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The Path of the Blue Raven Paperback – November 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


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.) It is a journey that is both literally true and profoundly mythic. It is a magical journey. It is a journey that will speak to the hearts of many. (Revd. Simon Small, author of From the Bottom of the Pond.) Prepare to look at the world in a whole new light. (Drew McAdam, The Interrogator from TV's Trisha show.) Enjoyed it very much! (Cherie Blair.)

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.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Moon Books (November 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846942381
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846942389
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,987,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mark Townsend - is a wonderful combination of a Priest, Magician and Writer, who uses seemingly opposing forces as equal gifts in our search for the meaning of life. Mark has spoken and performed in Gothic Cathedrals and on the African Savannah, entertaining all; including Catholic Nuns and Massai Warriors. Last July he resigned from full time parish ministry to work as a writer and mystifier. He often uses his priestly experience as an 'Alternative Officiant' for various rites of passage without limiting himself to 'Christian' rituals. He creates meaningful services and blessings that reflect the spiritual path of his wide variety of clients.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dubious Disciple on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating, brutally honest peek into the life of a Vicar (Church of England) who first found himself estranged from his priesthood, and then found God. Disillusioned with institutionalized religion, and by circumstance dissolved of his duties as a priest, Mark Townsend became free to pursue God into the world of nature-based spirituality.

Townsend now finds organized religion a barrier to the divine, not a door. Townsend hasn't rejected Jesus; he still finds the person of Jesus "intensely exciting" and continues to embrace the Christ spirit, but in a more down-to-earth way. He quotes Richard Rohr to say, "One of the most successful ways Christians have avoided doing what Jesus said was to simply worship him. It's easier to bow down and shout constant hallelujahs than to get our hands dirty by following him out into the world of brokenness and mess."

In a broken and messy world, Townsend now finds a new way--a pagan way--of interpreting the scripture. The story of Jesus, he explains, merely makes true what already is. The Incarnation? We're all already filled with divinity. The sacraments? We're all in some way the body and blood of God (humans filled with deity).

Townsend never fit the mold of a traditional priest in the first place; his life-long practice as a magician (he is a "conjurer"), his frequent bar visits, his occasional colorful language, his determination to respect the feelings and beliefs of others, these things hardly endeared him to strict Christians. Townsend is imperfect and genuine, a person we can identify with. He knows his magic isn't real, has never pretended it is, but he finds in it a world of enchantment able to awaken us to an appreciation of greater magic, greater enchantment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DJ on December 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I think there are very few people who would not relate to the struggles and victories told in this story. What most impressed me is that it is told with unabashed honesty from the point of an ordained Christian Vicar, yet without bitterness, judgement or condemnation. It is a story from the heart: a heart is filled with love and pain, joy and sorrow.
I want to buy ten copies to give to friends, including our local parish priest!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deep Roots on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have read the book The Path of the Blue Raven by Rev. Mark Townsend and feel very connected with this memoir. This is the story of a Church of England vicar who has always struggled with the limitations of organized religion. Mark ends up finding freedom by leaving the church and though he seeks ordination with the Open Episcopal Church, therefore retaining his priesthood, he does not return to parish ministry. Mark is also a magician, performing as an illusionist as a means of taking his hobby to the next step, mainly to pay the bills. Eventually he is invited to perform at a OBOD winter gathering at Glastonbury, he ends up finding a welcoming group of Pagans, Druids specifically, quite by accident. This begins Mark's love affair with the natural world, the Pagan world, and the world of all those who find their spirituality outside of churches, synagogues, and temples. This will lead Mark to joining the UK based Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, one of the world's largest modern druid organizations.

Mark relies heavily upon personal journal entries throughout the book to punctuate his narrative. This technique assists the reader in being able to fully see what was going on in Mark's mind and spirit. The writing style is casual and engaging, I find it difficult to put down. I find myself amazed at how Christ never leaves this story, in fact Mark's Christianity and ministry are strengthened and deepened as I turn each page. What some would see as incompatible spiritual expressions, complement each other fully for Mark and it becomes apparent that for one to live, the other must as well. Mark's Jesus needs the Druid in the grove and the Druid in the grove needs Mark's Jesus. Of course, I wonder if maybe they are the same.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry L. Hix Jr. on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was introduced to Mark by a mutual friend a few months ago; and in addition to reading his book (The Path of the Blue Raven), he has also been kind enough to correspond with me about his journey. As a priest in the Anglican tradition, who has also experienced some of the disillusionment with ministry and the down side of institutional religion and bureaucracy, I found in Mark, a Comrade in Arms; and the knowledge I was not alone in my own journey.

Although I tend to remain rooted in the more traditional expressions of the Christian faith and the working out my own struggles with disillusionment within the context of the institutional Church and do not always agree with Mark's perspectives or conclusions, I can relate, sympathize and empathize with the process of his Spiritual Journey of Disillusionment to Re-Enchantment . I also am extremely encouraged by his honesty, sometimes brutal honesty about himself, his shortcomings and failures; and his openness and "heartfulness" to dialogue and share the journey as friends and brothers, even though we might strongly disagree at times with each others views. That speaks volumes to me about his character and his gift of "presence" as a priest and fellow pilgrim on the journey.

All of which makes this book such a wonderful expression of the Spiritual Journey, as told not only by Mark but by others from different religious and/or spiritual traditions! It not only introduced me to many of the earth based spiritualities I had been ignorant of but also reawakened in me the "earthiness" of Jesus and the earlier Christian faith of my own spiritual tradition.
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