Book Recommendations 1
Welcome to what I hope will be a long series of monthly posts on books I’m reading… and books I’d love for you to read, too!
This month we’re focusing on books from one author- someone who I feel is far too unsung as both a wise elder and incredible teacher in the general Pagan community; Ian Corrigan. Ian is Archdruid emeritus of Ar nDraiocht Fein (www.aADF.org) and a powerhouse of practical wisdom. He has been teaching aspects of Indo-European Paganism for over 30 years and his books have been foundational in my own spiritual growth and continue to support me on my journeys. I’m going to share just a few of my faves with you here but highly suggest you check out all of his writings.
SACRED FIRE, HOLY WELL
By far the most popular (and easiest to find) of Corrigan’s books, this is a must-have for any modern Pagan library, according to your truly. Regardless of your cultural, ethnic, or tradition’s specifics, I think everyone can find a great deal of inspiration here.
This book is a complete system of both neopagan Druidry (a la ADF) and a nudge and wink in the direction of a Celtic-inspired sorcery that is both firmly rooted in lore while being evolved into the here and now.
Sacred Fire, Holy Well explores cosmology, virtues, ritual structure, the kindred, sacred reciprocity, cultivating spiritual allies, and magic- all through the lens of what a living, breathing, dynamic Indo-European Paganism can be. The ritual structured offered in this text are approachable and scalable to meet the individual where they are- but don’t be fooled… what’s possible with this work when one delves deep into the cultic practices of the kindred is quite literally limitless.
DRAIOCHT – A PRIMER OF CELTIC SORCERY
Small package, big dynamite! This little book distills the wisdom of both ancient and modern Pagan perspectives and practices into a manual that inspires action and contemplation. The focus here is on both the why and how of our work with deep digs into trance and meditation states, the crafting of altars and shrines, and work with patron deities. This is easily one of my favorite of Ian’s books and one that I can return to again and again for inspiration, suggested reading for classes, and solutions for when I get stuck on my own path.
A GUIDE TO PAGAN WORSHIP
As the name says, this book will help you to craft a bona-fide, effective, and growing Pagan practice for who, where, and when you are. While presented through the lens of Celtic Paganism, I think anyone looking for a powerful way to work with their spiritual allies will find open gates here. This is an incredible introduction to Paganism with potent ways to engage with practices right now.
Over the past 4 weeks we’ve been exploring ways to engage with the plant spirits practically. In this our final installment, we’re getting our hands dirty (literally and figuratively) with ritual! To start with part one, CLICK HERE.
The word ritual shares etymological roots with some other important words like right, art, heart, hearth, and harmony. We can see how ritual is a way for us to engage intentionally in ways that create more harmony both within ourselves and within the wholeness of the universe. Ritual, like it’s related word art, should be a thing of beauty that is pleasing and brings a sense of things fitting together in good ways.
Sorcery, like all ancient pagan traditions that are essentially animist and nature-centering, is an orthopraxy and not an orthodoxy. This means that our right action is valuable where right belief is less so. What we think and believe means less than how we show up and what we do. Ritual is an invitation to show up, do good, create beauty, and assist the cosmos into leaning ever-further into states of harmony.
Rituals can come in many forms, and there are no hard and fast expectations on what they look like for each person. If you follow a traditional model like I do, you can work with that framework to guide you through seasonal cycles, ritual orders, specific workings, and so on. If not, you are able to find ways to create ritual that is meaningful and powerful for you- and ideally effective in creating the desired outcomes whatever they may be. For me, the outcome is more often connection than anything else. I rarely do ritual for anything other than completing cycles of sacred reciprocity with my allies and participating in the wholeness of the cosmos. Some rituals have very defined goals that make them bored on magical workings, others are simple rites of acknowledgement whether that be a season, a spirit, or an inspiration.
A ritual of lighting a candle and inviting your allies to join you at your sacred ire for communion is a valid and powerful ritual when performed with the fullness of your being. Nothing grandiose, complex, or expensive is needed- your investment of energy, time, and attention is a fertile soil upon which all good work can grow. From there, you may add important things like sacred symbols, prayers, charms or other spoken words, offerings and sacrifices, dances or other intentional movements, recitations of myth and story, or visionary journeywork.
No matter what you do or how it’s done, the power is in the doing.
Attune to the Rhythms
One of the best ways to open the tracks of power that flow between you and the wholeness of nature is to engage directly with the rhythms. Everyone, everything, and everywhere has an ebb and flow; cycles that can be subtle or incredible dramatic. These rhythms are like a breath- inhalation that fill with power and potential, exhalations that release, compost, and reset. By aligning to these rhythms as they show up in the world we call home, we can find greater success, synchronicity, and power in all we do.
Without looking at the calendar, I invite you to step outside and experience directly what the land around you and all her inhabitants are actually expressing right here, right now. What are the trees doing? How has the behavior of the squirrels changed over the past few weeks? Are there bees, and if so which plants are feeding them? Are flowers blooming or is soil bare and cold? To really explore the language of the land is to enter into a direct personal communication with what is actually happening versus what the calendar says should be happening. It is to let the land speak for the land, the animals speak for the animals, the insects for the insects, and so on.
We, too, are part of these sacred cycles and rhythms. So, if the trees are releasing their faded leaves, animals are scurrying to store up food for the coming cold months, and the days are getting shorter, how can we align our own personal rhythms, activities, rituals, and mental atmospheres t be in radical harmony? When it’s time to slow down, do you find it hard to slow down? When it’s time to begin and grow, are you just getting ready for rest? If your n rhythms are not in some kind of accord with those of the world around you, consider this a formal invitation to align and harmonize!
When in doubt about what to do, when to do it, and how to make it happen, remember your part-of-ness with nature and look to your kin in body and spirit that surround you.