Book Review: Pictish Orthodox Druidism
This is is very interesting book that covers and obscure religious and spiritual practice. This book is not like anything else on the market related to Celtic traditions. This book is very unique, and while it does cover Celtic spirituality and Druidry it does some from the tradition of the Picts. Most books on Celtic Paganism or Druidry cover Irish or Welsch traditions. Very few touch on the Picts and their tradition.
The author covers this tradition from the way it was taught in his family. In places where his family tradition had gaps the author did his best with research into history and lore to complete the tradition. This book is his way of preserving his view and style of Pictish Druidry.
This book is not really broken into chapters but parts with related sections. Aside from the introduction there are eight sections in the book. Each section focuses on unique aspects of this tradition providing information on lore and history as well as theory and practice of ritual and magical workings.
In the Introduction the author starts by presenting several common terms and definitions used within the book and Pagan traditions and spirituality. Next the author explains his approach to reconstructing religious and spiritual traditions. This is essential to understand as the practices in the book are a mixture of reconstructed practices and traditions passed down in his family. The introduction concludes with a summary of principles. Here the author also outlines what exactly he considers Pictish Tradition to entails.
The first section of the book is entitled Pictish Orthodoxy. This section begins with an overview of Celtic spiritual traditions and the different forms out there. The author presents an argument for Pictish Tradition origins and how we does have information to build a base on. This section here is also where we are introduced to the Gods.
The section on the Gods covers a basic introduction to the world view. It covers several of the spirit concepts as well as the type of Polytheism that Pictish tradition followed. Here the author introduces the idea that the Picts would have adopted some Norse traditions.
Here the author covers information on the various Gods of the Pict tradition. He gives their names and attributes. The author covers three different “tribes” or types of Gods worshiped. There are the Greater Gods, the Brethren Gods (Norse Gods), and the Tuatha DeDannan. Through the categorization of the Gods we get a view for the complex syncretic path that is the Pictish Tradition.
The section ends with a discussion on the concept of the trinity and the sacred three. Here we learn about the Celtic three other worlds and the Celtic Knot. The author also explains through this sacred three why certain deities are seen as a Triad. To tie in the Norse tradition with the exploration of the Celtic other worlds (3) the author lists the Nine Norse Realms.
The section part in the book is called Awen. This section is about taking action and how worship is through action. Here the author covers the sacred Holidays. The section on the holidays is rather small. It does present a few examples of how those sacred days could be honored through actions and activities rather than ritual.
The third part of the book is one of the most interesting. This is the section on the Faerie faith. Many spiritual traditions work with beings called the Fae. This section is about the Pictish tradition and their take on the Fae. Here we get a taste for ritual work and how the Picts dealt with contact with spirits.
This chapter had some of the most useful information. It starts out by explains what the faerie spirits really are and how the modern view of fairy’s is actually quite far from the historical perspective. The author explains that he believes this would have been the practice of the common folk and was less to deal with Gods and was more animistic in nature.
After giving brief examples of offerings and how the Faerie Faith may have been practiced the author begins to discuss the different types of Fae. Here we see the variety of spiritual forces found within the Pictish tradition beyond the Gods. The author gives several different types of fae including descriptions of Norse Fae.
Once we are familiar with types of Fae we get into the first practical bit of spiritual work within the book. Here we are learning how to set up an altar to suit the practice of the Faerie faith. The author covers three different types of altars to the Faerie people and the types of fae best honored at each.
The chapter ends with ideas on how to make contact with the Fae. Here the author covers plant talismans and flowers in your garden that could attract the fae. The author also presents a detailed guided meditation to use meditative techniques to meet fae and work with them. In all reality the section on the Faerie faith could be a book in its own right. The author does a great job of presenting information that gives an introduction to the practice within the context of this particular cultural view.
The fourth section of the book is about the priesthood. Here we find out the authors view on Priesthood and why its not a mantle to be taken up easily. The author covers the different types of priests and Druids in this chapter. With each type of druid or priest the author covers the roles they had and how they worked for the Gods and the community. Here the author also covers the various Norse Priests that would have filled similar roles to the Druids. The author makes it clear that for him priesthood and ministry are the same thing.
The fifth section is where we first get introduced to the practice of magic. The practice of magic is one of the main draws to practices like Druidry, Shamanism, and witchcraft. The idea of being able to perform rituals and take specific actions to create change in ones life is very appealing. So it is important to cover the use of magic and the theories behind it.
In this section the author covers the hows and whys of magic. Before getting into magical laws and theory the author outlines the phases and steps involved in spell casting. He explains several magical laws and magical theories. This gives you the basis to start exploring the magic discussed later.
The majority of the section on magic focuses specifically on the Druid practice of magic. The author gives examples of types of magic he calls Low, Middle, and High. In each section of low, middle or high there are examples of types of magical workings and practices that would fit within those concepts.
The chapter ends with a discussion on Druid rituals, tools and the organizations. With the information on ritual and tools the reader now has enough information to create simple spells and workings within this magical paradigm. It is here that we have really begun to be able to piece together a practice from the material presented.
The sixth section in the book is on Magical languages. Here the author introduces Ogham and symbols that are used in magical ritual. The author covers tattoos and scarification rituals as ways that the Picts used magical symbolism on their body. The section on magical languages ends with a brief introduction to Runes and Runic magic.
The seventh part of the book is dedicated to Runes. This is one area of the book that is entirely dedicated to a Nordic aspect of the tradition. Here the author covers the Rune poems and the three different Rune systems. He covers the use in magic and the use in divination. The author even covers creating your own traditional Rune staves and doing traditional Runic readings. This section and the Faerie faith chapter are the two section of the book with the most practical information and the most unique information.
The author ends the book covering a variety of related spiritual traditions. The author begins the section by covering different Druid and Celtic traditions and organizations. Here the author covers traditions like Shamanism, Wicca, and general Witchcraft. This shows that the author not only respects these other spiritual traditions but he also sees how they are connected and possibly related to his own traditions and practices.
Overall the book provides great insight into this spiritual tradition. There is enough information that the reader could decide to explore the practice for themselves personally. The author gave enough information to form a workable practice without doing all of the work for you. He allows the reader to start with this information and work with the spirits and Gods through personal work to develop their priesthood and their practice.
I would recommended this book to people interested in both Celtic and Norse Pagan traditions. While I may not agree with all of the information presented on the Norse traditions, I feel that the author did an excellent way of presenting how the Picts would have adapted the Norse Gods and practices into their traditions.
Posted on January 12, 2016, in Book Reviews, Celtic Pantheon, Celtic Spirituality, Cosmology, Cultural practices, Deities/Divinity/God, Druidry, Folk Magic Traditions, Germanic Pantheon, History, Magic, Other Worlds (heven, hell, ect), Reviews, Trolldom, Tuatha De Dannan and tagged book review, Druidism, Druidry. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.