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The Way of Wyrd [Kindle Edition]

Brian Bates
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $14.95 What's this?
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Book Description

The compelling cult classic, now reissued in a brand new edition with a new introduction by Brian Bates. This bestselling fictionalized account of an Anglo-Saxon sorcerer and mystic is based on years of research by psychologist and university professor Brian Bates.

Sent on a mission deep into the forests of pagan Anglo-Saxon England, Wat Brand, a Christian scribe, suddenly finds his vision of the world turned upside down. The familiar English countryside is not what it seems; threatening spirits, birds of omen and plants of power lurk in this landscape of unseen terrors and mysterious forces. With Wulf, a sorcerer and mystic, as his guide, Wat is instructed in the magical lore of plants, runes, fate and life force until finally he journeys to the spirit world on a quest to encounter the true nature of his own soul.

An authentic and deeply compelling insight into the spiritual world of the Anglo-Saxons, it has inspired thousands of people to learn more about the ancient northern tradition. A spiritual classic!

Editorial Reviews


Professor Bates tells the original story of a devout Catholic priest becoming friends with a Shamanic elder and creates a modern masterpiece of tolerance and coexistence. By looking into the past he has planted a seed for a better world in the present and beyond. If you can develop your awareness of the nature that surrounds you and are open and unafraid to listen to your dreams, you may find that the magic described in this book works like yeast to the imagination and can be utilized in any art form. Nicolas Cage 'Reads like a fusion of Carlos Castaneda ... and Tolkien.' Time Out 'Brilliant, vivid, entertaining ... it deserves a place on our bookshelves along with Carlos Castaneda.' R. D. Laing An essential aid. In our overly Keltically obsessed British mind set, this magnificent book completely restores the unfairly neglected Scandinavian and Germanic side of our psyche. -- Julian Cope As a way of psychological and spiritual exploration, The Way of Wyrd offers not just uncanny similarities with some of our present thinking but notions which we seem only now to be rediscovering The Guardian


'Reads like a fusion of Carlos Castaneda ... and Tolkien.' Time Out 'Brilliant, vivid, entertaining ... it deserves a place on our bookshelves along with Carlos Castaneda.' R. D. Laing

Product Details

  • File Size: 603 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (October 28, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004AM770U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,697 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Castaneda meets Tolkien, inspirational fantasy June 28, 2008
This book is an inspiring tale about shamanism in Anglo-Saxon times. The reader will immediately see the influences of Castaneda, Tolkien, and the Jungian/Joseph Campbell shool of psychology.

Bates does tie in some interesting historical facts, and does a good job of explaining Wyrd and other Pagan concepts. The only issues are that it does not live up to the story telling ability of either Castaneda or Tolkien, and comes across a little too clean & idealistic. The tale seems to be a fairly bare frame on which to hang the author's admiration for his own view of pre-Christian culture.

In doing so, the book reflects an idealised and romantic view of Pagan culture, akin to the fantasy traditions of Wicca. As a fellow Pagan, I can empathise with the urge to imagine these ancestors as wise custodians of the land. However, the evidence indicates that they were actually not all that different to us in exploiting natural resources (there were just less of them to make an impact), and they almost certainly practiced some rites that we would baulk at today. For every wise one, there would have been many more who were just ignorant and superstitious.

As comforting as it may be to our own conscience to believe in the 19th Century ideal of the noble savage, or the New-Age fantasy of the all knowing shaman, it does our ancestors a disservice to always imagine that their efforts came to nought, and their descendants ended up inferior to them.

The book is well worth the read as great inspiration, but take it with a grain of salt, as a simple tale based on very limited historical information seen through a very thick lense of idealism.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Shamanic Book About Shamanic Anglo-Saxonry April 20, 2005
This is one of my favorite books on heathenry. Brian Bates really manages to penetrate with imagination and scholarship what the life of an Anglo-Saxon sorceror was really like, and his vision of Wyrd is palpable and powerful. This book is really a wonderful fictional companion to Siegfried Goodfellow's Wyrd Megin Thew : The Wild, Wooly Strength of Heathen Ways, which also covers similar material in a non-fiction setting, but Brian Bates was the one who set the standard! You will find yourself identifying with these characters and taken back into a world where magic was still alive, and where elves and fairies were not cute little creatures, but powerful, awesome, inspiring, and sometimes intimidating creatures that wizards knew how to bargain with!! Highly recommended.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Tale May 5, 2005
I read this book back in the 90's after a band called Sabbat wrote an album (Dreamweaver) based on the novel. My copy was getting rather tatty so it's nice to see it back in print once again. My new copy is on the way :)

The Way of Wyrd is an excellent story exploring the differences and similarities between Christianity and Paganism.

Wat Brand is sent to explore Pagan England to learn their ways ready for when Christianity invades.

However, his guide, Wulf, shows him far more than he could ever have imagined and Wat becomes submerged in the way of Wyrd. For the best way to learn of the Pagan spirits is to meet them face to face.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All roads lead to the same place September 29, 2005
I am so glad to see this book back in print. I first read it years ago and have loaned to to many folks along the way. It explores the differences AND similarities that Paganism and Christianity share. And with a little creative imagination you can draw the same parelells with other religions. The transformation of the lead character from an uptight closed minded theocrat to a person that can actually see the divine in all things is an inspiration. Well done!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weaving a web of socio-politco-religious wyrdness July 15, 2004
This is a story that is supposedly based on ancient manuscripts. If you're interested in this book from a historical perspective, forget it. It's not for you. For those that are looking for something that combines history, sci-fi and adventure with socio-politico-religious overtones, it will be right up your alley. That is, IF you have an open mind, can separate fact from fiction and understand that one can still respect various points of view even if they don't agree with them.
Brian Bates tells the tale of a young Anglican scribe that is sent into the Norse countries to act as a spy for the Anglican church. His mission is to learn and record as much as he can about those living in the area. With this information and a better understanding of local traditions and their ritual beliefs, the Anglican church hopes to send in missionaries to convert the locals to a more righteous path i.e. that of the Anglican church. The only problem is that the young scribe that is sent ends up with a travelling Shaman as a guide of the region. Needless to say, the clash in beliefs and cultures makes for an interesting journey as the pair travel into different villages and encounter different situations. Most of these are situations that the sheltered monk would have never even dreamed real, let alone possible.
The end result is an interesting look at how organized religion and pagan beliefs & rituals compare as seen through the eyes of the Anglican monk. There's enough input from the part of the Shaman to understand where he's coming from too, which gives the book a certain balance between "traditional church-going values" and those of a "world-loving pagan".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical
Thoroughly enjoyed it. And like the way of wyrd, I cannot explain it in words. You must experience it. That's all I can say.
Published 6 days ago by Kellie
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable
I started the book and I was thinking about dropping it and moving to another.
But it was just interesting enough to keep me going. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dean R Wort
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent fictional way of teaching beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon Pagans
The book The Way of Wyrd is a fictional story of a Christian Monk who is sent to learn the ways of the Anglo-Saxon pagans. The story is rich and entertaining. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Charity Bedell
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual core of many of us.
A gem of a book. And subject. Especially as a Northern European. A civilization of blood, destruction, poetry and music now has a spiritual core. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dikran Utidjian
4.0 out of 5 stars two religions collide
A young clergyman in the dark ages travels to untamed lands to bring these tribal people "The Word". The twist is all in who becomes the convert.
Published 7 months ago by doccharli
4.0 out of 5 stars A modern prose Beowulf
The Way of Wyrd: Tales of an Anglo-Saxon Sorcerer, by Brian Bates, 1983; Hay House, 2004, 286 ff

This novel is a companion to the factual account of life in Anglo-Saxon... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Dr. H. A. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars G
This is a great little book I have really enjoyed it, although when I bought it I thought it was a non-fiction factual account of the Anglo-Saxon spirituality called Wyrd. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Alison
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Informative
I don't usually read fiction, this is fantastic. Based on old Northern European Lore and historical facts. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jason Nadeau
2.0 out of 5 stars why did I buy it?
I only read like 2 pages, decided to put it off. It's not suitable for me yet (maybe if I read further), kind of odd I think.
Published 11 months ago by jc
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
I really enjoyed this book. When I read the description I wasn't sure what to expect and found the characters very engaging. Read more
Published 12 months ago by D. Mclachlan
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