It can be tough if you are a teenager who wants to learn about paganism; it’s hard to find a group to accept you, so much of your learning will come from the Internet and books. It’s twice as tough for young men, because so few books are written for them. The Way of the Horned God: A Young Man's Guide to Modern Paganism by Dancing Rabbit helps fix that balance.
Written by a Pagan school teacher, The Way of the Horned God is aimed at parents as well as young men who are serious about pagan spirituality. It looks at things very much from an adolescent male's point of view, with more emphasis on going out and doing stuff than on staying home. Following the way of the Horned God means learning about nature and experiencing the sacred within the natural landscape. The book recommends such things as going for hikes into the countryside and camping out under the stars.
The book includes exercises, visualizations and meditations to help experience sacred aspects of nature in the mundane world. There are also examples of rituals to celebrate the cycle of the year, to honor the ancestors and to understand how pagans perceive the gods and goddesses associated with the seasons, the sun and the moon, and the land There are also examples of rites of passage including symbolic gestures to represent giving up certain aspects of childhood and accepting the growing responsibilities of becoming an adult. From cleaning your room to taking responsibility of chores and finding mentors in life Dancing Rabbit does an excellent job of maneuvering between "how to" and "must do"
Sex is, of course, a subject much on young men's minds and it was (refreshingly) dealt with here in a way that is frank and sensible, pointing out that the concept of "an it harm none, do what thou will" means being responsible. The point is made that sexuality is sacred and therefore to be respected and there is nothing wrong with masturbation.
One of the most difficult things if you are a teenage pagan can be how to discuss your religion with your parents. I particularly appreciated the practical and enlightened advice given to these young men trying to navigate difficult relationships with their parents—either as a result of the teen’s spiritual choices, or just due to the normal teenager-parent issues that any young man of any path might encounter.
I absolutely recommend The Way of the Horned God for young men who want to learn more about paganism. It offers useful suggestions to help an adolescent explore their own spiritual path and develop their own relationship with the pagan gods and with nature.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Dancing Rabbit
O Books, 2010
pp. 196, $24.95