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Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics [Kindle Edition]

Emma Restall Orr
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A provocative,articulate and uncompromising exploration of how Paganism can provide the philosophical guidance to live honourably in a twenty-first Western society.

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Product Description


This is an excellent pioneering work, erudite, courageous and imaginative, that provides a new kind of ethics, linked to a newly appeared complex of religions, which are founded on some very old human truths. --Professor Ronald Hutton, world expert on paganism and author of The Triumph of the Moon and many other titles.

This is a lively, sensible and careful attempt to make sense of some very confusing, and yet important, areas of modern thought. I particularly like the clear style and the attention that the author gives to parts of the historical background which are usually misunderstood. The book should interest a wide audience. --Mary Midgley, philosopher, author of Science as Salvation and many other works.

About the Author

Emma Restall Orr (aka Bobcat) is one of the most well-known Druids worldwide. She worked for the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, was Joint Chief of the British Druid Order, and in 2002 created the international Druid Network. In 2004, she founded Honouring the Ancient Dead, which advocates with heritage organisations around the issue of ancient and Pagan British human remains. She is a practicing priest and teacher, regularly lectures at universities and within the Pagan community, and works as a media spokesperson for Druidry.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 489 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: John Hunt Publishing (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,174 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in 1965, a Londoner by birth and blood, Emma Restall Orr spent much of her first two decades travelling the world, coming into her twenties as an avid explorer of ideas, a thinker and a rebel, ready to challenge habitual beliefs and lack of consideration. Working for twenty years in Druid groups and organisations, in 2008 she stepped away to focus instead on her own deep spiritual work, practical ethics and care. A compulsive writer, over the course of 15 years her published work has progressed from personal narratives of a very earth-based Druidry to a broader animistic, anarchistic philosophy, in explorations of nature, ethics, metaphysics and reason.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and timely 1 May 2008
By Greycat
My first thought on stepping into 'Living with Honour' was that so many contemporary members of pagan society are NOT going to like this book. It is indeed sorely needed, as it challenges the current trend for woolly thinking and blindly following 'tradition' (spiritual, political and social). It demands from the first that any readers WILL pay attention and relate the questions being asked to their own situations, in order that they may truly live with honour, plotting an honest and unique path through the tangles of modern life.

Without going into too much unnecessary academic detail, the book takes us on a journey through traditional modes of thinking, so ingrained that we don't even notice them but which are instantly familiar. The reader is inspired to ask themselves why they hold their beliefs, from everyday issues to deep fundamental philosophies of life. Pagan 'traditions' (old and new) are naturally a yardstick, but the need to question is paramount, to investigate in a manner that should be familiar from Bobcat's previous work, but which is easy to forget when stuck in a 'normal' 21st century environment.

It takes time to absorb - regular pauses are necessary during reading, to go away, consider, sometimes come to realizations, and then continue. So much is contained in these pages, that a second reading is already on the cards!

Emma's Paganism demands to be lived, with all of its pitfalls and promise. It is not light and easy, but can be dark, bloody and difficult - but then, so is life. While her previous works were guidebooks, this takes the next step, asking the hard questions that must be addressed if we are to live in a truly 'pagan' way, with everything that entails. As representatives of our beliefs, and so of our own selves, ancestors and land, we cannot live by blinding obeying as we are told. We make our ethics, and this book gives us the equipment with which to do so.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, courageous and wholly necessary 28 July 2008
The subject of ethics reaches deeply into our experience of being human. It is messy, gluey, inescapable and a fundamental fact of life. Its challenge is both simple and complicated: On what basis do we make our decisions?

Emma Restall Orr has broken new ground as the first author to dissect, examine and critically position natural Pagan ethics within its broader cultural and philosophical context. Scholarly and comprehensive in its depth of examination, the author adeptly navigates through the rich heritage of influential philosophers and thinkers whose work has sculpted and continues to shape our understanding of nature, reason, humanity and relationship. From Immanuel Kant to Arthur Schopenhauer, Peter Singer, and many more, each thinker provides a touchstone for exploring how a sensitive relationship with nature can form the basis of a Pagan ethics.

The book tackles some difficult questions and dilemmas: How does the nature-revering Pagan, grounded firmly in their philosophy, respond to issues such as abortion, euthanasia, or animal exploitation? How have we formed an understanding of consciousness, freedom, sanctity, responsibility, and how are these expressed in the way we live? Faced with global environmental crises, how can we craft our nature-based values into sustainable relationships that form an intelligent and effective response to the problems?

Restall Orr may come across as authoritative at times, and readers should prepare to have their assumptions challenged. This is not a comfortable book. It is intentionally provocative, deeply questioning, and essentially motivating. It expertly addresses a gaping hole in the Pagan literature, and as such, its significance should not be underestimated.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, pioneering and uncomfortable! 22 May 2008
If you're looking for a book that tells you how to be a Pagan, which postures to strike and which attitudes to engender then look elsewhere. This book is a passionate discussion on the nature of what constitutes true ethical authenticity. Restall Orr achieves a remarkable balance in the book. Firstly it is probably the best work on Pagan Ethics around and as such should feature on the shelves of university and college libraries. Secondly, through well rehearsed analysis and intriguing discussion it subverts many of the well-informed notions and traditions that feed into the modern Western ethical experience. Thirdly the book manages to touch a personal nerve. If you think you're a fairly OK person leading a responsible and morally commendable life prepare to be challenged!

If you're looking for a work that sits broadly within the Western ethical religious and cultural milieu but which subverts the accepted and cuts away at cultural accretion this is the book you're looking for. Read it, delight in it and learn from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Coping with horror 14 Mar. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Author declares herself as prejudiced and having a non-philosophical background at the start of the book, a trick which provides her the chance use to use criticism(Philosophical Guidance?) rather rather than critical examination. The book suffers due to this and it is tortuously heavy going to cut to the books chase, and for this reason some may see it as a wasted opportunity.

This book is not a good introduction to ethics(Neo-pagan or otherwise), although I think it was intended as such, nor does it, due to its rambling prose, present a clear argument for virtue ethics and it would have been good to see how the authors version of virtue ethics actually worked to answer some ethical/moral puzzles('The trolley puzzle' for instance) rather than just offering rhetorical polemic after rhetorical polemic to the reader.

The one thing this book does have going for it is that there is probably no other book in its category of 'Neo-pagan Ethics', and for that I would recommend it to Neo-pagans who want to look a little bit closer at their own 'Neo-paganism'. For this reason alone I mark it up to 3 stars.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read, then a thought!
Good to read a book attempting to elucidate ethics from a pagan perspective. I enjoyed reading this book and digesting it within my own moral struggle. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful
I love to read this author's work as she makes me think. Sometimes it can get uncomfortable, the implications of being a fully concious person mean many issues have to be... Read more
Published 17 months ago by James
1.0 out of 5 stars Just a few inconsistencies..
This book is preachy and heavy going and her arguments on a few issues are pretty inconsistent, particularly vegetarianism. Read more
Published on 16 Sept. 2012 by EnglishRose
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review on Living With Honour
Awens to All:

In September 2010, I got hold of a Book by the Druid Network's High Priestess Emma "Bobcat" Restall Orr called "Living With Honour, A Pagan Ethics" and... Read more
Published on 21 Feb. 2012 by TheDruid-3X3
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, with one minor weakness
It's an excellent book, thought-provoking and well reasoned for the most part. I was disappointed with her argument on vegetarianism, though. Read more
Published on 20 Feb. 2012 by Ysgawen
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Living with honour is one of the best pagan books I have read. Extremely thought provoking. Well written. One of those books I know I will pick up and read again.
Published on 5 Dec. 2011 by Raven Dragonoak
4.0 out of 5 stars Heavy going but worthwhile
As a relative newbie to the pagan paths I've been reading around the subject.

I have to say that I found this book quite heavy going - in fact I couldn't read more than... Read more
Published on 2 July 2010 by Kevin McIlroy
2.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity
Emma Restall-Orr (ERO) is a wonderful ambassador for the pagan community and has devoted a lot of hard work to our community. Without her, much which we depend on wouldn't happen. Read more
Published on 4 Jun. 2010 by Marcus G
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
An outstanding book! I purchased this as I thought I had mislaid my original copy. I found the original, so this copy has been passed on to a good friend who will, I hope, get as... Read more
Published on 11 Dec. 2009 by M. J. Stygal
5.0 out of 5 stars long awaited book for druids and pagan's.
This is a long awaited book for druids and pagans. For those who are weekend pagans and those that are the pink and fluffy variety..... Read more
Published on 21 Oct. 2008 by johno
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