Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey

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Author: Ellen Evert Hopman

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications, U.S.

ISBN Number: 978-0-7387-1262-8

Publication Date: 24 April 2008

Reviewed by: Admin


A personal Book Review by Caryl Dailey, Eryri. Cymru, U.K.

My first impression on looking at ‘Priestess of the Forest’, was not encouraging as the cover illustration depicting a meaningful looking young woman framed in foliage, gave the immediate impression of yet another ‘Fairy Fluff’ tale, of which many fill the spiritual section of any large bookshop, shelves fairly bulge with all manner of nonsense these days.

However, Ellen Evert Hopman has written excellent coverage of Trees and Herbs. (Tree Medicine Tree Magic, Published by Phoenix, A Druid Herbal, published by Destiny Books), so onwards into the pages, after four tedious sides of word glossary with pronunciations, there then followed four more listings seventy characters, a sense of foreboding loomed, with relief I can inform the reader that not all seventy are featured in depth.

Set in pre-Christian “Celtic” Ireland the story begins the journey of Ethne, a Druid Healer and Priestess, the latter title was probably never applicable in the “Celtic” world and is certainly not relevant to modern Druids. The author does rely heavily on her extensive herb lore to set the scene, but gradually the story unfolds the pattern of an imagined druidic way of life, involving the loves and losses, politics, peoples, ritual and rules during a time of immense religious and cultural upheaval.

‘Priestess of the Forest’ is a comfortable read, rather predictable but pleasant enough. Probably not the book for a serious researcher of Druidry or the Celts, but definitely a spring board for the first time enquirer into such subjects. There are some glaring continuity mistakes and inappropriate word usage, such as ‘bedlam’ which did not become part of the British language until the nineteenth century, further observations along these lines would be puerile, and they did not detract from the story, which was overall satisfying.

Ellen Evert Hopman exudes throughout a sense of deep passion and true heart to the reader, with an earnest wish to rekindle the once great honour we had for our lands and each other, this sentiment shone through and became the books salvation.

Ellen Evert Hopman, Priestess of the Forest, A Druid Journey,