Author: Philip Carr-Gomm
Portuguese edition: Dom Quixote 2007
German edition: Aurum 2009
Publication date: 2006
Also available as an e-book
An exploration of the beliefs, values and practices of contemporary Druids
Druidism evolved out of the tribal cultures of Britain, Ireland and western France over two thousand years ago. In the seventeenth century it experienced a revival which has continued to this day.
Druidry’s modern worldwide appeal lies in its focus on reverence for the natural world, a belief in the value of personal creativity, and of developing a sense of communion with the powers of nature and the spirit. Its startling recent growth derives from its broad appeal: some treat it as a philosophy, others as a religion, still others as a path of self-development. Philip Carr-Gomm explains the practical value of following Druidism today, and examines its core beliefs and relevance to the contemporary issues that face us all.
”Far and away the best short introduction to modern Druidry in print.” John Michael Greer
Rated Four stars – The Independent
‘Today’s mail brought a copy of Philip Carr-Gomm’s new book, What Do Druids Believe? It’s part of a series (“What Do [fill in the blank] Believe?”), a small format paperback of 116 pages, and an easy read, but far and away the best short introduction to modern Druidry in print. You can hand it to just about anyone, and they’ll read it in an hour or so and come away with a good general grasp of what Druidry is about. Highly recommended.’ John Michael Greer
****The Independent gives the book four stars in its Paperback Reviews section:
Every New Year, and whenever a heavenly body does something distracting (solstices, eclipses), druids find themselves briefly the focus of the nation’s attention. A few seconds’ footage of some noble but crazy-looking men and women with flowing robes blowing horns or raising their arms as the sun rises over Stonehenge, and they slip back into a haze of comfortable stereotypes. This book does a very good job of filling in the back story.
According to Carr-Gomm, Druids believe many things, and one group of people calling themselves Druids might believe quite contrary things to another group. Some maintain that you can be a Christian or a Buddhist Druid if you decide to make a distinction between your religion and your philosophy of life; others have trouble understanding this. In America there is a branch of Druidism which has set itself up with the kind of hierarchy and rules you’d expect to find in a mainstream Christian church, but speak to typical British Druids and they are likely to be highly suspicious of organised religions, aspiring to a life “free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices”.
There are factors which unite, though. A love of nature and some kind of belief in the Otherworld, “a realm or realms which exist beyond the physical world”, rate highly. Most Druids believe in reincarnation. Quite what provokes people to engage in spiritual quests remains as engaging a question as asking what any faith group believes, but for those who want to understand the lure of being a Druid, this is an illuminating little book.
‘This is an extremely useful book for anyone wanting a basic introduction to modern druidry, its beliefs and practices and how it relates to historic and pre-historic forms. As you might expect from Carr Gomm the subject is handled with quiet authority and written in a highly readable narrative style. The format of the book, written to answer a series of straight forward questions proves a simple but effective method of communicating the basics. If you want to get a handle on modern Druidry I suggest you buy this book.’ Trevor Greenfield, Amazon UK Review
‘This little 100 page book is a real gem. It forms part of a “What Do We Believe?” series, though, of course anyone who knows anything about modern day Druids and Druidry will know that Druids may well ‘believe’ just about anything. 100 druids will offer you 110 different opinions on anything and everything!
It would, I think, be all too easy to write such a short book and devalue the importance of Druidry, to sell it short, not reflecting the wonderful energy, vibrancy and diversity of modern Druidry. But contained within the pages of this book is a beautifully succinct free flowing considered and easily understandable description of Druidry.The clearly written chapters offer brief descriptions on the origins and ancient roots of Druidry, the importance of myth and story, it’s ethics values and beliefs, the links between Druidry magic and shamanism, how to learn more of the path, and perhaps most important of all what modern Druids do in the modern world.
There is a short glossary of terms to the back of the book as well as an excellent section offering details of suggested further reading. As a simple primer and initial introduction to Druidry this is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it.’ Review by Vixen for The Druid Network
‘This is a great little book, one that all Druids should read and should recommend to anyone wanting to know about Druidry. Carr-Gomm writes very well, and has here produced an exceptionally clear, well-researched overview of modern pagan Druidry. I think it’s his best book so far, packing a heck of a lot into its 118 pages. I’ve been a Druid for more than thirty years and I found things here I didn’t know and that made me think about my tradition. What more can you ask? Brilliant.’ Review by Philip Shallcrass for The Druids’ Voice