I’m excited to say my book, Pagan Portals: Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape, is now available on all the online bookstores, as well as in many bookshops. Philip Carr-Gomm of OBOD has described it as a ‘wonderful book’ that ‘bears witness to the strengths of Druid diversity’. It’s been spotted in stores in Australia and in the UK and I also know some of you have purchased it from the Americas! Thank you so much to all those who have purchased a copy in the pre-order phase and helped to get the word out there about it. I have been so pleased to see various reviews of it shared too and would like to share some of those with you here.
In Australia readers have quickly embraced the book with expressions that is essential reading for anyone on a magickal path here. Lilitu Babalon of The Crystal Chalis and Lilitu’s Books in Canberra has told me it is her ‘go-to’for Druidry these days. Johoanna Robson explains in her blog:
If you are an Australian or living in Australia and walking any sort of magical path, you need this book. It is one of the essential books for understanding how to connect with the local landscape and bring that into your practice.
But it has also received positive reviews from those not only familiar with the Australian landscape, but also other parts of the world; the exploration of the Australian landscape being seen as a template for exploring any natural place in the world. Antonia Newlands, who has practiced Druidry in many different parts of the world writes for Serpentstar:
This book is a treasure to both Australians and non-Australians alike, who wish to discover the sacredness in both themselves and the land on which they live. Through her words, may you find your own flowing inspiration in the hardening of the bark, the thin needles of the she-oak, the duality of the platypus and the Spirits of your own place.
AR Becket who writes a blog from the USA explains:
Yes, it’s focused on Australia, but the author makes every natural location accessible by sharing how she worked to make Australia accessible. It is well-rounded instruction, useful anywhere.
Writing from the UK for Philip Carr-Gomm’s blog, Maria Ede-Weaving explains how learning about Australia’s unique landscape helps us to see the unique aspects of every part of the world and how that land shapes us too:
It is fascinating to read about the festivals Julie and her community have developed over time; you get a real sense of how special and diverse the Australian landscape is, reminding the reader how each of us are intimately shaped by the environments in which we live.
I’m happy to read that this universal appeal has come about due to the explanation of tools the reader can use to explore their own area. This book was never meant as a tome to tell you everything about Australia, and although I go into detail about the seasons, animals and plants of my own area, this is also an offering of ideas to help you to make the exploration and discovery yourself, building a relationship with the land of your part of the world; discovering its unique aspects and the stories it has to tell you. As Antonia Newlands explains:
Instead of simply guiding its readers towards connecting with the Australian landscape, which it most definitely does, I held in my hands a tool which could be used anywhere in the world to facilitate a rich and fulfilling earth based spiritual practice, created from direct observation and communion with nature.
Johoanna Robson also explains the benefits of this open approach to the information:
Within the pages of Australian Druidry, Julie has suggested ways of keeping track of the days and seasons so that you can create your own Wheel of the Year. I haven’t seen any other book that does that. Most authors assume that the information they give concerning the Wheel of the Year is a “one size fits all”. It’s not.
The hope I had in presenting the information this way was that it would open up all of us to more exploration and discovery. That these simple methods would help us all to find a deeper connection with our local places and to share those discoveries – those secrets of the land that make each place special and fill the whole world with wonder and magic. Maria Ede-Weaving understands this as she explains:
The book is full of useful pointers and suggestions to help the reader engage more fully with their own little piece of the planet….Her approach not only celebrates the diversity of this spiritual path but encourages others to engage intimately with place, to have the confidence to develop their own systems, each of these a valuable addition to the wider Druid family.
The fact that the book is written using traditions born of Britain and Ireland and put into an Australian context has not hampered its relevance to very different landscapes. AR Beckert explains their usefulness his own part of the world:
I particularly enjoyed Brett’s suggestions on searching for symbolism for yourself, though observing and recording the natural forces at work in your life. I live in a desert. Though December – February is still winter in the US, seasons in our climate mean the opposite of what they mean in most parts of the country. I look forward to using some of these tools to embrace where I live.
In truth, the ideas found in the book are simple, but they are also eternally relevant. Just as they were for our Celtic ancestors, so they are relevant for us today. The magic of every part of the world can be found using these practices born of the rich Druidic traditions. As Antonia Newlands puts it:
In translating the remnants of an historical European tradition into a modern Australian context, Julie Brett has synthesized a universal approach which can be used to create a personal relationship with the land and seasons anywhere and everywhere in the world.
I am so grateful that the book has been received so well even in these early days across the world. It is my deepest desire to have more people find the sacredness of the land they find themselves in, wherever that is in the world. I have found so much beauty, wisdom and guidance in the Druid traditions that have helped me to connect, and to be able to pass that on to others is a dream come true. Thanks again to all who have supported this project, and to those who I know will contribute to the continuation of it as we explore our beautiful planet together.
The only complaint I have received so far is that the book is too short! Well, you can rest assured I will be writing more in years to come. Until then there is this blog as well as discussion groups like Druids Down Under on Facebook to get involved with, nature diaries to begin, lands to explore, seasons to be recorded and celebrated, and…. In March 2018 we also have the Druids Down Under National Gathering happening in Sydney. This is going to be a wonderful event for those interested in exploring these ideas more to get together and share what we have been discovering. It’s an exciting time to share ideas about how we can learn to connect with this sacred landscape, wherever we are in the world and I am so happy that my book can be a tool for that exploration. I hope you enjoy reading it! You can get it as a paperback or ebook on Amazon, Book Depostory, and as a paperback in your best local bookstore.