Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

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Aigeann
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Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Aigeann » 05 Jul 2007, 20:02

We'd like to ask for people's suggestions for a first book for newcomers to Druidry along with a few specific statements as to why you would recommend this book.  It would be most helpful if the complete title, author and ISBN can be included making it easy to locate a copy.

This is meant to be a list created by individual recommendations and in NO way a list of recommended books by OBOD.

I'll start....

Personally, I always suggest:     Complete Idiot's Guide to Celtic Wisdom by Carl McColman ISBN: 0028644174

Basically the book gives a brief overview about the Ancient Druids as well as what I see as the two main branches of modern Druidry:  Revivalry and  Reconstruction/Celtic Traditionalist/Celtic Paganism.  This title also gives some suggested rituals and other helpful ideas for someone considering starting along the path of the Druid.  

This book isn't perfect, but it is easy to understand and to find used plus usually at a price that won't wipe out someone's budget.  YMMV
Last edited by Aigeann on 05 Jul 2007, 23:19, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby katsu » 05 Jul 2007, 21:51

For those of you that want a nice and easy readable introduction to Druidry:

What do Druids believe by Phillip Carr-Gomm. (ISBN-10: 1862078645; ISBN-13: 978-1862078642)

I've found it an easy way to give people a brief overview of contemporary Druidry and its roots.
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Postby Beith » 06 Jul 2007, 00:18

Hi! Great idea for a thread Aigeann!

I would recommend any person with a new interest in Druids and things Celtic, to read the mythic tales of Ireland and Wales (and of course if one can get them, Scots and Breton, Manx and Cornish tales too, though these are not as widely published I think?)

So in the Irish corner (the rainy guinness-sodden one)

Marie Heaney: Over Nine Waves
Simple narrative style, various Irish mythological tales in 'cycles' of Gods, Fenians, Ulster. Covers the most famous tales of the Túatha Dé Danann, Fionn MacCumhaill and the Fianna, CúChulainn and the Ulstermen.

Lady Augusta Gregory: Complete Irish Mythology (preface by WB Yeats)

This is a fantastic book, also classified into cycles of "Gods and Fighting Men", "The Fenian Cycle", "The Ulster Cycle" containing many short and lesser known tales as well as the major ones. It is written though, in translation to English from the Irish vernacular, so the style of writing may not accommodate to everyone's tastes, but I liked it alot because if you can imagine being told these stories, by a turf fire and candlelight, with a glass of singlemalt in your hand and a dark black night outside, you'll enjoy it all the more!


There are any number of books on Irish mythology but I'd recommend these two off the cuff. I think John and Caitlín Matthews have also published several in this area.

For the Welsh Myths, I guess it's got to be
Lady Charlotte Guest's "The Mabinogion" but I think there's another translation just recently published? The welsh folks on board will probably know more on that than I.

General compilation of Celtic tales from the various countries:(includes Scots, Manx, Cornish, Breton tales in addition to Irish and Welsh)

Peter Berresford Ellis - Celtic Myths and Legends

also his book on "The Druids" is a good opener for many people. Not sure how accurate he is in every respect but good info in there by and large.

And I have to give "The Great One" a citation too:

Philip Carr Gomm's "Elements of Druid Tradition".
I picked up a copy of this years ago ...I think it's since been republished under another title? If I recall correctly, it's largely to do with modern druidry of the OBOD variety, but also contains historical info on the druids and quoted pieces from classical commentators. What I liked most about it when I read it, was the very open, honest and quite touching info on PCG's own background in and introduction to latter day Druidy.

{Now Phil. Do I get a backhander for the recommendation? Discreet entry to OBOD Towers? Signed copy of a Sussex bus ticket? coffee-stained back issue of Touchstone? lock of hair? smoked salmon bagel?...:wink: )  


best wishes and happy reading!

Beith

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Postby Celtic Knight » 06 Jul 2007, 07:51

One I made earlier: :wink:

Books

I would 1st read Druid Mysteries by Philip Carr-Gomm.

Then, for a more experiential book, try Druid Priestess by Emma Restall Orr.

For a more in depth introduction to Druidry, you might want to read The Path Through the Forest by Julie White and Graeme Talboys.

Online

For a good on-line introduction, read What is Druidry by Emma Restall Orr. This is the online version, slightly updated, of her book the Principles of Druidry, which is now out of print.
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Postby Rada » 06 Jul 2007, 22:35

For a good on-line introduction, read What is Druidry by Emma Restall Orr. This is the online version, slightly updated, of her book the Principles of Druidry, which is now out of print.
This website is great, thanks  :)

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Postby Philip » 20 Aug 2007, 19:44

Hi Beith,
I will gladly post you an old bus ticket!
The Elements of the Druid Tradition you kindly refer to has been republished as The Druid Mysteries with updated material etc...
Perhaps I should send you that rather than the bus ticket?
Yours in the Sussex mists,
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Postby Kernos » 20 Aug 2007, 21:33

I too started with the Elements book by Philip. I was searching at that time and found the book fit remarkably well with what I sought. I did not know the Mysteries book was its successor.

For my suggestion, I find James Mackillop's Dictionary of Celtic Mythology most useful and a quick way to find out about deities, words, figures from myth and legends, etc. It is encyclopedic. I find it much better than the book of the same title by Peter Barresford Ellis.

It is out of print, but used copies are easy to come by for a song. I strongly suggest a hardback so it will survive heavy use. I keep a copy in the bedroom, my study and at work.

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Postby Aigeann » 21 Aug 2007, 21:05

I
For my suggestion, I find James Mackillop's Dictionary of Celtic Mythology most useful and a quick way to find out about deities, words, figures from myth and legends, etc. It is encyclopedic. I find it much better than the book of the same title by Peter Barresford Ellis.

It is out of print, but used copies are easy to come by for a song. I strongly suggest a hardback so it will survive heavy use. I keep a copy in the bedroom, my study and at work.

Kernos
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                         YES, I agree!.  I keep a copy handy next to all our computers.

Good suggestion, Aigeann
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Julia Rhiamon » 27 Mar 2008, 13:46

I loved Peter Berresford Ellis' book The Druids, but I also ask myself whether the information in his book is relliable or not :???: , though I loved it when I read it.
What do you think about it?
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Aigeann » 27 Mar 2008, 17:00

Hi Julia and welcome to the Board!

Well, Ellis book changed my life. Really. I read it while I was searching and I completely embraced what he wrote about their culture. I've been on the Druid's Path ever since.

Unfortunately, over the years I've learned that much of what he presented as fact was in reality his own opinion.

I still feel it is a decent introduction into the ancient Celts and Druids.

A search of this board using the author's name will bring up many comments people have posted about him and this very book.

Blessings, Aigeann
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby mwyalchen » 28 Mar 2008, 00:09

I see Beith posted earlier about translations of the Mabinogion.

The new translation she mentioned is out now, from Oxford. It's by Sioned Davies, and it's excellent - the best yet, I think, though like most modern translations it doesn't have the story of Taliesin.

For Taliesin, as well as the Four Branches and Culwch and Olwen, the Patrick Ford translation is good if you can find it. But what he gives is a good translation of just one of the sources, so it's you'll still worth taking a look at the Charlotte Guest version to see what she made of it. The Charlotte Guest translation, of course, is easy to find online though rather faulty.

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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Damascus-Templar » 28 Mar 2008, 04:52

For a great "feel", I'd recommend The Druid Way, by our Philip. And I'll take a ticket....
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Art » 28 Mar 2008, 06:37

There are a lot of excellent suggestions in this thread. One of the books I would recommend early on is PCG’s:”The Druid Way ISBN: 1-85230-365-4.” This marvelous book yields a feel for contemporary Druidry that is a boon for anyone strolling along this gentle journey. My well-worn copy has been a source of inspiration many times over the years (Yikes! It’s been years?) and it’s never far from hand. In my opinion, it's an inspired work that most assuredly inspired me.

In addition to the previous suggestions I’ll toss in a couple by Ronald Hutton:

The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy, 1993 - ISBN 0-631-18946-7 Some of Hutton’s work is dry as a bone but it’s rarely boring. “Pagan Religions” gives a good overview of different culture based religions which held sway in Britain over an extended period of time. It’s a good overview.

The Druids: A History, 2007 - ISBN 978-1852855338 Hutton gives an overview of the way Druids have been perceived through the ages along with a summary of the history of contemporary Druidry and some thoughts on where it may be going. There is a lot of information in the book even if some of it makes you want to exclaim, “Say is isn’t so Ron!”
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby SidheAingeal » 28 Mar 2008, 09:46

The Druids: A History, 2007 - ISBN 978-1852855338 Hutton gives an overview of the way Druids have been perceived through the ages along with a summary of the history of contemporary Druidry and some thoughts on where it may be going. There is a lot of information in the book even if some of it makes you want to exclaim, “Say is isn’t so Ron!”
I agree, thsi book is excellent, but it does have some moments where he reveals thing you rather wish weren't true. I must say it is also one of his most readable volumes, though tat was his intent.
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Kernos » 28 Mar 2008, 14:47

For Taliesin, as well as the Four Branches and Culwch and Olwen, the Patrick Ford translation is good if you can find it. But what he gives is a good translation of just one of the sources, so it's you'll still worth taking a look at the Charlotte Guest version to see what she made of it. The Charlotte Guest translation, of course, is easy to find online though rather faulty.
There is 2nd revised edition of Ford's translation, in paperback, published Feb 2008, US$12.89, £10.93 ISBN 0520253965:

http://www.amazon.com/Mabinogi-Other-Me ... 520253965/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mabinogi-Other- ... 520253965/

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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby OakWyse » 04 Apr 2008, 15:10

I'm a big believer in experiential books rather than histories or "how-to's."
I'd suggest:

The Druid Way, Philip Carr-Gomm

Druid Priestess, Emma Restall Orr

I do know of another, but it would be self-promotion to mention it, so I shan't. (grin)

OakWyse/|\

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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Fitheach » 05 Apr 2008, 15:48

Then, I won't mention it either :grin: , but I highly recommend it!!
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby jtoone » 06 Apr 2008, 00:31

Then, I won't mention it either :grin: , but I highly recommend it!!
Well I will mention it - The Apple and the Thorn is an awesome book by our very own Oakwyse and Emma Restall Orr - I have read it twice in the last 4 months!!

and I have to say I have two copies of Emma Restall Orr's Living Druidry so that I could highlight all the good stuff without ruining a book I want to keep and re-read time and time again. In the US I had to pay sixty dollars for just one copy!!!! but it was worth it. :)
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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Davi » 31 Jul 2008, 04:51

Hi Everyone,

I'm everyone, I'm pretty 'new'to Druidism in this life time. However, here are the books that helped me get started-

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin and John Matthews
ISBN-10:1852307862
ISBN-13:978-1852307868
This is a GREAT book by these two world-wide famous authors. It contains translations in a more mordern way for easy understanding, but still retaining the same meaning. It explains clearly and easily many Druidic practices. It's just an awsome and very well written book. My very first one.

The Mysteries of Britain: Secret Rites and Traditions of Ancient Britain Restored by Lewis Spence
ISBN: 1-85958-057-2
This is an old book and very scholarly and well written. Some of the information on it might be outdated ( I don't know, I'm not a Celtic scholar, I just assume it is because it's more than a century old). However, much stuff in it matches withwhat I read today. Lewis Spence has researched many ancient traditions around the worldand was an expert in mythology. So I trust the material on the book. He digs up all these old documents from the 16th, 17th century and earlier to prove that though fragmented, druidic practice was able to survive Roman times, and could still be found in Celtic countries at the time the book was written(1905).

The Druids by Stuart Piggott
ISBN-10: 0500273634
ISBN-13:978-0500273630

Another scholarly book. A little too scholarly for me, but very good for people who don't want present day Druid fantasy. In it, the author analyzes the history and traditions of the druids from Roman accounts to how the Druidic view changed during the Romantic era. I have not finished reading this one, so there is not much I can say yet. But what I've read so far it's a pretty good one.

Hope This Helps,
Davi

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Re: Personally Recommended Books for Neophytes

Postby Kernos » 31 Jul 2008, 16:27

Piggot's book is about 30 years out of date and before the renaissance in Celtic studies. I would recommend a more updated source for beginners. Hutton, Chadwick, Anne Ross, Cunliffe etc.

The Matthews are quite enjoyable, but again their scholarly bits are quite out dated.

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