If you’re a Celtic Reconstructionist looking for information on the original druids, this probably won’t be what you’re looking for. John Michael Greer offers material that more resembles “second wave” druidry from the 18th and 19th century, with a blend of Celtic-flavored nature religion, and ceremonial/ritual magic. And it’s a great book!
Just as the title suggests, this is a book primarily of magical practice; religion is a flavoring, but not the main focus. The bulk of it is composed of a series of rituals that build upon each other to create a highly effective ritual magic system for the modern practitioner. Unlike the ceremonialism of such groups as the Golden Dawn, Greer’s druid magic is more earthy, less concerned with exact symbols. In fact, there’s plenty of room for personalization. Still, it has the structure and interconnection of well-formed ritual magic. In short, it’s a great hybrid that manages to bring together two different areas of esoterica in a graceful, seamless manner.
Much of the book is aimed at self-improvement. The ritual format is a good tool for teaching self-discipline, as well we the patience of learning something thoroughly before building further on it. However, I really have to give him major kudos for the final chapter, which is focused solely on healing the land around you in very direct manners. Many modern practitioners get so self-focused that they forget to use their magic for anything else. Greer’s eco-magic chapter should help jog readers’ memories that it’s important to look outside as well as within.
While there’s the occasional replication of 101 material such as the eight sabbats (folded into modern druidic practice) and the basic meanings of the ogam, this is a good intermediate text for the person who has gotten the basics down and wants a nice balance between the structure of ritual magic and the Earth-based focus of neopaganism.
Five out of five.
~review by Lupa
Author: John Michael Greer
Weiser Books, 2007
240 pp, $19.95