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Tribute to Isaac Bonewits

August 16, 2010

Isaac Bonewits (1949 – 2010)

I only had a passing interest in the work of Mr.Bonewits. I heard a lot of things said in praise of his early work to promote the concepts of magic. I heard even more praise for his work on promoting modern druidry via his organisation the Ar nDraiocht Fein, or “A Druid Fellowship” (ADF).

A fellow druid in his hey-day

 Isaac recently died after a long battle with cancer. I did not know Isaac personally, nor had I ever seen him speak, until I heard an episode of “Standing Stone and Garden Gate” – the conversational podcast from Juniper’s fascinating blog site. In their tribute episode to Isaac they replay one of his last interviews on the subject of the History of Neo-Pagan Magical Ethics. Believe me, it’s worth listening to – it’s sardonic, ironic, laconic and a real tonic all rolled into one broadcast! And it certainly is a fitting tribute. I can see why he will be sorely missed. Rare is that kind of educated kindly wit.

My reason for wishing to recognise his contribution is my appreciation for the work he did in his book that I read recently, called “Real Energy“. I have also just ordered his earlier work “Real Magic” which is considered by many as a seminal work on the subject.

“Real Energy” is one of those books that you wish you had read when you had first encountered the subject of energy. It takes many of the philosophical and scientific questions that underpin those questions which we all have regarding difficult concepts such as “energy”, and it goes through each one in turn explaining how it fits into the larger picture. Often, Isaac and Phaedra bring in their own personal experiences to substantiate certain arguments too. 

I found the book to be one of the best summaries that I have read of the concepts of energy, magic and the forces that underpin them, and it is a book that I heartily recommend to anyone who intends to begin working with energy in any of its subtler forms.

I wish all those who knew him or were influenced by him my condolences as I am sure they will miss his presence.


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