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The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature Paperback – February 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (February 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892817038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892817030
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"There is no better spokesman for the ancient Celts than Jean Markale." (André Brenton, author of Manifestoes of Surrealism)

" . . a very fascinating and informative book (no fluff here), definitely not to be missed." (Belladonna's Book Shelf, Feb 2007)

"Do yourself a favor and expand your view of Druids and Celtic culture. Buy this book and read it. Decide for yourself if you agree with the author's premise. Then take the time to think about it in depth and see if your opinions change." (Mike Gleason, Witchgrove, 2007)

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Customer Reviews

This book is informative, and well written.
Catherine A. Peck
Jean Markale's book "The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature" must be read several times to grasp all that it says.
Michael Chesbro
Great book for those interested in the Druid religion or history of the Celtic people!
David Evan den Boer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Michael Chesbro on November 6, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jean Markale's book "The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature" must be read several times to grasp all that it says. This is not in any way because the book is poorly written - on the contrary it is very well written, and contains so much information that it must be read several times just to begin to grasp the depth of its content.

Markale begins by looking at the history of the druid's name throughout history, where both Greek and Latin historians recognized that druids were knowledgeable of the secrets of nature ~ they were much more than mere magicians. Furthermore he shows a link between druids and the disciples of Pythagoras. (Though it is quite unlikely that the druids had any direct contact with Pythagoras himself.)

We see the role of druids in society. Often serving as judges, counselors and advisors to kings, and peacemakers between nations; the role of peacemaker in no way prevented the druids from participating in combat if there was a need to do so.

The druids are contrasted with the revealed religions of Islam and Christianity. Without disparaging the great revealed religions, Markale clearly shows that druidry and all the texts that belong to it are well worthy of interest and study.

The great knowledge and power of the druids naturally leads to the question: Where did the druids come from? Markale explains the common misconception that the druids were the builders of the megalithic monuments (such as Stonehenge). We then see good evidence (in "The Battle of Mag Tured) that druidry was studied by the mysterious `Tuatha de Danann'. It is said that "The Tuatha de Danann were in the Isles of the North of the World, learning science, magic druidism, sorcery and wisdom, and they surpassed all the sages in the pagan arts.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By "jonun1" on September 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
Unlike a lot of New Age Fluff out there, Markale uses analytical thinking along with evidence etched in the stone of history and archeology to deduct for us what druidism must have once been like. He covers beliefs and philosophies, rites and responsibilities of the druids with great accuracy.
The way the book is written though, does assume the reader has some basic knowledge about the celtic civilization that lived and thrived before the romans, with Julius Caesar at the head, conquered Gaul.
And while the ancient Gauls left no written histories or books on philosophy, Markale is able to piece together bits and pieces of Roman and Greek writings about the druids to give us a hint at the scope of intelligence that dotted Gaul before the onslaught of Romanization and the later wave of Christian oppression.
The only part of the book I did not like was the end where Markale seems like he's stretching to reach and accord between ancient druidism and the parallel path of Chrisitanity and his repeated tries to correlate druidism and the followers of christ as similar religions.
All in all, though, this is a good book and a must read for anyone trulty interested in pre-fluff druidism.
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful By RoseWelsh on November 19, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know that there is a guy on this page who reviewed it saying the same thing. But it IS the truth. This man does his research, shows WHY historically and/or mythologically, he makes claims. He debunks a lot of the crapola out there available just by presenting the evidence.
I started with his book on Halloween and moved on to this one. If you want to get a feel for what the Celtic ancestors believed and what they did and have it make sense (unlike direct translations of mythology and dry academic texts) both books a superb! I was on a search for this for 13 years, looking for the truth not what neo-pagans and Wiccans claimed to be truth. I did not like the cut and paste methods the former use to make something "Celtic: i.e. use Greek ritual structure and use Celtic gods. Talk about whacky. If you don't know what I mean by that, read his books and you WILL understand.
This book is a little hard to get into at the beginning. i would recommend starting on a chapter that sounds interesting and reading the first few chapters later.
Go for it!!
Reconstructionist Celtic imbas.org
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Craebh Ruadh on December 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have read many, many books on the subject of Druidism and have read most of the documents the author mentions in this Book. Most books give a Wicca Neo-Pagan spin. Jean Markale takes you into culture and magic of the real Gauls/Celts using documented and archeological proof to back his claims. As a Druid/Celtic Revivalist I found this book to be inspiring and enlightening. No druid's library would be complete with out this book in it. If you're looking for fluffy Druidism don't look here, but if you are looking for reality look no further.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "morgaine_of_avalon" on December 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
A profound and daring exploration of the nature of the druids and druidry based upon the evidence of archeology, literature and folklore, elucidated by one of the best minds of our time. While the explorations are at times spell-binding, Mr Markale does not suffer fools lightly and there are many evidences in his book of his sharp mind and tongue. Not for the faint of heart or those already wed to romantic notions of what the druids should have been. A work of the most astute scholarship, an inspiration to read.
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The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature
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