A caveat: With the exception of Dr. Ronald Huttons work, references to ancient Druidism in the books on Druids and Druidism herein should be taken with a grain of salt. Although these are all generally well researched, scholarly materials (and they wouldn’t be here if we couldn’t recommend them), most contain speculation, rather than hard fact, about the ancient ones. Some even purport to “know” facts about the Druids and treir belief system that frankly no one can possibly know. Because it was an oral tradition, no one really knows for sure what the Druids thought, or believed, or how they functioned, so when confronted with uncomfortable chasms in their findings, some authors try to fill in the blanks with their own speculations and prejudices. In other words, your personal gnosis about the ancient Druids is as good as anything you’ll read here.
THE DRUIDS. 2007, Dr. Ronald Hutton.
This is the best book on the ancient Druids yet written! It cuts through all the bullshit, and reveals what scientists and scholars actually know about the Druids.
Ronald Hutton’s latest book is the first comprehensive study of what people have thought about the ancient Druids and why. Written in a racy and accessible style it is essential reading for everyone interested in exploring our mysterious past.
Most books written on the Druids hitherto have been by archaeologists specializing in the Iron Age, who have occupied a great deal of space trying to find things to say about the ‘original’ ancient priesthood. Most have then devoted a final section of their books to people who have called themselves Druids since 1700 – until recently with contemptuous dismissal. Hutton’s contention is that the sources for the ancient Druids are so few and unreliable that almost nothing certain can be said about them. Instead he reverses the traditional balance of interest to look at the many ways in which Druids have been imagined in Britain since 1500, and what this tells us about modern and early modern society. In the process he achieves many new insights into the development of British national identities, established and ‘alternative’ religions, literary culture, fraternal organisation and protest movements. He also suggests new ways in which the discipline of archaeology can be perceived – which will delight some practitioners and enrage others.
A must read for anyone on the Druidic path. ISBN:1847252109
STATIONS OF THE SUN. 2001, Dr. Ronald Hutton. Comprehensive
and engaging, this colourful study covers the whole sweep of ritual history from
the earliest written records to the present day. From May Day revels and Midsummer
fires, to Harvest Home and Hallowe’en, to the twelve days of Christmas, Ronald
Hutton takes us on a fascinating journey through the ritual year in Britain. He
challenges many common assumptions about the customs of the past, and debunks
many myths surrounding festivals of the present, to illuminate the history of
the calendar year we live by today .ISBN: 0192854488
A REFORMED DRUID ANTHOLOGY (ARDA), 1996 & 2003, Michael Scharding (Editor/Compiler),
An archive of over 40 years of written material from the various branches which comprise Reformed Druidism (“The Reform”).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DRUIDS, 2002, Peter Beresford Ellis, According
to ADF, “The “best” modern survey of what (we THINK )we know and don’t know about
the Celtic Druids” (previously/also marketed as “The Druids”) ISBN: 0786709871
A DRUID’S HERBAL FOR THE SACRED EARTH YEAR,1994, Ellen Evert Hopman,
For the ancient Druids, the healing and magical properties of herbs were inseparable from the larger cycles of the seasons, the movements of the planets, and the progression of a human life.
A Druid’s Herbal shows the reader how to use herbs when creating rituals to celebrate festivals and significant life passages such as births, house blessings, weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies.Drawing on extensive research and a deep personal experience with Pagan traditions, Ellen Evert Hopman explores the history and folklore surrounding the eight major Celtic festivals: Samhain, Winter Solstice, Imbolc, Spring Equinox, Beltaine, Summer Solstice, Lugnasad, and Fall Equinox. Included in each discussion are complete instructions on the medicinal and magical uses of the herbs associated with each celebration.Using these Celtic traditions as examples, the author suggests ways to incorporate the symbolic and magical power of herbs into personal rituals that honor all phases of life from childbirth to last rites. Also included are chapters on how to prepare herbal tinctures, salves, and poultices; herbs used by the Druids; herbal alchemy and the planets; and the relationships between herbs and sacred places.Filled with practical information and imaginative suggestions for using herbs for healing, ceremony, and magic, this book is an indispensable and comprehensive guide to age-old herbal practices. ISBN: 0892815019
A DRUID’S HERBAL OF SACRED TREE MEDICINE, 2008, Ellen Evert Hopman,An in-depth look at the history, herbal uses, and spiritual aspects of the sacred trees in the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree Alphabet• Details the 20 trees of the ogham alphabet and their therapeutic and magical virtues• Examines the Forest Druid practices associated with each tree as well as the traditional uses in Native American medicine• Describes the Celtic Fire Festivals and how each tree is featured in these holy days• By the author of A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth YearThe Druids used the ancient Ogham Tree Alphabet to work magic and honor the dead, surrounding each letter with medicinal and spiritual lore. Poets and bards created a secret sign language to describe the letters, each of which is named for a tree or a plant. For centuries this language was transmitted only orally in order to protect its secrets.Combining her extensive herbal knowledge and keen poetic insight, Ellen Evert Hopman delves deeply into the historic allusions and associations of each of the 20 letters of the Ogham Tree Alphabet. She also examines Native American healing methods for possible clues to the way ancient Europeans may have used these trees as healing agents. Druidic spiritual practices, herbal healing remedies, and plant lore are included for each tree in the alphabet as well as how each is used in traditional rituals such as the Celtic Fire Festivals and other celebrations. Hopman also includes a pronunciation guide for the oghams and information on the divinatory meanings associated with each tree. ISBN: 1594772304
THE DRUID’S ALPHABET , Robert, 2003, “Skip” Ellison
Long ago the Druids of ancient Ireland invented a writing system called “ogham.” The oghams, like the runes of Scandinavia, were also used for magic and divination. The Druids’ Alphabet is the perfect handbook for the aspiring modern Druid or Celtophile who wants to know more about these ancient Irish letters. Skip Ellison’s clear presentation makes each ogham character come alive for the reader. ISBN: 1594055033
THE BOOK OF DRUIDRY, 1975, Ross Nichols.
A comprehensive survey of Druidry, from their earliest history to the current renaissance–including a study of the shaping of their ideas, their principal deities and myths, their learning and social organization, and more, as seen through the eyes of 18th century antiquarians, who made up for their lack of source materials with very good imaginations. Many assertions in the book (like Druidry’s origin in ancient Atlantis for example) can be neither proven nor disproven. Lot’s of romantic fun! ISBN:1855381672
PRIESTESS OF THE FOREST, 2008, Ellen Evert Hopman (FICTION)In the tradition of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon, Ellen Evert Hopman weaves Druid history and spirituality into an engaging love story. This Bardic teaching tale is set in a fictional third-century Ireland when Christianity is sweeping across the Celtic Isles. During this time of crisis, love blooms between Ethne, a Druid healer, and her patient, a Fennid warrior. Their passionate affair suffers a tragic blow when Ethne is called upon to become the high queen.Told from the Druid perspective, Hopman recreates the daily life, magical practices, politics, and spiritual lives of the ancient Celts during this historic turning point. Druid holy days, rites, rituals, herbal lore, and more are brought to life in this Celtic fantasy—illuminating Druidic teachings and cultural wisdom. ISBN: 0738712620
THE DRUID ISLE, 2010, Ellen Evert Hopman (FICTION)For Aífe, the beautiful adopted daughter of Drui healer Ethne and her warrior partner Ruadh, life revolves around the sacred beauty and ancient mystery of the Old Ways. Surrounded by lush, green trees and frolicsome wildlife, the Forest School has been the heart of her Druidic education-and her beloved home. But to become a healer and priestess, she must leave behind all that she loves and journey to the Druid Isle . . .Handsome and spirited, Lucius is resolved to seek adventure outside of the Christian monastery where he was raised. Following a daring escape one night, Lucius arrives at a Pagan Gaulish village and discovers their gentle way of life. But a political firestorm is brewing, and Lucius is caught in the middle as the church and the Romans attempt to destroy everything the Druids hold dear. In his desperation to escape ruthless enemies and untold dangers, Lucius finds himself on the Druid Isle, where he will face the biggest decision of his life.Set on a third-century island off the coast of Scotland, this instructional Celtic tale delves deeply into the spiritual mysteries of the Druids, offering glimpses of Druidic daily life, herbal lore, and ancient rituals, along with a fascinating look at the Romans, Gauls, and Britons. Includes a Celtic/Druidic glossary.“One of the best features of the book is the small bits of old lore from the Druids scattered throughout . . . I would definitely recommend this book!”—Rev. Skip Ellison, Archdruid of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) and author of Ogham: The Secret Language of the Druids ISBN: 0738719560
PRIESTESS OF THE FIRE TEMPLE, 2012, Ellen Evert Hopman
Priestess of the Fire Temple follows Princess Aislinn, red-haired wild child of the High King of the Central Kingdom, as she makes her way in a world increasingly hostile to those who are not Christian. Raised in a community that observed both Pagani and Cristaidi mores, Druid-trained Aislinn is married off at age fourteen to a prince from Irardacht, the Northern Kingdom. Escaping her unhappy marriage, Aislinn finds herself engaged in a series of dangerous adventures and fateful encounters on her quest for true love. This uniquely Pagan novel explores the basic beliefs of the Indo-European Celts and the Druid path in an engaging and powerful way. ISBN 0738729256
BONEWITS’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO DRUIDISM, 2006, Isaac Bonewits A book about Druids unlike any other, Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism not only goes far behind the usual Celtic and Classical references by discussing the evolution and migration of the Proto-Indo-European peoples, from whom the Celts arose, but also discusses the beliefs and ritual practices of both the British and American streams of modern Druidry, as well as providing warnings about deceptive Druid organizations and authors. Had the author lived, he may have revised this work and included many new groups that have evolved since it’s publication in 2006. ISBN:0806527102
CELTIC BARDS, CELTIC DRUIDS, 1996, R.J. Stewart & Robin Williamson. The core of the book is a personal selection by the authors of high myth, folktale and poetry drawn from the various Celtic tribes, ranging from the well-known Irish (The Wooing of Findabair) and Welsh (such as the Birth of Taliesin and Culwuch and Olwen) material to the lesser known – including the undeservedly neglected Breton magickal tales of Princess Marcassa and The Palace of Crystal. The whole is interspersed with essays on various aspects of the historical traditions, including druidry and bardism, and scattered with poetry and invocations, and ends with appendices on Magickal Storytelling and antiquarian writings on megalithic structures and druids. Beautifully illustrated, with a mixture of full-page color paintings, knotwork and black and white line drawings. It’s an inspiring book to curl up with on a dark night, whether the reader is a new-comer to Celtic lore or well-versed in the subject. All in all a most satisfying collaboration by these two modern “bards-in-every-sense-of-the-word”. (Note: Robin is an honorary OMS Druid and an honorary OBOD Bard.) ISBN: 071372563X
DRUIDRY, 2001, Emma Restall Orr. Druidry is often described as the native spiritual tradition of the West. It is an increasingly popular path, which gives a sense of inner belonging, celebrates individuality and creativity, and honors the spirits of nature. The author includes the history of druidry, from ancient times to modern day, as well as: — The basic beliefs behind the tradition — The practices of modern druidry, such as herbcraft, healing, the druidic rites of passage and the eight festivals of the Druid’s year — Information on how to find your nearest group. ISBN: 0007103360
DRUIDS & DRUDISM, 1950, T.D. Kendrick. Druidism, its early mention by Greek and Roman writers (ca. 52 b.c.), and the temples and religious practices of these ancient people. The author, a noted expert on Druidism, was in charge of British antiquities at the British Museum from 1938-1950. His thorough study of a fascinating topic will appeal to anthropologists, folklore enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the early religious and cultural life of Celtic Britain. ISBN: 0486427196
DRUIDS, CELTIC PRIESTS OF NATURE,1999, Jean Markale. Druidism was one of the most exalting adventures of the human spirit, but because of the oral nature of Celtic civilization our understanding of the druids remains shrouded in mystery and misperception. But, using the descriptions of the druids and their beliefs provided by the historians and chroniclers of classic antiquity, the author has painstakingly pieced together all the information known for certain about these esoteric religious leaders. This book delivers the most comprehensive portrait yet of the Celtic religion, it’s intellectual speculations, cultural, scientific and magical practices that have come down from Celtic Priesthood. ISBN: 0892817038
DRUIDCRAFT: THE MAGIC OF WICCA AND DRUIDRY , 2002, Phillip Carr-Gomm. Druidry and Wicca are the two great streams of Western Pagan tradition. Both traditions are experiencing a renaissance all over the world, as more and more people seek a spirituality rooted in a love of nature and the land.
Increasingly, readers are combining the ideas and practices of both traditions to craft their own spiritual practice, and in this down-to-earth, inspiring guide Philip Carr-Gomm offers a name for this Path that draws on the common beliefs and practices of Wicca and Druidry: Druidcraft.
Druidcraft draws on the traditions of scholarship, storytelling, magical craft and seasonal celebration of both Druids and Wiccans, to offer inspiration, teachings, rituals, and magical techniques that can help you access your innate powers of creativity, intuition and healing. ISBN: 000713388X
THE DRUID RENAISSANCE, 1996, Phillip Carr-Gomm. The Druid tradition lies at the heart of Western spirituality and today it is experiencing a renaissance unprecedented in its long history. ISBN: 1855384809
THE DRUID WAY, 1993, Phillip Carr-Gomm Druidism, the ancient shamanic religion of Britain is experiencing a major revival there and in America. This book is both a complete description of the Druid Way as well as a fascinating tour of the major Druid sites, ruins, and “power places.” Includes specific suggestions for bringing this ancient wisdom tradition into our own lives and activities. ISBN:1852303654
THE DRUIDRY HANDBOOK , 2006, John Michael Greer, A living tradition of nature spirituality rooted in Celtic antiquity and revived to meet the challenges of contemporary life, Druidry offers people a path of harmony through reconnection with the green Earth. The Druidry Handbook is the first hands-on manual of traditional British Druid practice that explores the Sun Path of seasonal celebration, the Moon Path of meditation, and the Earth Path of living in harmony with nature as tools for crafting an earth-honoring life here and now. From ritual and meditation to nature awareness and ecological action, John Michael Greer opens the door to a spirituality rooted in the living Earth. Featuring a mix of philosophy, rituals, spiritual practice, and lifestyle issues, The Druidry Handbook is one-stop shopping for those seriously interested in practicing a traditional form of Druidry. It offers equal value to eclectics and solitary practitioners eager to incorporate more earth-spirituality into their own belief system; it also appeals to the merely curious.A caveat: There is a whole chapter devoted to AODA which basically says that AODA is the “one and only true path” to Druidry. Aside from that it is a good read.
IN THE GROVE OF THE DRUIDS: THE DRUID TEACHINGS OF ROSS NICHOLS, 2004. Phillip Carr-Gomm. Carr-Gomm, who succeeded Nichols as Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), has produced a curious work which is part eulogy, part magickal biography and part edited selection of Nichols’ writings. Being partly so many things it isn’t really any one of them, which makes it somewhat difficult to review meaningfully but perhaps we can sum it up as an appreciation of an individual, a history of an order and an introduction to the ideas upon which the latter was founded. (Read full review at http://www.whitedragon.org.uk/reviews/grove.htm ) ISBN:184293032X
THE MAKING OF A DRUID, 2001, Christian J. Guyonvarc’h Guyonvarc’h has produced a serious, scholarly, and thoughtful new translation of the Colloquy of Two Sages, an Old Irish text fairly well known to scholars of the field but hitherto understood as a flyting, or contest, between two poets. Guyonvarc’h convincingly suggests that it is in fact a lightly Christianized pedagogical text about the education of a Druidic bard and that it is related to the eschatological literature of the Norse Eddas. ISBN: 0892818743
MYSTERIES OF DRUIDRY, 2005, Brendan Cathbad Myers According to Myers,the Druids were the mystics, philosophers, and magicians of the ancient Celtic world. Their spirituality was borne from their near-worship of nature.The Mysteries of Druidry purports to reveal this mystical romanticism as it was in ancient times, and shows various ways to bring it to life today, in both private and social realms. The book attempts to carry the reader back to the world of the Druids, not just through Celtic mythology and traditional storytelling, but through the author’s own experiences of living and traveling in Ireland and visiting its sacred sites. A good read, even though Myers presents knowlege of the Druids that he, nor anyone else, cannot possibly know. ISBN: 1564148785
SPIRITS OF THE SACRED GROVE, 1998, Emma Restall Orr. Modern Druidry is a fast-growing spiritual tradition. Far from being wrapped in a veil of secrecy, it is celebrated openly, in the sunlight of a meadow or a shady forest glade. This is a very personal journey through the seasons with a modern female Druid, which reveals Druidry as an accessible and compelling spiritual path that offers great potential for healing and self-empowerment. ISBN: 0722535961
THE APPLE BRANCH, A PATH TO CELTIC RITUAL, Alexi Kondratiev. In The Apple Branch, renowned scholar Alexei Kondratiev combines the history, folklore, and language of the Celtic world in a unique guide for understanding its spirituality, He explores the myths, legends, and cultural figures, from Brigit to King Arthur, and he explains how the ancient Celtic religion survives in the context of modern Christianity. This is a seminal book which presents seekers with dazzling visualizations and the beauty and power of vital, living path. The Apple Branch will inspire in everyone a new way of looking at the world. ISBN: 0806525029
THE DRUIDS: A STUDY IN KELTIC PREHISTORY, 1966, T.D. Kendrick. This volume supposedly explores all facets of Druidic life and religious practice: their beginnings in the first centuries B.C. in Gaul and Britain, their priests and religious rites, their temples and probable origins. Useful illustrations and an appendix of original Greek and Latin texts relating to the Druids are included. ISBN: 0710310854
SACRED FIRE, HOLY WELL: A Druid’s Grimoire, 2009, Ian Corrigan An approach to a modern practice of Celtic Paganism and magical arts. Centered in the lore of the Gaelic Celts it offers a simple summary of Irish mythic lore, and ritual patterns for individual and group worship. It also provides complete instruction in a system of Druidic magical work, trance vision, spellbinding and work with spirits. ISBN: 0976568128
THE SOLITARY DRUID : A Practitioner’s Guide, 2005, Robert “Skip” Ellison. Ellison lays out the basics of Celtic Paganism in a scholarly yet accessible way. He supports each of his assertions about Druidic beliefs and practices with citations from ancient sources and from archeology, and lays it all out in an outline that allows students to get started immediately with a Druidic spirituality. Far from being duotheistic, the book gives advice for constructing your Druidic pantheon of worship based on the realities of the local land, and the spirits proper to each individual worshipper. From there, he presents a full system of Druidic ritual, as used in Ar nDraiocht Fein – about as far from a Wiccan form as one could get. It involves offering to the Gods & Spirits, divining their blessing, and then receiving that blessing. Ellison gives solitary rituals for each of the Celtic holy days (and for the solstices and equinoxes), as well as ideas for Druidic funderal and wedding rites. There is a section on spells and practical magic as well, and the book ends with a listing of every Druidic group and order of any size at all. This is a valuable resource – one of the very first books on Druidry drawn from a non-wiccan, scholarly perspective, adapted to practical use.ISBN: 0806526750
DRAIOCHT – A BOOK OF CELTIC SORCERY, 2011, Ian Corrigan,Celtic Sorcery and Druid Magic! This spellbook contains a variety of rites, charms, invocations and lore, including both spells and practical magical work and techniques of wisdom and spiritual awareness. It includes: • Nine Invocations of the Tuatha De Danann • Nine Prayers for the Druidic Virtues • Nine Visions and Trances • Nine Spells and Charms Note that the Spirit-arte material from previous editions has been removed for this smaller, less expensive edition, and is included in Ian’s forthcoming major work “The Book of Summonings” Ian Corrigan has been practicing Druidry, Paganism and witchcraft for over thirty years. He is the author of “The Portal Book”, & “Sacred Fire, Holy Well” and is an Archdruid Emeritus of Ar nDraiocht Fein.
UNDER AN EXPANSE OF OAKS: A DRUIDS JOURNEY, 2009, David P. Smith Modern Druidry is a spiritual path that is close to nature. The wheel of the year is followed by druids and each group and individual has their own ways of doing this. It is a varied and intensely interesting path practiced by many people world wide. Many organizations exists such as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, The Ancient Order of Druids in America, Ar nDraiocht Fein, The Henge of Keltria, The Order of the Mithril Star, and many more. “Under an Expanse of Oaks, A Druid’s Journey” is a book about one Druid’s path and the many lessons learned along that path. It contains various explanations and exercises to help the reader experience Druidry for themselves; because Druidry is certainly an experiential journey that one truly needs to live to learn from. David P. Smith (Duir) has dedicated his life since the age of 18 to the study of Druidry in all its forms and follows the deities of the Celtic Pantheon. He also teaches at the Grey School of Wizardry online (http://www.greyschool.com ), and runs a Druidry and related studies website at http://www.oaklight.org . He lives in Rhode Island with his family and enjoys traveling to sacred places throughout the US and the world. ISBN: 0982553153
WALKING DOWN AWEN’S PATH: WORKING WITH DIVINE INSPIRATION, 2013, David P. Smith Following Awen’s Path is following the path of inspiration. We are drawn to the divine that exists within and around us. Drawn from the Druid tradition, this spiritual way of life can be adopted into any belief system. “Packed with valuable information and exercises that will deepen any creative quest. This book will be of great help to any creative person who seeks a more spiritual connection to their art.” — Damh the Bard ISBN: 1613920458
HONORING THE SACRED EARTH: A PATH TO SPIRITUAL AWAKENING, 2010, David P. Smith Since the dawn of time man has sought spiritual awakening and enlightenment. This is the main goal of most of the world’s religious and spiritual paths. While trying to move closer to the divine creator, many of us have moved further from the natural world. “Honoring the Sacred Earth: A Path to Spiritual Awakening,” shows us what is most needed in our times. Through the use of famous quotes, practical exercises, and meditations, this book puts you on the path to true spiritual awakening.ISBN-10: 0982553196