It seems fitting to inaugurate the new Druid category at Facing North with a review of a book billed as being the "first serious attempt to collate the vast body of druidic knowledge from verifiable ancient sources and Celtic survivals into one usable and practical volume". And The Druid's Primer is an excellent introductory book.
Beginning with a summary of historic elements, from early Celtic materials through secondary sources (such as Pliny and Caeser), right up to the modern revivals and reconstructions. The author shows his knowledge through excellent (and well-sourced) research.
The next chapter defines a druid, no easy task when there are a number of different viewpoints and perspectives. More history is referenced here, including an etymology of the word druid. I appreciated the author's frank acknowledgement of his own definition, and therefore framework for discussing future aspects.
Chapters Three through Nine provide a blend of (once again, well-researched and -sourced) information on a variety of topics: deities, mythology, elemental forces, cosmology, inspirations, and the role of animism and animals within the druidic framework. I especially appreciated Eastwood's information on Immrama, a topic I'd never encountered before but was very drawn to.
Chapters Ten through Fifteen deal with more intimate topics: timing (that is, the druidic calendar of worship), tools, divination, and healing. An entire chapter focuses solely on the Ogham. All of the chapters of information are excellent, albeit introductory, discussions of their topics. Sometimes the reader is given only a paragraph or two, or perhaps a 2 page 'chapter' -- not so here!
The final chapter is (intriguingly) called "Justice & Wisdom" and covers an area deeply important to historic Druids, making the connection between history and how a modern practice might bring it forward.
I have to say that my one criticism is with the price: it's a hardcover price for a softcover book, and although the material is excellent, some readers might pass it by for less expensive works.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in exploring Druidism as a path.
~review by Patricia Mullen
Author: Luke Eastwood
Moon Books, 2012
pp. 318, $26.95