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The Way of Wyrd by [Bates, Brian]
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The Way of Wyrd Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Length: 272 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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

Review

'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: 1011 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (October 28, 2004)
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2004
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004AM770U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #508,973 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Plowright on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What we know about Anglo-Saxon sorcery: Nothing. We have Beowulf, but relying on it is like relying on Shakespere's Macbeth for Elizabethan-era Scottish politics. There is also Nennius, a dubious scholar at best. A few fragments of poems, some laws and some artwork. Almost everything assumed by today's scholars is derived from comparative studies, suspected parallels in names, and the Sagas as understood by a monk (anthropology wasn't invented at the time).

What we know about shamanism: It was practiced in Britain, certainly circa 13th century and therefore probably earlier.

What we know about Saxon-era Britain: Until near the end of Saxon times, it constituted hundreds of tribes, perhaps thousands, depending on the scale you look. "Britain" as an entity did not exist and the term was not used. Religion almost certainly varied in details between tribes - no Common Book of Heathen Prayer.

Conclusion: Brian Bates' book could, realistically, reflect actual beliefs in some tribes in some parts of the isles. It cannot reflect the majority view because we don't know who the majority really were (see controversy over Oppenheimer's Who are the British), what they believed or how they practiced.

It deserves very high marks as a thought experiment. I don't see the critics of him doing better, or reconciling their views with either recent genetic, archaeological or archaeo-botanical data (if you insist on precision, I insist on hard data without which precision is an illusion). I commend his audacity for trying, and for producing a cohesive story.

It isn't perfect, but unless Odin actually exists AND offers you a copy of his memoirs, you might need to put up with the limitations of the knowable.
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Format: Paperback
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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