Wednesday, January 15, 2014

First Impressions on "Pagan Britain"

I got Ronald Hutton's "Pagan Britain" in the mail yesterday.  I've only just started reading it, but so far it looks like it's going to follow more in the tracks of his earlier "The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles" than in is in his later work, "The Triumph of the Moon."  The general gist of his earlier book is, "We can only say with certainty, 'ancient folks buried people such-and-such a way' or 'ancient folks built these structures.'  Any supposition about religious beliefs is open to wide interpretation; so you can suppose that the Ancient British worshiped a particular way, but don't get upset at the weirdo down the street who has a different idea of how the Ancient British worshiped."

My favorite part of "The Triumph of the Moon" was learning the history of the chant, "Eko Eko Azarak."  It was one of many "Follow the shoe! No! Follow the gourd!" moments.

Right now he's talking about Goats Hole and the Red Lady, which is interesting... and I think the main point of the first chapter is that modern Western Europeans probably think differently (in other words, probably in a more binary fashion) than Paleolithic humans about "art" and about how to classify animals, people, and gender.

I'm hoping that he'll get to some of the interpretations of Abbe Breuil's illustration of The 'Sorcerer' of Trois Freres.
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