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Popular Books about Druids

A 400 Year Chronological Bibliography


When I was researching the history of Druids, it became apparent that Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap) was an effective summary of the literature surrounding the ancient Druids until 1970.

However, as I looked more closely, I've noticed that many of the authors are previous members (or chiefs) of OBOD. Now I wish to be charitable, so instead of declaiming the works of OBOD's leaders, I would instead characterize thier books as indicative historical resources of the changing of beliefs within the various fraternal organizations leading up to the founding of OBOD in 1964.

Likewise, I will grant that such modern works as "The Sacred Cauldron" and "21 Lessons of Merrlyn" should not be execrated as scholastic rubbish, but rather they should be seen as works of inspirational art that gives the researcher a more vivid picture of the divergence between historical re-constructionist groups and those groups which are apparently relying on divine sources of inspiration. Books by Stuart Piggot, Ross Nichols and A.L. Owens (listed below) carry good accounts of the various beliefs and erronous publications about Drudism through history. There is however alot of material still left to be talked about by a researcher!

I would further caution the reader that many of these works make no such claims that they are personal opinions, and purport to be factual accounts. They are also continuall reprinted, deceptively hiding thier ancient first publishing date and thereby tacitly presenting them as fresh research.

Here's a rough summary of the author's names to avoid when seeking firm knowledge of the ancient Druids : Lewis Spence, Rutherford Ward, Phillip Carr-Gomm, Ross Nichols, Rene & Paul Bouchet, Godfrey Higgins, Tadhg MacCrossan, John Williams, Iolo Morganwg, Edward Evans, John Toland.

I would also caution against the unskeptical use of John & Caitlin Matthews (also of OBOD), who have recently published dozens of Celtic Oriented books. Although the Matthews have graciously reprinted the out-of-print rare antiquarian tracts on Druidism, they have subsequently annotated these tracts with their own interpretations of Shamanism. However they do make interesting reading.

Finally, I would advise the reader to check any of their research books to see if those books rely on the authority of the following books which are widely dismissed by the current academic authorities.


Irish Witta








The Sacred Cauldron Tadhg MacCrossan


Founder of Druidactios, a group that apparently dislike Neo-Pagans and is disliked by the Neo-Pagans also.

199? The 21 Lessons of Merrlyn


Widely described as "21 Lessons of Crap". Beware.

1993 Prophet, Priest and King Ross Nichols

Elements BOoks
A posthumous book by a former OBOD chief.

1993 Celtic Lore:The History of the Druids and their Timeless Traditions Rutherford Ward


Aquarian/Thorsons:London isbn 1855381346
More lightweight armchair quessing

1993 The Druid Way Phillip Carr Gomm

Element Books:Rockport, Mass ISBN 1-85230-365-4
Current Chief of OBOD teaches about his group

1991 Elements of the Druid Tradition Phillip Carr-Gomm

Element Books:Rockport Mass ISBN 185230202x
Interesting but of dubious scholastic quality, but a good philosophical treatise.

1991 Taliesin:Shamanism & the Bardic Mysteries in Britain and Ireland John Matthews

Aquarian Press of Harper Collins:San Francisco (BL 980.G7 M39 at Wesley and in Carleton Archives)
Interesting arm-chair philosophy by an OBOD member.

(1990) orig. 1978 The Druids:Magicians of the West Rutherford Ward

(1990 Sterling PublCo:Ny isbn 08503030x)
Not very accurate

1990 The Celtic Reader+ Selections from Celtic Legend, Scholarship and Story John Matthews

Harper Collins: San Francisco 1990 ISBN 1-85538-228-8
An excellent collection of out-of-print antiquarian articles by an OBOD member.

1990 The Book of Druidry Ross Nichols

Harper Collins:San Francisco ISBN 1-85538-167-2
An EXCELLENT history of OBOD, it's leaders and customs.

1980s La Princesse de Vix Paul Bouchet

By a French chief of OBOD

1980s Hu Gadarn, Le Premier Gaulois. Paul Bouchet

By a French chief of OBOD

1979 The Famous Druids A.L. Owen

Greenwood Press:Westport Conn (at Carleton Archives) Like Piggot, this GOOD book gives a good review of the various interpretations of Druids from the 18th century until the present.

1979 THe Druids and the Heritage Rutherford Ward


Atheneum: 1979
Armchair reading

1978 (1990) The Druids:Magicians of the West Rutherford Ward

(1990 Sterling PublCo:Ny isbn 08503030x)
Not very accurate

1976 Les Druides+ Science et Philosophie. Rene Bouchet

Lafront:Paris (BL910. B67 at Carleton)
A French version of OBOD beliefs

1970s Les Druides:Toujours Vivants! Rene Bouchet

Interesting. By an OBOD author

1968 (1985) The Druids Stuart Piggot

Praeger:NY, (Thames and Hudson:NY)
An EXCELLENT Book. I've included it here because it has a 68 page discussion documenting the bad scholarship of the previous 200 years and mentions many of the authors and books described above.

1950 William Stukeley:A Portrati of an Antiquarian Stuart Piggot

Oxford (available at Univ. Minn)
An indepth biography of Stukeley, the man who first started the myth that Druids built Stonehenge and sensationalized Druids in British culture. The Author, Stuart Piggot is a respected authority on Celtic Religion.

1938 (1979, 199?) The History and Origins of Druidism Lewis Spence

Rider& Co.:London (repub. Aquarian:Northhampshire)
Another OBOD member and mythologist.

1931 Handbuch des Druiden Ordens H Wiese and H Fricke

Munich 1931
A good account of German fraternal organizations

1911 The Religion of the Ancient Celts John Arnott MacCulloch

T&T Clark: Edinburgh (at Carleton)
Outdated, but contains good collection of surviving modern Celtic customs until 1900.

1894 (1984 reprint) Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions James Bonwick

Griffith, Farran & Co.:London (at Carleton)
An honest, sensible approach to historical druidism, but terribly outdated.

1890 The Light of Britannia Owen Morgen

D.Owen:Cardiff
Written at the peak of really weird antiquarian beliefs.

1889 Ancient Egypt:Light of the World Gerald Massey

Currently unavailable
Former OBOD chief with small amounts of the group's teachings.

1887 The Welsh Question and Druidism Griffith

R. Bank & Son:London (at Saint Olaf)
Not too bad. An overview.

1887 Man in Search of his Soul Gerald Massey

Currently unavailable
Former OBOD chief with small amounts of the group's teachings.

1887 The Coming Religion Gerald Massey

Currently unavailable
Former OBOD chief with small amounts of the group's teachings.

1887 Seven Schools of Man Gerald Massey

Currently unavailable
Former OBOD chief with small amounts of the group's teachings.

1881 Book of the Beginnings Gerald Massey

Currently unavailable
Former OBOD chief with small amounts of the group's teachings.

1872 A Critical Study of Ezekiels: Temple and Israelites Found in Anglo-Saxons William Carpenter

Supposedly another OBOD chief

1868 Barddas John Williams

Llandovery (available at Carleton Archives)
Reprint of the biggest fradulant studies by Iolo Morganwyg in the 18th century. This books is chuck full of lies, although it is very interesting readings. Facing pages of Welsh and poor English translations.

1858 Taliesin:The Bards and Druids of Britain David William Nash

John Russel Smith:London 1858 (PR8920.N3 at Dennison Univ. and Carleton Archives?)
A VERY GOOD piece of critical study on the works of Rev. Davies, Owens & Evans. Nash provides original Welsh verses and a non-mystical translation. Much more interesting to read than Davies' actual book.

1840 Jerusalem by William Blake

Famous poem by a past OBOD chief.

1838 The Neo-Druidic Heresy Algernon Herbert

(Interlibrary loan copy too old, maybe available at Carleton?)
Believed that the Culdee church was infiltrated by pagan Druids.

1838 Stonehenge:A Temple Restored to the British Druids William Stukely

One of the founders of OBOD, who used primitive archeological methods to back up his suppositions. See Stuart Piggot for more information.

1830s Patriarchial Religion of Britain D. James

No Information available

1830s Poems, Lyrics and Pastoral Edward Evans

More questionable Welsh translations.

1829 The Celtic Druids Godfrey Higgins

By a former OBOD chief.

1806 The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids Rev. Edward Davies

J. Booth:London (at Univ Minn & Carleton Archives)
See "Celtic Researches), this one deals with the Helio-Arkite THeory that Druids were the heirs of Noah:s patriarchial religion.

1803 Celtic Researches Rev. Edward Davies

J Booth:London (at Univ Minn & Carleton Archives)
A widely read book that use poor translations of Welsh. Very difficult to read unless you know the Bible, HEbrew, Latin, Linguistics and Celtic Mythology. Full of Book. Heavily debunked by David Nash in 1858, but considered authoritative until then.

1745 Abury: A temple of the British Druids William Stukely

One founders of OBOD, this man was singularly responsible for linking Stonehenge and the Druids. Stuart Piggot aptly describes how this happens.

1726 (repub 1978) The History of Celtic Religions and Learning John Toland

(repub Norwood Editions:Norwood PA) One of the first modern books on Druidism. First Chief of OBOD. Writer of over 100 books. Early proponet of Stonehenge Driuds

1717 State ANatomy of Great Britain John Toland

First Chief of OBOD. Writer of over 100 books. Early proponet of Stonehenge Driuds

1717Pantheisticaon John Toland

First Chief of OBOD. Writer of over 100 books. Early proponet of Stonehenge Driuds

1697 Christianity not Mysterious John Toland

First Chief of OBOD. Writer of over 100 books. Early proponet of Stonehenge Driuds


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If you have questions or advice on the materials discussed here, or if you have more resources to add; email me at

mikerdna@hotmail.com

This page was created in March, 2000 c.e. No copyright by presenter, excerpts taken from Amazon and various other cited sources.