Tag Archives: isaac bonewits

Neopagan Rites, by Isaac Bonewits

By Mike Gleason | February 9, 2011 | Leave a comment

Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals that Workby Isaac Bonewits
Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738711993, 264 pp. 2007

One of the things I have always admired about Isaac Bonewits is his ability to make complex subjects comprehensible to the average person without “dumbing down” the topics. He takes the time to explain his terminology before beginning and then proceeds to explain his position and/or beliefs in 3easy to understand, logical steps. This is not to say that his ideas are simplistic; they most certainly are not; nor are they necessarily non-controversial, in fact they are almost always thought provoking, if not debate inspiring.

I will confess, here and now, that I haven’t read a lot of Isaac’s literary output (only Real Magic: An Introductory Treatise on the Basic Principles of Yellow Magic and The Pagan Man: Priests, Warriors, Hunters, and Drummers), but I have followed many of the debates his work has inspired, as well as being familiar with some of his work on the subject of Druidic research. I also had the pleasure of meeting him and attending a ritual he created many years ago at a Pagan gathering in the Midwest. I haven’t always agreed with him, but I have learned from him.

Isaac is sure to offend some readers Continue reading


Review: Real Energy, by Phaedra & Isaac Bonewits

By Taylor Ellwood | March 27, 2007 | Leave a comment

Real Energy: Systems, Spirits, And Substances to Heal, Change, And Grow, by Phaedra & Isaac Bonewits
New Page Books, 288 pp.

If you’re looking for a book that provides you a thorough examination of the basic concepts of energy work, in terms of both personal energy and environmental energy then you’ll find that this book is right up your alley. Phaedra and Isaac do a wonderful job of explaining energy and its connection with elemental energy, astrology, natural resources, Chinese belief systems, and more.

This book is theory intensive. They provide a few basic exercises so readers can work with the concepts, but their focus is more so on explaining the why and how of energy work. I would’ve liked to have seen more focus on practice, and particularly some intermediate and advanced energy work, but even without that the theory in the book can provide readers an opportunity to experiment if they are willing to take the concepts and run with them.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about energy work and what it involves. You’ll also get a dose of Bonewits humor, always good for giving you a moment to take a break and think, “Did they really say that?”


Review: The Book of Druidry, by Ross Nichols

By Mike Gleason | January 25, 2005 | Leave a comment

The Book of Druidry, by Ross Nichols
Thorsons/Element, 1855381762, 320 pages (incl. bibliography, index and black-and-white illustrations), 1992

Over the years, I am sure that hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written on the topic of Druidry. Some of them have been scholarly, some have been fanciful, and most of them have been written by outsiders. Factual history of the movement is hard to find, for a number of reasons. In the early days there was a reluctance to commit the teachings to writing. Once some of the teachings began to be written down, they were condemned and destroyed by the dominant religion (Christianity). For the safety of its members it disappeared from the sight of the common man. It continued underground, as have many persecuted minorities.

This book has one major advantage over many of those other books. It has been written by a Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). While he acknowledges the lack of historical data from the earliest times (“…the gaps are larger than the area covered by what is known.”), he has the advantage of access to what records do exist. He makes no claim to an uninterrupted lineage. In the past two hundred plus years, there have been numerous manifestations of the Druidic movement – from the OBOD, the Ancient Druid Order, the Secular Order of Druids, the Glastonbury Order of Druids, to the ADF started in the US by Isaac Bonewits. There have been, and continue to be, differences in emphasis.

In the words of Philip Carr-Gomm (one of the editors of this book) “Ross managed to combine three books in one: a history of Druidry, a guide to certain ancient sites, and an anthology of Druid wisdom.” It was certainly a necessity when it was written (1975) and it still is. It serves as a counterpoint to much of the romanticized nonsense written on the topic. It is thoughtful, considerate of varying opinions, and presented in a manner which is both educational and interesting.

The author perceives Druidry as a philosophy as opposed to a religion, which may offend some readers. Nonetheless, this is an important work on the subject and deserves to be read by anyone interested in the topic. Whether you agree with the conclusions of the author, there is a great deal of information and food for thought between these covers.

More modern books tend to confine their notes; it seems to me, to the back of the book, thus necessitating a constant back-and-forth to see what the notes say. Mr. Nichols used footnotes (i.e., notes at the bottom [foot] of the page) thus doing away with this. Personally, I much prefer the footnote style, if you don’t, well there aren’t a lot of footnotes to deal with, so it shouldn’t be too large a problem.

The Bibliography and Index are both short (three and five pages, respectively). While some of the referenced works may be hard to locate, most of them should be accessible through any reasonably large library or on interlibrary loan.

In all honesty, I almost didn’t order this book, as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tackle the subject – since so much has been written on it in recent years. It was who the author was that decided me. I am grateful now that I did request it. It is informative without boring, and it is a fairly enjoyable read. If you are looking for a good book to read about Druids as they probably were, this is the book for you.


Chaos versus eclectic magick

By Joseph Max.555 | July 19, 1997 | Leave a comment

From: “Joseph Max.555″
Newsgroups: alt.magick.chaos
Subject: Re: Chaos vs Eclectic magic
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 18:00:40 -0700

On Wed, 16 Jul 1997, garyb wrote:

<< What are the differences(if any) between Chaos magic and Eclectic magic? >>

I’ve read some books and articles by both Phil Hine and Peter Caroll and I like them very much. But besides the labels and institution what is the difference between their theories and say…Isaac Bonewits book Real Magic, which I’m not sure is Yellow Magic(?) or Eclectic Magic? >>

Chaos magick is eclectic, but eclectic magick is not necessarily chaos magick. Continue reading