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Secrets of the Druids: From Indo-European Origins to Modern Practices,Teresa Cross A GOOD RECONSTRUCTION is hard to find. It must be rooted in living priesthood and also scrupulously historical, drawing on textual, artistic and archaeological sources. It must be both true to its origins and acceptable to modern culture. It should bring ancient and modern cosmologies into a meaningful dance that uplifts rather than overwhelms the worshipper. Perhaps most importantly, it must be explained simply but thoroughly, and its rituals should be beautiful and practical to enact. Secrets of the Druids; From Indo-European Origins to Modern Practices by Teresa Cross is just such a gem.
Druidry—both ancient and modern—is a rich spiritual system worth pursuing. It is also based on somewhat obscure history that can be daunting to try to understand. The sources are complex and can seem opaque, and at the time the Druid revival took off during the Romantic era, it was a spiritual reaction against the newly unrecognizable industrial world. In response to the need to reorient toward nature, the resulting reconstructions were rooted as much in fantasy as in history. That spiritual need was—and is—real and worth addressing, if not always thoroughly historical. Therein lies one of the tensions of reconstructionism and Teresa Cross addresses it head-on by explicitly positioning herself in the Celtic renaissance. Her research is scrupulous, though, and she brings Druidism out of the realm of imagination and conjecture by clearly framing ancient Celtic cultures in the context of their sister cultures of the Indo-European linguistic diaspora. Few reconstructed rituals from any ancient period survive fully intact, and when gaps need to be filled, Cross relies on Vedic and other religious traditions from the Indo-European cultural family.
Secrets of the Druids draws on history, archaeology and linguistics to reconstruct cosmology, theology and ritual. The result is not just a book about ancient Celtic religion or just a hands-on guide to modern Druidry, but a highly readable marriage of both that is well-researched and well-written.