Book Review: The Path of the Sacred Hermit

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Note: I received a copy of this book from the author for free in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts in this review are a reflection of my personal experience and honest opinion.

Explore the world of Pagan Monasticism and discover a unique path to spiritual fulfillment. In this insightful book, the author delves into the challenges and considerations of practicing monasticism within a Pagan context. Through personal stories and spiritual insights, readers will gain a deeper understanding of prayer, devotion, contemplation, and discernment in the Pagan path. With a focus on integrating various aspects of Pagan spirituality into the monastic lifestyle, this book offers a fresh perspective on both Paganism and monasticism. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or simply curious about the intersection of these two paths, this book is a must-read. Join the growing movement of Pagan Monastics and discover a profound connection to the divine.

Book Blurb on Barnes & Noble

The Path of the Sacred Hermit is written by new author Avallach Emrys. Avallach is an apprentice in the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), and Novice Monk in the Gnostic Celtic Church Monastery. He is also a Novice in the Order of the Sacred Nemeton. He serves as the Dean of Curriculum at the Pagan seminary that teaches traditional Paganism and magickal practice. As well as the above, he is also a Bard in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), and a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF).

In this book, the author explores monasticism as it pertains to modern pagan spirituality. As someone that likes structure in my own pagan practice, the idea of monasticism has always been intriguing to me. For those that don’t know, monasticism is also known as monkhood. This way of life is a devotion to the Gods, usually giving up some form of worldly possession or way of life in order to live in service to the Gods the individual is devoted to.

About the Book: The Path of the Sacred Hermit

The author states that he wrote this book to contain the basic knowledge of pagan monasticism as it exists today as he has found it helpful. He says that he is “by all accounts a novice, and [he] created this book for other novices.” I find that to be really helpful myself as someone who has never considered becoming a monk of any kind. Within the pages of this book, you can find a detailed introduction to modern Pagan Monasticism, ideas for creating your own solitary Pagan Monastic practice, as well as multiple exercises, prayers, and meditations.

The book itself is a quick read at only 90 pages, 134 if you’re counting the writing exercises, prayers, and other helpful appendices. Even though the book is one I would consider short, there is no shortage of information. Each chapter has a clear structure, and is summarized at the end with a conclusion section. Though some chapters may become repetitive, the Avallach does state that he chose this style of writing to make sure his message was easily readable. I think he does a good job at that.

My Thoughts

I had never considered becoming a Pagan Monastic until reading this book. Okay, let me rephrase that. I didn’t know that what I was wanting out of the structure of my practice and community was something like Pagan Monasticism. There, I think that sounds better. It was interesting learning that there is such a thing as Pagan Monasticism. I had never considered that it existed, but I’m glad it is.

This book is short and sweet, giving you all the information you need to understand and leaving out any unnecessary fluff and filler. It has inspired me to think about the structure of my pagan practice on a deeper level, too. From prayer, devotion, meditation, and more, it does seem like this would be an interesting way to live life for those that are looking for more from their religious practice.

There are many different ways to orient yourself toward a sustainable and fulfilling Monastic practice. The elements I’ve discussed in this chapter should serve as the foundational building blocks of that practice. However, each of these elements can (and should) be practiced differently, according to your own needs and where you are on your spiritual path.

The Path of the Sacred Hermit; Chapter 3, pg. 34

The book isn’t laid out like a step-by-step guide. Rather, it is laid out as a guidebook that introduces the reader to different concepts within Pagan Monasticism. This serves as a way for the reader to navigate how Pagan Monasticism might fit into their personal practices, if at all. I appreciate that the author makes sure to mention that everything should be tailored to one’s personal life. This is really important for me, personally, as a very busy business owner, freelancer, and parent!

I think my overall favorite part about this book is the emphasis on tailoring the practice of Monasticism to your personal life. The author mentions that it’s nearly impossible in the modern world for a Pagan Monastic to live like a Buddhist Monk, for example. Many of us pagans and polytheists must have “real jobs” so we can pay our bills and live as members of society. I think the ultimate goal, at least for the author, is to have some sort of community or monastery in the future. I think that would be amazing, and quite interesting, considering no two pagans are alike!

Should you read this book?

If religious structure and paganism are your cup of tea, I think this would be a good book for you! I think it might actually be a good book for any pagan looking to develop a more meaningful daily practice, even if it doesn’t lead to monasticism. I really enjoyed reading this book, and if you get it, I hope you enjoy it, too!

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5 responses to “Book Review: The Path of the Sacred Hermit”

  1. Georgia Avatar

    Wal-Mart has the book for ~$50. It’s much more than B&N. Does the author get that extra cash?

    1. Megan Black Avatar

      This is a very good question! I will reach out to the author and let you know!

    2. Megan Black Avatar

      Hello again, Georgia! Here’s what Avallach had to say about the $50 version.

      “The only $50 version is the First Edition, which has the cloth binding. I only do extended distribution on the First Edition, which is probably why it’s showing up on Walmart’s website. The cheaper normal perfect-bound hardcover is on B&N. I do, however, get a higher percentage from the First Edition than the perfect bound hardcover from B&N, but that’s less important to me overall.”

      I hope that helps to answer your question!

  2. Georgia Avatar

    For someone who is new to all this, the letter abbreviations in describing the author are meaningless. I’m probably not the only one out here with that issue. Abbreviations are only for professionals in his line of business. Each letter can stand for many things, so guessing could only lead to problems. The author should show achievements with joy and request respect, not hide light under an alphabet basket.

    Otherwise, the book sounds good. I’ve been living my best as a pagan nun since I left the Catholics who always said I wasn’t good enough for them. Notice: I left the people, not what I feel may be beyond their ken. I always thought I’d make a good hermit, but I got too addicted to city life and lost the ability to take care of myself in the wild. I’m too fragile to start over, but I still want the Spirituality.

    1. Megan Black Avatar

      Ahh, apologies about the abbreviations. I should have clarified exactly what they are – that’s been fixed now! The abbreviations aren’t titles, certificates, or credentials. They are abbreviations for different organizations that the author is part of, either in a teaching role or simply as a member.

      If you choose to read the book, I do hope you enjoy it! I haven’t been living as a Pagan nun, but many ideas and concepts in the book are intriguing to me. Thanks for taking the time to comment here! I appreciate it! 💖

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