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4.4 out of 5 stars17
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 14 March 2012
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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on 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.

For the practitioner, this book asks: What does 'walking the talk' really look like? And, importantly, are you ready for it? Though of certain interest to scholars and academics, this is a crucial read for every nature-honouring Pagan committed to a critical reflexivity of their Craft.

Honest, courageous, wholly necessary, and probably one of the most important texts on modern Paganism to come out of the 21st century. This book carries enough bite to stir us all into wakefulness.
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on 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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on 1 May 2008
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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on 7 February 2015
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. The only downside (annoyance) was the authors taking the ethical nuances into a blinded side-track of ranting on her personal beliefs which could go on at times. The author did however state bias from the beginning but personal rants could have been minimised. However, I did enjoy the more rational attempt at delivering an ethical paradigm within paganism, which in fairness is the backbone of the book and not an easy feat to achieve.
Worth a read, then a thought!
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on 6 March 2014
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 addressed. Mindful treatment of all life coupled with care and thoughtfulness in all areas of everyday living can and is very difficult to achieve, but Emma doesn't compromise. I like that honesty and I just hope that issues raised within this book can and will be discussed among a vast number of people and institutions including our education system.
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on 4 June 2010
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. She's also one of the few British pagans who's capable of going on tv without appearing to be either a loon or an idiot. However, she isn't a philosopher nor would she pass muster as an average newspaper columnist. Because of this - this book is a great idea wasted.

EOR aims to apply "neopagan" (and more specifically her take on neo-druidism) to modern ethical matters. This is an interesting proposition. However, she lacks the ability of all good philosophers to self-critique their ideas and judgements. Because of this, the book is full of empty and groundless assertions and rather shallow takes on complex issues. This might make some of the pagan community feel a little bit better about themselves - but it's hardly a serious book on ethical philosophy (despite its asperations). There are attempts to link to more traditional philosophy but these come across as shallow attempts to add gravitas (it's a bit like an A level philosophy student's essay)

Don't get me wrong - as a "pagan" myself - I agree with much of what she writes (but not all). However, a book of philosophy needs so much more than this. This book would have been so much more if there was a second author with a bit more philosophical sophistication. Instead, it's worth a read (just) but a rather frustrating and exasperating experience.
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on 4 November 2015
An inspiring and thought-provoking book that is easy to read and offers many gems. Highly recommended to those with an open mind, willing to have their own honour, values and beliefs challenged in a positive way.
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on 14 October 2008
Living with Honour is a courageous attempt to deliver something that has not been offered by a pagan author before... a realistic and thoroughly honest evaluation of the path she has made her own. Potential readers will be sent on a breathtaking journey into the oft misunderstood world (s) of paganism and what it actually means to take that world seriously: to live in it, celebrate it, dance with it, argue with it, and allow its charms as well infuriation's to mould one's life. This book will help any reader not just to understand paganism at a deeper level, but also to make meaning out of life on this beautiful, yet messy and painful planet. The author leaves no stone un-turned and, while seeing all such `stones' as strangely sacred, does not shirk at offering necessary criticisms as well as hearty praise. Finally, as with all of Bobcat's books, this volume is written with poetry and warm humanity that makes it sumptuous and quite uncommon for the world of theoretical non-fiction.
Mark Townsend
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on 21 October 2008
This is a long awaited book for druids and pagans. For those who are weekend pagans and those that are the pink and fluffy will find this book a real challenge.....this book is long over due, and much needed within pagan circles of today. this will certainly sort the wheat from the chaff, it knocks you right out of your comfort zone. Now I'm not being negative, this is a fantastic work by Emma Restall-Orr and will enrich your sacred path,Emma tells it how it is with great integrity,and academic prowess.Johno.
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