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A Pagan Testament: The Literary Heritage of the World's Oldest New Religion Paperback – December 15, 2008
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A remarkable resource for anyone following the Wicca-Pagan path. We highly recommend it. Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, Authors of A Witches Bible, The Witches Goddess and Progressive WitchcraftBrendan Myers is one of the most important Neopagan voices now alive. Isaac Bonewits, Author of "Real Magic"; founder of Arn Draoicht Fein, America's largest Druidic association
About the Author
Brendan Myers was inspired by Celtic culture, taught to him by his Irish parents. He has a Ph.D in ethics and philosophy and contributes regularly to Pagan and general media. He lives in Canada.
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Top customer reviews
Each chapter he lists as a "movement" as in a segment of a musical composition. I did not quite grasp the concept of placing his work within the motif of musical terminology until later int he book. The first several movements are dedicated to several ancient myths about "The Goddess"; Anishabe, Inanna, Demeter, Morrigan, and the Norns to be exact. He then moves on to Witch lore and poetry which directly inspired the creation of Wicca (and therefore contemporary paganism). The next three movements deal with contemporary paganism itself. He shows us parts of Gerald Gardner's own Book of Shadows and shares wisdom teachings and circle-songs (chants) he gathered from a survey he conducted of pagans throughout the world. All of this is interesting and entertaining. I felt inspired by the ancient stories and found myself nodding with agreement or shaking my head in disagreement with the respondents to his survey, but for all of that, what for some would have been a book in it of itself, "A Pagan Testament" really hits its stride with the 12th and final Movement.
Dr. Myers earned his doctorate in Philosophy and one of the most enjoyable aspects of his books to me are how he can distill quite complicated philosophical thoughts down to be understandable to we lay thinkers. In this Movement he first explains exactly what he means by a concept, like world-view, and then covers it in detail. His take on the Word of Being may be one of the best explanations I have ever read to describe the relationship many of us feel to the world around us and to other people. For all of that his true genius shows in writing about the "Song", explaining how essential music, song, and art are to the pagan world-view and how it is there that we find most clearly what it is that defines us a community.(Hence the concept of dividing the book along musical lines) His treatment on "Will" and the "Rede" are top notch and well researched and I like how does not pass judgment but instead offers up his understanding and leaves it open for the reader to draw their own conclusions. And his exploration of love, comparing it to Tantra and Sufi ideas and concepts, left me wishing for him to write an entire book on the subject.
In the end, with subtlety and beauty, he brings the discussion back to virtue, "The Other Side of Virtue" to be exact (without actually plugging his previous work), and expresses what he believes is possible from the growing pagan movement.
I very much enjoyed this book and read through it quite quickly. Like most of Myers' works there is a lot there, much to wrap one's mind around, and yet is written in a smooth and easy to follow way.
Highly recommended for Pagan and non-Pagan alike.
While the styling is interesting, I found the flow of the material presented rather incoherent. In addition, there was far too much commentary as opposed to source material. Indeed, this book is filled with the author's opinion in almost equal quantities to the songs, myths, and folklore I was looking for, which I found greatly distracting.
The biggest issue I take with this book is that it seems to be a knock-off of Chas Clifton's "Paganism Reader". It is has a similar precept, formatting, and a few common sources, but it lacks the clarity and breadth of Clifton's work.
I'd recommend this book to anyone with a heavy new-age slant, but for more serious Pagans, go with Clifton.