O Books, 2009 240pp.
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain
BBC presenter Peter Owen-Jones puts his finger right on the spot when he describes Mark Townsend as “a priest on the edge.” As he reminds us, edges are always the places in the biosphere where we find the most diversity and the greatest creativity. In the noösphere, the same applies. The edge is where one finds people bold enough to move out of comfort and familiarity, to seek, to question and to birth new ideas.
Like David Abram, who charmed so many of us at the GreenSpirit Leicester conference in 2004, Mark Townsend is not only a deep thinker but a professional, sleight-of-hand magician. He is also a writer, a priest and a seeker of wisdom. His questing mind, his magician’s fascination with the numinous, his love of the Earth and the inner whispering of his soul all joined forces to propel him out
of his comfortable life as an Anglican vicar and into the woods.
The Path of the Blue Raven is his personal account of this transition, along with the stories of other folk on similar flight paths from traditional religion to green spirituality.
From where he is now, poised, in a sense, between the two worlds of Christianity and Druidry, Mark admits that he is still on a journey and has no idea how the story will end. But the story thus far is a fascinating one and very well told.