Review: The Druid’s Primer

The Druid's Primer

by Luke Eastwood

   Review by Morgan Daimler

There are many books on the market that aim to introduce the seeker to the basics of Druidism, but The Druid’s Primer by Luke Eastwood is perhaps the single best introduction book I have read. It's greatest strength is that it manages to present a great deal of modern Druidic material fairly and with clear references to the sources. The author has done a great deal of research into the historic material, which is also presented well and in an easily accessible manner.

The book begins with a chapter that summarizes the historic material. This was very well done, with the material being covered thoroughly and concisely. This section touches on everything from the early Celtic period and what we have from secondary sources such as Pliny and Caesar up to the modern era revival. Although not gone into as deeply as in other books the single chapter effectively summarizes the highlights and is more than enough to get a beginner started or serve as a basic refresher for a more experienced person.

The next chapter tackles possibly the most complex subject in modern Druidism, defining what a Druid is. The book does an excellent job of presenting the different current theories fairly, including the possible etymologies of the word "druid" itself. The different historical sources are once again drawn upon including Irish mythology and the later Barddas, which the text acknowledges as a well known forgery but also influential on the revivalist period. The author also discusses his own view of what a Druid does and who a Druid is, creating a fascinating and complex picture of the modern Druid.

From here the next seven chapters discuss: Gods & Goddesses, Myth & Legend, Elemental Forces, Cosmology, Inspiration, Imramma, and Animism & Animal Worship. Each chapter is a blend of well-researched history and modern application that manages to offer a balanced view of modern Druidism without favoring any one particular path or focus. In most cases multiple views are offered for the reader to consider with sources given so that the reader may further pursue anything of interest.

This is followed by a section, Cycles of the Sun, Moon and Earth, that looks at the historic and modern way that Druids would honor the passing of time and holy days. The author discusses a system of lunar rituals based on Alexei Kondratiev's book [amazon_link id="0806525029" target="_blank" ]The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual[/amazon_link] that could be used by modern Druids seeking to connect to the moon. This is followed by a discussion of the solar year and it's holidays, including all of the eight holidays of the modern pagan wheel of the year.

Next is a section on tools, which looks at the tools historically attributed to the Druids. It begins by discussing clothing, rather in depth, including the colors likely worn and the Irish texts referring to dress and color. Sickles, wands, staffs, the Druid egg, cauldron/chalice, magical branch, musical instruments, the crane bag, and sword are discussed. The four treasures of the Tuatha de Danann are also mentioned in a modern context as tools that Druids today may choose to use, although they have no historic basis in that context.

The final four chapters look at divination, the Ogham, medicine & healing, and justice & wisdom. Each of these was important in some way to the historic Druids and so each chapter looks at how the subject relates to historic Druidism and how these can relate to modern practice.

Overall this book is more than worth the money and certainly the best book to begin with if one is interested in learning about the path of Druidism. It is full of the history of Druidism and also shows the wide array of modern possibilities that are open to new seekers. For more experienced Druids this book will serve as a great refresher or reference.

[amazon_image id="1846947642" link="true" target="_blank" size="medium" ]The Druid's Primer[/amazon_image]

[amazon_link id="1846947642" target="_blank" ]The Druid's Primer[/amazon_link]
Paperback: 318 pages
Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Publisher: John Hunt Publishing; Reprint edition (February 16, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1846947642
ISBN-13: 978-1846947643
List: $26.95 - Amazon: $19.67 -
Kindle $7.99

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A poem (from the first ogham fid): Beith, the birch

A poem (from the first ogham fid):
Beith, the Birch

by Jenne Micale

The pale lady dances on the old field
the fences graying, crumbling to dust
goldenrod, mullein, Queen Anne’s lace, cornflower
where once cows bustled to the new barn.

But that has ended in the long-ago.
The pond forgets the farmer’s dull tread
as its mud swallows the memory of boots.
The field is wild now, pasture for deer.

The birch wasn’t the first on the dance floor.
She wasn’t the moment of ending
the passage of one song to another.
She is, instead, the scrawl on the wall

That marks the first words of the new poem.
Forgotten the farmer, forgotten the field
and only her high step through the meadow
a wraith in her white sheath, garlanded green.

Quick in the breeze now, a shimmer of hair
as mice clamber in the gold at her foot
the bobcat, all stillness, hunting them down
as she writes with her light foot on the green.

Review: Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

by Carmen Reyes

Review by Tony Taylor

Book Cover - Tree Readings 13 Ogham Tree Oracle - Carmen Reyes

Tree Readings is a lovely little book that walks the reader through thirteen of the ogham consonants.  “Q” and “Z” are not included nor are the vowels, however, because they really are about kennings and the tree lore that is okay.  She helps the reader discover their tree allies and inspires cultivation of relationship with the trees and the goddesses related to them.

The book is divided into two major sections, first the Tree Signs.  In the Tree Signs, Carmen assigns an ogham to standard trees and then focuses on the benefit of the ogham.  For example, Holly’s ogham is “Creativity and Mastery.”  She includes a “Lady” she associates the ogham with, adds some key associations, words, poetry, and a Celtic astrology association.

In the Kennings, Charms & Treasures section, the author provides botanical highlights, associations for the Word Ogham, various other associations, and, most interestingly, to a particular Goddess.  I was distracted by the inclusion of Roman & Greek deities; however, adhering to one pantheon os specific to Keltrian practice.

She finishes the book with a Tree Calendar, information on tree essences, references to further reading, supplies, and a nice bibliography.

Carmen is a member of the Henge of Keltria and I considered nominating her book as the “Best academic book” by a Keltrian, to the Druid Academy Nomination Award Committee  (DANAC) for an “Oakie” award.  However, there are no DANAC awards this year, but I am hoping I will still be able to submit her fine book next year.

I recommended Tree Readings for anyone wishing to develop their relationship with trees.
[amazon_link id="1453690719" target="_blank" ]Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle[/amazon_link] Tree Readings: 13 Ogham Tree Oracle

  • Paperback: 76 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (July 29, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1453690719
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453690710

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