There are a number of images very much associated with Druidry. The beardy chap in the white robe, brandishing his golden sickle would be one. For many, Stonehenge has connotations of ‘druid’ or combine them to get beardy guy in white robe gesticulating in the middle of Stonehenge. There’s the Awen symbol, /I\ which probably comes to us from Iolo Morganwg and probably isn’t ancient, but is rather nice. In theory anything Celtic could be connected to Druids, but isn’t, a surprising amount of the time. It probably has more to do with the influence of 18th century antiquarians than anything else, that druid imagery is a hodgepodge of stoneage sites, classical influences and wild imagination.
Back last summer I was in the process of working out what I wanted on the cover for Druidry and Meditation. I’m not that well known as a druid author, so I wanted to play fairly safe. This led me to a lot of serious thinking about what, from a book-cover perspective, druidry looks like. I reflected on all of the druidry related book covers that have passed through my hands over the years. I recall a grand total of no beardy men. Awens crop up here and there, the odd dash of Celtic knotwork. The one big trend, is to include plant matter – usually trees and/or leaves. Having figured this out I duly got on with it and put in my request(see top right of this blog).
Working in various genres and areas of the publishing industry, I do think about book covers a lot. There are trends, habits, fashions in book covers that function to represent the content, and that make sense to those who read them. You can’t sell erotica with hand drawn art on the cover, it has to be photo based. There were a few years when ‘literature’ called for bare legs and images of people’s feet. Children’s books almost always have drawn covers… I could whiter on indefinitely. But the point is that covers do two things. They announce what kind of book it is – because people do reliably judge books by their covers, and they appeal to the kinds of people who are going to buy that kind of book. I have no idea what the figures are like for tree covers versus non tree covers in druidic publishing, but clearly more people equate druidry with trees and plantlife than with any of the other available images.
That may tell us something about how we are perceived, or how we perceive ourselves.
We sketched out a plan for book cover number two last night. Worked a bit of plant matter in, just to be on the safe side. Book number 2 is very much a work in progress, but I hope to be waving it enthusiastically at a publisher before the year is out.