Books & More
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New for 2013!
Philosophy was invented by pagans. Yet this fact is almost always ignored by those who write the history of ideas. This book tells the history of the pagan philosophers, and the surprising places where their ideas appeared, from ancient times to the 21st century.
Published by: Moon Books. (Winchester UK, and Washington USA.)
Release day: 29 November, 2013
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-78099-317-1
ISBN (e-book) 978-1-78099-318-8
When the book is released, it will be available in all the usual places: all major online retailers, your local bookstore (including Chapters, B&N, etc.), and direct from the publisher.
Fiction: Modern fantasy / adventure.
As Eric mourns Katie’s death, a flamboyant stranger draws him into a conspiracy to destroy a magical well.
Katie’s death left Eric grief-stricken for months. So when the smooth-talking Heathcliff claimed to have spoken with Katie’s ghost, Eric wanted to hear more. He followed Heathcliff to Hallowstone Castle, where a seer told him that Katie had been murdered. Meanwhile, a magical well in Fellwater Grove comes under attack. Eric volunteers to help investigate the attackers, but the more he learns about the true nature of the well, the more his loyalties are put to the test, and the deeper he falls into danger. Without knowing who to trust, and without time to heal his grief, Eric must find Katie’s killer, and face a momentous choice.
As the sequel to "Fellwater", “Hallowstone” fills in more of the background for the Brigantians and their ancient rivals, and reveals more of the conspiracy against them. Hallowstone is adventurous, thoughtful, and imaginative.
Rarely do you find an author, whose pursuits have been predominantly scholarly, make such an effortless shift into fiction. Brendan Myers has taken his deep understanding of the Celtic culture and created a world as riveting as George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones". His characters, setting, and plot line are smoothly intertwined and masterfully unfolded, leaving the reader yearning for more.
Release: October 2012. Second edition re-release September 2014.
Other eBook retailers will be added soon! A print-on-demand paperback edition will be available soon!
If you took a course in philosophy or critical thinking at college or university, you paid an average of $70 for your textbook. I think that's too much, especially for students who have to choose between food and the rent, two or three times a year, like a lot of my students. Yet the cost of these books never goes down, because students are a captive market.
Clear and Present Thinking is published under my own imprint, Northwest Passage Books. But as promised, the book's copyright is set under a Creative Commons open culture license. This means anyone can use it, share it, and do almost anything with it. Systematic critical reason is the open-source OS of the mind; and so it makes sense to me to give this book to the world, electronically for free, and in print for the lowest possible price. For editions which I cannot set to $0.00, I will commit all royalties to future free or nearly-free textbook projects.
The team and I would like to thank everyone for their generous support for their project, and for helping make knowledge a little bit more free.
"Fellwater" is a modern fantasy novel about two lovers caught between two rival factions of an ancient secret society.
On the night Katie tried to tell Eric her true feelings, all they did was argue, and she left with a broken heart. But then she met Carlo, a charming, cosmopolitan, and mysterious man from an Italian noble house. In his presence a mystical vision overtook her, and she remembered meeting him before, thousands of years ago, in the ancient Celtic iron age. But she awoke the following morning in a hospital, without knowing how she got there, and she learned that Eric spent the night in jail after being chased by gunmen. All was not as it seemed, and they were both in terrible danger.
Release: February 2012. Re-release July 2014
Click here for a guided tour of the world of the Hidden Houses, and click here to purchase, in paperback and eBook.
And be sure to read "Hallowstone", the sequel to Fellwater!
Iron Age - Council of the Clans
A strategy game of power, honour, and democracy
"Iron Age" is a tabletop political strategy and debating game, in which players compete and co-operate with each other to build a community. The better you manage your village, and the better you manage your relations with other players, the more honour you will gain. And the more honour you gain, the better your position will be at a special democratic assembly called the Landsmoot, where one player will be elected the Chieftain. If you can get yourself elected Chieftain often enough, and remain the chieftain long enough, you win!
Originally designed as a teaching tool for a college course in political science, the simple rules of Iron Age allow many strategic possibilities. From the “hard power” of the army to the “soft power” of trade and culture, just about every facet of politics in the real world can be represented here – all depending on how you play!
Players: between 3 and 8
Ages: 15 and up!
Release: March / November 2012.
Available in print from CreateSpace for $9.95 (That's the illustrated print edition; and it includes my essay on "Soft Power Gaming".)
Check out this review of the game at the Arcana Creations blog!
The 22 Relationships of a Spiritual Life and Culture ~ And Why They Need Protection.
You’ve heard of sacred places, writings, relics, and rituals, holy days and magical times of year. But these are actually representations of relationships that people have with each other and the elements of the world.
Some of these relationships environmental: they involve landscapes, animals, and the streets of your home town. Some are personal, such as families, friends, and elders. Some are public, involving musicians, storytellers, medical doctors, and even soldiers. This book studies twenty-two relationships, from a variety of traditions, and shows their place in ‘the good life’.
Yet these relations are always fragile, and threatened by fears, from the fear of loneliness, to the fear of the loss of personal or political freedom, to the fear of death. To escape from these fears, people often trap themselves into ways of life that are bad for everyone, including themselves. This book studies how that happens, and how to prevent it.
More than beliefs, laws, and teachings, our relationships are the true basis of spirituality, and freedom.
A Study of the Sacred, Part One
Everyone experiences loneliness in their lives. Yet most people are secretly afraid of it, and will do nearly anything to avoid it. Few are willing to talk about it at all.
A recent study found that half of all Americans have only one close friend that they can confide in, and one-quarter of all Americans have no close friends at all. The last United States census found that 27.2 million households, one-fourth of the total, consisted in just one person. Half a century ago, that was the case for only one-tenth of all households. Research has also shown that popular self-help methods to cope with loneliness, such as reciting positive affirmations, often make people feel worse than they already do.
In these forty-five meditations, the author shows that loneliness is not simply a social phenomenon, nor a medical condition, nor a weakness of will. Rather, it is an existential condition of life; a part of the way things are in the world. So you can't turn to other people, or "true love", for a solution. Nor can you turn to God, for God is probably lonelier than you are! But loneliness is neither good nor evil. Indeed it can be a source of profound spiritual insight. Great religious heroes like Odin, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed made their most important spiritual discoveries in solitude.
Using a simple philosophical discourse, this book offers a new understanding of the idea of Revelation. It is available to everyone, not just to priests and prophets. It can push back the frontier of loneliness, and render life meaningful and beautiful and worthwhile. It has four simple but far-reaching principles: "I am here; this is what I am; and what I am is beautiful! Is anyone else out there?"
Four Approaches to Environmental Ethics, Climate Change, and Future Generations
What is the ethical significance of the environment? How shall we dwell on, and with, the earth? And what, if anything, do we owe to future generations? “Time and the Land” pursues these questions through each of the four most prominent theories of ethics in the western philosophical tradition: Utilitarianism, Distributive Justice, Kantian Deontology, and Virtue Ethics.
For each theory, Derek Parfit’s Non-Identity Problem serves as a test case. Parfit showed how some environmental policy decisions might harm no one in the far distant future, even if they produce situations all would agree are intrinsically repugnant. Myers seeks a theory of environmental ethics that not only responds to pressing moral problems in environmental policy, but also avoids the paradox of the Non-Identity Problem. Myers concludes that no single theory by itself can accomplish this task. A synthesis of ethics is required: but Virtue must lead the way. As Virtue is not a ‘utility-maximizing’ theory, it avoids the Non-Identity Problem. At the same time, its potential for responding to environmental ethics dilemmas is deep.
Myers concludes that the aim for a worthwhile human life must include the aim to create and sustain the environmental conditions in which the worthwhile human life is possible and supported. A Virtuous person takes care of the future through aiming at ends which are, while achievable in the present, also temporally continuous and ongoing, even beyond the one's own lifetime. And the future which it is virtuous to aim for is the one which brings out one's best qualities in the course of striving for it.
Published by Northwest Passage Books: ISBN 0992005922
"Time and the Land" was my doctoral dissertation, which I successfully defended in 2005. The original copy is archived at the James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland Galway. Reference number TH6610 (December 2005)
Where Our Virtues Came From, What They Really Mean, And Where They Might Be Taking Us
Using ancient heroic epics and sagas like Beowulf, the Illiad and Odyssey, the Eddas, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, and the works of the Renaissance and Romanticism, Shakespeare, Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling, this book explains the world-view that gave birth to our virtues.
The Celts, the old Norse and Germanic people, the Greeks of the time of Homer and Hesiod, and other ancient heroic societies are popularly believed to be tribal warrior cultures, where the light of civilisation had not yet dawned. In fact this is far from the case. Many of our own most fundamental ideas about politics, justice, friendship, true love, the good life, and especially the notion of Virtue itself, come from their world. To them, Virtue had nothing to do with purity, nor modesty, nor God-given laws, nor sin and guilt, nor with any Sunday-school pretentiousness. Rather, it originally meant 'excellence' and 'greatness of soul'. It was tied to more assertive qualities like strength and courage, and to social qualities like friendship. It was also connected to spiritual principles like the nature of the soul, the hope for immortality, and even the pursuit of happiness itself. In that world-view, life involves inevitable confrontations with inexplicable events like fortune, nature, other people, and death itself. However, the good life itself becomes possible when we face them and respond to them.
The Literary Heritage of the World's Oldest New Religion
Pagans often claim that their spiritual inspiration comes not from a written scripture but from personal experience and original creativity. While this is true, there are also many written works which constitute its "testament", or its central literary expressions of spiritual identity. Some of them are thousands of years old, such as the Descent of Ishtar, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Others are more recent, such as the Charge of the Goddess. These written works have not been brought together, in the same book, since the movement began.
"A Pagan Testament" collects these original works, along with the poetry and prose that inspired the founders of Wicca when it all began. It also includes the largest collection of circle songs and wisdom teachings ever published: over 100 wisdom-teachings and 130 circle songs, contributed by almost two thousand people, from twelve different countries around the world! These together form something like the Pagan equivalent of the Biblical books of Psalms and Proverbs. They show that Paganism is continually growing and being contributed to. Finally, the book includes an original and valuable philosophical commentary and interpretation.
Celtic Mysticism, in Theory and Practice
The Druids were the mystics, philosophers, and magicians of the ancient Celtic world. Their spirituality was borne from the near-worship of poetry and music, warrior prowess, and the world of nature. This book describes this mystical romanticism as it was in ancient times, and offers various ways to bring it to life today in both private and social realms. The whole exploration of the Celtic spirit is guided by the basic impulse of all mysticism, which is to "Know Yourself". The book shows the many ways in which this impulse shines through Celtic tradition, principle, custom, and heritage.
Professionally-researched, provocative, and informative, the world of the Druids is brought to life by not only Celtic mythology and traditional storytelling, but also by stories of the author's own experiences of living and traveling in Ireland and visiting its sacred sites. This book combines a well-researched, high-quality "training manual" for modern spiritual Celts and Druids, with an original and thought-provoking philosophical account of the spiritual meaning of Druidry.
A collection of Brendan's folkish, myth-telling, and silly songs from pagan bardic circles over the last twenty years.
This title is not available anymore. (Basically, I ran out of CD's.) I am in the process of joining SOCAN and making it available on various popular internet download sites.
"Brendan Myers is smarter than me."
- Isaac Bonewits, at the "Fire in the Hearth" conference, Ottawa, July 2009.
While Myers' ideas may not resonate with everyone, he should be commended for being at the forefront of an effort to write better Pagan books. He, along with some other authors of note, are writing those "advanced" books we all keep saying we want.
Myers’ analysis confronts our very raison d’être against our uncertain times. He asks the questions that most prefer not to ask.
Michael York, Professor of Theology, Bath Spa University.
Our guest [Brendan Myers] is a man of letters, a man for the people, a man who respects Mother Earth, and all her children. In my mind he is the perfect role model and a true purveyor of ancient teaching with passion and integrity.
Yvonne Boyer, hostess of God Box Cafe podcast, in Episode 80 (6 November 2009).
This page presents short explanations for concepts that appear in Bren's books, or explanations of how he sometimes uses familiar words in strange ways (which after all is a philosopher's perogative). As new books are published, new words will be added to the glossary. For a full treatment of the meaning of these terms, and the arguments in which they feature, it's best to read the books. :-)
Out Of Print Titles
My first book, "Dangerous Religion: Environmental Spirituality and its Activist Dimension" is now out of print. If you are interested in a used copy, try the Amazon.com marketplace, which may have a copy or two to spare. I will eventually re-release the book here on this web site, as a PDF download (although perhaps with a few revisions - a "second edition" if you will). But at the moment other projects have priority. In the meanwhile, have a look at my Masters' Thesis, "Animism, Spirit and Environmental Activism (available from the Archive of the Government of Canada as a PDF Download: click here). Dangerous Religion was essentially a version of that thesis re-written for the trade-paperback audience.