[Please join me in welcoming Nathaniel Robert Hunt for a quick interview. Author of Shrine of the Irish Oak, and the founder of the temple of the same name, Hunt here discusses his devotion to the Celto-Roman pantheon and the research that went into his books, and offers advice to other self-publishers.]

BookMusings: How do you describe your personal spiritual path?


Nathaniel Robert Hunt: I would call it “evolving Celto-Roman polytheism.” I use the Celto-Roman time frame as inspiration but, instead of trying to recreate the religion as it was in the past, as a lot of traditions try to do, I try my best to practice as if the Pagan/Polytheistic religions had continued into the modern day (a lot of thinking/day dreaming went into that).


Most have overlooked this path, but it was a multicultural path that worked in the past, and might help in the modern Pagan communities.


BookMusings: If you could correct one common misconception about the Celto-Roman tradition, what would it be?


NRH: The main one is that the “bad Romans” came in and killed out the Druids and native religion. The truth is that many Druids simply adopted the Roman priesthood title and continued on as if nothing had happened, While there was a lot of hostility (mostly for political reasons) the Romans did help to preserve a lot of Celtic Deities that otherwise would have been lost.


BookMusings: Who are some of the Deities in the Celto-Roman pantheon?


NRH: The most notable Deity is Sulis Minerva, who was worshiped at Bath England. The Romans even rebuilt her temple and added baths to the complex. Cernunnos was popular as well under numerous names, one being “Cernunnos Jupiter.” He was even shown on a wall plate beside Apollo and Mercury, Another popular deity is Moccus Mercury, a local boar hunting god.


As you can see, one odd thing is the double name. This is common to this time frame and shows the importance of the deity by the giving of a double name. Of note is the fact that the Romans brought Isis/Serapis/Anubis worship into Celtic areas; the same for Mithras, who had numerous temples pop up.


BookMusings: What sort of research went into your books? Were you surrounded by piles and piles of research material?


RNH: A lot. I hunted down all the information I could on the culture, searched online to help fill in the gaps, and spent many sleepless nights when my mind wouldn't let me sleep do to research hunting. I had books and papers all over my desk and on the floor when I was cross referencing materials as a historical base. I then added the rituals/devotions my friends and I had put together over the years.


BookMusings: You published your books through Lulu. Why that service? And do you have any advice for others who are considering self-publishing?


RNH: I have a few friends who had used Lulu (Kemetic Independent is one) and have had nothing but good reviews about them and their service. Likewise I found them reasonable and helpful for a first time publisher.

And my advice for those wanting to self publish is to google/youtube everything you can on how to create/edit your manuscript. It's not that hard to do.


BookMusings: Where can people find your books?


RNH: My two books -- Shrine of the Irish Oak: The Beliefs, Rites and Practices of a Modern Celto-Roman Temple

(9781387054374) and Shrine of the Irish Oak: The complete Book of Celto-Roman Rituals (9781387306992) -- are available in paperback, hardback, and spiral bound. They can be found on Lulu.com (15-20% discount), and through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, and most online book stores. 


BookMusings: Which book fairs, conventions, or other events do you plan to attend in the foreseeable future?


RNH: That I still don't know due to the way the economy is right now, but I do plan on attending events at a future date.


[Image: gilt bronze head of Sulis Minerva from Bath, England. Courtesy of wikimedia commons.]