Over the last few weeks I have been reading quite a few introductions to Druidry, all with their own specific ways of approaching the subject. This week I read ‘The Druid’s Primer’ by Luke Eastwood. Reading this book, and others before this one, has made one thing abundantly clear to me: the Druid’s path holds an wealth of variety and experience. All these books discussed the history of Druidry, but ‘The Druid’s Primer’ in particular focuses on what we know about Druids in the historical era. This book is not for someone interested in a simple Druidry 101 but rather for someone who likes to learn more about the original Druids and how this relates to Druidry today. As I am not a Druid myself, I had been wondering how the historical knowledge fits in with Druidry today, and this book provides excellent answers.
The book is structured around specific themes and the author is clearly very knowledgeable on all of them. He effortlessly connects various sources and ideas from different historical eras. I can see how this could be confusing for someone less interested or versed in history, but it makes for an engaging, active reading experience.
I especially enjoyed how the author, in his treatise of Celtic cosmology, links various elements to other European cultures, like Norse, Teutonic and even Greek concepts like metempsychosis. This makes sense: the Druids did not exist in a vacuum. Certainly, in Gaul and Britain (in Ireland perhaps to a lesser extent), there must have been a cross pollination with Germanic culture and Roman (and therefore Greek) philosophy.
The book raised one specific issue that has always interested me: the origin of the megalithic structures like Stonehenge and Newgrange. We seem to know little to nothing about the people that built these, whereas we are fairly certain these structures predate the arrival of the Celts. Who were they and in what respect was the Druidic wisdom also an element of these pre-Celtic cultures?
Although very rich in historical fact, the book also provides you with personal experiences, anecdotes and down-to-earth good advice. If you want to know more about classical Druidism and its connection to Druidic practices today, this book will serve not only as an excellent primer, but as a sound basis for further historical and practical exploration.