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Druid Magic Handbook: Ritual Magic Rooted in the Living Earth [Paperback]

John Michael Greer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books (1 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578633974
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578633975
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 269,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

"The Druid Magic Handbook" is the first manual of magical practice in Druidry, one of the fastest growing branches of the Pagan movement. The book breaks new ground, teaching Druids how to practice ritual magic for practical and spiritual goals within their own tradition. What sets "The Druid Magic Handbook" apart is that it does not require the reader to use a particular pantheon or set of symbols. Although it presents one drawn from Welsh Druid tradition, it also shows the reader how to adapt rites and other practices to fit the deities and symbols most meaningful to them. This cutting edge system of ritual magic can be used by Druids, Pagans, Christians, and Thelemites alike!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete grimoire 8 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
This is an impressive, coherent account of activist, intentional Druid spiritual practice (e.g. magic). It is a cut above many titles in this market. The central feature seems to be that the author is very smart and is deeply rooted in many aspects of the western esoteric tradition.

It is written elegantly and simply, and the direct style sometimes conceals how much he is conveying. The sections on magical intention are brief but impressive and worth re-reading. He throws away huge, comprehensive summaries of esoteric practice in easy sentences - "every complete magical ritual combines symbolism, gesture, voice and imagination to form an intention." There is an impressive 'wheel of life' which is a systematic combination of ogham and the wheel of the year to create an equivalent of the cabalistic 'tree of life'. If it had been created by a lesser mind, such as a druid who didn't really understand the cabala, you might have less faith. But something quite special is happening here.

Quite a lot of the book is idiosyncratic. This is inevitable, as there is no consensus, for example, on the real meanings of the ogham fews. However, the author clearly has a deep and systematic mind, and is expecting his reader to improvise and respond to their experience.

He covers philosophy, concepts, meditation, divination, ritual, and magical working. Whilst some of his approach might not exactly synch with a person's druid practice (e.g. the obod or bdo courses) it doesn't seem to matter. In a way, he supplies exactly the number of details you need for a complete grimoire - he gives just enough, and if you feel you need more detail or specification, you probably need to just get on with improvising and learning from your own practice. I think that a person could work productively from this book for years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating approach to magic 12 Mar 2013
By N.J.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Modern Druidry does spirituality very well, but it hasn't always focused on magic. In that, it has been left behind by its fellow Pagan traditions. To compensate for some of this missing magic, John Michael Greer goes back to the beginning of Pagan revival Druidry, looking at the work that Ross Nichols and others did on magic using Celtic symbols, and puts together a comprehensive magical system that draws on ceremonial approaches but is still qualitatively Druid magic. An excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Druid Magic at its best! 16 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A truly exceptional work created by John Michael Greer, the current Grand Arch-Druid of the AODA, a traditional Druid order rooted in the Druid Revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, offering an opportunity for modern people to experience the teachings and practices of Druidry in today's world. This book offers in my humble opinion an exceptional magical curriculum that any serious Bard, Ovate or Druid would benefit from incorporating into their personal magical path. I would also recommend John Michael Greer's excellent (Celtic Golden Dawn) as the perfect companion.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reenchanting the World 11 Mar 2008
By Lance M. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
On my trip to Iowa, one of the cool things that happened is that I got JMG's "The Druid Magic Handbook"...for free!

While in Ames, a friend of mine and I were talking about art and art patronage. I am a struggling artist myself. Seeing as I am always hand-to-mouth, my friend mentioned wouldn't it be cool if you had a patron? They asked where I wanted to go. I said the local bookstore. We went there, and sure enough, "The Druid Magic Handbook" was on the shelves as I had hoped it would be. So I set it aside in a stack of books I wanted to look through. Then before we left the store, my friend said they would like to help me as a sort of patron, and offered to buy a book of my choice. So...duh, I selected JMG's book :-)

So I read it on my flight back to Montana. And there are some really really good things in there, such as:

-The idea of disenchantment and RE-enchantment of the natural world as a part of the Druid path...something that I had come to Druidry hoping that others sought! Back in the 80s I had done an art exhibit called "Earth Songs." And Ishi, played by Graham Greene, in the movie "Last of His Tribe" heard the song of the earth, asked Professor Kroeber (Jon Voight) if he could hear the earth singing, and Voight pretended he could (I think I can) and Ishi said, "What she say?" And was so upset when he learned the Professor could not hear it after all and was pretending. And then Ishi began to sing the song he heard the Earth singing. We Indians sang our prayers...songs are vital to this effort of working with the natural world. Hearing their songs, and singing back:

chanting (song) / en-chanting (put the song into) / dis-en-chanting (removing a song which was put into) / re-en-chanting (replacing a removed song)

- The idea of the Tree of Life relating to mapping space, while the Wheel of Life is a map of time...and one can use BOTH..brilliant!

- The comparison not only of the five hermetic elements and the druid elements...but the comparison of the five elements with the states of matter affirmed by science (fire=energy, water=fluid, earth=solid, air=gaseous, spirit=time/space continuum)..brilliant stuff!

- I also really like that JMG cautioned people from rushing out and messing with sacred places, that the neglected, ruined, and harmed placed are the places that need "re-enchantment"-- don't mess with places that retain their song! Leave the Medicine Wheel in peace, leave Mount Shasta in peace. See what you can do in that vacant lot, your backyard, that neglected patch of woods. Plus it is a longterm effort to do this work, from the acorn a mighty oak will grow, even though we may only live long enough to see a sprout

There was some GREAT new ways of thinking about magic in there, ways that JMG described it that made immediate intuitive sense as never before. And the way he described the three Druid elements of calas, nwyfre, and gwyar, well, I finally "got it"!

The contents include:
-The Foundations of Druid Magic
1. The Ways of the Life Force
2. The Alphabet of Magic
3. The Essentials of Practice
-The Practice of Druid Magic
4. The Gates of the Elements
5. The Grove of the Druids
6. The Art of Enchantment
7. The Secret of the Grail
-The Way of Druid Magic
8. The Reenchantment of the World

Great integration of the essentials and wonderful explanations and clear writing, for which John Michael Greer is justifiably famous! A must buy for those on the Druidic path and those interested in reenchanting the earth
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointed. 18 Aug 2008
By thanson02 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I like John Michael Greer's work. I usually stay away from the ceremonial magic stuff (not my thing) but I love A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism. It was well written and insightful. When I checked this book out on Amazon, There was enough stuff in the example to warrant checking out the book. What I didn't realize was the book draws much of it's work from the ceremonial magical traditions of the Druid revival, and that was not what I was looking for. So if your into the works of the Druid revival or a member of the OBOD, AODA, DGOFC, or other Druid groups connected with these, have at it. If your looking for something rooted in ancient magical practices, there are other sources.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the money! 24 Feb 2008
By Lover of Magic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Druid Magic Handbook is the first of Greer's books that I've read. Even though there is much techincal information, he writes in a way that is easy to follow and understand. The book gives enough information for a neophyte to get started in ritual magic and meditation but also leaves room for creative imagination. I also appreciated his intention of using magic to reharmonize the earth which is much needed in our time. It was obvious from the the first pages that Greer has a firm grasp of the magical process and I look forward to reading some of his other books.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here, now... Druidry as a living practice.. 19 July 2009
By Morri Sidhe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
John Michael Greer is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids (ADOA), which was founded in 1912. Greer is also a Tarot Grandmaster, an active member of five fraternal and two magical lodges and he has extensive experience in geomancy and sacred geometry. The Druid Magic Handbook is a synthesis of all these interests and Greer has been both highly criticized and highly praised for this work. In short, you will either love or hate this book. I am one of the ones who loved it!

Unlike many books on Druid magick, Greer does not attempt to recreate what ancient druids might have done (Paleo-Druidry). He is focused solely on the 18th century Druid revival (Meso-Druidry) and its roots in medieval ceremonial magickal practice, as well as modern Druidry (Neo-Druidry) and its connection to earth spirituality and Celtic values. This creates a very interesting, and practical, series of rituals that build upon each other to create a highly effective ritual magick system for modern practitioners. Unlike the ceremonialism of groups like The Golden Dawn, Greer's system demands that the practitioner connect with symbols that have personal meaning to the user. This does require more effort than a standardized approach, but it embraces the core Celtic value of freedom of conscience and the acknowledgement of differing perspectives of deity that existed in the various Celtic tribal groups.

I very much appreciated Greer's opening chapter that provides the reader with a simple construct that reintegrates spirit for the reader as a part of Self rather than an external element. This chapter also discusses Magic and Nature, Magic and Intentionality, and Magic and Ethics which are invaluable. His final chapter on The Reenchantment of the World is focused on how to heal the land and will appeal to anyone interested in eco-magick.

This book is not for anyone who is interested in Celtic Reconstructionism, but it will be of great interest to any NeoPagan who is interested in developing the discipline and skills to expand their magickal practice in a new direction.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars it might be a good book but... 2 Nov 2009
By Galli Carlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
First of all, I am not into magic, and I do not know much about druidry. I bought this book out of sheer curiosity for a nature-based system of spirituality. The book is interesting and well written, but two things got my attention and prompted me to stop reading the book: The author seems to think that science and our current knowledge of reality has turned the world into a lifeless mass, only relevant, he says, as a source of raw material. I have to disagree with that. Using our rationality has nothing to do with losing that sense of wonder, which, Aristotle said, was the force that led mankind to investigate nature and the world in the first place. Science is not about making the world a dull place to live in, actually quite the opposite, science is about disentangling the great mysteries of the world around and within us, about understanding them. About understanding what is real and what is not real. If a phenomenon is real, if it can be observed and reproduced, no matter how extraordinary, mind-blowing or magic it appears, it will not be deemed worthless by science.
Second, the author gives instructions about meditation. The method he proposes is interesting, but claiming that oriental meditation techniques may lead to reduced mental clarity because they emphasize the suppression of thoughts just shows that the author is not very familiar with them. Eastern cultures have developed extremely profound and sophisticated meditation systems over the centuries, and a young tradition such as the druid revival movement should know better than dismissing an older, more mature and more developed meditation tradition. it would actually greatly benefit from studying it and learning from it. Although practices such as samatha do aim at calming the mind from its endless chatter, they are part of a much more complex approach, whose purpose is not to turn practitioners into thoughtless zombies, or to distance them from reality, obfuscating their mind clarity. quite the opposite. Eastern meditation is not about getting lost in some otherworldly realm, but it is about being here and now, about being aware of the present moment. it is not about forcing the thoughts out of the mind, it is not about forcing the mind against it nature, but about regaining a natural clarity that we have often forgotten.
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