The Journey Into Spirit – A pagan’s perspective on death, dying and bereavement.
Author Kristoffer Hughes. Published 2014 by Llewellyn. www.llewellyn.com
Let’s get the bottom line out right at the top. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
We all of us die. And yet our culture has created a tabu around the whole subject. We have people who do the stuff we choose not to, that deal with the dead up close and personal because we can’t. Kris is one of those people; a visceral insulator. He’s also a highly skilled, highly educated Druid and a leader in his community. That he writes about death is a blessing for all of us who wonder from a distance. That he writes so eloquently and with such obvious care makes this a book I was unable to put down until I’d read it, and re-read much of it.
It didn’t start as I expected, but with an story of how Kris came to his vocation; a story that began many years ago. In this tale, he describes in some detail the work he carries out, the never-ending process of dying, and of death and decomposition, and he doesn’t hold back from sharing his personal experiences of death up close. He doesn’t overplay the horror of it all, nor does he ignore it. He goes on to describe a hypothesis of death and the connection between it and life and what is other than both; the intrinsic connection with spirit that we all have. In doing so he presents a concept of permanent existence, and transformation, and loss, that offers a truth that has clarity and, if you choose, reassurance.
This book is written by a well regarded Druid, and Kris uses concepts published by the controversial Iolo Morganwg in his Barddas to define the various realms of existence – the circles of Abred, Gwynedd and Ceugant, or physicality, spirit and soul (and offers a comparative definition of those last two, which are often confused or conflated). Though the Barddas may have its critics, the concept is well used here.
I’ve heard Kris talk many times, so I was expecting a fantastic piece of work. I have to confess though, his descriptions of life, death and the beyond death resonate so strongly with my own long-standing gnosis of the ‘verse it broke me in places. I could wish to put it into text as well as this. At the moment, I would hold this book as one of the most important spiritual books on my creaking bookshelves. So yes, I rate this book highly.
Is that enough? Have you ordered a copy yet? Why are you still here? 😉
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