The most recommended books about polytheism

Who picked these books? Meet our 7 experts.

7 authors created a book list connected to polytheism, and here are their favorite polytheism books.
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Book cover of The Search for God in Ancient Egypt

John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Darnell Author Of Egypt's Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods on Earth

From my list on ancient Egyptian religion.

Who are we?

We are Egyptologists with over six decades of combined experience translating hieroglyphic and hieratic texts and exploring the deserts of Egypt. We are passionate about bringing ancient Egypt and its incredible religious beliefs to life, from translating the funerary compositions in the royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings to writing a new biography of Akhenaten and Nefertiti, often branded the "heretics” of their time. One of our most exciting recent discoveries was the earliest monumental hieroglyphic inscription, a five thousand two hundred and fifty-year-old billboard! We share our adventures on our Instagram @vintage_egyptologist—enjoy the vintage fashion and be enlightened by the Egyptological captions.

Colleen's book list on ancient Egyptian religion

John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Darnell Why did Colleen love this book?

Weaving together passages from key primary sources within a rich web of analysis, Assmann’s wide-ranging study tackles both the principles of Egyptian polytheism and its historical developments.  Assmann’s important and influential work (translated by David Lorton) does not shy away from intense vocabulary, but a close read repays the effort. By the end of the dense text, the reader will be familiar with both the diversity and beauty of ancient Egyptian religious texts. Assmann’s years of work with ancient Egyptian texts, and especially his encyclopedic knowledge of ancient Egyptian solar hymns, ensures that the reader is firmly grounded in primary sources, even in the most esoteric of discussions.

By Jan Assmann, David Lorton (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Search for God in Ancient Egypt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First English-language edition, with revisions and additions by the author.This classic work by one of the world's most distinguished Egyptologists was first published in German in 1984. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt offers a distillation of Jan Assmann's views on ancient Egyptian religion, with special emphasis on theology and piety. Deeply rooted in the texts of ancient Egypt and thoroughly informed by comparative religion, theology, anthropology, and semiotic analysis, Assmann's interpretations reveal the complexity of Egyptian thought in a new way.Assmann takes special care to distinguish between the "implicit" theology of Egyptian polytheism and the "explicit" theology that…


Book cover of The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World

James Calbraith Author Of The Saxon Spears: An Epic of the Dark Age

From my list on Barbarian Europe.

Who am I?

In my novels, I aim to present a different vision of early Post-Roman Britain than the one usually imagined in fiction – especially in the future Kingdom of Kent, where my books are set. To show these connections, and to present the greater background for the events in the novels, I first needed to gain knowledge of what Europe itself looked like in this period: a Gaul divided between Gothic, Frankish, and Roman administration, a complex interplay of Romans and Barbarians, a world in transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The story gleaned from the pages of these books proved as fascinating and intriguing as any I’ve ever read.

James' book list on Barbarian Europe

James Calbraith Why did James love this book?

You can’t overstate the impact of religion on this tumultuous period. The transition from paganism to Christianity not only coincided with, but greatly impacted everything that happened in early medieval Europe. Catherine Nixey’s controversial book focuses on that transition and shows it in full, gory detail – the violence it spurned, and the destruction it caused to the ancient culture that preceded the onset of Christianity. A necessary read for understanding the full picture of the 4th and 5th centuries in Europe.

By Catherine Nixey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Darkening Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Darkening Age, Catherine Nixey tells the little-known - and deeply shocking - story of how a militant religion deliberately tried to extinguish the teachings of the Classical world, ushering in unquestioning adherence to the 'one true faith'.

The Roman Empire had been generous in embracing and absorbing new creeds. But with the coming of Christianity, everything changed. This new faith, despite preaching peace, was violent, ruthless and intolerant. And once it became the religion of empire, its zealous adherents set about the destruction of the old gods. Their altars were upturned, their temples demolished and their statues hacked…


Book cover of A History of Judaism

James Hannam Author Of The Globe: How the Earth Became Round

From my list on how non-western cultures think about the world.

Who am I?

I’m a historian who loves to tell unexpected stories about the interactions between science, religion, and philosophy. As a Christian with a physics degree, I knew the relationship between science and religion was much more interesting than an eternal conflict. So I went back to university, gained a PhD that involved reading lots of Latin and wrote God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. Since then, I’ve been exploring how traditional ways of seeing the universe differ from modern science, and how we got from one to the other.

James' book list on how non-western cultures think about the world

James Hannam Why did James love this book?

I found this book a revelation. It reveals an entire theological and philosophical tradition that I was almost completely ignorant of.

I knew a bit about Philo and Maimonides, and of course the Hebrew Bible, but had no idea about the depth of Jewish thinking over the centuries. From the Talmud to modern Reform and Orthodox Judaism, via Saadia Gaon and the Kabbalah, this comprehensive survey is a magnificent achievement.

And it’s made all the more enjoyable by Martin Goodman’s clear prose and amazing erudition.    

By Martin Goodman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A History of Judaism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sweeping history of Judaism over more than three millennia

Judaism is one of the oldest religions in the world, and it has preserved its distinctive identity despite the extraordinarily diverse forms and beliefs it has embodied over the course of more than three millennia. A History of Judaism provides the first truly comprehensive look in one volume at how this great religion came to be, how it has evolved from one age to the next, and how its various strains, sects, and traditions have related to each other.

In this magisterial and elegantly written book, Martin Goodman takes readers…


Book cover of A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism

J.D. Foslan Author Of Loki's Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods

From my list on Norse mythology and polytheism.

Who am I?

J.D. Foslan is the author of Loki’s Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods and has been a practicing Polytheist and mystic for over a decade. The author’s other interests include the Frisian language spoken by roughly a half-million people in the Netherlands.

J.D.'s book list on Norse mythology and polytheism

J.D. Foslan Why did J.D. love this book?

We live in a society that allows for only two possibilities: that there exists either one God or no God at all. What C.S. Lewis did for Christianity, this book does for modern Polytheism. It’s an intelligent and thoughtful read that opens up the mind and heart to new spiritual possibilities.

By John Michael Greer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A World Full of Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book John Michael Greer turns his attention to the intellectual underpinnings and superstructures of the Pagan and magical movements. Pagan religions have tended to be more concerned with practice that with theory and in a system that has no dogma - no legislated doctrine - that is as it should be. Yet as out movement grows and matures, it is inevitable that we will begin to think in a more abstract way about our models and systems. John Michael Greer has provided a primer on the kinds of ideas and themes that must be included in any discussion…


Book cover of Up And Down The Tree: Exploring the nine worlds of Yggdrasil

J.D. Foslan Author Of Loki's Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods

From my list on Norse mythology and polytheism.

Who am I?

J.D. Foslan is the author of Loki’s Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods and has been a practicing Polytheist and mystic for over a decade. The author’s other interests include the Frisian language spoken by roughly a half-million people in the Netherlands.

J.D.'s book list on Norse mythology and polytheism

J.D. Foslan Why did J.D. love this book?

This is a book for the more mystically inclined, for those who wish to learn how to journey and to have their own encounters and experiences with the Norse Gods and Goddesses. A substantial amount of information on techniques and otherworldly realms is packed into this volume. The meditations are detailed and very helpful. This is not a book to read through in one sitting, but rather a sort of practice manual to refer back to again and again.

By Runic John,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up And Down The Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Of Kindred and Stardust

Rebecca Buchanan Author Of Asphalt Gods, and Other Pagan Urban Fantasy Tales

From my list on fantasy and science fiction for Pagans.

Who am I?

I grew up with a serious passion for mythology and fairy tales. By the time I reached college, I knew that would be my path in life: honoring the Old Deities, honoring the earth, and writing new myths and fairy tales. To that end, I have published numerous short stories, novellas, and poems (the majority with a Pagan focus), serve on the board of directors of a Pagan publisher and a Pagan non-profit organization, and edit a Pagan literary ezine.

Rebecca's book list on fantasy and science fiction for Pagans

Rebecca Buchanan Why did Rebecca love this book?

This is hands down one of my favorite science fiction books ever, and it is very atypical for science fiction. No big space battles, no hungry aliens. Just three people trying to figure out their lives and how they work together, all while humanity prepares to launch our first expeditions beyond the solar system. Of Kindred and Stardust features a diverse cast (in terms of ethnicity and gender), a polyamorous romance, and a polytheistic protagonist who keeps an altar for the Goddess and ancestors in his room and who looks forward to attending his family’s solstice celebration. This is what the future might actually look like, with polytheism (and polyamory) fully accepted into society.

By Archer Kay Leah,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Of Kindred and Stardust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After four years in the Alpha Centauri solar system, astrobiologist Dath Bellin is relieved to be back at ECHO-Crosspoint Space Station. His next mission: return to Earth and take a vacation. There's family to see, R&R to catch up on, and Imbolc to celebrate with his Druid grove—everything he could hope for from a Canadian winter. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong before he can even leave the station. There's also the matter of his exes, whom he can't have back no matter how much he wants them, not after his horrible mistake.

For the past four years, Mack Ainsley Tsallis and…


Book cover of Odin's Wife: Mother Earth in Germanic Mythology

J.D. Foslan Author Of Loki's Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods

From my list on Norse mythology and polytheism.

Who am I?

J.D. Foslan is the author of Loki’s Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods and has been a practicing Polytheist and mystic for over a decade. The author’s other interests include the Frisian language spoken by roughly a half-million people in the Netherlands.

J.D.'s book list on Norse mythology and polytheism

J.D. Foslan Why did J.D. love this book?

This richly detailed book explores the worship of Odin and his wife, providing information from Continental sources as well as surviving Norse lore. It paints a different and more complete picture of a major goddess, and also brings to light older sides of Odin that have nothing to do with our modern images of Viking berserkers.

By William P. Reaves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Odin's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Definitive Study of Odin's Wife, Frigg.

For more than a millennium, the people of Northern Europe venerated an Earth goddess, which evidence attests is the oldest known Germanic deity. Called by a number of names, when the accounts are compared, common traits emerge. During Yule, she rides among her people in a wagon inspecting homes, rewarding the industrious and punishing the lazy. With her husband, she leads the fearsome Wild Hunt, riding through the winter skies, cleansing the air of evil. Most often identified as Odin's wife, the ancients called her "Mother Earth", "Queen of Heaven", and the "Mother…


Book cover of Jokerman: Reading the Lyrics of Bob Dylan

Ray Foulk Author Of Stealing Bob Dylan from Woodstock: When the World Came to the Isle of Wight. Volume 1

From my list on Bob Dylan.

Who am I?

At the age of 23 I brought Bob Dylan to the Isle of Wight to play the 1969 festival. In my naivety when making the bid I knew nothing about the sixties superstar but by the time he accepted the invitation I had soaked up all that was generally known of his music and backstory. Through the decades since I have closely followed Dylan’s remarkable career and written about his indispensable place in the counterculture. I am an architect and author working in Oxford.

Ray's book list on Bob Dylan

Ray Foulk Why did Ray love this book?

Not the best-known Dylan book but Jokerman is unusually productive in its scholarly analysis of many of the Nobel Laurette’s revered lyrics. Investigating the writer’s use of ‘Identity’ in his work happens to coincide with 20 of his best known and most loved songs. At one level this might be seen as a book for anoraks, but it is much more and likely to be of interest to anyone inclined to seek answers to questions raised in the apparent opacity of these Dylan classics.

By Aidan Day,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jokerman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bob Dylan is described as one of the most startling, prolific and controversial contemporary song-writers. This book explores the complexity and subtlety of his lyrics and their themes, seeking to make intelligible that seems obscure and difficult. The author reviews the manner in which many of Dylan's lyrics treat fundamental questions concerning the nature of human identity. He argues that these lyrics represent a continuation of the experimental poetic practices of modernism. At the heart of Dylan's work are the discrepancies between the conscious, socialized self, born of language, and those potencies of personality that lie outside rational formulation. For…


Book cover of Doom of the Gods

Alice Mills Author Of The World Treasury of Myths & Legends

From my list on Norse myths and legends.

Who am I?

Alice has had a passion for myths ever since reading Greek myths as a small child. Alice's most recent book is a retelling of myths and legends worldwide. As well as editing several anthologies for children, she has published a book on mythology and another on the fantasy writer Mervyn Peake, and she has many scholarly publications on fantasy and children's literature.

Alice's book list on Norse myths and legends

Alice Mills Why did Alice love this book?

This is a vigorous retelling of the last battle of the Norse gods and their enemies, how the gods tried to avert their doom, how they first met those who would kill almost all of them, and what happened after all the slaughter and destruction. The book has the size and format of a typical picture storybook but its powerful illustrations of threat and attack make it more suitable for an older audience.

By Michael Harrison, Tudor Humphries,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Doom of the Gods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Retells the main stories from the Norse legends, in a new larger format for this series.