Nimue Brown – Reviews

Oct 16th, 2014 | By | Category: Articles, Books for Druids

Recent reviews of various titles written for Moon Books by Nimue Brown.

Druidry and the Ancestors

Although ‘Druidry and the Ancestors’ is ostensibly about the beliefs of the Druid Path it is also invaluable reading for everyone who considers themselves traditional witches.  The Ancestors play an integral part within traditional British Old Craft belief and practice – and we can never move very far into the realms of witchdom before we come up against their influence on our progression along the Path.  I particularly liked the observation made by Nimue Brown that the:  “wholesale borrowing of otherpeople’s beliefs and ways of living is not always honourablethough, nor is it reliably helpful. Relationship with the ancestorsis not a concept that can ever exist in isolation. It belongs to placeand time, to ways of life, to art, story and life experience. Theancestors are not separate from life as we live it, but intrinsic toit. We need to see them as part of our community, not a few extralines in a ritual. A modern, western pagan with no ancestraltradition of reverencing the ancestors cannot simple takesomeone else’s approach and assume it will work out of context”.

For the readers’ benefit, modern Druidry identifies three groups of ancestors: the ancestors of blood, the ancestors of place, and the ancestors oftradition.  We may identify with slightly differing viewpoints on this, or argue semantics, but the fundamentals are basically the same in that:“This is a book about making peace with the ancestors,understanding their legacies and their ongoing presence in ourlives, and exploring how ancestry impacts on community, andideas of race, nation and culture.”  In other words, Nimue Brown eloquently explains that which cannot be described – only experienced.  It is certainly a book I will be recommending to my own group.  5-Star

Melusine Draco, Principal Coven of the Scales.

  • eBook £6.99 || $9.95
  • Nov 30, 2012. 978-1-78099-676-9.
  • BUY | AMAZON US | AMAZON UK
  • Paperback £12.99 || $22.95
  • Nov 30, 2012. 978-1-78099-677-6.
  • BUY | AMAZON US | AMAZON UK

 

When a Pagan prays:

jhp5322da8f27f31It is said that there are no atheists on the battlefield, or more generally to whom do you turn in your darkest hour?   In ‘When a Pagan Prays’, Nimue Brown encourages us to look closely at what we, as individuals, mean by prayer and offers up a valuable insight of how she views the subject as a modern Druid.    If we’re honest, most pagans are hampered by the lack of an established creed to guide us when ‘communing with, a god or some spiritual power’ and so we need some sort of guidance in understanding what prayer entails.  Generally speaking, most prayer is either a petition or supplication simply because we want something (from the release of pain to winning the lottery), often less frequently a vote of thanks as in counting our blessings.   Within the established religions, prayer is generally performed by rote and as the author points out: “Prayer practices are numerous and diverse, from the deeplyprivate, to the public ritual, from the ancient prayer poem to thesudden improvisation. A little reading around about differentfaiths left me clear that there are many ways of doing it, and thatindividual preferences and needs are probably the best guide inpicking ways of working. After all, if you feel silly, uncomfortableor fraudulent then the odds of having a meaningful spiritualexperience are slim.”

The charm (if that is the right word) of this book is that Nimue Brown can encourage us to look away from our own attitudes to prayer and study those from other cultures – not in order to highjack those ideas or techniques but to draw inspiration from them.  She uses the comparison with Shinto (a faith I grew up in and have often compared with traditional British Old Craft)in that it combines the purity of technique with a highly abstract focus on deity.  Prayer, of course, is a very private matter and our own individual way of connecting with godhead, however we see He, She or It and ‘When A Pagan Prays’ reveals how we can bring that personal spirituality into our daily lives.  Or simply as my neighbouring farmer commented only the other morning as we stood together in silent contemplation of the early morning blue haze on the mountains, “It makes you feel good with yourself, doesn’t it?”

suzanne ruthven

There’s also a deep and thoughtful review of When a Pagan prays on James Nichol’s blog:  “Highly recommended When a Pagan Prays by Nimue Brown is an ambitious book, and a courageous one.”

  • eBook £6.99 || $9.99
  • Jul 25, 2014. 978-1-78279-632-9.
  • BUY | AMAZON US | AMAZON UK
  • Paperback £11.99 || $19.95
  • Jul 25, 2014. 978-1-78279-633-6.
  • BUY | AMAZON US | AMAZON UK

ppswsSpirituality without Structure:

A lot of people in today’s society consider themselves to be spiritual beings without any allegiance to any particular religion or belief.  In fact, a highly spiritual person may often have no strong religious conviction, while a staunch ‘worshipper’ can be devoid of any spirituality; and as many people have found, religion can be taught but spirituality must be discovered and developed within one’s self.  As ‘Spirituality Without Structure’ reveals, spirituality is how we ‘feel’ about the meaning or mysteries of life; how we reconcile life’s highs and lows; where we feel the soul comes from, how it grows, and where it goes after death.   It addresses the quest for the ‘hidden’ meaning of life and need not manifest itself in a religious manner – after all, secular spirituality spawned philosophy.  Although the author approaches the subject form a ‘pagan’ standpoint, this is a book that will appeal to all those who need a little bit of spiritual guidance without structure.

Suzanne Ruthven: co-author of Exploring Spirituality

 

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