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Druidry

Page history last edited by Bo Williams 11 years, 8 months ago

About Druidry

Contemporary Druidry is part of the Pagan revival. Druid and Pagan beliefs range from non-theism to animism to (neo-)shamanism to duotheism (a god and a goddess) to monism to polytheism.  Most Pagans feel a sense of connection to the land, the Earth, and/or Nature. A number of Druid orders are drawn to ancient sites because they feel connected to their builders and former users. Some Druids consider themselves to be the successors of the ancient druids described by Julius Caesar and others, often using arguments of dubious intellectual coherence, as we know almost nothing about what ancient druids did or believed.

 

A key theme in Druidry (particularly at the festival of Samhain) is the connection with ancestors, usually defined as including one's personal kin, the people who once dwelled in the place one lives in (house, village, town, region), and spiritual kindred, that is, inspirers.

 

There are two main strands of Druidry, the countercultural (associated with road protests and similar events, and sometimes clouded by a reputation for public drunkeness) and the more retiringly 'spiritual' (who tend to be more middle class). There is much overlap between the two strands.

 

Druidry and the Pagan revival are a very diverse phenomenon which cannot be easily pigeonholed. Contemporary Pagans are drawn from a range of backgrounds and include some professionals and scientists. Adherents generally emphasise liberal, rational and tolerant views. Very few Pagans are militant, though some are becoming activists around the issues of access to sacred sites, reburial and the use of chalk figures for 'frivolous' purposes. In some of these issues, Pagan concerns may align with those of the Heritage sector.

 

The experience of Druidry

 

"As with most other streams of indigenous wisdom, the Druidic tradition has always been predominantly an oral tradition. Whether in a forest grove or sitting in front of a crackling hearth, the Druid tradition is a mouth-to-ear transmission of an ancient 'practical mysticism' that can guide and inspire us to live with the earth in harmony.” - Frank Mac Eowen, author of The Mist-Filled Path, The Spiral of Memory and Belonging, and The Old Celtic Way of Seeing

 

What is Druidry? A Spiritual Path, a way of life, a philosophy, Druidry is all of these… Druidry today is alive and well, and has migrated around the world forming a wonderful web of people who honour and respect the Earth and the sacred right to life of all that is part of the Earth. Like a great tree drawing nourishment through its roots, Druidry draws wisdom from its ancestral heritage. There is a saying in Druidry that ‘The great tree thrives on the leaves that it casts to the ground’. Druidry today does not pretend to present a replica of the past, rather it is producing a new season’s growth. - Cairistiona Worthington, The Beginner’s Guide to Druidry

 

 

Contemporary Druid beliefs

 

  • Threefold nature of the Divine (Mother, Father and Child) [So Carr-Gomm tells us: I have seen little evidence of this concept in practice.]
  • Awen – the spirit that pervades everything
  • Druids can be polytheist, pantheist, animist, atheist, even Christian
  • Practices are more important than beliefs
  • Diversity is healthy and natural
  • The Otherworld - the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.
  • Reincarnation; cyclical nature of reality
  • Everything is interconnected

 

Philip Carr-Gomm (2006), What do Druids Believe? Granta

 

Contemporary Druid values

 

 

  • Reverence and respect for all creatures
  • Peacefulness
  • Wisdom, creativity, love
  • Taking responsibility and feeling empowered
  • The circle of all beings
  • The power of trust
  • Integrity
  • The value of the opposite
  • Being of value to others and the world

 

In the medieval Irish text 'Tales of the Elders of Ireland' (Acallam na Senorach), St Patrick asks Oisin, the son of Fionn mac Cumhaill, what sustained his warrior-band in the ancient past, to which he replied: “the truth that was in our hearts, and strength in our arms, and fulfilment in our tongues.”

 

Contemporary Druid practices

 

  • Druid circles start with a ritual, followed by an eisteddfod (sharing of music and poetry and the arts), followed by the sharing of wine/mead and bread 
  • Three grades: Bard, Ovate, Druid
    • Bards – creativity (poetry, song, storytelling)
    • Ovates – healing, shamanic practices
    • Druids – magic (?)
  • Environmental activism
  • Living in nature; communing with nature

 

Contemporary Druid festivals

 

The Druid Wheel of the Year

 

Samhuinn/Samhain (Hallowe'en)

Alban Arth(u)an – Light of Winter / Light of Arthur (Winter Solstice)

Imbolc – festival of Brigit, goddess of poetry, healing & smithcraft

Alban Eilir – Light of Spring / Spring Equinox

Beltane (May Day)

Alban Hefin – Light of Summer

Lughnasadh (Lammas)

Alban Elfed – Light of Autumn / Autumn Equinox

 

Contemporary Druid groups

 

AOD – Ancient Order of Druids (1792)

Kevanvod Tud Donn (France, 1936)

OBOD – Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (1964)

VAOD – Vereinigter Alter Orden der Druiden (Germany)

BDO – British Druid Order

GOD – Glastonbury Order of Druids

SOD – Secular Order of Druids

NOD – New Order of Druids (Belgium)

COD – Cotswold Order of Druids

and many more...

 

Further reading

 

Further viewing

 

 

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