When Drynemetum Press began the research project (A Reformed Druid Anthology) in 1992, there were few published books concerning the Neo-Pagan movement as a general subject of study. However, since then, a number of academic departments have researched Neo-Paganism and published their findings. Some of the researchers are unfriendly, some are viciously anti-Pagan. After a few days of internet searching I was able to pull up the following bibliography. Group-specific studies and related researchs are in the Focused Studies section of the Academic Links homepage. I would also recommend researching the New-Age movment, which has a similiar feeling. In a tradition that often relies more on oral-based communication and undocumented group projects, the best way to study the movement is to be part of it, of course.
IMPORTANT NOTE We haven't read all the following books, and are still in the process of procuring them for the Gould Library of Carleton College (the seminary of the Reformed Druids). As is always the case, your local library can often BORROW books from bigger libraries, so you needn't always purchase the books. However, I would recommend that you check the book carefully for poor scholarship before using them and send your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org
by Margot Adler, Amazon List Price: $16.95 Paperback - 584 pages Rev&Exp edition (March 1997) Penguin USA (Paper); ISBN: 014019536X ;
For nearly two decades, Drawing Down the Moon, the only detailed history of a little-known and widely misunderstood movement, has provided the most authoritative look at the religious beliefs, experiences, and lifestyles of the NeoPagan culture. It's no coincidence that Ms. Adler works for National Public Radio. Accurate, scholarly, objective information about the craft in its many manifestations. It helps the lay person and pagan alike understand the various aspects of paganism. It is rich in detail, and represents Ms. Adler's tireless interviews and investigation of various parts of paganism. One of the 2 essentials on any Pagan bookshelf. This book is so well written that it serves both as an introduction to Paganism and as a reference to consult when questions arise. We value the new edition for updates of mple of an early work.
Drynemetum Advice on Drawing Down the Moon
If you ask Neo-Pagans for some good beginning books, this is usually in that list. First released in 1979, re-editted and released in 1986, and again in 1997, it is a wide-sweeping survey of Neo-paganism in America. Adler discusses general traits of Neopaganism, but gives sufficient in-depth first hand accounts of representative groups to indicate the great diversity in this group of religions. An excellent entry into the genre, although a little dull in some spots, it is well written. It also contains a well-known account of the role of the Reformed Druids in the revival of modern Druidism.
Customer Reviews on Drawing Down the Moon
Reviewer: Adam Jenkins from Australia December 5, 1999
I really enjoyed reading this book - it was very helpful to me, and was a good overview of large parts of what I belive to have been the North American neopagan scene at the time that this book was written. I do recommend that people read it, but it will mean more to you after you already understand at least the basic aspectes of neopaganism.
But this is also a book that was clearly written by someone who was already part of the movement, and thus she brought with it her own opinions about various traditions (such as Norse paganism and Alexandrian Wicca), and she didn't tend to examine many of the issues raised with quite the degree of objectivity that I was looking for. It is also clearly very dated, and the primary sources for the answers to her questionaires tended to get people from particular traditions and styles.
In all it was a valuable book that I really enjoyed reading, and I don't know of anything that is it's equivalent. But it isn't perfect, and I feel needs to be read carefully if you are to get the full value out of her work.
by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond, Destiny Books, 1996, ISBN 0892815590; paper. $17 at Amazon
Who are the new Pagans, and what do they stand for? From Margot Adler, an NPR reporter and author of Drawing Down the Moon, to Oberon Zell, founder of the Church of All Worlds, the people interviewed in this book express the rich diversity of modern Paganism (mostly American). Ellen Evert Hopman draws on her own experience as a Pagan and Druid and on extensive research to describe the origins and activities of modern Paganism. The authors examine the influence of Paganism on society-and society's influence on Paganism-with particular attention to how Pagans address such issues as childrearing, organized religion, and politics. People of the Earth unites many Pagan voices in a panoramic view of one of today's most dynamic spiritual movements.
People of the Earth is the first book to provide a forum in which a variety of Pagan leaders and teachers describe in their own words their beliefs and practices.
After centuries of suppression, Pagan traditions are re-entering the mainstream, as many people rediscover ancient philosophies that honor the environment and the spiritual power of each individual.
Small Press Review
The collection is refreshingly unlike other spiritual self-discovery books because it is not a how-to, but instead an oral documentation of actual practice, thus providing an extremely valuable historiography of paganism.
Midwest Book Review
This is the first title to combine the author's personal experiences as a Pagan and Druid with interviews with modern pagans, and presents some unusual and absorbing dialogues which address society's influence on Paganism. Pagan leaders here describe their beliefs and the sentiments of Paganism which dominate their lives.
Review by Isaac Bonewits
This book of interviews is an excellent introduction to current thinking in the Neopagan community. Of course, I may be biased because Druids in general (and myself in particular) are interviewed first -- a real change from the usual emphasis on Wicca.
About the Author
Ellen Evert Hopman, the author of A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, is vice president of Keltria, an international Druid fellowship, and is on the advisory board of the Earthspirit Community. Lawrence Bond is a designer and illustrator whose work has been published internationally for over a decade. Both authors live in western Massachusetts. (See Druid Links)
by Helen A. Berger / Hardcover / Published 1999 Amazon Price: $18.71 ~
Review by Mark Lefkowitz, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review,
In the course of her conversion, Curott spent many hours reading about goddess religion in early cultures. In this way, Wiccans reject modernity, which is resolutely patriarchal, for something that is not so much postmodern as pre-postmodern or late modern. Like many postmodern theorists, they are comfortable with multiple realities. Intuition is as valid as rational argument; science works, but so does magic.
A Community of Witches explores the beliefs and practices of Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft - generally known to scholars and practitioners as Wicca. While the words "magic," "witchcraft," and "paganism" evoke images of the distant past and remote cultures, this book shows that Wicca has emerged as part of a new religious movement that reflects the era in which it developed. Imported to the United States in the late 1960s from the United Kingdom, the religion absorbed into its basic fabric the social concerns of the time: feminism, environmentalism, self-development, alternative spirituality, and mistrust of authority. Helen A. Berger's ten-year participant observation study of Neo-Pagans and Witches on the eastern seaboard of the United States and her collaboration on a national survey of Neo-Pagans form the basis for exploring the practices, structures, and transformation of this nascent religion. Responding to scholars who suggest that Neo-Paganism is merely a pseudoreligion or a cultural movement because it lacks central authority and clear boundaries, Berger contends that Neo-Paganism has many of the characteristics that one would expect of a religion born in late modernity: the appropriation of rituals from other cultures, a view of the universe as a cosmic whole, an emphasis on creating and re-creating the self, an intertwining of the personal and the political, and a certain playfulness.
by Harvey, Graham and Hardman, Charlotte (Graham Harvey is also the author of Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth.)London: Harper Collins, 1996); ISBN: 0722532334
A collection of accessible academic essays emerging from the scholarly September 1994 "Paganism in Contemporary Britain" conference at University of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Includes sections on the history of Paganism, its contemporary traditions and practice.
Long Detailed Review (3 pages) by Bkwyrm see it at http://bkwyrm.occult.net/harvey2.htm
a book by Harvey, Graham. Amazon Price: $17.95 Paperback - 250 pages (July2000) New York Univ Pr; ISBN: 0814736203
Amzon Book Review
Graham Harvey has written the best book yet published upon an important complex of contemporary religions, of which most people know only through hearsay and sensational journalism. His account is exciting, revealing, objective and just; the whole kaleidoscope of Paganism is here in all its vivid colours: witches, Druids, Odinists, eco-mystics and many others."-Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol
The Pagan tradition celebrates the physical nature of life on earth, blending science with spiritual folklore. Seasonal festivals are combined with the rediscovery of shamanic techniques and an emphasis on grounded empiricism. Considering the everyday world of food, health, sex, work, and leisure to be sacred, Pagans oppose that which threatens life such as deforestation, overdevelopment, nuclear power and invoke ancient deities in this struggle for the well-being of the earth and its inhabitants.
In Contemporary Paganism, Graham Harvey presents a broad-based introduction to the main trends of contemporary Paganism, revealing the origins and practical aspects of Druidry, Witchcraft, Heathenism, Goddess Spirituality and Magic, Shamanism, and Geomancy among others. Making use of both traditional history and the movement's more imaginative sources, the book reveals how Paganism and its central focus on individual and social life is evolving and how this new religion perceives and relates to more traditional ones.
About the Author
GRAHAM HARVEY is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at King Alfred's College, Winchester, England.
Reader Review by Rene Rosen.
Contemporary Paganism is intended to be an introductory text book about the Neopagan community, especially as manifested in Great Britain. Although it's admirable that someone from academia is attempting to take Neopaganism seriously on its own terms, this book does not function that well as a survey of the contemporary Neopagan community, mainly due to the author's tendency to state generalized abstractions about Neopaganism and its various branches as opposed to citing specifics.
Also, his thesis that the central focus of all of Neopaganism is ecology and Earth-centered spirituality leads him to emphasize this aspect to the neglect of other aspects of Neopaganism, especially in his descriptions of various Neopagan sects. Many of these descriptions, especially those of non-Wiccan sects, do not seem particularly successful as surveys, although the specifics mentioned--when specifics are mentioned--tend to be accurate. (Some of the perceived innacuracies of these descriptions may be due to the British orientation of the book--these descriptions may reflect accurately the character of these sects in Britian, whereas they do not reflect their character in North America particularly well.) Harvey, however, is not without insight--his comparison of traditional and Neopagan Shamanic practices is quite good--and it does have a very comprehensive bibliography of both Neopagan and academic sources.
Subtitled as A scholarly study of Neopaganism in the 90s
by Susan Greenwood (James R Lewis, editor) Paperback (May 1996) State Univ of New York Pr; ISBN: 0791428907 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.78 x 8.98 x 5.84 Other Editions: Hardcover ($56)
This much-needed collection of investigative essays, many from scholarly members of the Pagan community, clears the clouds of misconception surrounding Neo-Pagan culture. Here is inside information on the worldview, rituals, history and renaissance of practices predating the most popular current religions by thousands of years. Written in an intelligent and credible manner by authors who comprehend Paganism as a way of life rather than a distant mythology.
Book Review by Book News, Inc. , September 1, 1996
A sympathetic account of modern paganism. Covers the neo-pagan worldview and the central figure of the Goddess, the practices of magic and ritual, phases of the movement's history, morality and ethics, intersections with Christianity, and the movement's literature. The authors of the 17 essays are not identified except by name.
A Pagan Review by Kate Slater
"In 'The British Occult Subculture: Beyond Good and Evil,' Susan Greenwood investigates the attitudes of Neopagans and magicians to the concept of evil, concluding that although we talk a good line about accepting the dark, Neopagans, even chaos magicians, tend to externalize it and drive it out. Her portarit of a Wicca which is comprised almost entirely of British Traditional and feminist, largely separatist, Witches is ominous."
Review by Amazon.com
This much-needed collection of investigative essays, many from scholarly members of the Pagan community, clears the clouds of misconception surrounding Neo-Pagan culture. Here is inside information on the worldview, rituals, history and renaissance of practices predating the most popular current religions by thousands of years. Written in an intelligent and credible manner by authors who comprehend Paganism as a way of life rather than a distant mythology. --This text refers to the paperback edition of this title
From Book News, Inc. , September 1, 1996
A sympathetic account of modern paganism. Covers the neo-pagan worldview and the central figure of the Goddess, the practices of magic and ritual, phases of the movement's history, morality and ethics, intersections with Christianity, and the movement's literature. The authors of the 17 essays are not identified except by name. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland,
Phoenix From the Flame
by Vivianne Crowley. ASIN: 1855381613 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.83 x 8.51 x 5.28
Of all the guides to Paganism I've come across, I've found very few I would take seriously as an outsider to the religion. Phoenix from the Flame covers the subject with a depth and professionalism that many books lack. While Crowley doesn't seek to explain every facet of Paganism, this book more than adequately answers any questions that the beginner might have, and follows through with pertinent information about what it means to be a Pagan, and where British Paganism is going in the century to come.
This practical guide provides a wealth of insight and advice on what it means to be a pagan in today's changing Britain.
Crowley's bewitching exploration of Paganism takes readers into the realms of eco-spirituality, goddess religions, and the everyday lives of practicing Pagans--showing how and why this ancient tradition is gaining a new and enthusiastic following today.
From the Publisher
From the author of Wicca: A fresh look at the most ancient religion--Paganism--the vital, widely practiced alternative to mainstream religion that heralds a return to ritual and reverence for the earth.
Review by Isaac Bonewits
A survey of the Pagan revival in Britain in the 90s. One of the only books to include cultural recreations like Norse and of the Baltic Paganism, as well as plenty on Druidry.
by Lynne Hume, Amazon Price: $29.95 Paperback (October 1997) Melbourne Univ Pr; ISBN: 052284782X
In Australia, the best academic introduction.
Hume uses phenomenological anthropological theory to inform her study based on extensive interviews, a survey, and participant observation. I think it is one of the better introductions around. The early parts of the book are mainly descriptive - but the latter part is more theoretical and demonstrates a sophisticated and sensitive framework.
Neopaganism is rapidly growing in membership throughout the Western world, and in Australia. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Hume describes the emergence of a controversial worldview which has its roots in some ancient ideas but whose ideology is firmly rooted in the twentieth century. The book poses some interesting questions: Is Paganism a religion? What do its practitioners believe and do? What are its historical roots? Is it dangerous? Is it legal? How do people learn about it? Why is it adopted as a belief system? As an anthropological analysis of a social phenomenon, this is an intriguing and accessible study.
Review: SunsetSeashell from Gold Coast, Australia April 26, 1999
I read this book when I first started on the Pagan path. Being an Australian, it was a welcomed read to all the American/Northern Hemishpere books. It approached a wide range of subjects and gave me an insight into Paganism and Wicca in Australia. I recommend this book to not just Southern Hemisphere (or Australian) Pagans but Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere as well. Lynne Hume (wrong spelling Amazon!) did well. I never give any book 5 stars as IMHO no book is 'perfect' there are always faults.. so I gave this book 4 stars. Basically, the good I got out of this book outweighed the bad.
Eds J. Pearson, (see Resource Section) R. Roberts & G. Samuel. Edinburgh University Press. 1998; ISBN: 074861057X Paperback $26.
apparently another collection of essays
by Anthony Kemp. ASIN: 1854791176
No information is currently available, out of print. Apparently a collection of essays, one of which is by Lauren Greenwood (see resource section)
by Anodea Judith, List Price: $1.99 Paperback (November 1999) Llewellyn Publications; ISBN: 1567185673 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.19 x 6.89 x 4.19
Sounds like an intro pamphlet?
by Teresa Moorey Paperback (July 1999) Amazon Price $13,Hodder & Stoughton; ISBN: 0340742496
While it may not be everything you've ever thought to ask about Paganism, this compact guide captures the essence of the Pagan way of life. The experienced Pagan may want to pass on this book, but if you are thinking of taking the first steps on the path, or just want to know more about Paganism, Moorey gives some good ideas for practice and references to more comprehensive sources of information. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Customer Review March 20, 1997
This thin volume gives an excellent overview of modern paganism. Ms Moorey covers a great deal of information in a personal manner which will be easily understood both by practicing pagans and by those who simply wish to learn more about this growing, but often misunderstood segment of society. Ms Moorey touches on witchcraft, wicca, druidism, shamanism, and Celtic paganism. She identifies the basic beliefs of each traditon, comparing and contrasting the nuances of each without going into unnecessary detail. Each chapter includes bibliographical references for those who wish to pursue their studies --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
By Janet and Stewart Farrar and Gavin Bone, published by Phoenix (USA) and distributed by Hale. 250pp., ISBN: 0919345409 Amzaon Price: $14.95 Paperback (March 1995)
The Farrars have produced an excellent book on Paganism which is not just geared toward Wicca.
Reviewer: Darkmoon-Fox Ochre DesertRains (email@example.com) from Canada January 8, 1999
This is not a book to give you a complete how-to on spells, charms and hexes. Nor is it filled with new and exciting information or revelations for well-established pagans. What this book is, in my opinion, is a well thought out and clearly explained book on Paganism, it's growth from its resurgance back in the 60's to its development in the 90's and extrapolates the ongoing changes that will occur into the next century.
This is the book I recommend to those who are not in the pagan community but want to know more without having to deal with a lot of confusing jargon, spells or rituals. A must read for non-pagan parents, friends and loved ones.
Reviewer: A reader from Santa Clara, California June 19, 1998
Long-time practitioners of the pagan life-style will probably find nothing new in the book. For those who are interested in an overview of the pagan community, this book is one of the most articulate, mature, and complete introductions I've seen
Those looking for volumes full of cutesy drawings or listings of love spells are advised to look elsewhere. Those looking for and intelligent overview of the pagan path will be hard-pressed to find a better one
A general history of Modern Wicca and Neopaganism
If you have questions or advice on the materials discussed here, or if you have more resources to add; email me firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was created in March, 2000 c.e. No copyright by presenter, excerpts taken from Amazon and various other cited sources.
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