Friday 15 July 2016

Review: The New British Druids

I'm off to Druid Camp in less than three weeks - and I've just read the perfect book to get me in the mood for it: The New British Druids by Alex Klaushofer. The reason I say that is that book is mostly an account of an amazing time she spent at a Druid camp in one recent glorious summer.

Actually, the books starts with an interview with Emma Restall-Orr, who I first met back in the mid 1990s at a Druid camp she ran at Avebury with Phillip Shallcrass. Emma has been hugely influential in Druidry and paganism, and it seems her book Spirits of the Sacred Grove (reprinted as Druid Priestess) inspired journalist Alex Klaushofer to explore paganism for herself.

Alex's interview shows more of Emma's private life than I was aware of, including the fact that she struggles daily with a painful medical condition. But she also talks about the reasons she became a Druid and her changing attitude towards organised Druidry.

However, as I mentioned earlier, most of The New British Druids is about the daily life at Druid Camp - and it seems that things have really got bigger and better since I last went to one. The descriptions of amazing rituals and workshops have really got me inspired and looking forward to the event this summer.

But back to The New British Druids, which is a short and inexpensive Kindle book intended as the first in a series about modern spirituality. Alex said: "It’s a piece of long form reportage on my exploration of contemporary Druidry - mostly material already published in The Secret Life of God, but edited to form a standalone ebook for those specifically interested in neopaganism."

The New British Druids was launched for this year's Summer Solstice, and I took it away with me on my Kindle when I visited Stonehenge for the Strawberry Moon, hunted Green Men at Salisbury Cathedral and went to Glastonbury Festival. However, you might not be surprised to hear I was a bit too busy to read it then. I finally started it on a train journey into town for a day of office work this week, and it transported me away from my dull commute to a much happier place.

The Secret Life of God, which was published last year, is described as "a kind of spiritual investigation into twenty-first century Britain. It chronicles how, in an age when institutional religion is on the decline, people are finding new ways of believing and belonging, and puts the faces and places to the trend in which people are increasingly describing themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’"

Based on how much I enjoyed The New British Druids, I will look out for Alex's earlier book for when summer is over and I have more evenings indoors to catch up on my reading further.

The New British Druids: Connecting with nature in the 21st century can be ordered via Amazon.

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