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The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic and Lore Paperback – September 8, 2002

3.2 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

There is a great deal that has been written about the ancient Celts. This is especially true among the Pagan community because many find that the myths and legends of the Celts strike a chord that rings true.
Sometimes, however, it is possible to see things backwards. By that I mean that because you do something a particular way today, you assume that the ancients did it either the same way or in a similar fashion. Ah, if only it were so!
That simply isn't good history. You have to get good information, not make assumptions. That's why I am very enthused with Douglas Monroe's The 21 Lessons of Merlyn.
When you read this book you will see that it was written by a person who is both a scholar and a bard. He instructs by way of stories, making the purpose and method of the philosophies, exercises, and magical rituals crystal clear and easy to apply, yet not limiting his brilliant research and scholarship. In fact, the teachings in this book are based on a manuscript which is now in the private collection of the Albion Lodge of the United Ancient Order of Druids of Oxford.
One of the things I really like is the traditional Druid triads, concepts that are broken down into thee short sentences. For example, the Three Virtues of Wisdom are to be aware of all things, to endure all things, and to be removed from all things. The three spiritual instructors of mankind are mastery of self, master of world, and mastery of unknown. You'll learn many of these and be able to discover how they are spiritually and practically meaningful in your life.
There is so much great material in this book that I can't say enough about it! Already, more than 120,000 people are using this book. If you want to find out what the Druids really did, and put it to use in your life, get this book.

About the Author

Douglas Monroe has been involved in practical Earth magick since his first apprenticeship at age 10. As a boy , he studied classical Magic under the guidance of Israel Regardie, and has studied and taught in the United States, in Britain, and in Argentina. He is founder of the New Forest Centre for Magickal Studies and has made many excursions to Celtic Britain to collect original materials on Druidism and Arthurian Lore. His Method of teaching - here seemingly presented as tales of magic and adventure - has many precedents in the Wisdom Teachings of the East and West, but most truly in the Druidic Tradition that he has followed, and of which he is a foremost exponent.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (September 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875424961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875424965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #758,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The 21 lessons of Merlyn" tells a good story, but is historically inaccurate. For starters, the Druids came from Ireland in 1000BC...not from Atlantis in 400BC. Easter and the Yule Log are Germanic, not Pagan AND the kissing under the mistletoe tradition is Scandinavian. Also Ogham is not a symbolic magical alphabet. The druids did not practice celibacy to achieve new heights. There were many powerful beings (Mohammad), who had many wives and children.
The fact the many people see this book as a genuine resource on druidism is what bothers me the most. This book is based on the works of Iolo Morganwg (The Book of Pheryllt) which are proven forgeries. To those people, I must say...read more reliable books. There are many books available at Amazon.com that give a more accurate view on the history of the druids and Celtic lore. Look for resources that do not refer to the book of Pheryllt or "The Lost works of the Druids". Such things don't exist. Druids wrote very little about themselves. They didn't beleive in writing down their beleifs (especially magick spells and medicine).
The authors view of women is also very disturbing. Yes, women were druids AND female druids could achieve just as much as male druids. The author puts female Celts in a negative view.
I neglected to give this book 1 star because the author tells a very creative fictional story of Merlyn and Author. Monroe managed to keep this book interesting throughout. He just needs to find more reliable resources. I hear his second book "The Lost Books of Merlyn" makes up for this one by being more historically accurate, however, I make no claims since I have not read it.
I can not recommend this book because it is sexist content and inaccurate views of druidism.
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Format: Paperback
I have a copy of this book as well as it's sequel. I keep them for the express purpose of showing them to people and warning them not to buy them. There are plenty of reviews that explain why, but I will touch on the main themes and their fallacies.

1. The author claims that only men may be druids. (any quick skimming of Irish or Welsh mythology will produce at least one druidess.)

2. The druids were vegetarians. (a documented ritual called the tarb-feis is performed by eating the flesh of a freshly slain bull and sleeping on it's hide, not to mention the overwhelming presence of archaeological evidence of animal sacrifice and feasting)

3. Druids were celibate. (again, a quick skim of Celtic mythology reveals many sons and daughters of druids)

I won't get into the multitude of other lies that are in this book, as they have been covered elsewhere. I will end by saying that one value we do know that the druids held was Truth. Monroe has this right, at least. However, he has shamed me and my ancestors by claiming this drivel to be truth. Perhaps this book was all a free-energy scheme for Monroe; after all, my forefathers are spinning in their graves fast enough to generate electricity.
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By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book, while certainly amusing, does not border on the "truth" of anything, be it historical druidic practices, modern druidism, or even spiritual enlightenment. For instance, if Monroe is so enlightened, why does he claim that women are less spiritually evolved than men? If he's so enlightened, why does he spend so much time criticizing the Christian faith? Certainly, some one who was *truly* spiritually advanced needn't spend so much time bashing other people's faiths. Monroe's knowledge of other topics is also sadly lacking. He advocates the ingesting of mistletoe (eating one berry has been known to cause fatalities among children, and the oil of mistletoe is even more potent still). Also, if you put wormwood (which can cause miscarriage in pregnant women, though he neglects to mention that) in vodka, it creates a substance known as "absinthe" which can get you jailed for a few years *for merely OWNING,* let alone drinking, the substance.
All in all, I found this book to be a highly misinformed work, both historically, medicinally, and spiritually. If you're looking for some good works on the Druids, try reading a work from the historical section, or at the very least, *do not* read this book. Unless, of course, you're not looking for any amount of intelligence in the books you read.
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Format: Paperback
I'll keep this brief and simple: Douglas Monroe is grossly ignorant about almost everything he discusses in his books. What he knows of genuine history, mythology, Celtic languages and customs, herbalism, treelore, archeology, etc. wouldn't fill a thimble. I'm not talking about someone making an occasional mistake here. Monroe gets almost everything he says about the ancient Druids wrong!
Yes, he plants a few lovely fantasies in the manure pile. Yes, he proves once again that almost *anything* can be used to generate magical energy (which is often mistaken by beginners for a spiritual experience) if people really believe in it. But Monroe's books are gynophobic, dishonest, New Age nonsense -- not "authentic Druid spirituality." The ancient Druids *were* the intellectuals of their tribes and they would not have accepted the idea that scholarship "doesn't matter."
Readers wanting details can see the earlier reviews here by myself, Ian Corrigan, and other scholars. Or visit the websites of "adf.org," "keltria.org," "druidry.org," or "summerlands.com." You'll see that we often disagree with each other about details, but are united in our contempt for this con artist.
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