Four books about four different paths this month – Shinto, Shamanism, Druidry and Luciferianism!
The full list of this month’s reviews is as follows….
- Robin Herne, Old Gods, New Druids
- Shin’nyo Kawai, The Wisdom of Ise Jingu
- Diane Narraway (ed.), Lucifer: The Light of the Aeon
- Leo Rutherford, The View Through the Medicine Wheel: Shamanic Maps of How the Universe Works
Robin Herne, Old Gods, New Druids
(Moon Books, 2009)
★★★ Read of the Month! ★★★
I am not exaggerating when I say that Robin Herne’s Old Gods, New Druids is the best introduction to Druidry I have read to date. I think much of this is due to Herne’s clear and beautiful writing style. Perhaps this is no surprise – unlike most other writers of Pagan literature, Herne writes fiction as well (see my review of his brilliantly original A Dangerous Place). This means that Herne understands that all writing is storytelling, and in order to win over your reader, you have to tell a good story. Truly Druidic thinking, if ever there was!
Old Gods, New Druids introduces Druidry primarily through looking at the lives of the ancient Celts – their morals and values, rites, and spiritual outlook. Some of the subjects covered in here include herbs, the Ogam alphabet, the Sidhe, and magic. Each chapter is light and concise, perfect for beginners who want to read more slowly and absorb the information bit by bit. While you won’t find any full ritual scripts in here, as is often found in other introductory books on Paganism, each chapter ends with questions that the reader can either ponder themselves or discuss in a group, and practical activities that can help the reader to get a full understanding of Druidry.
For a book that focuses so much on looking at the historical lives of the Druids, one thing that Old Gods, New Druids perhaps falls down on is the lack proper references and a bibliography (although there is a “recommended reading” list at the back). Evidence on how the Celts and Druids lived is extremely scant, and so any book lacking in academic citations for historical accounts should not be fully trusted as a reference book to history. But arguably that isn’t the purpose of Herne’s work, and even if his conclusions about the lives of the Druids are more guesswork and inference than solid fact, they are still compelling and relevant to modern-day practitioners.
This is the first book on Druidry I have ever read that actually made me want to actively pursue a more Druidic approach to my path. And if that isn’t a good review, I don’t know what is!