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A shamanic journey through an ancient landscape|
The Druid Way
Author: Philip Carr-Gomm [a Witchvox Sponsor]
Publisher: Thoth Books
Category: Paganism Level: All
This whole book is a delight. It is the diary of a sacred journey, through sacred space, and through the heart and mind, as well as a useful practical guide to the countryside and its associations and history. It is a book to use and to keep and to remember.
Asphodel, review in Wood and Water
Philip Carr-Gomm’s intelligence – not unlike Andrew Harvey’s – has a bright, mercurial and energizing quality that immediately stimulates interest and attention. Far superior to a rote historical study, his book is an experiential pilgrimage, a first-hand account that could only be charted by someone as sufficiently steeped in the ideas from the inside of his skin as is Philip. And here is where it begins: high on the downlands above Lewes on the South Downs Way, as he stands on Itford Hill at the outset of his circular journey of excursion and return. From here, in twenty-one chapters, he unfolds a compelling narrative that is both story and exploration, memory and discourse, homily and lyric exposition, coloured with his own immediate psychic perception.
‘I plead very guilty to being indeed my own ancestor’, as Nuinn is quoted in the book…and what is everywhere present here is the presence of the past that the whole landscape resonates, and that Philip unearths, naming original place names, tracking lost paths gone to grass and cut through by our present roads – and he does so with a sense of detail reminiscent of Gilbert White, though his canvas is larger.
Jay Ramsay, review in Resurgence
The Druid Way makes an interesting departure from the routine glut of Paganism-by-numbers manuals. Instead it describes one person’s journey in the countryside of southern England that evolves into any-person’s journey of self-discovery, and discovery of the Goddess of the Land. This is refreshingly in touch with the roots of our primal traditions, containing much of interest on the lore of the Land: giants, dragons, ancestors, birds, trees and the seasons. Our relationship with the Goddess is explored in depth, with particular insights into the misdirection of male energy.
Martin Wood, review in Pagan Dawn
This book sees a welcome return of the genre of writing favoured by Richard Jefferies, W.H.Hudson and H.J.Massingham, all of whom documented the downland landscape with discursive and insightful wisdom. The Druid Way passes beyond the rural appeal of these writers by the interweaving of place with the author’s own druidic tradition. Here is one who has walked the land and understood its secrets through every sense. Here there is no urging to try out techniques you don’t understand the need or purpose of, no exhortation to join or become anything that you are not; just a strong affirmation to explore the land as the person that you are, to be a soul on pilgrimage through life itself, listening to the voices of the heart within you and the earth beneath your feet.
This timely book speaks to all who seek for the roots of their belonging in the land in which they live. It provides inspiration, soul-food and encouragement to those who long to be part of the richer life of this beautiful planet.
Caitlin Matthews, review in Touchstone
It took some time to adjust to the writer’s fusion of vision, poetry and academic fact. Philip Carr-Gomm’s style is not to present fixed dogmas or structures of belief but to wander freely among ideas and images, allowing great play to the subconscious mind.
The seed of the journey is set on the occasion of a death at the Winter Solstice, initiating an exploration of Life and Death within the Celtic year. The outward journey, at Imbolc, is full of exploration and growth on many levels. It ends with the discovery of the Harvest God’s wound. Fittingly the return journey is made at Lughnasadh. In the time between, there has been a death and a birth.
This superficially simple book contains an underlying complexity which provokes disagreement as well as insight. It is an interesting contribution towards the constantly growing recognition of the older forms of the land, yearly negated by the tarmac chain-mail which, paradoxically, denies access to Place and the related portion of our collective cultures. The lasting image of the book is the sexually ambivalent figure of Wilmington, the empty space enclosed by the chalk lines, a creative metaphor for the path of those inspired by indigenous spirituality.
Talking Stick magazine
Your book has succeeded in waking me up on a wet Monday morning in November. I’m going to publish it.
Michael Mann, publisher of the first edition
Author's Notes: This book has been out of print for a while (ever since the original Element Books went bust) . But a new edition, published by Thoth Books, with a new preface and revised material is due out in August 2005!
Where To Buy: Thoth Books - a great resource: http://thoth.co.uk --- The Hart of Oak - the online store of The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Also available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk
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