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Speculation


Guest Ardaen
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I've been reading a few books for a while now and also following various topics on this and other forums. The only thing I can conclude is that I know nothing and neither do a number of authors. Speculation seems to be the order of the day. I understand that any book is an opinion put forward by the one who has written it but most are usually based on some fact or are at least referenced to another work.

 

I had no idea there was so little 'known' of paganism and that alot of what we read is guesswork or speculation on the part of the author.

 

Are there any works out there that can be or have been verified to any degree?

 

Bad cold going on so apologies for the rambling.

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Perhaps this is why I think my path is more to be learned in the world than in a book. Have looked at a few and agree there is allot of speculation out there.

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I had no idea there was so little 'known' of paganism and that alot of what we read is guesswork or speculation on the part of the author.

 

I think you've been reading the wrong books.

 

Are there any works out there that can be or have been verified to any degree?

 

It depends on what you mean by "verified" - if you mean "historically authentic" then sure H.E. Davidson is a good place to start - or any other respected academic historian.

 

A good guide is if the author has a silly made up name then avoid.

 

The other kind of verification is a little bit harder - you have to try it yourself with the right level of openness, curiosity and also skeptism.

 

Marcus

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Hello,

One of the best ways of finding books that are credible is to ask on a forum like this for references. Once you have a few good books on the topic, have a look at what books the authors reference, find them books and see what books they reference and so on. Some times you realise that all the books you first read, reference back to just a few books!

 

Hope that helps. :o_wave:

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Once you have a few good books on the topic, have a look at what books the authors reference, find them books and see what books they reference and so on.

 

 

Hope that helps. <_<

404615[/snapback]

 

Very good point James, thanks :)

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Much depends on what you are looking for.

 

You have probably seen the many confused posts on this Starter's Forum as people realise that there are as many Paganisms as Pagans. There are loads of references here [A few threads back] for anyone wanting to read something general.

 

Much of what is written HAS to be speculation. I've never seen anything about the history of Druidry that wasn't speculation. Some good reads but all speculation.

 

You might find better documentation of Nordic and Roman Paganism but I'll leave that to the Heathens and the Romans. I'm a thought surfing Druid happy with the Uncertainty Principle <_< :) :D

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Much depends on what you are looking for.

 

You have probably seen the many confused posts on this Starter's Forum as people realise that there are as many Paganisms as Pagans.  There are loads of references here [A few threads back] for anyone wanting to read something general.

 

Much of what is written HAS to be speculation.  I've never seen anything about the history of Druidry that wasn't speculation.  Some good reads but all speculation.

 

You might find better documentation of Nordic and Roman Paganism but I'll leave that to the Heathens and the Romans.  I'm a thought surfing Druid happy with the Uncertainty Principle :lol:  :lol:  :D

404700[/snapback]

 

Thanks for the reply. What would be a good starting Druidry book Moonsmith?

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Much depends on what you are looking for.

 

You have probably seen the many confused posts on this Starter's Forum as people realise that there are as many Paganisms as Pagans.  There are loads of references here [A few threads back] for anyone wanting to read something general.

 

Much of what is written HAS to be speculation.  I've never seen anything about the history of Druidry that wasn't speculation.  Some good reads but all speculation.

 

You might find better documentation of Nordic and Roman Paganism but I'll leave that to the Heathens and the Romans.  I'm a thought surfing Druid happy with the Uncertainty Principle :lol:  :lol:  :D

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Thanks for the reply. What would be a good starting Druidry book Moonsmith?

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Depends where you are starting from.

 

If it is to be Druidry and nothing else then Philip Carr-Gomm is very readable. Start maybe with "Druid Mysteries".

Later and if you enjoy healthy skepticism but pure gold at the end of it then "Blood and Mistletoe" by Ron Hutton. Given your statement about speculation this might be the book for you. There is a chapter that deals with the sort of thing that can and cannot be drawn from apparent "evidence". Its also interesting in that Hutton is an historian and the one thing that Druidry signally lacks is History in the literal sense of the word.

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Hi

I suppose I would also add, depends what you mean by speculation, and what you mean by verify. There is a lot of rubbish out there, unfortunately. But I also think that magic is perceived subjectively, and we can find our own inner verification, that may appear to be speculation from the outside. I suppose something like the difference between imagination and fancy. Imagination being a way we can find and perceive the inner worlds, fancy being fairly surface wish-fulfillment. Hope this makes sense and isn`t off-topic. I just sometimes think any of my experiences might be seen by another as purely speculative, and maybe they are, but that doesn`t make them untrue necessarily.

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There are loads of books which might be of use to pagans which contain no speculation at all. Books on birds, weather, herbs, gardening. I guess it depends on what form your Paganism takes. Books about pagan paths will be riddled with speculation, but if you are a bog standard pagan who forges their own path, then books such as the ones I have mentioned can be more useful than books regurgitating speculations on speculations of earlier speculations.

 

Mike

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If it is to be Druidry and nothing else then Philip Carr-Gomm is very readable.  Start  maybe with "Druid Mysteries".

 

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Now that's the only book of Carr-Gomm's I own, and it;s the reason why there aren't any more, :(

 

he is extremely readable, but i also find him unacceptably speculative. His is one of only two books I was sufficiently irritated when reading (the other is Viv Crowley's "Wicca") to annotate. There are comments such as ""we are presented with a rich and exciting field of study which in recent years or so has helped us form a picture of Druidry which suggests a continuity of tradition from the neolithic right through to the Celtic era." This comment is based on mentioning that:

- there was a language called ogham of which we have less than 400 examples from 2 centureies

- that people made pictures of animals and humans from the 6 century BC onwards

- the Romancs wriote about the Druids

- we have material probably created during the Iron Age but not written until medieval times about mythology in Ireland, Wales and Scotland

- there are the Brehon Laws

 

Going on from this, on the next page, Carr-Gomm states " it is now acceptable to call the neolithic megalith builders of Britain proto-druids...(The term 'proto-Druid' simply means 'early Druid'..)" without any evidence to support this statement.

 

In chapter 3, which is called "The Bridge of a Thousand years", over the first one and a half pages, I logged 2 x probablys, 1 x possibly, 1 x may well have, 1 x suggest, 1 x seem to have been, 1 x it is said. That builds a lovely house of cards that is then presented as a sound foundation rather than baseless specaaltion.

 

sorry, I'm not trying to knock Carr-Gomm. If you completely ignore all his silliness in attempting to link stone circles with modern druidry, or prove that there is a virtually unbroken line of druidry but to the neolithic era, then the rest of the book is fine. :)

 

Ardaen - there is a lot of medieval material that are the old tales written down before they were completely lost. I'm talking about the Celtic and Heathen religions here. And a lot of argument as to what influence Christianity has over the ext we read.

 

Then there is the contemperaneous stuff that was written while religions were still at their ehight - look to the Roman and Greek civilisations for that in Europe, or the kemetic in Egypt. It depends what you're looking for.

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Ardaen - there is a lot of medieval material that are the old tales written down before they were completely lost. I'm talking about the Celtic and Heathen religions here. And a lot of argument as to what influence Christianity has over the ext we read.

 

 

Anything you would pick out as being a good starting point?

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You could read the old myths and legends. It really depends how authentic you wish to be. For example, if you wanted to begin with Greek stuff, do you want to begin with Hesiod and Homer or with Robert Graves "The Greek Myths"?

 

the same thing applies across all religions - the original texts plus commentary or someone's retelling of the tales?

 

To be frank, to put things into context across the board as a very reasonable starting point, I'd recommend this book. All you'll get is information without speculation. from there you can go on to view the claims others make about any pagan religion by asking yourself "what is the source for these claims?" "are there texts?" "What do the texts tell us as opposed to what people say?" etc

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now i don't personally own this, but i have heard its a pretty good little book

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pagan-Paths-Druidr...94321387&sr=8-1

 

Pagan Paths by Pete Jennings

 

You can also pick up myths and legends type of books very cheaply, which are fun to read and give a lot of meaning to some paths, for instance greek, roman, celtic and norse.

 

With the norse path you can also pick up the eddas. Poetic and Prose are both available. I personally prefer the poetic.

 

Philip Carr Gomm is incredibly easy to read. I have his book on English Magic. Would suggest him if you have an interest in druidry like moonsmith suggested.

 

Its maddening trying to find worthwhile books on paganism. I usually find the better the read, the more hiked up the price is :D

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Pete Jennings is excellent as a guide to a range of possibilities. My own preference is for:

 

ALL TOGETHER NOW - YOU ALL KNOW THE NEXT LINE:-

 

Speaking Earth Listening People by Graham Harvey.

 

The introduction contains the very best definition of Paganism that I've seen - Its not perfect and wouldn't satisfy everyone here but I think its the best I've seen.

 

He also repeatedly refers to Humans and "Other than Humans" into which you can write whatever you like from Nature to Spirit and everything in between.

 

His enthusiasm for the Earth also veers towards the Eco-warrior.

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