This is one of the books I got for free courtesy of Amazon and their amazing Kindle reading app. Let’s be honest, there aren’t a whole lot of books on Paganism that are geared towards men, and even though I wasn’t really expecting much, well, free is free, right?
I don’t think you could pay me to read this book.
So, to summarize this book, it’s basically an overview of different aspects of *the* God (Judge, Guide to the Underworld, Lover, Sacred King, etc.) that might have been interesting if had any original ideas in it. Seriously, pick up any Llewellyn Wicca 101 book and you will find the same stuff.
It’s difficult for me to describe how terrible this book is in my own words, so I’ve pulled some quotes (discovered the Kindle app would pull the quote AND give me citations) for your perusal, with my commentary (the numbers at the end are the locations in the Kindle app, not page numbers):
“Like the Gruagach [Pan] hates clothes and insists on participants coming naked to his rites.” (101)
Um, wut? Is it just me, or does being nekkid in Pan’s presence sound like a very bad idea?
The Celtic Druidic tradition for example provides an alternative perspective. It is not a religion as it has no gods or goddesses, at least not in the sense we understand them. It has no creation mythology, no creator, no dogma, no dualism of earth and spirit, and thus no fall, no sin, no redeemer and no need for redemption. The sources reveal that the Celtic Druid tradition is based upon being: being in life, being a part of the stream of the vibrant, perfect and pure experience of life, and coming into the many forms of life, again and again. (137-141)
So, I take it you don’t know a whole lot about Druids, then? Did you miss the part about druids being PRIESTS as well as philosophers?
Apart from the Tricksters and the Gods of the Underworld, some of the most likely candidates for this role [embodying everything contrary to “the norm”] are the Gods (and Goddesses) of homosexuality. Coyote, the Trickster God of North America for example, is always encouraging flirtations among the same sex. (638-640)
Who are these gods and goddesses of homosexuality? Note that this is the ONLY TIME in the whole book that Mann even references LGBT+s.
“Set appears as the destroyer and Osiris as the life giver, but both appear in a manner that suggests they are aspects of the same god.” (770-1)
“Apep: The serpent or crocodile form of Set. Every night Apep attempts to swallow the sun to prevent it rising in the east. Every morning he is defeated, but restores himself to fight again. During an eclipse Apep has greater power to destroy the order of the world.” (801-803)
I guess he missed the part where Set’s the deity who’s doing the killing? (Other times Ra does it himself, IIRC.)
Other times the book has hilarious typos, as in this case:
“Erebus: A primeval Greek God of the Underworld. Son of Chaos, brother and wife to Nyx, father of Nemesis, Eros and Charon. Erebus is the personification of the circles of lesser darkness proceeding outward from the black depths of Tartarus.” (bold mine) (928-930)
[insert cissexist quip about Nyx wearing the pants in the relationship here] No seriously, I think you mean husband, or spouse.
and this one:
“Beowulf crushes Wendel,” (1499)
It’s Grendel, dammit! GRENDEL!
And a whole lot of stuff that just doesn’t make any sense:
“They (Dionysus’ maenads) reveal the bloodthirstiness of the womb, of birth giving.” (933-934
This needs to be made into a meme, right now. Everyone must know of the bloodthirstiness of the womb!
“The fact that Freyr presides over the earth in conjunction with his sister Freya (Frigg),” (1719-1720)
Freyja =/= Frigg
Freyr is kin to the Dying and Rising God as, firstly, the myth of Freya has her weeping and otherwise acting in the manner of the Near Eastern goddesses of fertility; secondly, the boar figures strongly in his cult; thirdly, he is a phallic god, a lord of love and sexual activity; and finally, the rites associated with the Scandinavian kings suggest that when they entered the earth, they joined with Freyr, whose spirit then entered into the person of the next king. Freyr is thus reborn in every king, whose annual duty was to undertake the sacrifices necessary for the fertility and prosperity of the people. Freyr was said to be slain by the incoming fiery patriarchal gods. (1721-1725)
I’m just going to leave that there.
Anyways, the rest is a nigh-incomprehensible combination of word salad, pop Jungian psychology, something about the Washington Monument and conspiracies, long-winded chapters on how Christianity sucks and we need to reclaim the God. Actually, the whole book is long-winded. I think I had more fun reading Fifty Shades of Grey and writing snarky comments in the margin than I did skimming this book. At least I had fun picking apart the one on spirit animals.
I hope someone likes reading these, because this is the kind of crap I read through for you people, and I can’t count it as an ordeal or a test of faith or anything, so I hope you’ve been entertained, because this book was just….just….
I’m going to bed.
Good night (even though it will be morning when I read the comments).