There is a long history of books written that are factual, but feel like memoirs. One such book is Where the Hawthorn Grows: An American Druid's Reflections.

At its core, this is a book about Irish Reconstructionist Druidism in America, as practiced by one person, and it would be excellent for that alone. But reading it was so much more interesting and informative than such a description would indicate.

Chapter one provides background information for readers unfamiliar with Druidism: history, ethics, practices, and a good grounding in just what reconstructionism is trying to do in the modern day. Chapter two discusses deities. Chapter three looks at holy days and celebrations and was one place I particularly noted how her sharing of personal information made the whole discussion more interesting. Chapter four is a short description about life passages, a combination of the secular and the sacred. Chapter five delves into Celtic magic, and where I am normally very skeptical, I was very pleased. (Dana is not a god, for example, and if you see an author referring to her as such, drop the book right then and there.) Community, chapter six, was a fascinating read and I think it would be very useful for anyone who doesn't want to practice alone. The seventh chapter (appropriately titled "Miscellaneous Thoughts") was a collection of odds and sods, like the ogham, or how the Celtic tradition views crystals and stones. We end with a conclusion.

This is a personal book, and it benefits greatly from the author's willingness to share many aspects of her worship. Although I am not a Druid, I am well-read enough to realize that not all of her practices are 'canon' and might even run contrary to others' teachings. Daimler is clear that she is writing about her practice as an Irish reconstructist in America, all factors that will alter her view of what Druidry is and how it must be practiced.

While I wouldn't make this my first book to read about Druidry as a modern practice, I strongly recommend it for anyone who wants to expand their practice and explore new facets.

~review by Patricia Mullen

Author: Morgan Baimler
Moon Books, 2013
pp. 240, $22.95

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