Reply To: Revisiting Druidry, A practical and inspirational guide, by Philip Shallcrass

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Revisiting Druidry, A practical and inspirational guide, by Philip Shallcrass Reply To: Revisiting Druidry, A practical and inspirational guide, by Philip Shallcrass

david poole

I have just finished reading this book and I can tell you that it was a gripping read and exceeded my expectations, there were some important surprises in it as well. If you have studied the BDO course then some of the material here appears in that course, although there is much more to learn within the courses. I saw the book in my own way and it made me want to read and to learn much more. There is a ritual section which has clearly been based on the work done during the period of the Free and Open Gorsedd, as parts of it appeared in the Gorsedd newsletter. The book considers each of the three grades Bard, Ovate and Druid with two chapters on each grade, there are some more chapters at the beginning on different subjects. Greywolf describes the Mabingion in ways that do not occur on the Bardic course, including going into the romances and the Arthurian tales although not in great depth, they are really only mentioned in passing. He goes into more detail with the Four Branches, which are mentioned more than once. llew Llaw Gyffes is particularly important, becoming connected with the reborn sun or Mabon Child. There is some work done with the elements and the calling of the directions and their attributes, this is standard pagan practice and could be applied to Druidry, Wicca or general paganism. The first big surprise was that the Irish lore gets brought into discussions, which really excited me as this is something which I like myself. I don’t think there was really much discussion around the subject of the Tuatha De, which I thought really needed much more coverage. The Dagda is mentioned but very little is reallys said about him. I don’t think Lugh was mentioned at all, and I can’t remember Cernunnos being discussed. Taking us back to Welsh lore, I think that Rhiannon/Epona does get mentioned as a representative of sovereignty, but again I don’t think that was covered for long. The incident with the sweat lodge and the wolf spirit is not mentioned, instead a rather different experience is recounted in which Greywolf shapeshifts into an eagle and joins a flock of other eagles, leaving part of himself behind; he returns when he senses the presence of a lightning storm this storm then occurs the next day, showing that otherworldly journeys can provide messages which foretell events. Further to this subject, there is some discussion regarding different methods of divination involving elements, including reading clouds or reading fires, I don’t think Ogham staves are covered and I don’t recall divination cards being covered. Ogham is described briefly, with some tables and some associations, as are dryads or tree spirits. The Druid section was the last section this was where the ritual came in, it didn’t cover teaching as a subject but it does indicate that shapeshifting is part of the Druid grade, whether literally or figuratively, which makes sense. Blessings and offerings to the gods and the spirits are mentioned in other parts of the book, so there is plenty of opportunity given for response and activity in a spiritual sense of thankfulness. It is mentioned that Druids may have different aptitudes and may take on different roles, some artistic for example, or political, or healing, or therapeutic. Healing is covered in the Ovate chapter, although there is no listing of herbs or plants or their properties, which would have been too large a subject to cover in a book which already has all of this. I would really recommend getting this book and reading it for yourself.