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The Elements of... - The Druid Tradition Paperback – 5 Sep 1996

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More About the Author

Philip always wanted to be a writer and wrote short stories when he was 11 and 12. But then he found the Buddha, the Druids, and Psychoanalysis, and this was all so interesting he forgot about writing until a publisher he met at a dinner party in London, when he was in his late thirties, invited him to write a book. The result, 'The Elements of the Druid Tradition', soon became one of the best sellers in the 'Elements Of' series, and he was asked to write a follow-up: 'The Druid Way'. Twenty years' later he's still writing, having broadened his scope from the topic of Druidry, with its contemporary environmental relevance, to include the history of magic in England in 'The Book of English Magic', the subject of sacred sites in the lavishly illustrated 'Sacred Places', and the subject of nudity in religion, politics and popular culture in 'A Brief History of Nakedness.' You can find his author website at and his blog at

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About the Author

Philip Carr-Gomm is a writer and psychologist, living in Sussex with his wife Stephanie and their children. He is author of ‘Druidcraft – the Magic of Wicca & Druidry’, ‘The Re-birth of Druidry’ and ‘The Elements of the Druid Tradition’ and editor of ‘The Druid Renaissance’.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
The only introduction you'll ever need! 23 Jun 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The current chief of the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids, the world's largest druid order today, presents a concise and easy-to-read introduction and history of what has become modern druidry. There are no attempts to pretensiously link the current movement with the ancient past and the author portrays a likely evolution of the celtic priesthood without resorting to so-called secret texts, lost documents, or wild speculations -- just the facts as known. This work also discusses the three grades within modern druidry, providing a reasonable description of how each functioned, and then compares the current thread with other neo-pagan movements emerging in the second half of the 20th century, such as Wicca. Above all it dispells the myths written mainly by the Romans over the past two millennia. For the open-minded. Read it and see!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful way to understand modern Druidry 10 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Many of the myths and misinformation that has surrounded modern Druidry are dispelled in this succinct presentation of the Druid tradition by one of the foremost authorities on Druidry. Along with this study of the history and founding spirituality of classical times are some very practical modern exercises at the end of each chapter that the reader can readily apply to his/her everyday life.
By Charles Hack - Published on
Format: Paperback
I encountered a number of red flags right away in this book. Druidism is an interesting modern interpretation of ancient practice, and has much to recommend it, but the author's account of the history of Druidism should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

In his analysis of the theories of Druidic origins, the author starts with the esoteric view (that being the Druids as the descendants of an Atlantean priesthood). While he doesn't come out and endorse that view, he does use it to play off on his "more conventional" theories involving a Druidic lineage that traces from the neolithic megalith builders. Setting forth one highly implausible theory to support one only slightly less so seems a bit dishonest to say the least.

The gap between the megalith builders and the first people we could call Celts is vast. The monuments and tombs had for the most part been left untended for nearly a millennium. And from both folklore and the Irish and Welsh writings, we know these monuments were seen as made by giants, the sidhe or some other fairy beings. Places of wonder certainly, but the wonder of something mysterious and unknown, not as a symbol of ancient knowledge or a focus of religious worship. To call the megalith builders "proto-druids", as Carr-Gomm does, is only an attempt to forge of link that in all likelihood never existed.

He then continues to forge his unbroken chain with a series of dubious links, the most obvious being the apocryphal founding of the Mount Haemus Grove at Oxford in 1245, followed by a gap of over 400 years when John Aubrey re-establishes the grove in 1694, with nary a record of the time in between.

If you as a reader are willing to make the necessary leaps of faith to believe Carr-Gomm's numerous suppositions and gaps in logic (as well as history), all well and good. This is the book for you. His more modern history of the Druid movement is fine, and he offers beginning exercises towards modern druidic practice.
Clear description of Druidism at the point of 1991. 24 Sep 2014
By Ron Spolar - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderfully clear, focused presentation of the nature and history of Druidism. The author knows what he wants to say and gets to the point, Mr. Carr-Gomm is articulate, he writes in an interesting manner and he is obviously 'smart as a whip.' That clearly helps. He doesn't have inflexible thinking about what Druids are or should be. This I believe is his first book so it will be fun to watch the evolution of his thinking as Druidism and Wicca catch on in the world. Full of knowledge and inspiration. One could call this an academic text since Philip Carr-Gomm is considered an expert on Druidism and he clearly credits everything he presents. Highly recommend this.
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is the best book I have ever read. 27 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book has changed my life forever! I reccomend it to anyone who has any religous questions. This book will lead you on the right path. I would suggest that everyone read this book. After reading this book I now have a deeper feeling of purpose. READ THIS BOOK!
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