Tag Archives: Celtic

A History of Pagan Europe

A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick, a 2000 reprint paperback from Routledge, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Prudence Jones Nigel Pennick A History of Pagan Europe from Routledge

“The first comprehensive study of its kind, this fully illustrated book establishes Paganism as a persistent force in European history with a profound influence on modern thinking.

From the serpent goddesses of ancient Crete to modern nature-worship and the restoration of the indigenous religions of eastern Europe, this wide-ranging book offers a rewarding new perspective of European history.

In this definitive study, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick draw together the fragmented sources of Europe’s native religions and establish the coherence and continuity of the Pagan world vision. Exploring Paganism as it developed from the ancient world through the Celtic and Germanic periods, the authors finally appraise modern Paganism and its apparent causes as well as addressing feminist spirituality, the heritage movement, nature-worship and ‘deep’ ecology.

This innovative and comprehensive history of European Paganism will provide a stimulating, reliable guide to this popular dimension of religious culture for the academic and the general reader alike.” [via]


How to Kill a Dragon

How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics by Calvert Watkins, a 1995 paperback from Oxford University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Calvert Watkins How to Kill a Dragon from Oxford University Press

“In How to Kill a Dragon Calvert Watkins follows the continuum of poetic formulae in Indo-European languages, from Old Hittite to medieval Irish. He uses the comparative method to reconstruct traditional poetic formulae of considerable complexity that stretch as far back as the original common language. Thus, Watkins reveals the antiquity and tenacity of the Indo-European poetic tradition.

Watkins begins this study with an introduction to the field of comparative Indo-European poetics; he explores the Saussurian notions of synchrony and diachrony, and locates the various Indo-European traditions and ideologies of the spoken word. Further, his overview presents case studies on the forms of verbal art, with selected texts drawn from Indic, Iranian, Greek, Latin, Hittite, Armenian, Celtic, and Germanic languages.

In the remainder of the book, Watkins examines in detail the structure of the dragon/serpent-slaying myths, which recur in various guises throughout the Indo-European poetic tradition. He finds the ‘signature’ formula for the myth—the divine hero who slays the serpent or overcomes adversaries—occurs in the same linguistic form in a wide range of sources and over millennia, including Old and Middle Iranian holy books, Greek epic, Celtic and Germanic sagas, down to Armenian oral folk epic of the last century. Watkins argues that this formula is the vehicle for the central theme of a proto-text, and a central part of the symbolic culture of speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language: the relation of humans to their universe, the values and expectations of their society. Therefore, he further argues, poetry was a social necessity for Indo- European society, where the poet could confer on patrons what they and their culture valued above all else: ‘imperishable fame.'” — back cover

Edmund

Edmund: the Untold Story of the Martyr-King and His Kingdom by Mark Taylor, a recent 2013 paperback from Fordaro, is part of the collection at the Reading Room courtesy of the publisher.

Mark Taylor Edmund from Fordaro

Available in print in the UK and as an ebook in the States and in the UK, the printed book contains additional and updated information than either ebook editions.

“Murdered by the Danes aged only 29 years
Declared England’s patron saint 20 years later
Worshipped by the Danes who killed him
Attended by royalty, honoured as far north as Iceland
Renowned for his miracles of fertility and protection
But his martyrdom was unrecognized for 250 years
Why?

Discover the untold story behind the legend of Edmund:
The explosive growth of Edmund’s cult
The significance of Bury St Edmunds
The symbolic landscape of East Anglia
The mystery at the heart of Edmund’s myth

The relationship between the king, his people, the land itself and the prosperity of the kingdom are intimately bound up with the myth of Edmund. This fascinating book explains how those traditions, passing through Viking, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic culture, unlock a new interpretation of Edmund’s story.

Accompanied by vivid photography and illustrations, this special limited edition includes an additional appendix of historic and original poems on the subject of Edmund.” — back cover

 

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