The Celtic Druids’ Year by John King
This is the second time I’ve read this book and I have to admit that the first time I read it I thought it was amazing. This time around not so much.
The first chapter for example talks about the possible origins of some of the Druidic practices, and it really bugged me when he discussed the connection between the Druids and the Pythagorian Cult, which was thoroughly debunked a long time ago. The rest of the chapter is okayish because the people he links the druidic practices too are all of Indo-European and Indo-Iranian decent and as such are linked to the Celts. The exception is the Egyptians but the connection he made there was iffy at best.
I found the next five chapters on the early Celts, the early Celtic society, Druidic functions, the agricultural cycle and the annual ceremonies pretty well research with some inaccuracies which could be due to the old material he as working from. One thing though that did ring false was the assertion by the author that the Celtic year started and ended with Mid-Summer but he is not the only one who holds this assertion as Professor Ronald Hutton pretty much also says the same thing.
I won’t comment on chapters seven and ten, as I know nothing about astronomy.
Chapters eight and nine need to be thrown out with the garbage. The eight festivals idea is a Wiccan thing added in the 1950s by Ross Nichols and Gerald Gardner. The idea of the thirteen moons is based on Robert Graves’ thirteen-tree calendar, so hogwash.
This book is not for beginners and a lot of it is a mix of debunked ideas. Though there are some redeeming chapters (chapters 2-6), though even with though please do a little corroborating research. I’d read it after I know enough to recognize what is correct but needs more research and what is out and out wrong.