4 Mar 2022


 HURRAH! After this, down to the last three reviews of books read 2021; yes that's how far behind I am. Today I'm bringing you my thoughts on ...


Despite modern Paganism being one of the fastest growing new religious movements in Britain and the USA, there is no up-to-date straightforward and informed introduction to modern Paganism from a Christian perspective. The Shaken Path addresses that gap. ... Back Cover Blurb

Its been a wonderful evening spent in the pleasant company of a group of Pagans living in Cornwall, many of whom choose the label 'Witch' to describe their spiritual path. ... First Sentence, Introduction: How did a Church of England parish priest who had once been a scientist come to write about Paganism?

If someone is seeking to do good and is actively pursuing a course of love and justice by magick we should be challenged by that rather than simply condemning it, and we should humbly recognise that maybe there is more good intent in the world that is not of Christian origin than we like to admit. I know that for some readers this is an evasion, but once again I can only apologise and say that my experience of Pagans has been of meeting some deeply spiritual people who believe different things from me, yet who seem to be operating as forces of good in the world. ... Memorable Moment, Pg 66

My Thoughts ... Whilst there are those Christians out there who believe that all Pagans are in league with devil in some way there are those Pagans that believe all Christians would happily seem them burnt at the stake whilst there are in fact Christians like this book's author who set out to 'immerse himself in many different Pagan worlds, meeting, befriending and experiencing and practices in a spirit of openness and friendly Christian engagement'.

A book belonging to Mr T, an ordained minister in the Church of England, who thought I might find it interesting reading, I had worried that I might find it a bit dry or academic and/or that it would concentrate on only one of the Pagan paths. However ... 

Beginning with an account of the author's own journey of faith and the sabbatical that led him on a journey the length and breadth of the British Isles, there were then a few chapters devoted to a look at Paganism in general before the author branched out, taking a deeper look at the beliefs and practices of several of the various different Pagan paths; namely Wicca & Witchcraft, Druidry, Animism & Panpsychism, Shamanism and Heathenism, all the accounts based {phew!} on first-hand conversations with devotees of the various paths themselves.

Written from a neutral perspective, I thought The Shaken Path easily readable and highly enlightening, its author open and fair minded, the change of attitude in both himself an his wife as their journey around the British Isles progressed, moving. That rather than people to be viewed with suspicion and fear even, their rituals frightening and threatening, he records the Pagans he met, some of them previously Christians who had left the Church for any number of reasons, as open, hospitable and with a profound love of the natural world.

My only two niggles, small as they might be, {i} instead of the occasional hint here and there I'd be interested to have learnt more about the alleged connection between Paganism and Celtic Christianity and {ii} the shortest chapter in the book, I'd like to have known a tad more about Forest Church, apparently a contemporary movement with roots in the Christian tradition of engagement in nature {maybe Mr T will know more/have some books???} 

So, what does Mr T make of it?

Yes, there are other things you can read on the Forest Church tradition...

I enjoyed The Shaken Path enormously as it helped give some shape to my own thinking and experience in inter-faith circles and how that relates to engagement with Pagan tradition and thought. It is a surprisingly easy read and not at all laden with jargon or heavy theological terminology and yet Cudby is very clear as to which elements of Christian doctrine and practice echo with the practice he encounters during the journey he takes around the country. The reading is therefore a pleasure, no diving around in dictionaries to look stuff up and provides a good set of reference points for engagement in dialogue with Pagan folks."



Kelly said...

This sound quite interesting. I might have to see if I can get my hands on a copy....

Kelly said...

P.S. Great cover on the book!

nightwingsraven said...

From what both you and Mr. T. said.
This sounds like a very interesting,
easy-readable, fair and open-minded
book. I suspect that I would also
appreciate it. And I will definitely
keep The Shaken Path in mind.
And thank you and Mr. T. for your
excellent and enthusiastic reviews.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

What a really lovely review from you both, even though I doubt that this is a book for me. Whilst I respect everyone's right to their own religious beliefs, personally, I am a strict atheist.

We do see plenty of druids, pagans etc. around this neck of the woods though, as we live only a short distance in each direction from Stonehenge and Avebury/Silbury Hill, so at least a couple of times a year all the roads round and about become 'no-go' zones!

I agree with Kelly about the really atmospheric and beguiling cover art! :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

I find the history fascinating.

sherry fundin said...

though i don't read a lot of books like this, i did enjoy the review and love the cover. great job on knocking out those lingering reviews
sherry @ fundinmental

Nadene @Ttly Addicted 2 Reading said...

Your review has me intrigued.