Shaken Path, The

Shaken Path, The

A Christian Priest's Exploration of Modern Pagan Belief and Practice

A guide to modern Paganism for the for the uninformed.


Despite modern Paganism being one of the fastest growing new religious movements in Britain and the USA, there is no up-to-date straightforward and informed introduction to modern Paganism from a Christian perspective. The Shaken Path addresses that gap.


Cudby points out where commonality may emerge in dialogue, as well as matters of difference. The book can be recommended to tho those who would wish to be better informed of an important aspect of spirituality in contemporary society, but is also a moving account of the change in attitudes of the author and his wife. In the fields of concern for justice and peace, and for environmental morality, Christians may find that pagans are not people to be feared. They may indeed be a stimulus to our conscience in some areas of life, and offer insights that bear witness to neglect in current mainstream churches. Your reviewer can highly recommend this book. ~ Kevin Tingay, The Christian Parapsychologist

I knew, from the moment I started reading ‘The Shaken Path,’ by Paul Cudby, that I would be in a danger zone, not because I consider myself Christian, but the whole opposite: My mind is more than fine considering Pagan oriented ideals and ideas. There was something that told me I should read this book, and I kind of knew this could be a comparison between the two faiths, but there was still the fear, the doubt. Would I be facing an egocentric priest that wanted to tell me that Paganism was only a misunderstood Christianism? Not at all. What I discovered was that there something in common between the Gospels and the Pagan believes, more than what I would have ever thought. Uncomfortable experience, yes, but who said that learning would be an easy process? We live in a world where everyone thinks it is their path the right and only one that is meant to exist, even I tend to think this would be a better planet if we all started learning about Paganism, but that exactly when Cudby comes: Nothing could be more wrong than thinking that. Is not like Christians and Pagan are two halves of a whole, or that where one fails, the other prevails, but about the fact that we can all learn from each other, that Christ can teach the pagans and that Nature can help the Christians. Seems we often forget this. Mr. Cudby goes to the most known branches and concepts related to nature-based religions, explaining them to a Christian reader, but even if that same reader is a Pagan or an interfaith, they can still discover a few interesting things just as I did. There’s no point in denying that sometimes we all wish to ‘transform’ the other person and make them part of our religion, I think humans need to feel safe in an environment they can identify with, but ‘The Shaken Path’ proves more than once that differences and challenges work way much better than comparing two things. However, I won’t lie telling that this an easy and light book, as it took me a long while to read it; the Animism and Shamanism sections were hard to swallow, each page a challenge, and I’m most likely to think that this is because of the amount of information and (shame on me) my lack of interest in those areas. I would only prevent a reader from taking this books if they want to see a religion being ‘better’ than the other, to be more ‘correct’ and more ‘true,’ as if there could be only one faith in the whole world. Such a closed minded creature would not enjoy to discover that those ideals should be dead by now. Thsi is a book for those who are interested in learning, exploring and discovering about different faiths, about that that coudl sound alien and supernatural, that that seems to be different and, therefore, dangerous. If this seems to be more an extensive praise than a review, it is only because Paul Cudby was brave enough to open his mind, and so should we. May Nature never turn their back on him now that he realized that the Divine is in all things and that we can live and let die in peace. ~ Alan D.D., GoodReads

As a pagan, I was interested in reading this book, but I had serious reservations. I was raised in a Roman Catholic family, and my beliefs haven't always been met with open minds or hearts. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book was written by a very open-minded priest, and instead of deriding pagan beliefs, simply discussed them in a Christian context. ~ Liliyana Shadowlyn, NetGalley

“The Shaken Path is a detailed account of the Revd Paul Cudby’s research into modern Pagan pathways. Stemming from a period of study leave, Paul immersed himself in many different Pagan worlds, meeting, befriending and experiencing Pagan beliefs and practices in a spirit of openness and friendly Christian engagement. The result, a description of and reflection on, the worlds of Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Heathens, Animists and Shamans, is an in-depth description and critical reflection on what he found and, because of the trust he built up within his Pagan encounters is a unique piece of research. Paul’s research includes personal story and powerful reflection through an unwavering Christian lens. He offers the reader an account of how he has been challenged and changed by spending time alongside people whom many Christians regard with suspicion and sometimes fear. He records the kindness, hospitality and profound love of Pagans for the natural world, but also does not shy away from things he cannot explain or finds deeply problematic in Pagan practice. In my role as National Adviser for New Religious Movements and Alternative Spiritualities I am approached by many people who are concerned about Pagans or who simply believe that Pagans are in league with the devil in some way. Some of these find the idea of Pagan rituals, spells and magick both frightening and threatening. Paul’s research will provide such people with an accessible account of Pagan life which should go a long way to dispersing hostility and creating a better understanding on which Christians can get to know their Pagan neighbours. Paul, like other diocesan new religious movements advisers, is aware that Christians who pioneer this kind of work, may themselves attract suspicion or hostility from other Christians. He is therefore to be applauded for the thoroughness of his investigation and the care with which he has taken to represent himself as nothing other than a Christian priest willing to learn from and through others. I recommend this research to you and hope it will be successfully published as a major contribution to the understanding of modern Pagan religion in the UK.” ~ Anne Richards, Church of England's National Adviser for New Religious Movements

Paul Cudby’s book, The Shaken Path, clearly demonstrates his openness to hearing about Pagan spirituality from Pagans themselves whist retaining his Christian faith. In doing so, he has been able to shine a more accurate light on how modern Pagans view their beliefs and practices, and to present them in a context that should help to remove much of the fear of Pagan traditions often experienced by Christians. The Shaken Path guides the reader through a variety of the main Pagan traditions, reflecting on similarities and differences found in Christian denominations and, in doing so, provides Christians with an opportunity for deeper reflections upon their own faith traditions and practices. My own experiences of dialogue with those from other faiths as a Pagan have led me to deeper reflections upon my own Pagan path and practices, providing insights that I might not have otherwise gained whilst also leading to a greater understanding of ‘the other’. The Shaken path has the potential to do the same for the Christian reader. I look forward to meeting and engaging in dialogue with Christians who have been accurately informed about Pagan traditions as a result of reading Paul’s book. ~ Mike Stygal, Chair of the Pagan Federation, Personal Communication

This is a must-read book for anyone interested in interfaith work. Pagans seeking ways to more productively talk about themselves to Christians will find it really helpful, and the aspects of comparative religion will reward anyone interested in religion as subject. ~ Nimue Brown: Druid Author and Blogger, Personal Communication

I think that your use of lots of personal - easy to read - anecdotes makes the whole picture deeply authentic and honest. Your research mixed with personal experience shines through, as does your clear loyalty and love for your own faith while holding a clear respect and even admiration for the paganisms you so wonderfully speak about. ~ Mark Townsend: Author and Former Anglican Priest, now Druid and Independent Celebrant, Personal Communication

Paul Cudby
Paul Cudby Paul is the Bishop of Birmingham's Adviser for New Religious Movements and specializes in Christian-Pagan interfaith relations. He is also ...
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