I’m always touched by people reading my stuff. I’m always moved by people responding, but this one achieves whole new levels for me, because there’s something very personal picked up on in all of this, and the reviewer is someone I very much look up to.
Highly recommended When a Pagan Prays by Nimue Brown is an ambitious book, and a courageous one. On my reading it blends two voices. The first offers a cool appraisal of prayer by a Pagan Druid strongly influenced by existentialist philosophy. It tells us that value and meaning are not written in the stars: we have to provide them for ourselves, and it’s our responsibility as self-aware humans to do so. The second voice describes a personal journey, essentially a recovery story centred on re-connection with the “numinous”. This leads to a re-frame of scepticism about prayer and a hard-won willingness to say: “I like prayer. I’m not angry with it any more. I’ll keep doing it, keep asking and searching, doubting and wondering”.
I will start with the second voice, for me the predominant voice of the book, though it takes a while to be heard. This is at…
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