A Recommended Reading List for Dedicants

A Recommended Reading List for Dedicants

Here is a short list of books that have been approved for the Dedicants Program.

We've also worked hard to make sure that every book on this list is in print. Unfortunately, all the best books seem to go out of print, and sometimes libraries don't carry them.

If you would like to use a book that's not listed here, please make sure it is not on our list of books and authors that are not approved for the purpose of the Dedicant's Program. Email the ADF Preceptor with information on the book that you'd like to use.

If you're looking for other books, check out this reading list for books beyond the DP.

Click on the book covers to purchase the books from Amazon.com. Where possible, we have also included links for audio versions of the books.

Indo-European Studies & Overview

A History of Pagan Europe

A History of Pagan Europe
by Nigel Pennick and Prudence Jones
A simpler review of the history of Pagan peoples and their beliefs. Available as KINDLE from Amazon. Reading Level: Early Undergraduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Comparative Mythology

Comparative Mythology
by Jaan Puhvel
A good discussion of Indo-European myth. It covers the entire spectrum of Indo-European myth. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth

In Search of the Indo-Europeans: Language, Archaeology, and Myth
by J.P. Mallory
A summary of known scholarship on the peoples from whom the Celts, Germans, Greco-Roman, and Baltic cultures descended. This book is fairly dense and reads on an advanced level. It could also be classed as Proto-Indo-European. (We have a short review of this book.) Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future

The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory: Why an Invented Past Will Not Give Women a Future
by Cynthia Eller
This book takes a hard look at what evidence there is or is not for the Gimbutas assertion of a matriarchal goddess-worshipping, pan-European Neolithic society. Reading Level: Late High School to Early College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Anglo-Saxon Culture

Lost Gods of England (out of print)

Lost Gods of England (out of print)
by Brian Branston
An examination of early Anglo-Saxon worship, including a comparison of Old Norse and Old English myth.
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Real Middle Earth

The Real Middle Earth
by Brian Bates
Bates reveals the Anglo-Saxon perspective and beliefs that inspired Tolkien's writing. This book focuses less on the Anglo-Saxon deities and more on the worldly spirits known to the early English.
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Travels Through Middle Earth

Travels Through Middle Earth
by Alaric Albertsson
An introduction to the Anglo-Saxon gods and goddesses, cosmology and the spirit realm, with an emphasis on contemporary worship. Available on KINDLE.
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Celtic Cultures

The various Celtic cultures are often studied together. These are books that cover more than one Celtic culture. Also look at the Irish, Gaulish, and Welsh Categories.

A Brief History of the Druids

A Brief History of the Druids
by Peter Beresford Ellis
The best modern survey of what we know and don't know about the Celtic Druids. (previously/also marketed as "The Druids") Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales

Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales
by Alwyn and Brinley Rees
The very best study of pattern and meaning in Celtic myth, with special reference to Vedic lore. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Pagan Celtic Britain

Pagan Celtic Britain
by Anne Ross
An exhaustive survey of known archaeology and lore about Celtic remains in England, Scotland and Wales. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales

The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales
by John T. Koch (Editor)
This book includes a large number of sources on the Celts, all included in a single place. Many of the translations are updated, and it includes many obscure texts. Reading Level: Late High School to Early College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Druids

The Druids
by Stuart Piggott
Previously the best survey. Somewhat unfriendly to the culture it describes, but full of good data about the archeology and facts about the Druids. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Irish Culture

The Tain: Translated from the Irish Epic Tain Bo Cuailnge

The Tain: Translated from the Irish Epic Tain Bo Cuailnge
by Thomas Kinsella, Trans.
[Irish] One of the main Irish Myths, the Ulster Cycle is key to understanding Irish mythology. This translation is considered standard among academics. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Middle School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Welsh Culture

The Mabinogi, and Other Medieval Welsh Tales

The Mabinogi, and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
by Patrick K. Ford
[Welsh] The most academically accepted translation, it also includes the Battle of the Trees, a pronunciation guide, and an index of names. Available on KINDLE. Other translations are available on AUDIBLE. Reading Level: Undergraduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link][Audible Link]

Gaulish Culture

Ancient Fire: An Introduction to Gaulish Celtic Polytheism

Ancient Fire: An Introduction to Gaulish Celtic Polytheism
by Segomâros Widugeni
Published by ADF Publishing. Available on KINDLE.
[Purchase on Amazon]

The World of the Druids

The World of the Druids
by Miranda Green
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Greek/Hellenic Culture

Hellenic Pagan lore is contained in a number of books, available in inexpensive student editions.

Greek Religion

Greek Religion
by Walter Burkett
An overall survey of Cult and practice in Greek Paganism, and is a basic text book of beliefs. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Religion in the Ancient Greek City

Religion in the Ancient Greek City
by Louise Bruit Zaidman, Pauline Schmitt Pantel; Paul Cartledge (Trans.)
Another good overall summary of Greek religious practice. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Homeric Hymns

The Homeric Hymns
by Homer
These tales embody much important lore about Hellenic Paganism. The Hymns make the powers and nature of each of the deities clear. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: High School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Iliad and The Odyssey

The Iliad and The Odyssey
by Homer
These tales embody much important lore about Hellenic Paganism. The Hymns make the powers and nature of each of the deities clear. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: High School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Theogony and Works and Days

Theogony and Works and Days
by Hesiod, with M. L. West, ed.
Descriptions of both myths and religious practices. The introduction to Norman O. Brown's translation is considered to be one of the best, though his translation is somewhat dated. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Norse Culture

Edda

Edda
by Snorri Sturluson, Anthony Faulkes, eds.
This is also known as "The Prose Edda", because it is related but different from the Poetic Edda above. While the Prose Edda was discovered before the Poetic Edda, scholars have come to date the former as historically later than the latter. However, both Eddas are useful, interesting, and widely cited in Norse scholarship. The Everyman edition (linked here) is the complete Prose Edda - some editions leave out valuable material. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Mostly late High School; Introduction: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
by H.R. Ellis-Davidson
Davidson is one of the best writers on northern European Paganism. All her books are worth reading. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions

Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early Scandinavian and Celtic Religions
by H.R. Ellis-Davidson
A good short compilation of what is really known and what can be surmised of the religions of the ancient Celts and Germans. Reading Level: College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Poetic Edda

The Poetic Edda
by Lee M. Hollander, Edda Saemundar, eds.
The Eddas, in addition to the Sagas, make up many of our primary sources for the Norse traditions. Hollander's translation is currently regarded as the best in academic circles, but it is more difficult to read than some others. Available on KINDLE. Other translations are available on AUDIBLE. Reading Level: College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link][Audible Link]

The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer

The Saga of the Volsungs: The Norse Epic of Sigurd the Dragon Slayer
by Jesse L. Byock
Akin to the Nibelungenlied, this book more accurately reflects the Pagan ideals in the literature, rather than the courtly nature of the Ring Saga, and is preferred for DP work. The introduction here is almost as valuable as the Saga itself. Available on KINDLE and AUDIBLE. Reading Level: Middle School to early High School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link][Audible Link]

Proto-Indo-European Culture

Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans

Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans
by Ceisiwr Serith
From ADF Publishing, this book provides a solid introduction to Proto-Indo-European work and lays an excellent framework for work in "common Indo-European" formats. Included here are rituals for the turning wheel of the year, from planting to harvest to equinox rites. Additionally, there are rites for ancestors, lists of reconstructed deity names (and the functions those names imply), and domestic rituals for the family at their hearth. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Late High School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Roman Culture

An Introduction to Roman Religion

An Introduction to Roman Religion
by John Scheid; Janet Lloyd, trans.
This book comes highly recommended as an intro to the religion of this culture. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Fasti

Fasti
by Ovid
A poetic description of the festivals of the Roman year which unfortunately breaks off at the end of June. This classic work is available from many publishers. Try searching at Amazon.com to find the price range or book style that you prefer. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Middle School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome

Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome
by Lesley Adkins, Roy A. Adkins
Focuses mainly on culture, but there is also some information on Roman religion. Reading Level: High School
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Romans and Their Gods in the Age of Augustus

Romans and Their Gods in the Age of Augustus
by R.M. Ogilvie
Ogilvie's brief text on this subject has been the definitive text on Roman religion for decades. He demonstrates his thorough understanding of how the Romans worshipped, as well as how they thought about their religion during the Age of Augustus. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Gods of Ancient Rome: Religion in Everyday Life from Archaic to Imperial Times.

The Gods of Ancient Rome: Religion in Everyday Life from Archaic to Imperial Times.
by Robert Turcan; Antonia Nevell, trans.
A good source for Roman religion. It seems that his books are being translated slowly, so keep an eye out for them. Available on KINDLE. Also available in GERMAN. Reading Level: Late High School to early Undergraudate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Slavic Culture

Russian Myths

Russian Myths
by Elizabeth Warner
An overiew of the customs and themes underlying Russian beliefs. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Bath House at Midnight: Magic in Russia (Magic in History)

The Bath House at Midnight: Magic in Russia (Magic in History)
by W.F. Ryan
A collection of scholarly literature on the history of magic and divination in Russia. Information was gathered by the author for over 30 years. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon]

The Early Slavs: Culture & Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe

The Early Slavs: Culture & Society in Early Medieval Eastern Europe
by P.M. Barford
And easy to read and nicely objective introduction to early Slavic culture. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Vedic Culture

Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads (2 Volumes)

Religion and Philosophy of the Veda and Upanishads (2 Volumes)
by A.B. Keith
This is the must have book for anyone interested in Vedism. While Keith does not focus on much of the material that should be dealt with for a practitioner of Vedism, he does introduce those new to Vedism with strong facts and a wonderful starting point. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Religion of the Veda

Religion of the Veda
by Hermann Oldenberg; Shridhar B. Shrotri (Trans.)
Oldenberg does often get confused on some Vedic concepts, as pointed out by out noted scholars such as Keith and Macdonell, but this is a must read for further understanding the ancient Vedics. Reading Level: Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism

The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism
by A. L. Basham
This book focuses primarily on Classical Hinduism but it does cover the Vedic period and it's disintegration into Hinduism. This is a wonderful introduction which allows the individual to see the differences between the Indo-European Vedism and the non Indo-European Hinduism. Reading Level: College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Vedic Mythology

Vedic Mythology
by Arthur Anthony Macdonell
This book is a must have for anyone serious about Vedism. It describes a large group of the Gods, complete with references from the Vedas and just where to find these references yourself. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Modern Paganism & the Pagan Revival

Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today

Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today
by Ellen Evert Hopman, Lawrence Bond
This book is a set of interviews from modern Neo-Pagans. Some ADF members are interviewed for this book, as well. (Also marketed as: People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out) Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today

Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today
by Margot Adler
The classic survey of American Neopaganism, including plenty on ADF, our origins and growth. Available on KINDLE, AUDIBLE, and AUDIO CD. Reading Level: College
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link][Audible Link]

Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca And Paganism in America

Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca And Paganism in America
by Chas S. Clifton
A book covering the basics of the Neo-Pagan movement today, starting with Wicca and exploring the varieties of Paganism from there. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

The Idiot's Guide to Paganism

The Idiot's Guide to Paganism
by Carl McColman
A book that covers the basic forms of modern Paganism. Available on KINDLE and AUDIBLE. Reading Level: Late High School to Early Undergraduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link][Audible Link]

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
by Ronald Hutton
A detailed book, discussing the origins of Wicca, the source of most of Neo-Paganism. It serves as a counter-balance to much of the information and theories that are likely to be encountered when reviewing Neo-Paganism in general. It is recommended that, due to its focus on Wicca, Dedicants supplement this reading with more sources. Available on KINDLE. Reading Level: Late Undergraduate to Post-Graduate
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Nature Awareness

Note: These books do not fulfil a requirement for the ADF Dedicant Path, but are provided to help Dedicants work through the Nature Awareness section of the DP.

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
by Clare Walker Leslie; Charles E. Roth
A very popular book with homeschoolers and teachers.
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Landscape and Memory

Landscape and Memory
by Simon Schama
An extraordinary survey of European attitudes to and conceptualizations of nature over the course of the last 500 years or so, and how our ideas of nature have shaped how we interact with it. Spans Europe from Poland to the Atlantic and from England to the Mediterranean, as well as (the European experience of) America and Australia. Reasonably scholarly but still quite readable.
[Purchase on Amazon][Worldcat Link]

Secondary Reading List

This is a list of books that are good books, but may be very expensive or hard to find and are not recommended for the DP. If you'd like to use one of these books, please contact the preceptor.

 

Classic Mythology: Images and Insights
by Stephen L. Harris and Gloria Platzner
[Worldcat Link]

 

In Search of Ancient Ireland
by Carmel McCaffrey

 

Introduction to Pagan Studies
by Barbara Jane Davy
[Worldcat Link]

 

The Celtic Gauls: Gods, Rites, and Sanctuaries
by Jean Louis Brunaux
This is a great book on the Gauls, but it's quite expensive.
[Worldcat Link]

 

The Wisdom of the Celts
by Gina Sigillito
somewhat dated, not as recommended

Additional Notes

Please note that books by the following authors are not recommended for the Dedicants Program.

  • Robert Graves, D.J. Conway, Lewis Spense, H.P. Blavatsky, Edward Williams (aka Iolo Morganwg)
  • Merlin Stone, Barbara Walker

Please note that books are not recommended for the Dedicants Program.

  • Omens, Oghams, and Oracles by Richard Webster
  • The Celts by Jean Markale
  • The Religion of the Ancient Celts by J.A. MacCulloch

Some of the assertions made in these sources can't be supported by current scholarship on the Druids; the use of common sense and a critical eye are highly recommended in dealing with these books (and all the other books listed on this page as well). We recommend that members get a firm grounding in Druidry and Paganism so they can apply critical thinking to these resources.

When in doubt, consult your nearest tree...

 

Other Recommended Reading Lists

Individual ADF Guilds will likely also have more extensive reading lists for topics relating to Guild activities (e.g., liturgy, healing, etc.). Guilds are open to ADF members only, so if you are not a member but are interested in specific Guild recommended reading, please consider joining ADF . Also, some ADF Groves have developed their own recommended reading lists so you may want to see if there is an ADF grove near you or visit various grove web sites.

 

Page Information:
"A Recommended Reading List for Dedicants." submitted by info-manager on 15 May, 2019. Last modified on 12 January, 2021.
Page URL: https://www.adf.org/training/resources/reading.html

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