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Genuinely Good Reading


Ember Autumn Rose
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So after reading this brilliantly amusing thread ( https://thevalley.uk...__1#entry553703 )

 

I thought it might be useful for people to suggest books which ARE useful and ARE accurate, and not full of rubbish :) or perhaps the top 1-3 books you might recommend to those who are new or wanting to learn more a new area.

 

For me, one of the books I own that isn't so bad is Breverton's Complete Herbal - which includes Culpepper information. In this, it gives the binomial nomenclature, other names of plants that might be known colloquially, a description of the plant, a history behind the plants, and the plant's uses. It's not as "fluffy" as other books. That being said, I would say it's more of an interesting read than a purely factual tome.

 

 

*edit* apologies if someone has already made a thread like this...

Edited by Ember Autumn Rose
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Black Elk Speaks (a real great book for people interested in native american beliefs, practices and history. its the real deal, not fluffy stuff)

 

Animate Earth by Stephen Harding. Great if you are interested ecology or in a more wholistic approach to science.

 

Stations of the Sun by Ronald Hutton: its the history about the festivals and customs relating to the time of year practiced by people in the british isles. Its a bit heavier reading than the other two but still quite managable if you read it in bitesize chunks.

 

I read it over the year. Aiming to be reading the bit about that time of year as i got there.

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If you are interested in Wicca - anything by Philip John Heselton and Ronald Hutton' other books .....

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I agree with the Ronald Hutton recommendation! I've only read part of "Triumph of the Moon" and I would love to read his other books..

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I would love to recommend Lisa Chamberlain particularly Wicca crystal magic! Especially if you are like me and have a love affair with crystals :wub:

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For all his faults, Robert Graves did a decent job of providing a digest of Greek myths; just take his commentaries with a pinch of salt and take note of his references to original texts.

 

Don't dismiss fiction. One purpose of reading is to get ideas that you can weigh up, even if you don't accept them at the end of the day. I quite liked Peter Straub's Shadowland, from that standpoint. To my mind it suggests a greater continuity between what we call the spiritual and the mundane than, perhaps, we tend to assume. But that's just my take on it.

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I agree with you about fiction Ellinas. Normally it is reading a story that gets you feeling something powerful, not bare facts. I think there is a is truth to be found in stories. And where do the story's come from? I like the term inspiration. the creator being inspired: the spirit of the thing coming into them and then the creator expressing that.

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I agree with you about fiction Ellinas. Normally it is reading a story that gets you feeling something powerful, not bare facts. I think there is a is truth to be found in stories. And where do the story's come from? I like the term inspiration. the creator being inspired: the spirit of the thing coming into them and then the creator expressing that.

 

You should try Moonhunter's books .... there are, so far, 11 and they are wonderful!

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I've got the first one. It was really good :) I should get the rest of the series!

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The first one is in my Amazon basket, waiting to be bought :D

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Years ago, here in the Valley it was generally agreed that Terry Pratchet had had a highly influential effect on attitudes to Witchcraft. I tried to find the thread but it is more than one generation of UKP into the past.

 

I agree with the Ronald Hutton recommendation! I've only read part of "Triumph of the Moon" and I would love to read his other books..

 

I have four of Ronald Hutton's books. The content is excellent and I trust his view to the extent that it informs my belief.

 

but

 

"Good Read" they are not!!!! Bloody Hell they are hard going. I've read "Triumph of the Moon" and "Blood and Mistletoe" twice cover to cover and have the eyesight correction to prove it. They are much better for dipping into to check that you aren't thinking bollocks before making a more public statement. :) His references just lead you deeper and deeper into the subject. His indices are comprehensive. Excellent research tools.

 

I have failed to get through Stations of the Sun but may one day do so.

His work on Stuart Britain is seminal.

 

btw

Has anyone formed a view as to just what IS "The Triumph of the Moon"?

Edited by Moonsmith
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Has anyone formed a view as to just what IS "The Triumph of the Moon"?

 

 

It is debunking the history of witchcraft .... and confirming that there is no history of Wicca beyond Gerald Gardner! Infuriated some Wiccans at the time but generally now accepted as spot on!

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Has anyone formed a view as to just what IS "The Triumph of the Moon"?

 

 

It is debunking the history of witchcraft .... and confirming that there is no history of Wicca beyond Gerald Gardner! Infuriated some Wiccans at the time but generally now accepted as spot on!

 

Sure Maeve. He's done something similar with Druids. He seems to have pulled the punch with Druids but when I asked him he said not.

 

but

 

What does that title "The Triumph of the Moon" refer to? I've read the book pretty thoroughly and can't find a reference.

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What does that title "The Triumph of the Moon" refer to? I've read the book pretty thoroughly and can't find a reference.

 

I take it as the companion title to Stations of the sun and a reference to the association of the moon with Wicca. As the book is about Wicca and its growth, then I see the title as reasonable.

 

May I make a strong recommendation for Hutton's books? I feel that Stations of the Sun and Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles are essential, whatever one's path may be.

 

Beyond that, the books I'd take to my desert island would be reference books: Katherine Briggs' Dictionary of Fairies (one of my first two book purchases as a pagan and a foundation for my own novels), and any mythological dictionary from the Oxford or Cassells publishers. :)

 

Oh, and if you want really good pagan fantasy (apart from my own, of course! :D) I'd recommend Charles de Lint.

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What does that title "The Triumph of the Moon" refer to? I've read the book pretty thoroughly and can't find a reference.

 

I take it as the companion title to Stations of the sun and a reference to the association of the moon with Wicca. As the book is about Wicca and its growth, then I see the title as reasonable.

 

 

 

He says that ToM and Blood and Mistletoe were written in parallel. I just wonder why he didn't kill off pre-16th century Druids as he did early Witches.

 

My own take on the title Triumph of the Moon is that Hutton searched history looking for witches and failed to find them. When he looked up towards the end of his work he not only found himself surrounded by them but he loved them.

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"The Pagan Path" by Janet and Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone seems a good starting point for anyone dipping their toes into paganism for the first time. :)

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"The Pagan Path" by Janet and Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone seems a good starting point for anyone dipping their toes into paganism for the first time. :)

 

How many forms of paganism does it cover, hun? I have to admit that, given the authors, I suspect it's extremely limited, as in paganism=wicca. Happy to be proved wrong. :)

 

If anyone wants an introduction to a variety of paganisms, I'd really recommend Paganism 101 as covering a fair range (but still not all!)

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How many forms of paganism does it cover, hun? I have to admit that, given the authors, I suspect it's extremely limited, as in paganism=wicca. Happy to be proved wrong. :)

 

 

Then I shall make you happy and prove you wrong m'dear! :D It covers all the forms of paganism that I'm familiar with and gives a reasonably good insight into them from a newbie's perspective. Wicca of course is in there too but certainly doesn't dominate throughout the book. It's more a "history of", a "who's who" and a "guide to" all things pagan, with of course references to the Abrahamic faiths and the influences they have had on paganism. It's a book that sits easy on the lap, a reassuring and I believe, honest book that doesn't try to push an agenda but opens up the mind to go out and seek further knowledge. A bit like the Valley really! :rolleyes:

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Then I shall make you happy and prove you wrong m'dear! :D It covers all the forms of paganism that I'm familiar with and gives a reasonably good insight into them from a newbie's perspective. Wicca of course is in there too but certainly doesn't dominate throughout the book. It's more a "history of", a "who's who" and a "guide to" all things pagan, with of course references to the Abrahamic faiths and the influences they have had on paganism. It's a book that sits easy on the lap, a reassuring and I believe, honest book that doesn't try to push an agenda but opens up the mind to go out and seek further knowledge. A bit like the Valley really! :rolleyes:

 

Thanks, hun (about the Valley). However, I think I'd still put a warning on it, in line with this review. The review suggests reading ToTM as a balance, but that's a huge ask of someone new! :D

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Whilst I'm in the "in for a penny, in for a pound" mood, I'll also go with "The Book of English Magic" by Philip Carr-Gomm and Richard Heygate. Yes, you know, the one you can usually pick up at motorway services or your local The Works.

"The authors serve up a delightfully well-written, intellectually stimulating, unputdownable adventure into all things magical. No stone of Albion remains unturned. They lead us into magical encounters wonderful and weird, and not only academicallu but practically too - offering wonderful 'what to do now' pointers and exercises into gaining our own magical experience.... One needs to take time with this book, not just skim read. Find an appropriate period where you won't be disturbed, make a large pot of coffee, sit back in a comfy chair and prepare to be taken through Narnia's wardrobe into an enchanted world." Mark Townsend, author of The Path of the Blue Raven. He says it better than I can. B)

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  • 4 months later...
On 19/07/2017 at 7:38 AM, Moonhunter said:

 

If anyone wants an introduction to a variety of paganisms, I'd really recommend Paganism 101 as covering a fair range (but still not all!)

Nice. This is what I've been looking for, and only £3.79 on Kindle right now! Thanks.

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I guess the trouble with established pagans - Wiccans, Druids, Heathens and so on - giving an opinion on a 101 book, is that we already know the jargon and much of the stuff and can evaluate it accordingly. For someone who has read little or nothing yet at all, such jargonese even in these books purporting to give a simplistic overview, must be quite disconcerting!

There really is no substitute for getting out to moots and conferences and meeting and talking to real folk!

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  • deebs featured and unfeatured this topic
On 06/12/2017 at 7:05 PM, Maeve said:

There really is no substitute for getting out to moots and conferences and meeting and talking to real folk!

True but don't underestimate how even a little reading can help a newbie tackle their first face-to-face encounter with other pagans. Sometimes just having enough of a clue to steer around the obvious Daily Mail questions (animal sacrifice, sex magic, horse mutilation, white power etc.) can help a person actually engage rather than clam up in embarrassment.

My go to book to recommend to all aspiring Druids is The Druid Handbook by John Michael Greer. It is a remarkably practical guide to fairly mainstream Druidry with a Welsh rather than Irish flavour. The important thing is that it leaves enough gaps to act as a framework for your own journey, rather than being a prescriptive journey in itself.

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Agreed Bob.

I found Contemporary Paganism by Graham Harvey very very useful in the early days.  It gave me a vocabulary that I sort of understood before I went to my first moot.

The first, general, chapter is the best definition of Paganism I've seen given the it's virtually undefinable.

He goes on to cover a wide range of "paths". ( I DO dislike that word)

 

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  • 9 months later...

Very useful book and I have two of it the original Natural Magic and the re-print  Encyclopedia of Natural Magic - John Michael Greer. Explains the practise of natural magick and one learns to make many useful things with this book. Is also easy to read and comprehend. I am into Natural Magick since decades and this is my favorite book about it. Why do I have two of this?Late one night I was ordering books online and I think is a totally new book it is after I got it I see is only the cover and title is new. Llewellyn publisher sometimes does this. Few years later we had to move from a one level house  to two level house and I keep one upstairs and one downstairs so it was useful having two.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

black elk speaks, is a good read, and a brilliant one for comparative thought, though it is a native american reference book.

a general reading list for any specific religion or pantheon should include all the myths, stories and works, preferbaly the source material rather than an opinion piece,  preferably with a thought to author bias at times, for the north the list would include, prose edda, poetic edda, saxo gramaticus gesta danorum and sagas of the icelanders, paired with a look at other resources, thats a good starter of books, with various authors and publication dates. more up to date material, me up to date? i will put in a different section as it isnt really book based.

some editions have been written by dr jackson crawford, who although still having a habit of labeling things good and evil and continuing with that theme, does have good credibility and skill in translation and does think about the material.

if its terry pratchett it is a good read, that is an excellent start for thinking.

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