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The Path of the Blue Raven Paperback – 27 Nov 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: O Books (27 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846942381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846942389
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 1.3 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 279,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Mark Townsend is a priest at the edge! The place where new ideas and new understandings are formed is always at the edge. It is a place that institutions, because they demand conformity to the institution, cannot go. But it is always there, out on the edges that new thinking, new imaginings, new dreams happen. --Revd. Peter Owen-Jones, Presenter of BBC s Around the World in 80 Faiths Bottom of the Pond.)

Enjoyed it very much! --Cherie Blair

I started this book expecting to skim it and found myself reading every page. It is a wonderful quest romance, a story about the nature of religion, magic, England, modernity and many other things as well. --Professor Ronald E Hutton

About the Author

Mark Townsend is a priest of the Church of England, a member of the Magic Circle and a Bard within a worldwide Drudic organisation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Emsy on 24 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Path of the Blue Raven is an inspiring book that explores the challenge of developing an authentic relationship with the Divine. Part biographical part exploration, the author looks at the way his own path has developed over the past few years and the influences that inspired him. The book is very easy read as Mark is a very humorous writer. I read it in a couple of days as I couldn't put it down! His approach is to tell his life as it is which is often painful honest but he shows how pain brings great insightful treasures. Mark treads the path from entrenched `churchianity' absorbed by ideas of perfectionism and being successful to realising authentic spiritual life wells from unconditional love and acceptance.

Later in the book are contributions from others who have chosen paths off the beaten track. They range from Christo-Druid, Celtic Christian, Pagan Druid and Native American. These offerings add further insights into what it means to live an authentic spiritual life from other faith viewpoints.

This book will help anyone who is struggling to come to terms with their sense of faith but struggle to find their faith reflected in any institutional church. I really recommend anyone to buy this book. Read it and then buy Mark's other books, especially The Gospel of Falling down which is currently making huge waves in the church.
The book will also upset many that become insecure when others discuss anything other than what they think is the `right way to God'. Yet such a book that invites us to think through what we are doing can be no bad thing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rev. J. G. Hetherington on 20 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Mark Townsend's book, "The Path of the Blue Raven" is best explained by its subtitle: "From Religion to Re-Enchantment". As we read with Mark we realise we are sharing a truly honest account of his journey into re-enchantement,a path I am also travelling. Church going folk have been taught to see God through beliefs: doctrines and ways of behaving. Since the enlightenment in the west we have forgotton that once the world was 'enchanted', a place of mystery, fear, joy and magic - a domain for encounter with Life itself. The prologue makes us realise that we have always had the wings to fly spiritually, but most of us just tuck them out of the way. Mark has not done that, and it has proved a hard path, which we are invited to fly with him.

Mark, through this book, makes it possible to rediscover that we can be set free to explore beyond the confines of religious orthodoxy. For him it is in nature and magic that his exploring has centred. We are invited into his life and thought, and discover a sincere Church of England priest, trying to adapt to individual needs by shaping ceremonies to mark life's changes, often beyond the limits of his church structures. He shares the pain of rejection by the Church for having too much integrity. We are led to understand that religion and the "divinity" in nature are not two different things, but two aides of one coin.

Part 2 opens with a summary of what the "spirtual", "awakened" life can be. Ideas like, "The source of life is pure limitless love." and "All religions and paths lead to the same goal" and, "the heart of the spiritual life is the search for wisdom and compassion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Anderson on 29 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
The book charts Mark's spiritual journey from institutional religion to something, well, rather different and exciting. Until recently Mark was a dog collared parish priest. Now he more often hangs out in the woods with druids.

The book tells of his gradual disillusionment with Church-ianity through personal crises that forced him to re-evaluate his beliefs and role. Part two relates the difficulties, encounters and friendships that led him to discover his inner voice - what Mark calls the `wizard within', and to re-discover the holy awe and wonder of the natural world. The final part of the book is a fascinating anthology of other people's spiritual journeys, some blending what inspires them in both Paganism and Christianity.

The major theme is `magic' and in mythology the raven symbolises magical initiation and transformation among other things. Mark is a semi-professional stage magician and once used conjuring to illustrate sermons (and got quite a lot of flak from traditionalists). I was inspired by how this theme permeates his spirituality, not as so much supernatural "woo-woo" but as a way to open our minds to new ways of thinking, and ultimately to glimpse the `deeper magic' in ordinary life, human brokenness and in all creatures great and small - including ravens.

I certainly warmed to Mark when listening to his personal story, which includes very moving, amusing and odd ball moments. He makes some very frank and honest admissions as to his mistakes; his experience provides a sadly poignant message for the church, but avoids sounding bitter. Mark even dedicates the book to the C of E (though the SPCK might still not stock it!).
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