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Author Topic: The Well-Read Neo-Druid  (Read 3522 times)
Ellen M.
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« Topic Start: June 12, 2011, 01:29:24 pm »

Because it's my philosophy there's no such thing as too many books. Grin

I've started reading my first required book for the DP (I've blogged about it here) and have resolved to dedicate more time to reading in general. When I first started down the Pagan path I voraciously read every book I could lay my hands on. Then I started college and had to exercise discretion with my limited free time. What books have you found particularly helpful or inspiring on your Druidic path? Nature, history, and poetry books count as well, so it doesn't just have to be about Druidry. Smiley
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« Reply #1: June 13, 2011, 12:49:27 am »

What books have you found particularly helpful or inspiring on your Druidic path?

I'm not a druid, but, since I take a CR-ish approach to my path, I've done a lot of reading about the druids and related topics.  One of my favorite books that is specifically druid-related is The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts, by Philip Freeman.  I highly recommend it.

FWIW.   Smiley

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« Reply #2: June 13, 2011, 02:38:58 am »

I'm not a druid, but, since I take a CR-ish approach to my path, I've done a lot of reading about the druids and related topics.  One of my favorite books that is specifically druid-related is The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts, by Philip Freeman.  I highly recommend it.

FWIW.   Smiley

~ Aster

I've been reading more history books etc than specifically druid focused books. But, regardless, I approach everything I read with a critical mind. I don't just swallow anything, including a lot of m pre-conceived / pop-culture notions about things. I like some accuracy in the stuff I swallow. Smiley
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« Reply #3: June 14, 2011, 04:52:08 am »

I've been reading more history books etc than specifically druid focused books. But, regardless, I approach everything I read with a critical mind. I don't just swallow anything, including a lot of m pre-conceived / pop-culture notions about things. I like some accuracy in the stuff I swallow. Smiley

I'm not sure if you're replying to my post about the book The Philosopher and the Druids, or just using my post as a place to hang a general comment about sources.

If you're replying to me, are you saying that the book I mentioned is inaccurate?

I'm not upset.   Smiley   I'm just trying to understand because, if there are issues with that book, I'd really like to know about them so I can factor them into my impression of the book.

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« Reply #4: June 14, 2011, 04:56:24 am »

I'm not sure if you're replying to my post about the book The Philosopher and the Druids, or just using my post as a place to hang a general comment about sources.

If you're replying to me, are you saying that the book I mentioned is inaccurate?

I'm not upset.   Smiley   I'm just trying to understand because, if there are issues with that book, I'd really like to know about them so I can factor them into my impression of the book.

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Nooooo no not at all I've never heard of it to be honest Smiley Was meant to be a general reply Smiley I am curious about the book as I haven't run across it before. Smiley
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Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. - Thomas Jefferson

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« Reply #5: June 14, 2011, 07:18:08 am »

Nooooo no not at all I've never heard of it to be honest Smiley Was meant to be a general reply Smiley I am curious about the book as I haven't run across it before. Smiley

That's cool.  I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing an opportunity to learn about one of my favorite books.   Cheesy

Thanks!

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« Reply #6: June 14, 2011, 01:52:17 pm »

What books have you found particularly helpful or inspiring on your Druidic path? Nature, history, and poetry books count as well, so it doesn't just have to be about Druidry. Smiley

Awesome question! Smiley

Recently, I've started to expand my reading to focus more on the modern environmentalist and Deep Ecology movements, which have been a big influence on a lot of the "green religion" lurking just under the surface of American-style Paganism. Some of my favorite writers in this general subject are folks like David Abram, Rachel Carson, Arne Naess and Joanna Macy, as well as a few anthologies of essays on Deep Ecology. I also very much like Bill Plotkin for his more overtly spiritual approach (his two books, Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul are both fantastic examinations of the human life cycle in the context of the natural world).

When it comes to specifically Druid stuff - I always recommend Emma Restall Orr (any of her stuff, but especially Spirits of the Sacred Grove and Living Druidry) and Graeme Talboy's Way of the Druid. Those are the books I lent to my father to read when he wanted to understand more about my change in religion. (Not that he actually read them. Wink)

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« Reply #7: June 14, 2011, 01:53:21 pm »

One of my favorite books that is specifically druid-related is The Philosopher and the Druids: A Journey Among the Ancient Celts, by Philip Freeman.  I highly recommend it.

This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while! I think your recommendation just bumped it up on my (way too long) wishlist.

So many books, so little time!

--Ali
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« Reply #8: June 14, 2011, 01:56:28 pm »


Oh, I forgot!

I really enjoyed Evangeline Walton's novels based on the Mabigonion tetralogy. Kind of like Mists of Avalon, except Welsh. Wink

--Ali
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« Reply #9: June 14, 2011, 04:41:31 pm »

This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while! I think your recommendation just bumped it up on my (way too long) wishlist.

So many books, so little time!

--Ali

I hear that!  I have almost 200 books in my personal religion-related library, and I STILL have a wish list a mile long.   Wink

BTW, Freeman has a couple of other books out that look interesting, particularly War, Women, and Druids: Eyewitness Reports and Early Accounts of the Ancient Celts and Ireland and the Classical World.

And, of course, there's also Hutton's books, Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain; Druids: A History; and Witches, Druids and King Arthur.  I haven't read them, though, so I'm not sure what the differences are between them.

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« Reply #10: June 15, 2011, 10:38:33 am »

And, of course, there's also Hutton's books, Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain; Druids: A History; and Witches, Druids and King Arthur.  I haven't read them, though, so I'm not sure what the differences are between them.

I've read all three of the Hutton books you mentioned - all very good, though very heavy-handed on the history (some might even call them... *gasp!* dense Wink). I can't compare to Freeman's books, obviously, since I haven't read his... but I know that Hutton tends to focus less on ancient Celtic culture, and more on the role of Druids in the past several hundred years. (This is especially true of his two most recent books on Druids, Druids: a History and Blood and Mistletoe.) This might not be true of his book The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, which I think is more focused on ancient history (I own that book, but haven't had a chance to read it yet).

Also, Hutton is coming from a particularly British perspective, which gives a slight (though only slight) bias to his approach to Welsh and Irish history, especially when it comes to native movements to reinvigorate or preserve the Celtic culture in those areas in modern times. Obviously, the history of conflict between Ireland and Britain is hard to ignore, and he also seemed to me to downplay the resistance to British cultural hegemony in Wales. But other than that, he's very good. Smiley

--Ali
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« Reply #11: June 15, 2011, 08:50:33 pm »

I've read all three of the Hutton books you mentioned - all very good, though very heavy-handed on the history (some might even call them... *gasp!* dense Wink). I can't compare to Freeman's books, obviously, since I haven't read his... but I know that Hutton tends to focus less on ancient Celtic culture, and more on the role of Druids in the past several hundred years. (This is especially true of his two most recent books on Druids, Druids: a History and Blood and Mistletoe.) This might not be true of his book The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, which I think is more focused on ancient history (I own that book, but haven't had a chance to read it yet).

Hutton's book, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, was one of the first scholarly book on ancient paganism that I read.  So it's been a LONG time, but I remember really loving it. And, yes, it *is* dense -- that's part of what I liked about it.  Wink

I also have Station's of the Sun (Hutton), which is pretty different, IIRC.  That one includes brief sections on the various pagan-related holidays/festivals celebrated around the year.  Very informative, but less dense.

While I haven't read all of Freeman's books or all of Hutton's books, I think your distinction is accurate.  Freeman focuses on the ancient history; Hutton ALSO addresses more recent paganism, at least in some of his books.  Also, I think Freeman covers a larger geographic area, while Hutton focuses on the British Isles.  And I think Freeman's books are a little less dense.   Cheesy

IMO and FWIW, both authors are well worth reading.

~ Aster
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« Reply #12: June 18, 2011, 11:47:22 am »

What books have you found particularly helpful or inspiring on your Druidic path? Nature, history, and poetry books count as well, so it doesn't just have to be about Druidry. Smiley

I've been reading/studying just about everything at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's website. I've also being diving into the resources offered by my state's conservation department. None of it has been particularly inspiring, but all of it is helping me come to grips with my local eco region and how it fits into the broader picture. For myself, these are turning out to be good starting points for turning the sensibilities I found in Greer's The Druidry Handbook into practical applications.
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