Pagans often claim that their spiritual inspiration comes not from a written scripture but from personal experience and original creativity. There are however also many written works which constitute its testament. Some of them are thousands of years old, such as the Descent of Ishtar, and The Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Others are more recent, such as The Charge of the Goddess. A Pagan Testament collects these original works, along with the poetry and prose that inspired the founders of Wicca. It also includes the largest collection of circle songs and wisdom teachings ever published, which are the Pagan equivalent of the Biblical Psalms and Proverbs. They were collected by the author in a two-year survey of Pagan folklore, from almost 2,000 people in twelve countries around the world. They show that Paganism is continually expanding and developing. Finally, the book includes an original and valuable philosophical commentary and interpretation.
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Having carried out an international survey of texts favoured by the Pagan community, Brendan Myers shares those writings in his book. He offers samples of ancient Pagan texts, more recent wisdom teachings, and circle songs, with commentaries. It's a book that works in a number of different ways. Firstly, as a resource for key texts it's rather useful, and would benefit anyone participating in moots or rituals who wants material to use and share. There's an abundance of writing here that could simply be shared as it is, or used as the basis for ritual drama. Secondly to this, it provides an introduction to a selection of older texts that may encourage people to seek out the full versions and read them. The idea of ancient writings can be a smidge intimidating, but the samples offered here make it clear that these are very readable works and worth exploring. The third thing A Pagan Testament does is offer insight into the inspiration for modern wicca. In this regard it's a very useful accompaniment to Hutton's The Triumph of the Moon, filling in the literary gaps. Then there's the philosophy, and the exploration of what the various texts mean, how they relate to each other and what they express about the Pagan community as a whole. There's a delve into the origins and implications of the wiccan rede, and a compelling attempt at exploring notions of love in philosophical terms. Myers also writes about the nature of music and its role in community, something I found especially interesting. My only niggle is that he uses the word 'pagan' at times when I felt he actually meant 'wiccan', because this is predominantly a book about that path, although it certainly has relevance for the community as a whole. It would be interesting to see how a purely Druid version of the Testament might look! That grumble aside, it's a fine piece of work with much to offer, I enjoyed reading it, and will be referring back to it. The content is fascinating, and is presented with the blend of erudition and humour that characterises Myers's writing, making it extremely readable. ~ Bryn Colvin, Druid Network
Brendan Myers has produced this interesting summary of paganism by studying the written commentaries both ancient and modern, and by organising a survey of the folk lore of almost 2000 pagans from twelve different countries. He then brings his own interpretations to bear on the collected material. This provides a valuable resource for modern pagans, as, although at times his approach is quite academic, it is still readable. Included is a large selection of circle songs and a fascinating collection of wisdom teachings, or proverbs. Whatever the culture, whatever the time, certain common threads emerge uniting pagan communities, yet the differences that evolve from its inherent adaptability, are a rich source of spiritual nourishment for contemporary pagans. ~ Pilgrims MBS
A remarkable resource for anyone following the Wicca/Pagan path. It gives an insight equally into wiccan philosophy, as well as history and practise. We highly recommend it. A useful book for the individual witch; but an essential book on any covens bookshelf. ~ Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone, Authors A Witches Bible, The Witches Goddess and Progressive Witchcraft
Brendan Myers is one of the most important Neopagan voices now alive. ~