Author: Edited & Introduced by Philip Carr-Gomm
Publisher: The Oak Tree Press
Publication date: 2008
A 309 page illustrated volume of outstanding contemporary research in Druidism.
Introduction – Philip Carr-Gomm
Origins of Modern Druidry – Professor Ronald Hutton
Druidry: Exported Possibilities and Manifestations – Gordon Cooper
Phallic Religion in the Druid Revival – John Michael Greer
Question, Answer and the Transmission of Wisdom in Celtic and Druidic Tradition – Caitlin Matthews
Universal Majesty, Verity and Love Infinite – Dr Adam Stout
Working with Animals – Professor Roland Rotherham
I Would know my Shadow and my Light – Philip Carr-Gomm
Entering Faerie: Elves, Ancestors and Imagination – James Warren Maertens Ph.D
‘While maintaining the highest standards of research and scholarship, the lectures sparkle with enthusiasm, erudition and wit.’ Touchstone
‘I have now read half the lectures in this book and I have to say, their relevance to the Bardic grade is astounding – one coincidence falls over the next one! I recommend this book to anyone who is studying the OBOD course – it truly opens the mind further to the ideas in the Gwers and fuels a deeper understanding – especially when you are studying the elements and the male/female principles! This book is a magical world of ideas, passion and inspiration – a cauldron of a book!’ Magma
‘A search for ‘Druid’ on the internet throws up millions of sites, on which Druids can be anything from mysterious characters in children’s books, via war-game avatars, to self-appointed teachers of pseudo-occultism. In the mix are also hard data about real Druids, ancient and modern, but (except for a handful of reliable authors and researchers) the very word ‘Druid’ seems to inspire boundless imagination based on few – or no – hard facts. This may be a happy state of affairs for a reader seeking a lively novel, but is of limited use to anyone wanting quantifiable, verifiable information.
What a pleasure, therefore, to discover that the eight Mount Haemus lectures (2000-2007) have now been published as a single volume. Eight well-written, well-researched pieces on different aspects of Druidry – each properly referenced and annotated without sinking into the mire of almost-indecipherable academic prose – are more than welcome.
The breadth of subject matter makes it impossible to favour any one lecture above the others. Adam Stout’s biography of George Watson Macgregor Reid is an important and lively history, while Caitlin Matthews’ fine piece on the transmission of wisdom is inspirational as well as informative. Ronald Hutton’s ‘Origins of Modern Druidry’ provides a beautifully clear and sound basis for the subject, and Philip Carr-Gomm’s fascinating exploration of Michael Tippett’s opera ‘The Midsummer Marriage’ is illustrated with delicate black-and-white photographs. Roland Rotherham’s vast knowledge of world folklore is harnessed in his lecture on power animals, while John Michael Greer’s compelling contribution focuses on ‘Phallic Religion in the Druid Revival’. James Warren Maertens’ thought-provoking item considers the place of Faeries and the Otherworld in our culture of scientific materialism, and Gordon Cooper offers absorbing insights into manifestations of Druidry in the latter half of the twentieth century. Without exception, the lectures are interesting, informative and conducive to later contemplation. Highly recommended.’ Kate Gooch, Avalon Magazine
‘Some of the material in these two essays covers familiar ground; but from his position as a modern-day Druid Philip Carr-Gomm is able to apply highly original interpretative insights denied the average commentator on Tippett’s opera. I don’t think Tippett himself was aware either of the correspondences between Druidism and The Midsummer Marriage but there they are. Carr-Gomm’s main audience obviously comprises fellow Druids, which means that some of his remarks are a closed book to non-initiates; but such obstacles are quickly overtaken by the clarity and importance of what he has to say. Two aspects of the opera are given particular emphasis, its background structure and the revelations at its climax. His elucidation of the narrative structure – the retelling of the Welsh story of Taliesin, used both as an aid to initiation into the Druidic mysteries and in the opera as a vivid basis for the experience of struggle, rebirth and renewal – is exemplary and fearless. His explanation of the Sacred Marriage at the climax is equally so, notably his plea for its stage presentation in a joyful spirit of eroticism. It may be hoped that the next producer of the opera will have read Philip Carr-Gomm.’ A comment on the essay I Would know my Shadow and my Light in the book, from Ian Kemp, Michael Tippett’s biographer and author of Tippett – The Composer & His Music.