Recently, Damh the Bard wrote a blog post concerning the twelve most important books in his life – or as he titled it: “Twelve Books That Changed My Life“. Now, he cheated every so slightly by sneaking two CDs into his list…but he did a good job of explaining why. So, in the spirit of that post – I thought I would give it a try too.
To be honest – putting books on the list was not the easiest task in the world. But it was fun…
In no particular order:
1. Drawing Down the Moon (Margot Adler) — DDtM was the very first Pagan-oriented book I had read. This was my introduction to Paganism. I was completely befuddled by what I read, and intrigued at the same time. Her section on Church of All-Worlds still intrigues me to this day – and my re-reads have always turned up something that I didn’t recall reading previously. I’ve recommended this book numerous times over the years – and have bought five or six copies over the years – simply because my loaners never seem to come back. Incidentally, the two books I read after this one were Starhawk‘s “The Spiral Dance” and Raymond Buckland‘s “Complete Book of Witchcraft” — both of which struck no chord with me whatsoever. A second reading of DDtM took place right after those two books…and confirmed its importance in being a repeated reference in my life.
2. Neither Wolf Nor Dog (Kent Nerburn). Literally, I have just finished this book. Just a little over two weeks ago. This was, quite frankly, one of the most uncomfortable books to read. I’m not sure if it is a work of fiction, or a fictionalized version of truthful events. For me, it doesn’t matter. Either way, this book speaks volumes to me about a variety of issues on personal spirituality, First Nations beliefs, and First Nations history. There were a number of moments in the book, where the statements made by the Indian elder (Dan) really pissed me off, but when I spent a few minutes of time looking at what was said and trying to see things from another perspective – I found myself understanding the position. The statements still pissed me off, but I had a better understanding of why I was pissed off.
3. The Power of Myth (Joseph Campbell) — What Pagan list would not be complete without some aspect pointing towards mythology? There are plenty of retellings of mythology that I own – Celtic, Roman/Greek, First Nations – but in the end, I look to Joseph Campbell’s explanatory message concerning the archetypes of mythology. The reason I chose this one over another beloved book (The Hero With a Thousand Faces) comes down to the fact that this is essentially a transcript of an interview between Campbell and Bill Moyers. Its written in a very accessible manner — since it is a conversation – and that makes it very endearing to me.
4. The Path of Druidry (Penny Billington) — Penny’s book is a primer on Druidry setup in a lessons format. I started following Penny’s lessons and suggestions in this book back in April – and its made a remarkable difference in how I approach my daily life, as well as a revamped approach to my Bardic Grade studies within the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Under the title of this blog – this and Cat Treadwell‘s book have probably had the greatest impact on “changing” my life….which brings me to….
5. A Druid’s Tale (Cat Treadwell) — …at the moment, I am currently reading this book. Cat writes on a very warm and personal level, and you will find that it has a similar feel to having a conversation. Its not meant to be digested in a single read, and there are questions at the end of each section that are presented to the reader…again, in a conversational manner. For me, I took the time to stop at the end of each section, and answer each of the questions that are presented…and have found my own writing style taking on a very warm feel as a result. I highly recommend this to anyone looking to spend some time in a loving challenge towards what they believe and feel.
6. The Druid Way (Philip Carr-Gomm) — I have quite a few books of Carr-Gomm’s, and his writings are quite influential for me. Picking one was a little difficult to accomplish for me. I eventually settled on this particular one. There’s a lot of perspective about reconnecting with one’s land – and how that can be done out in the country, in the city or even in the somewhat sterile suburbs.
7. Someplace to Be Flying (Charles de Lint) — Anyone that’s known me for any length of time, knows what a fanboy I am of de Lint’s – and how enamored I am with his fictional city of Newford and its associated characters. I recently finished this particular novel, which discusses some of the creation mythology and borrows liberally from the First Nations folklore of the Pacific Northwest. The characters are marvelously depicted, but there’s always an underlying current of a lesson to be learned throughout. That’s something I completely adore in his novels.
8. Dances With Wolves (Michael Blake) — Yes. The book that the movie was based on. And the book is far better. The depiction of everyday life is brutal in its depiction, but very honest in its beauty as well. While the cinematography made the movie into the beautiful film – its the cinematography of your mind, coupled with Blake’s words that makes this novel into something you feel a part of. This writing is just magickal.
10. What the Dormouse Said (John Markoff) — There’s so much about the computer world that fascinates me. How things that were essentially nothing more than wild dreams – such as the computer mouse, the Computer Interface, the desire to meld mind and machine together, the search for the holy grail of computer algorithmic magick (artificial intelligence) — I am so completely sucked into the hows and whys of the people who literally move mountains to get their dreams to become reality. This book depicts some of that magick in Markoff’s words.
11 and 12. iWoz (Steve Wozniak) — Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson) — My last two books I have to group together. Wozniak and Jobs are bound together – both in shared History and a deeper bond of shared friendship. Each book depicts a separate side of the journey that eventually takes the shape of the company known as Apple. Their story of hardships, triumphs, and revelation has many angles and hidden side trails…each capable of taking the reader into another part of the mystical world of the technology and information revolutions.
Well, there’s my take…what’s yours???