Author Spotlight: Brendan Myers

Jul 24th, 2015 | By | Category: Articles, Pagan People

With five books to his name, and an informed philosophical approach to his work, Brendan Myers is an influential, contemporary Druid author who has been with Moon Books since the imprint launched.

Brendan Cathbad Myers’s interest in mythology and ethics was inspired by Celtic storytelling and culture, taught to him by his Irish parents as a child. His Ph.D. doctorate is in ethics and philosophy, subject in which he also teaches. He has appeared on many US radio stations and podcasts, and writes a regular column in several Pagan magazines. He lives in Canada and has an international following.

Books:
jhp51efa580a1aafThe Earth, The Gods and The Soul – A History of Pagan Philosophy. Philosophy was invented by pagans. Yet this fact is almost always ignored by those who write the history of ideas. This book tells the history of the pagan philosophers, and the various places where their ideas appeared, from ancient times to the 21st century.
The Pagan philosophers are a surprisingly diverse group: from kings of great empires to exiled lonely wanderers, from devout religious teachers to con artists, drug addicts, and social radicals. Three traditions of thought emerge from their work: Pantheism, NeoPlatonism, and Humanism, corresponding to the immensities of the Earth, the Gods, and the Soul. From ancient schools like the Stoics and the Druids, to modern feminists and deep ecologists, the pagan philosophers examined these three immensities with systematic critical reason, and sometimes with poetry and mystical vision. This book tells their story for the first time in one volume, and invites you to examine the immensities with them.

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Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear. You have heard of sacred places, writings, relics, and rituals, holy days and magical times of year. But these are actually representations of relationships that people have with each other and the elements of the world. Some of these relationships environmental: they involve landscapes, animals, and the streets of your home town. Some are personal, such as families, friends, and elders. Some are public, involving musicians, storytellers, medical doctors, and even soldiers. This book studies twenty-two relationships, from a variety of traditions, and shows their place in the good life.

Yet these relations are always fragile, and threatened by fears, from the fear of loneliness, to the fear of the loss of personal or political freedom, to the fear of death. To escape from these fears, people often trap themselves into ways of life that are bad for everyone, including themselves. This book studies how that happens, and how to prevent it. More than beliefs, laws, and teachings, our relationships are the true basis of spirituality, and freedom.

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Loneliness and Revelation. Everyone experiences loneliness in their lives. Yet most people are secretly afraid of it. A recent study found that half of all Americans have only one close friend that they can confide in, and one-quarter have no friends at all. The last census found that one-fourth of all American households consisted in just one person. Research has also shown that many popular self-help methods to cope with loneliness actually make people feel worse than they already do. Yet loneliness is not simply a social phenomenon. Rather, it is an existential condition of life. So you can’t turn to other people, or true love, for a solution. Nor can you turn to God, for God is probably lonelier than you are! But loneliness is not evil. Indeed many great religious heroes like Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammad made their most important spiritual revelations in solitude. This book offers a new understanding of the idea of Revelation, which gives spiritual significance to the arts, human relationships, love, and indeed to loneliness itself. It has four simple but far-reaching principles: I am here; this is what I am; and what I am is beautiful! Is anyone else out there?
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The¬†Other Side of Virtue.¬†The Celts, the old Norse and Germanic people, the Greeks of the time of Homer and Hesiod, and other ancient heroic societies are popularly believed to be tribal warrior cultures, where the light of civilisation had not yet dawned. In fact this is far from the case. Many of our own most fundamental ideas about politics, justice, friendship, true love, the good life, and especially the notion of Virtue itself, come from their world. To them, Virtue had nothing to do with purity, nor modesty, nor God-given laws, nor sin and guilt, nor with any Sunday-school pretentiousness. Rather, it originally meant ‘excellence’ and ‘greatness of soul’. It was tied to more assertive qualities like strength and courage, and to social qualities like friendship. It was also connected to spiritual principles like the nature of the soul, the hope for immortality, and even the pursuit of happiness itself. Using ancient heroic epics and sagas like Beowulf, the Illiad and Odyssey, the Eddas, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, and literature inspired by them including the works of Shakespeare, Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling, this book explains the world-view that gave birth to our virtues.
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A Pagan Testament. Pagans often claim that their spiritual inspiration comes not from a written scripture but from personal experience and original creativity. There are however also many written works which constitute its testament. Some of them are thousands of years old, such as the Descent of Ishtar, and The Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Others are more recent, such as The Charge of the Goddess. A Pagan Testament collects these original works, along with the poetry and prose that inspired the founders of Wicca. It also includes the largest collection of circle songs and wisdom teachings ever published, which are the Pagan equivalent of the Biblical Psalms and Proverbs. They were collected by the author in a two-year survey of Pagan folklore, from almost 2,000 people in twelve countries around the world. They show that Paganism is continually expanding and developing. Finally, the book includes an original and valuable philosophical commentary and interpretation.
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http://brendanmyers.net

 

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