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SPIRIT ROADS: An Exploration of Otherwordly Routes


By Paul Devereux. Collins & Brown 2007. Softback. 224pp. £8.99. ISBN 9 78184 340 406 4 (Reviewed by David Taylor)

There was a time when leys were considered ancient trading routes. Sometime in the 1960’s this all got confused and fixed up with ideas of dowseable ‘energies’ and other such twaddle. The prevailing paradigm sees leys as archaic routes associated with ‘spirits’ and shamanic mindscapes ­ in effect ‘Spirit Roads’.

These otherworldly routes are found all over the world. Many are considered haunted, mainly by spectral black dogs or strange ‘fairy’ lights. Others have been associated with special kinds of seership. What they have in common is their association with the otherworld ­ a realm of folkloric and mythopoetic possibilities and reality.

The book is divided into two sections. Part One presents background information on the subject, and gives a good overview of the folklore and shamanic approaches to the subject of spirit roads. Part Two offers a close-up look at these various routes with a sampler containing 55 examples of different routes ­ where to find them and how to walk them.

There is no one better to write about the subject of spirit roads than Paul Devereux, as he is acknowledged to not only be a world renowned expert on the subject, but also the same who changed the face of ‘earth mysteries’ from the fuddled approach of the last few decades to the more serious approach that we see today.

This is a great book. Even if you have not been keeping up-to-date with some of the ideas and research you will find it all here in one volume. My only quibble with this book is that it is a straight re-print of Paul’s earlier book ‘Fairy Paths & Spirit Roads’ (2003). I have no problem with re-prints, but it would have been nice if, in the intervening 4 years, the book could have been up-dated with some of the new and exciting ideas I know Paul is working on.

If you missed this book the first time round ­ make sure you don’t make the same mistake this time. Highly recommended.