posted on Aug, 30 2011 @ 05:23 PM
Neopagan Druidry, what is it?
So I was asked in another thread to explain my faith. This is going to take a little bit of history then what I (and a couple of thousand others do as
members of my Order).
There are three levels of pagan faith:
Paleopagan: Those who originally practiced before the various Abrahamic (and other) faiths took over. This would include the various Celtic speaking
tribes of Western Europem Their priests were the Druids (under various derivations of the name). This group of pagans no longer exists, no matter what
someone will tell you, the paleopagan faiths died out, even if they had survived the mostly oral traditions of the cultural groups involved, would
have mutated over time, and thus, it’s no longer the original.
Mesopagan: This group includes the various hermetic groups, thelemic groups, and the masonic like Druid Lodges. These Druid lodges became in the late
18th century, and flourished up to the great depression. They based their practices around Deist ideals, and that the “Druids” (whatever that
meant to them) worshiped the sun, and the various megalithic circles were built by the Druids (they were not, but at the time that was the theory) as
temples. These groups still exist in many forms. The general classification of “mesopagan” is that they are a mixture of potentially paleopagan
imagery and folklore mixed with Abrahamic ideas.
Neopagan: In the mid 1950’s Gerald Gardner unleashed Wicca (as it became known) on the world. Many of you will know about Wicca, it is the most
prevalent form of neopaganism. What not a lot of people (inside or outside of neopaganism) is that Gerald was friends with one Ross Nichols, who was
the last leader of a dying Druid Lodge (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids aka OBOD). Today OBOD is the single largest neopagan Druid group with
about 10, 000 members.
Inside Neopagan Druidry there are themes:
Revivalist and Reconstructionist.
Revivalist Druids, rely on the revival of the imagry and feel of what the term “Druid” evokes, and not so much on the historical evidence of what
the Celtic Tribes (and thus the Druid priests) did. Reconstructionist Druids rely more on the historical evidence. Inside the Reconstructionist faith
there is a sub theme, that of the Celtic Reconstructionist movement, I’ll not talk about that here (though I also subscribe to that path) rather I
suggest you read here.
Now some of you will be going “hey wait the “Celts” did not write that sort of stuff down” and you would be right. What reconstructionist
themed Druids however do is rely on the works of Caesar, and the various myths that have been written down, and couple that with cutting edge (or not
so cutting edge) archaeology, and also the idea of synchronicity.
What the hell is synchronicity? This idea is based around the accepted idea that cultures in language families, tend to share ideas and practices in
some form or the other. Thus if one is trying to practice a form of “Celtic” spirituality, someone in the Indo-European language family may have
done something very similar, and thus other known practices are also likely to have occurred. It’s best done between closely related linguistic
groups. Thus if we “know” the Gaels (Irish today) did XYZ then the Britons, and Gauls probably did as well (and vica versa), but can be extended
further to other members of the Indo-European language family.
The largest of the Neopagan reconstructionist themed Druid groups is Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF, "arn ree-ocht fane", mean "Our Own Druidism" in
modern Irish Gaelic) founded by the late Isaac Bonewits, it is (like OBOD) and international druid organization with somewhere between 1000 and 2000
members at any given time, but over it’s lifetime it probably has had 5000 plus members (and many of those who no longer pay their nominal dues,
still practice the path). This is the group to which I belong, I’ve belonged to OBOD and other groups, but ADF has stuck (along with my private
Celtic Reconstructionist practices).
ADF states “…we're polytheistic Nature worshipers, attempting to revive the best aspects of the Paleopagan faiths of our ancestors within a
modern scientific, artistic, ecological, and wholistic context. Like our predecessors and namesakes the Druids, we're people who believe in
excellence - physically, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.” What perhaps separates ADF Drudiry from other forms of Neopaganism, is that
we are committed to holding public ritual. Most other pagan groups tend to be closed, or invitation only. ADF groves (the equivalent to a Wiccan
Coven, or a Christian church) accept anyone turning up to an event, as long as they behave!
Thou Art God/dess
We believe that divinity is both immanent (internal) and transcendent (external), with immanence being far more important for us to pay attention to
at this crucial phase of human history. Deities can manifest at any point in space or time which They might choose, including within human beings
(through the processes known as "inspiration," "channeling," and "possession").
Goddesses and Gods
We believe that divinity is as likely to manifest in a female form as it is in a male form, and that the word "Goddess" makes just as much sense as
"God." Women and men are spiritually equal, and "masculine" and "feminine" attitudes, values, and roles are of equal importance.
We believe in a multiplicity of gods and goddesses, as well as lesser beings, many of Whom are worthy of respect, love and worship. We have a wide
variety of nonexclusive concepts as to the nature of these entities. While some of us believe in a "Supreme Being," Neopagan Druidism is
emphatically polytheistic. We have no figure of ultimate Evil.
We believe that it is necessary to have respect and love for Nature as divine in Her own right, and to accept ourselves as part of Nature and not Her
"rulers." Many of us accept what has come to be known as "the Gaia hypothesis," that the biosphere of our planet is a living being, Who is due all
the love and support that we, Her children, can give Her. We consider ecological awareness and activism to be sacred duties.
We believe in accepting the positive aspects of Western science and technology, but in maintaining an attitude of wariness towards the supposed
ethical neutrality of that science and technology. We also consider it important that scientists (like everyone else) pay as much attention to their
means as they do to their goals.
We believe that monolithic religious organizations and would-be messiahs and supergurus are a hinderance to spiritual growth. We believe that healthy
religions should have a minimum amount of dogma and a maximum amount of eclecticism and flexibility. Neopagan Druidism is an organic religion, and
like all other organisms is growing, changing, and producing offshoots.
We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy, love, self-esteem, mutual respect, the avoidance of actual harm to ourselves and others,
and the increase of public benefit. We try to balance people's needs for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the
impact of each individual's actions on the lives and welfare of others.
We believe that it's difficult for ordinary humans to commit offenses against the Gods and Goddesses, short of major crimes such as ecocide or
genocide. Our deit