Pagan Portals - The Awen Alone

Pagan Portals - The Awen Alone

Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid

An Introductory Guide for the Solitary Druid


Druidry is a wonderful, spiritually fulfilling life path. Through the magic that is Druidry, we build deep and abiding relationships with the natural world around us, and through our connection to the natural environment we walk a path of truth, honour and service. We aim to immerse ourselves in the present moment, in the present environment, in order to share in the blessing that is the cycle of life.
Throughout the ages, people have withdrawn from the world in order to connect more fully with it. This book is an introductory guide for those who wish to walk the Druid path alone, for however long a time. It is about exploration and connection with the natural world, and finding our place within it. It covers the basics of Druidry and how, when applied to the everyday life, enriches it with a sense of beauty, magic and mystery.
This book is for those people who feel called to seek their own path, to use their wit and intelligence, compassion and honour to create their own tradition within Druidry.


Druidry is a fast growing tradition and whether by necessity or choice, many of its practitioners walk the path alone. Sharing a tradition and its spiritual practices with others can be richly rewarding but it is not for everyone and Joanna van der Hoeven’s latest book The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid illustrates that a solitary path in no way diminishes the wisdom and inspiration that Druidry offers. The book is organised into three sections: the Basics of Druidry, Druidry in Practice and Creating Your Own Path. The first deals with the history and what Druidry is, examining subjects such as the Awen, the Gods, the Ancestors and festivals. The second delves into practices such as meditation and pathworking, altar creation and rituals, whilst the third gives suggestion as to how the reader might design and walk their own path. Joanna has already written two wonderful books in the Pagan Portals series published by Moon books: Zen Druidry and Dancing with Nemetona. Pagan Portals are great little books that serve as doorways to a subject, a starting point for further reading. The Awen Alone is also part of this series and although it is a small book, it is large of heart; Joanna manages to perfectly distil core wisdom in an accessible and perceptive way that loses none of the richness of the subject. Throughout you get a real sense of Joanna’s commitment to her practice; of the wisdom gained through an honest devotion to discovering her truth. She reminds the reader that one of Druidry’s greatest strengths is that it encourages relationship with self, community and nature and that this brings its own responsibilities and inspiration. Druidry has no Dogma and this has led some outside the tradition to judge it as a ‘do what you fancy’ spirituality that lacks depth. The Awen Alone challenges this assumption by exploring a Druidry that strikes the perfect balance between acting upon the freedom to discover what Druidry is for the individual whilst sharing core values and principles that give shape to it as a philosophy. Joanna’s approach reminds us that we must move beyond reacting to truly responding and relating, and in this way our practice will remain flowing, flexible and open – enhancing our sensitivity to the changes that we must make, whilst at the same time feeling ourselves rooted in the tradition. As a guide for the solitary Druid or beginner, The Awen Alone can’t be faulted – the reader is in very safe and knowledgeable hands – but in my view, it is much more than a ‘how to’. Joanna’s book stands on its own as a concise and insightful exploration of Druid philosophy. For me, The Awen Alone helped me to re-engage with my own practice with some renewed enthusiasm and a deeper appreciation and understanding of this path that I follow. Its useful suggestions and exercises are perfect for those new to the Druid path, but Joanna’s depth of understanding and her ability to deliver this in an accessible yet profound way, makes this a book that Druids with many years of experience can learn from. ~ Maria Ede-Weaving, Philip Carr-Gomm's blog

Jo's work is always top notch, and this is an essential book for any druid. Well written informative and deeply soulful, this book is a gem. ~ Danu Forest , Amazon

This little book lays out about as idealistic a vision of Druidism as one can hope for. According to tradition, the ancient Druids spent at least twenty years in study before claiming that title, and there are many excellent books and teachers in the world who can provide the Druid initiate with the knowledge of the ancient laws and teachings. But this is not a book about Celtic scholarship or the historical Celts, rather it is a guide to how to BE a modern Druid in the world today. The author teaches aspiring Druids to be ecologically conscious, wise persons who act with reverence towards all life, because after all we are all related; plants, trees, animals, people, and spiritual beings. The book takes us into our inner wild places, and to the outer wilderness of our forests, parks and backyards, to honor the spirits and ancestors of the land, the spirits of our own blood ancestors, and the spirits of the ancestors of the future who will walk the same path (if we are so lucky). Joanna n reminds us that Druidism is our own indigenous European native Earth Religion. How much healthier would the Earth be today if we had retained our ancient reverence for the sacred Land and its creatures? - Ellen Evert Hopman, author of A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine, Priestess of the Forest, The Druid Isle, Priestess of the Fire Temple, and other volumes. ~ Ellen Evert Hopman

This is one of the best 'core' texts on Druidry that I have had the pleasure of reading. Small but perfectly formed, Joanna paints a succinct, yet broad picture of Druidry past and present - not just the historic foundations, but also the lived practices of contemporary Druids. Given the diversity of the latter, she acts as an excellent guide and teacher through the potentially murky woods, encouraging personal exploration to find the inspiration that is the heart of Druidry. Heartily recommended. - Cat Treadwell, Author of A Druid's Tale and Facing the Darkness ~ Cat Treadwell

Becoming Druid is a commitment to a lifelong and complex journey. The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid offers a down to earth guide to setting out. It is enthusiastic, based in good practice, and allows the reader to start with sound and gentle steps. I heartily recommend it. Graeme K Talboys, author of Way of the Druid: Rebirth of an Ancient Religion and The Druid Way Made Easy ~ Graeme K Talboys

The Awen Alone is a beautiful and exemplary tool-set for those looking to practice Druidry on their own or researching the path. As with most "beginner" books, this book covers many of the topics you'd expect to see. There is a bit about the history of Druids, the Eight-fold Year, Gods/Divinity, Ancestors, and how the Earth plays a part in the path. All of this information is well researched and written. A complete novice will find it to be quite comprehensive. There are even some tidbits or metaphors that could prove to be most useful to someone who has been walking Druidry for many years. But really, this book shines in all the parts that go beyond giving out standard information. The author does a wonderful job opening doors to the many ways one might enrich their Druid path without ever pushing readers to do, think, or feel a particular way about something. I especially enjoyed the way ethics were addressed. Ethics did not have its own chapter or specific set of rules. Instead, there were delicious moments that helped to reinforce the tenants of Druidry that guide a person to live a truthful and honorable life. I've come away from reading this book feeling a bit more inspired about my path and am eagerly going to put some of its ideas into practice! ~ D. Niles, Amazon

Yet another outstanding book from this talented author. She has a gift for encapsulating key concepts in a few well-formed words. The best bit about this book, however, is the way she shares how she practises her Druidry. This personal touch, along with practical advice, makes this the perfect book for someone new to Druidry. It is short, succinct, cheap and gives you all the basics so you can start straight away to reawaken your connection with the natural world and the sacred in life. ~ Andrew Smith, Amazon

THE AWEN ALONE was a really thoughtful little book about solitary druidism. I really enjoyed it. Perhaps what struck me most (besides the author's careful and elegant tone) was that she is committed not only to helping the environment, but other people. She encourages a conscientious lifestyle that I so rarely see in Pagan books these days (which are self-indulgent to the point of narcissism anymore). As an introduction piece, there is the expected chapters on both ritual and holy days that are part of every pagan book, but THE AWEN ALONE provides enough original, thoughtful material that the experienced pagan shouldn't mind. This was a great introduction to druidism, and it made me curious to explore the faith further. This was a truly successful entry into the Pagan Portal series, and I hope to read more from Joanna van der Hoeven in the future. ~ Saya Lelande, Amazon US

A very down to earth 'all you need to know to get you started on the journey of Druidry' book. Written beautifully the author starts with the basics, takes you through daily practices and guides you on how to create a druidic pathway that is tailored to you with plenty of practical suggestions and ideas along with the essence of what it means to be a druid. ~ Rachel Patterson, Amazon

I have crossed the path of druidry on and off, however, I have never read a book about this subject so well structured and informative as this one! It is a really good read for people new to the subject and people who are following the druid path longer at the same time. If you are new to druidry this book offers a really easy to follow introduction into druidry and although it says it “is an introductory guide for those who wish to walk the Druid path alone” it is written in a way that would make it easy to connect with other likeminded people on this path. If you are following this path for some time it will remind you about how to adapt druidry in your personal life even more, and how to be aware of it. Absolutely love this book! ~ Christine, Amazon

Joanna van der Hoeven has the amazing knack of always bringing out the perfect book when I most need it. This is a beautifully crafted book showcasing the basics of Druidry. Sometimes its good to return to the beginning, to re-evaluate and take stock of the essence of your path. Joanna's words are as clear, ancient and soothing as rain and sunshine. They offer a beacon of knowledge in a foggy book filled, sometimes confusing, forest clearing. In exploring the foundations of all Druid paths, she offers a depth of wisdom unsurpassed. This book will be an essential item, and will become as valuable as your staff. It is a truly fundamental key to travelling along the path, both for a solitary Druid, grove member Druid and and anyone remotely interesting in our path. Thank you. ~ Vate, Amazon

I was completely amazed at the gentleness and understanding way the author relayed her experience and knowledge to me as a novice fluidic student. Easy to understand and bring into my life. I am very grateful and know where I fit in to this amazing experience. ~ DMDDP, Amazon

Joanna's voice carries the impact and knowledge of the ancestors, combined with the wisdom of contemporary understanding. ~ Cat Treadwell

Joanna’s language is delightful, it lights up the heart with joy, enchanting you... ~ Elen Sentier

Becoming Druid is a commitment to a lifelong and complex journey. This book offers a down to earth guide to setting out. It is enthusiastic, based in good practice, and allows the reader to start with sound and gentle steps. I heartily recommend it. ~ Graeme K Talboys

Joanna van der Hoeven
Joanna van der Hoeven Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid, Witch, author and teacher. She has written several books on Druidry including the best-selling The Awen Al...
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