Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain

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Author: Ronald Hutton

Publisher: Yale

ISBN Number: 978-0300144857

Publication Date: May 2009

Reviewed by: Astrocelt


This book is the academic version of the popular Druids published in 2007 by Continuum books. Overall this is a breakdown of popular images of Druids into categories, and how they are portrayed or interpreted at the beginning of the 21st century. Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain is a weighty scholar tour de force taking the reader and academia on a journey through various perceptions of human concepts and themes. Discussing the original early historical sources, these came to light again, after a thousand years of silence during the renaissance period. Yet it too illustrates how they became fashioned and manipulated in the early modern period in assisting to create various national identities grounding that formation firmly within antiquity. Likewise the connection and gradual development to popular prehistoric monuments which have become a rallying and gathering point for modern Druids and Pagan alike today. There is much more in relation to early Druid groups, and the formation of the Fraternal Druid orders is explored. These all come to life through colourful characters, and there perception of Druids from the past, which in some cases has vibrations down the centuries into modern times. Addionally Druids connection to nature is even covered within the confines of the publication, indeed every stone has been turned and looked at.The effect which Druids had on early scholars, academia and romanticism is explored fully. The collaboration from scholars in the early Europe linguist thinking, drew conclusions of there relationships to Hebrew. Such as, how the Druids became infused into religious thought. Although there appears to be some problems developing in this discipline from recent journal articles discussed. The rogues of Druidry and the various forgeries are also contemplated within its confines. Overall the reader is brought up to date with a discussion on archaeologists and their view of Druids. I personally found this book of utmost interest, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the History of Druidry; although it’s not a light read. Yet written in an entertaining style, some pre knowledge of Druids; there connections to relative historical periods is certainly helpful in bringing out the full implication of the authors argument and debate. Additional book reviews available from:-IndependantTelegraph Times online   

Britain, Druids, History, Ronald Hutton,
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cuardai's picture


Wow, i think a lot of druid groups are not going to like this book, but I think it is a very accurate depiction of what druidry was, how it developed and where it is today.  MayaTosach Eolais Imchomharc.The beginning of knowledge is inquiry.

Fraternal Druids

hi myth,

ah you'll enjoy this one there is a lot of interesting information about this aspect of Druidry. Its referenced very well as any academic book is. It would appear there is a major archive for Fraternal Druids near by.


cuardai's picture

Now that I finished the book

Now that I finished the book Europe Between the Oceans by Barry Cunliffe, I'm going to dig into this one. MayaTosach Eolais Imchomharc.The beginning of knowledge is inquiry.

CalonDdraig's picture

Hi Myth, From what I saw

Hi Myth,

From what I saw when I was over at Astrocelt's place last, it seems to be a cracker of a tome... fully referenced in the academic style, with a hell of a bibliography/citation list at the back of the book. My interest was in the book's payload of information on the societies and in particular languages of the Celts of Britain and how these have been applied to/incorporated into modern druidry, however I'm sure there'll be quite a lot of info on the fraternal druid societies.

Might be worth trying to get this from the library, as I know it's a tad on the pricy side (broke student alert - i shoud know because I won a copy of "The Druids"!)



Mythagobaz's picture

Hi AC   I presume the



I presume the content to be significantly more detailed and properly referenced? I enjoyed the first book, particularly as you would expect the section on fraternal druids and recommend it as a good intro to the subject.




"May the good deeds of Druids be as numerous as the leaves on the Oak and as pure as the berries on the Mistletoe"

This is the academic version

This is the academic version of the previous one, i don't think you'll be disappointed in the least, in regards to its contents and arguments. but it does assist if you have some background knowledge in the area which is being written about.

Very much open to a discussion in the forums when ready.


cuardai's picture

I have it.

I have it on my bookshelf but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. 

I hope its nothing like the first book, I found that one very disappointing. 

It was too simplistic.  I'm hoping that this is the more scholastic work.

Tosach Eolais Imchomharc.
The beginning of knowledge is inquiry.