Book Review – Paganism in Depth: A Polytheistic Approach by John Beckett

June, 2019

Book Review
Paganism in Depth
A Polytheistic Approach
by John Beckett

Let me begin this review by saying that John Beckett is a down-to-earth and genuinely unassuming and likable man. And, he also is committed to his path of Druidry, but not at the expense of also being very thoughtful and receptive to many of the other paths that fall under the umbrella of polytheism. These statements alone, in my opinion, make his writing all that more interesting because you can distinguish the underpinnings of a sound personal practice that allows for exploration of “what could be”.

Paganism in Depth is separated into three Parts: Part 1-Foundations; Part 2-Practice; and Part 3-Challenges. Each offers a very thorough and as the title suggests comprehensive discourse on the nature of paganism in its multitude of expressions. The Introduction contained as a section of Part 1 provides the reader with John’s experiences as he moved through the hunger that many new pagans feel upon finding out that there is a different type of spirituality that asks much of its seekers and integrates the natural, mundane and spiritual worlds. We are reminded from the beginning that going deeper into the path we are exploring or have committed to requires much from us, but that the rewards are well worth the efforts.

Reading through Paganism In Depth is much like having a conversation with an old friend. You may think you know lots about the individual and then they surprise you with something new and unexpected. This alone changes the dynamics between you and the dialogue opens, your mind begins to process and questions arise that set you on a path of wanting to know more. And, all the while this interaction is being done in a very gentle way that feels neither threatening nor invasive of what you already believe to be true.

By and far my reading was Chapter 5: I like It Here-Why Do I Have to Leave? This chapter spoke to the nature of settling in and at times simply “just settling” when the experience could be so much more had we just reached a little further beyond our comfort zone. John asks the reader to learn to trust their experiences, and use this as an opening for deeper connection to Deity, the magick and all that comprises your chosen path…

…. Learning to trust your senses is an act of will. And like so many other parts of ourselves, the will is strengthened by exercise.”….

Supporting this concept of will as needing exercise, Chapter 6: Devotional Practice is the first statement of devotional practice beginning with a choice (will): a Deity to worship. How we proceed from that choice is integral to how deeply we will ultimately connect with deity at all levels. Choice of which deity (ies) we select to offer our practice to is another step that although it may feel or seem very simple, the angst that surrounds this often holds us back from simply making the choice to “experience”.

Meditation, magick, leadership and all of those pieces that construct a whole in what we choose to call our spiritual practice are given the care of first hand experience and suggestion of how to improve upon and make it your own. This style is prominent throughout the book with each topic being made that much more relevant through the sharing of John’s personal experiences. This creates a space of community through common ground and even if the reader disagrees with or has never had any similar experience, it makes the book readable and engaging.

This closing statement in the Epilogue: An Invitation to a Journey, beautifully sums up the entirety of the book and in this case, perfectly aligns with what John Beckett has accomplished in its writing…

…. the mission of Paganism in Depth. It’s a guidebook to going deeper into the forest, higher up the mountain, and further out to sea. It’s an invitation to join this sacred work, to go where there are no maps and find your way through careful practice and intuition,,, and then draw a map for those who come after you.”

Visit the author’s blog: Under the Ancient Oaks

Paganism In Depth: A Polytheist Approach on Amazon


About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars


The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon


The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon


A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

Rebel Rede

February, 2010

Daily Divine Devotion

Devotion can be defined as either “feelings of ardent love” or a “commitment to some purpose” (retrieved January 20, 2010 from The word devotion or devotional is often used in a religious context, especially within Christianity.

According to Wikipedia (, in Christianity a Bible study is the study of the Bible by ordinary people as a personal religious or spiritual practice. Some denominations may call this devotion or devotional acts. A Bible study or devotional time can be done in a group or practiced alone. What does this have to do with Paganism? Everything! Despite popular opinion we can learn a lot from Christians and their devotional practices. As a Pagan do you have feelings of ardent love towards your Goddess/God? Do you have a commitment to a higher purpose? If you answered yes, how do you show your love to your Divine or how do you strengthen your commitment to your craft? The answer lies in the word devotion. Picture an Oak tree. How does an Oak become a huge strong tree out of a tiny seed? All plants take a combination of water, sunlight, and food to grow. These three elements all work together to create the energy and steps necessary for a plant to grow. In relation to your spiritual growth, sunlight can be thought of as the Divine (whether masculine, feminine, plural, or singular). We need the guidance of our Goddesses/Gods in order to grow and to reach our full potential. We also need practice, just like a plant needs water. As the saying goes practice makes perfect. Pagans and Wiccans are not born with ability to read tarot cards or perform spells. The skills needed and used within the Craft take years to obtain and perfect. No witch is ever done growing or learning. If you want to continue to grow spiritually it will take practice, effort, and time. It is when we combine our energies with the Divine that we create the spiritual food necessary for our growth! It is not enough to only perform ritual on the Sabbats or the full moons. Your Goddess/God does like only being talked to once a month, or only when you need a spell to work. We should be spending time everyday with our Divine, and in practice. You may not have time to perform a full ritual everyday or might not be a possibility to draw up a circle while at work. This is where some Christians have it right. Christians may only go to church once a week on Sunday, but that does mean they are not spending devotional time with their God everyday. For Christians a daily devotional time might include a time of prayer and the reading of a few scripture passages. For Pagans we also can spend time in prayer with our Gods. Take five minutes a day to work with energy, to write a spell, to read a tarot card, to just say thank you to the universe and the Divine for being alive! A daily devotion with your Divine is a necessary ingredient for spiritual growth. It is through practice, dedication, and devotion to ourselves, our Gods, and our Craft, that we become better Pagans. More importantly better people! Maybe someday Wikipedia will be updated to read, “In Paganism a Craft study is the study of the Craft, the Divine, and spirituality by ordinary people as a personal religious and daily spiritual practice.”