4 July 1974 |
Elora, Ontario, Canada
Philosophy and Writings
Normative in their conception, Myers’ works fundamentally examine ideas regarding the interconnectedness of creation and emphasize the importance of strong moral character as vital to the health and well-being of the world and society. Myers criticizes utilitarian views, especially "negative" utilitarianism, which holds that ethics require nothing more than the minimization of harm, and of deontological views, which emphasize social duties and adhering to social norms, i.e. rules. As an alternative to utilitarianism and deontology, Myers explores the ethics of character and identity, self-knowledge and shared life.
"My question was whether the environment is ethically significant, and what that must ultimately mean for the choices we make individually, politically and collectively. I wanted to know whether there is a 'right' way of living in and with the natural world. "I invented a way to think about our ethical responsibilities to future generations – in which an act that harms no one or infringes no one's rights is still considered to be morally wrong."
"The morally correct way to treat the environment is to shape it into the kind of world in which we may flourish best as human beings."
"Rather, I think we should involve ourselves in the world, shaping it and making use of its natural processes as a gardener might do, in order to make the whole landscape of the Earth into a garden fit to be the dwelling place of a peaceful and fully flourishing human community."
"It cannot be for lack of scientific or technical know-how that pollution and resource depletion continues to ruin our landscapes and make life hard for millions of people. If we want to change the world for the better, all we need do is muster the political will." P 14 March/April 2006 issue 29 SEPAView The Magazine of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
Born in 1974, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, Brendan was raised in Elora Ontario, a small village north of Guelph in Wellington county, Ontario. He was born the eldest son of an Irish-Canadian family and completed a bachelor’s degree in drama and philosophy in 1996 and then a master’s degree in philosophy in 1999, both from the University of Guelph. While at university, he became more involved in ethics and environmentalism and he converted from Catholicism to Paganism becoming an activist member of the neo-Pagan community. Myers continued his academic career in Ireland, and eventually completed a doctoral dissertation entitled "Time and the Land" at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
He completed doctoral studies in 2005 with a dissertation entitled "Time and the Land: Four Approaches to Environmental Ethics, Climate Change, and Future Generations."
Myers Returned to Canada in late 2005, and taught philosophy at several universities and colleges in Ontario and Quebec. In 2007, he worked as a contract researcher for the Government of Canada studying Aboriginal values and ethics, morals and logic in relation to police work and peacekeeping and consensus government.
Myers' works have been quoted in the published works of numerous influential neopagan writers, including Emma Restall-Orr (in "Living with Honour"), Philip Carr-Gomm (in "What do Druids Believe?"), Graeme Talboys (in "The Way of the Druid"), Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone (in "Progressive Witchcraft"), and Isaac Bonewits (in "Bonewits Essential Guide to Druidism"). His work also appears on pages 185 to 191 of "Out of the Broom Closet" edited by Arin Murphy-Hiscock.
- Dangerous Religion: Environmental Spirituality And Its Activist Dimension (2004), Dubsar House/Earth Religion Press: El Sobrante, CA, USA. ISBN 1-59405-511-4.
- The Mysteries of Druidry: Celtic Mysticism, Theory, and Practice (2006), New Page Books: Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA. ISBN 1-56414-878-5.
- The Other Side of Virtue: Where Our Virtues Really Came from, What They Really Mean, and Where They Might Be Taking Us (2008), O Books: Ropley, Hampshire, UK. ISBN 978-1-84694-115-3.
- A Pagan Testament: The Literary Heritage of the World's Oldest New Religion, (2008), O Books, Ropley, Hampshire, UK. ISBN 1-84694-129-6.
- Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred Part One, (2010), O Books, Ropley, Hampshire, UK. ISBN 978-1-84694-355-3.
- "Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear: The 22 Relationships of a Spiritual Life and Culture ~ And Why They Need Protection." . (2012), Moon Books, ISBN 978-1-84694-745-2
- "Clear and Present Thinking: A Handbook in Logic and Rationality" (2013)
- "Fellwater" (2012),
- "Hallowstone" (2012)
- "Iron Age - Council of the Clans: A strategy game of power, honour, and democracy", (2012)
Bibliography summaries for indexing
Summary "As Eric mourns Katie’s death, a flamboyant stranger draws him into a conspiracy to destroy a magical well.
Katie’s death left Eric grief-stricken for months. So when the smooth-talking Heathcliff claimed to have spoken with Katie’s ghost, Eric wanted to hear more. He followed Heathcliff to Hallowstone Castle, where a seer told him that Katie had been murdered. Meanwhile, a magical well in Fellwater Grove comes under attack. Eric volunteers to help investigate the attackers, but the more he learns about the true nature of the well, the more his loyalties are put to the test, and the deeper he falls into danger. Without knowing who to trust, and without time to heal his grief, Eric must find Katie’s killer, and face a momentous choice.
As the sequel to "Fellwater", "Hallowstone" fills in more of the background for the Brigantians and their ancient rivals, and reveals more of the conspiracy against them. Hallowstone is adventurous, thoughtful, and imaginative.
Published October 2012
"Fellwater" is a modern fantasy novel about two lovers caught between two rival factions of an ancient secret society.
On the night Katie tried to tell Eric her true feelings, all they did was argue, and she left with a broken heart. But then she met Carlo, a charming, cosmopolitan, and mysterious man from an Italian noble house. In his presence a mystical vision overtook her, and she remembered meeting him before, thousands of years ago, in the ancient Celtic iron age. But she awoke the following morning in a hospital, without knowing how she got there, and she learned that Eric spent the night in jail after being chased by gunmen. All was not as it seemed, and they were both in terrible danger.
"Myers' characters inhabit a world rich with political intrigue; the machinations of aristocratic families descended from ancient gods. Fellwater is taut, poignant, and imaginative." - Jordan Stratford, author of "Mechanicals" Release: February 2012.
Iron Age - Council of the Clans
A strategy game of power, honour, and democracy
In this social strategy game, players compete and co-operate with each other to build an Iron age community. The better you manage your village, and the better you manage your relations with other players, the more honour you will gain. And the more honour you gain, the better your position will be at a special democratic assembly called the Landsmoot, where one player will be elected the Chieftain.
Originally designed as a teaching tool for a college course in political science, the simple rules of Iron Age allow many strategic possibilities. From the "hard power" of the army to the "soft power" of trade and culture, just about every facet of politics in the real world can be represented here – all depending on how you play!
Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear
You’ve heard of sacred places, writings, relics, and rituals, holy days and magical times of year. But these are actually representations of relationships that people have with each other and the elements of the world.
Some of these relationships environmental: they involve landscapes, animals, and the streets of your home town. Some are personal, such as families, friends, and elders. Some are public, involving musicians, storytellers, medical doctors, and even soldiers. This book studies twenty-two relationships, from a variety of traditions, and shows their place in ‘the good life’.
Yet these relations are always fragile, and threatened by fears, from the fear of loneliness, to the fear of the loss of personal or political freedom, to the fear of death. To escape from these fears, people often trap themselves into ways of life that are bad for everyone, including themselves. This book studies how that happens, and how to prevent it.
More than beliefs, laws, and teachings, our relationships are the true basis of spirituality, and freedom.
A Study of the Sacred, Part One
Everyone experiences loneliness in their lives. Yet most people are secretly afraid of it, and will do nearly anything to avoid it. Few are willing to talk about it at all.
A recent study found that half of all Americans have only one close friend that they can confide in, and one-quarter of all Americans have no close friends at all. The last United States census found that 27.2 million households, one-fourth of the total, consisted in just one person. Half a century ago, that was the case for only one-tenth of all households. Research has also shown that popular self-help methods to cope with loneliness, such as reciting positive affirmations, often make people feel worse than they already do.
In these forty-five meditations, the author shows that loneliness is not simply a social phenomenon, nor a medical condition, nor a weakness of will. Rather, it is an existential condition of life; a part of the way things are in the world. So you can't turn to other people, or "true love", for a solution. Nor can you turn to God, for God is probably lonelier than you are! But loneliness is neither good nor evil. Indeed it can be a source of profound spiritual insight. Great religious heroes like Odin, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed made their most important spiritual discoveries in solitude.
Using a simple philosophical discourse, this book offers a new understanding of the idea of Revelation. It is available to everyone, not just to priests and prophets. It can push back the frontier of loneliness, and render life meaningful and beautiful and worthwhile. It has four simple but far-reaching principles: "I am here; this is what I am; and what I am is beautiful! Is anyone else out there?"
The Other Side of Virtue
Using ancient heroic epics and sagas like Beowulf, the Iliad and Odyssey, the Eddas, the Tain Bo Cuailnge, and the works of the Renaissance and Romanticism, Shakespeare, Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling, this book explains the world-view that gave birth to our virtues.
The Celts, the old Norse and Germanic people, the Greeks of the time of Homer and Hesiod, and other ancient heroic societies are popularly believed to be tribal warrior cultures, where the light of civilisation had not yet dawned. In fact this is far from the case. Many of our own most fundamental ideas about politics, justice, friendship, true love, the good life, and especially the notion of
Virtue itself, come from their world. To them, Virtue had nothing to do with purity, nor modesty, nor God-given laws, nor sin and guilt, nor with any Sunday-school pretentiousness. Rather, it originally meant 'excellence' and 'greatness of soul'. It was tied to more assertive qualities like strength and courage, and to social qualities like friendship. It was also connected to spiritual principles like the nature of the soul, the hope for immortality, and even the pursuit of happiness itself. In that world-view, life involves inevitable confrontations with inexplicable events like fortune, nature, other people, and death itself. However, the good life itself becomes possible when we face them and respond to them.
A Pagan Testament
Pagans often claim that their spiritual inspiration comes not from a written scripture but from personal experience and original creativity. While this is true, there are also many written works which constitute its "testament", or its central literary expressions of spiritual identity. Some of them are thousands of years old, such as the Descent of Ishtar, and the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.
Others are more recent, such as the Charge of the Goddess. These written works have not been brought together, in the same book, since the movement began.
"A Pagan Testament" collects these original works, along with the poetry and prose that inspired the founders of Wicca when it all began. It also includes the largest collection of circle songs and wisdom teachings ever published: over 100 wisdom-teachings and 130 circle songs, contributed by almost two thousand people, from twelve different countries around the world! These together form something like the Pagan equivalent of the Biblical books of Psalms and Proverbs. They show that Paganism is continually growing and being contributed to. Finally, the book includes an original and valuable philosophical commentary and interpretation.
The Mysteries of Druidry
The Druids were the mystics, philosophers, and magicians of the ancient Celtic world. Their spirituality was borne from the near-worship of poetry and music, warrior prowess, and the world of nature.
This book describes this mystical romanticism as it was in ancient times, and offers various ways to bring it to life today in both private and social realms. The whole exploration of the Celtic spirit is guided by the basic impulse of all mysticism, which is to "Know Yourself". The book shows the many ways in which this impulse shines through Celtic tradition, principle, custom, and heritage.
Professionally-researched, provocative, and informative, the world of the Druids is brought to life by not only Celtic mythology and traditional storytelling, but also by stories of the author's own experiences of living and traveling in Ireland and visiting its sacred sites. This book combines a well-researched, high-quality "training manual" for modern spiritual Celts and Druids, with an original and thought-provoking philosophical account of the spiritual meaning of Druidry.
A collection of Brendan's folkish, myth-telling, and silly songs from pagan bardic circles over the last twenty years
His first book, "Dangerous Religion: Environmental Spirituality and its Activist Dimension" is now out of print. In the meanwhile, have a look at my Masters' Thesis, "Animism, Spirit and Environmental Activism" (available from the Archive of the Government of Canada as a PDF Download:
Dangerous Religion was essentially a version of that thesis re-written for the trade-paperback audience.
A tenth book, "The Earth, The Gods, and the Soul: A History of Pagan Philosophy" will be published by Moon Books in early 2014.
Accolades from other artists and activists
"Brendan Myers is smarter than me."
- Isaac Bonewits, at the "Fire in the Hearth" conference, Ottawa, July 2009.
"While Myers' ideas may not resonate with everyone, he should be commended for being at the forefront of an effort to write better Pagan books. He, along with some other authors of note, are writing those "advanced" books we all keep saying we want."
- Jason Pitzl-Waters, author of The Wild Hunt Blog (on 30 November 2008), the most read pagan blog on the internet.
"Myers’ analysis confronts our very raison d’être against our uncertain times. He asks the questions that most prefer not to ask."
- Michael York, Professor of Theology, Bath Spa University.
"Our guest [Brendan Myers] is a man of letters, a man for the people, a man who respects Mother Earth, and all her children. In my mind he is the perfect role model and a true purveyor of ancient teaching with passion and integrity."
- Yvonne Boyer, hostess of God Box Cafe podcast, in Episode 80 (6 November 2009).