Before I started this challenge, I read Parma's first book, Spirited - a 102-level book for Wiccans and Neopagans - and liked the writing style. I have recently joined a Druid organisation, and since Druidry tends to work with the Three Realms of Celtic mythology rather than the four elements preferred in Wicca and much ceremonial magic, I was interested to see what he had to say on this topic. Unfortunately, the title turned out to be rather misleading; there is very little reference at all to the Celtic background of the Three Realms concept, which is perhaps explained by the fact that not a single entry in the bibliography is a source that focuses on that culture. Although it does nominally have one section dedicated to each of the Realms, the assignment of topics to those sections seems a bit random. I also found the ordering of the sections counter-intuitive; Parma suggests that the Sky realm is the most alien to our ordinary experience, so it would make more sense to me to place it last rather than second. However, as a 201 book for Wiccans or other eclectic Neopagans - which in fairness is pretty much what it's intended to be, judging from the introduction - this probably isn't bad; it just wasn't what I was expecting from the title or from my previous reading of Parma.
ETA: I have a version of this review on my own journal, and oakmouse commented over there to say that the Druid Revival end of the Druidry spectrum does tend to use the four elements and not the Three Realms (unlike ADF, which is closer to the reconstructionist end, although it does not actually define as reconstructionist). I'm grateful for the correction.
Queer Authors 50 Book Challenge
- 4. Gede Parma, By Land, Sky and Sea: Three Realms of Shamanic Witchcraft