’s Fire, he recounts his three-weeks’ solo journey on foot, without map or compass, through the scarred but still sacred lands of his native Britain to a mythic, real, holy isle — a dreamtime pilgrimage to reclaim his/our original human wildness and belonging to the land, undertaken on behalf of the children of all species seven generations hence. You won’t want to be left behind. Join him.
At a time when England wrestles with identity, Mac Macartney explores some origins of traumatic violence, reaching back to Roman times. Here is a pilgrim quest through geography, history and spirituality. Captivating, haunting, and at times disquieting, yet: ‘… walking into a death landscape … I knew that I was walking into life.’
When Mac Macartney speaks you listen. His is a true and, sadly, rare voice of wisdom in our times. His words come from a place of ‘embodied’ knowing rather than the all-too-common preachings of the conceptual mind. His written words resonate with the same depth of wisdom, and if you let them in, will nourish your very core. Our minds may have become adept at dismissing wisdom, but our hearts know what really makes sense. Mac writes to your heart – listen to him and to it.
“If, like me, you are baffled by how it’s possible for humanity to throw itself headlong, in the face of overwhelming evidence, down a path that is impoverishing our environment then this book hints at an intriguing possibility. Honest and soul-bearing, The Children’s Fire is an account of one man’s journey, unaided and on foot, following an ancient path through landscape and history to reveal a rich vein of British indigenous culture. Like so many indigenous cultures around the world, the tribes of Britain lived in concert with, and at the mercy of, nature’s rhythms. And, like so many indigenous cultures, their demise was marked by a brutal invasion that left a deep collective trauma and disconnect. The Children’s Fire makes the bold suggestion that this trauma more than ripples on today – it is firmly in the driving seat of our dysfunctional relationship with the natural world. A fascinating re-framing of Britain’s ancient history that offers a fresh perspective to a very modern question of whether it’s possible to live our 21st century lives in harmony with the natural world.”
“Do not be deceived by the beautiful lyricism of The Children’s Fire. Beneath the evocative and multi-layered description of Mac’s wintertime pilgrimage from Malvern to Anglesey lies a hard-hitting commentary on contemporary society, emphasising the existential threat inherent in our present direction, and the vital need to shift from “dominion over” to “relationship with”. Highly recommended.”
I have often lamented the seeming European lack of in-touchness with their indigenous traditions—but this book forcefully erases that lament. Operating from a dictate by a Native American elder to make contact with the seeming “lost” indigenous soul of his own land, the author moves courageously in both theory and practice to heal the soul loss. Theoretically, he makes a strong case for the imperial conquest of Rome having not only wiped out the ancient wisdom and cultures but even the appreciation of these cultures and he sees that same imperial energy operating during 2000 years of Western history. In practice, he dares to undergo his own rite of passage by embarking on an adventurous pilgrimage on ancient trails in the depths of a severe winter to arrive at a holy place of his Celtic ancestors. The result is a magical, spiritual, political tour de force—a trumpet blast that pierces the spiritual somnolence of ages, that England is back and it is the ancient respect for the sacredness of creation that will retire human anthropocentrism and its accompanying imperialism and will awaken Europe again. Creation spirituality indeed!
The Children’s Fire is a roadmap for our species. Charted by a remarkable explorer who has made this journey himself, it takes us deep
into forests and places of wildness, and into the heart of “incorruptible sanity”. It steers us back from the brink of planetary extinction.
Mac Macartney inspires me. He is an important guide for our time.
In The Children’s Fire, he invites us into a deepening of life and love of life.
He describes a sacred purpose we can all share and take part in – to mend what is broken – contributing to the recovery of our world and ourselves.
I love Mac’s book. Here’s a glimpse of a journey of a man choosing the high road – as he treks, he travels deep into his innermost being and steps out of his comfort zone. And what an odyssey – one that had me living and breathing with Mac, every step he takes. This Children’s Fire shall burn deeply into all our hearts.
Mac Macartney has long been a story teller of the first-degree, engaging folk of all ages, tribes and backgrounds wherever he speaks. He is one of those gifted story-tellers who is guaranteed to make the hair on the back of your neck stand-up time and again. The Children’s Fire is epic. It takes us on a journey way back in time, and deeply into our present predicament, while also provoking our emerging future by tapping into a wisdom within and all around us to which we have access if we so choose to listen and trust.
Buy online or order from your favourite local bookshop: ISBN 978-1-78860-045-3
Mac’s first book, Finding Earth, Finding Soul: the invisible path to authentic leadership, vividly asserts the power of imagination, the joy of walking our own way and the profound intimacy of finding relationship with others and with life.
‘Finding Earth, Finding Soul is about choice; it’s about destiny; and offers great insights into what it means to be a leader of our time. This book will inspire your soul. Properly understood, it will profoundly transform your life.’
Buy a Copy or order from your favourite local bookshop: ISBN 978-1-903998-99-1