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Pagan Paths
Pete Jennings.
 Rider 2002. Pb £9.99. ISBN 0 7126 11061.

The author is a former president of the Pagan federation, so his contacts and experience make him very well qualified to write this Guide to Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, shamanism and other pagan practices. There are chapters running from five to ten or more pages on many branches of paganism, and on such topics as sacred sites and seasonal festivals. Each chapter has a list of a few “things to do” as an indication of aspects of each path, to help inexperienced readers gain some idea of whether that approach may be for them; some of these things to do are of value even to experienced pagans. There is also a valuable resource list of books, Web sites, and magazines where further information can be found.

In the booklist for the chapter on Male and Female Mysteries I was pleased to see one of Melissa Raphael’s books mentioned; I was not so pleased (this is more likely to be an uncaught printing error than the author’s own mistake) that it was called Introducing Theology rather than the correct title of Introducing Thealogy. I was also surprised to see that, while Paganism Today, edited by Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman, was in the booklist, Harvey’s own Listening People, Speaking Earth is not mentioned. At twice the length of Jennings’ book, it deepens and extends it, though with a more academic perspective.

Experienced pagans may not get much from Pagan Paths, though they would find useful material about those branches of paganism that are foreign to them. But it is an ideal book to give to someone who is asking “What is paganism about?”, whether to explain one’s own path to friends or as a guide to someone who is wondering whether paganism is for them and, if so, what form of paganism would suit them.

Wood and Water 80, Autumn 2002
© Daniel Cohen

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