Good evening. I’m spoiling you all aren’t I? Two posts in a week(ish).
I normally reserve reviews for my other blog, rosemariecawkwell.wordpress.com, but I thought I’d write this one here for a change. It seems relevant. I have a standard format for reviews, which, if you’ve ever been to my other blog, you’ll probably be familiar with. Onwards then.
Published by: Moon Books
Publication Date: 25th November 2016
Book received free in return for an honest review (My reviews are always 100% honest)
The teachings of Zen Buddhism combined with the earth-based tradition of Druidry can create a holistic way of life that is deeply integrated with the seasons, the environment and the present moment. In soul-deep relationship we can use the techniques and wisdom from both traditions to find balance and harmony within our own lives. In this text we explore the concepts of the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) and how they relate to the wisdom of the Druid tradition. We also look at the Wheel of the Year in modern Druidry with regards to the Dharma, incorporating the teachings into every seasonal festival in an all-encompassing celebration of nature. We explore meditation, mindfulness, animism and integration with nature, learning how to find sustainable relationship in the work that we do, opening our souls to the here and now and seeing the beauty and wonder that enchants our lives in every waking moment. Step into a new life, fully awake and aware to the beauty of the natural world.
I’m sitting here eating the last of the BBQ flavour Pringles (Imade them last three days! be proud of me) and contemplating the book I have just finished reading. I admire Joanna van der Hoeven as a writer, read her blog and have one of her books, The Stillness Within. I haven’t read Zen Druidry, the authors first and foundational book on the subject. I was primed, therefore, from the start to enjoy this book. Not only did I enjoy it, I found much to think about. I admit, there were times when I cried; don’t ask why, I have no idea. Some things tap in to my emotions more than others. The exploration of the principles of Buddhism was very useful, and placing them in the context of Druidry was enlightening of both philosophies. I’ll admit, I had a very sketchy understanding of both before I read this book, and now I have a bit of a clearer view. Probably should have read Zen Druidry first.
A large part of this book is devoted to the subject of mindfulness and meditation, and mindfulness meditation. Unfortunately I’m one of those people for whom mindfulness meditation has a negative impact. Earlier in the year I tried it, and found my nightmares got more intense and lasted longer. At the time I was reading a book about mindfulness meditation, The Buddha Pill. It was only after I read The Buddha Pill that I made the connection; in almost the final chapter the authors touched on the occasional but recorded instances of negative effects of mindfulness, when it is taken out of the original context, such as when it is used in mental health care. I stopped the meditation and the nightmares went away, well as much as they ever do. Nonetheless, this book makes me tempted to try again now that I’m in a slightly better place psychologically, to see whether it will help add depth to my personal spiritual practice.
I found the integration of Zen philosophy and Druidry very interesting, and the process of going through each festival, with questions to ponder, very useful. I think for someone interested in Zen and Druidry, Joanna’s books on the subject are brilliant, though they should be read in order. I would definitely recommend this book to people interested in the subject.
As a Heathen, I feel that some of the concepts in the book can be applied to my own practices, especially the animist elements. Since I honour the wights of the land it isn’t difficult to take that further. There’s an animist element in many polytheist traditions, in my limited experience (and according to lost of reading about other traditions and religions), so I think this book would make a useful edition to any pagan or polytheist bookshelf.
Also, I really love the cover, very evocative.