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Druidry An introduction to Historical Influences and Precursors.

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1 Druidry An introduction to Historical Influences and Precursors

2 Historical precursors Ancient Pre-Christian Druidic practice (Paleo- pagan Druidism) –Wisdom, scholarship –Natural sciences, astronomy –Magic, mysticism –Law, education Part of, not separate from, larger social order

3 Historical precursors The Druid Revival (18 th C.) (Meso-pagan Druidry) An Druidh Uileach Braithreachas (1717) - founded by John Toland (A.D.U.B.), Primrose Hill –“Druid Circle of the Universal Bond” Scholarly - likely to have been a “gentleman scholar’s” club, research rather than practice Concerned with inculcating celtic morality into British life (concern for hospitality, law, etc.) Two current groups - the Ancient Druid Order and The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids trace their lineage back to this group

4 Historical precursors Ancient Order of Druids - Henry Hurle (1781) –“there were of old men who undertook to enlighten the people of their day and who introduced among the ancient Britons the useful and polite arts, and these were the Druids. My proposition is that we form a society for social feeling and we assume the title of those learned men (The Druids), and that we will adopt the endearing name of brothers, universally amongst us." –Working class members –Christian elements explicitly incorporated –social service rather than scholarship - fund for widows, health care for poorer members, etc. Today - the Ancient Order of Druids of America traces its lineage back to this group.

5 Historical precursors Gorsedd –Founded by Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams) - (1792) –Also founded on Primrose Hill, mid-summers day. –Welsh connection –Integrated with the Eisteddfod in a pre-existing celtic competition - public speaking, poetry, music, etc. Gorsedd groups still in existence today, primarily in Wales The Gorsedd Circle in Cardiff 1899

6 Historical precursors Reformed Druids of North America (1963) - David Fisher Carleton College Humorous Protest Book of the Law Nature is Good! Beal/Mother Earth Isaac Bonewits Today - 30 RDNA groves, 2500 members

7 Myth of Druidism Celtic spirituality = nature based, druids as priesthood, magicians Christianity meets druidry peacefully (St. Patrick) William Stukely’s 18th century thesis: celts were Jewish Synod of Whitby (644) destroys Celtic Christianity

8 Myth of Druidism Joseph of Arimathea –Jesus’s uncle, travelled Europe as merchant, took Jesus with him –Went to England, met Druids –Returned after Jesus’ death, taught Druids truths of Christianity –…so Druids are already Christian by the time St. Patrick etc. arrive Druids help Joseph of Arimathea build Glastonbury Cathedral Built on “ley lines” Built according to druid principles of proportion.

9 Myth of Druidism King Arthur –Holy grail - cup of Ceridwen, symbol of the goddess –Lady of the Lake - celtic goddess –Merlin - druid - magic, mysticism, wisdom,education

10 Myth of Druidism St. Columbine - Druid author and Christian saint, used to support idea that Celts/druids converted en masse to Christianity as soon as it arrived in Celtic lands Synod of Whitby, 644, eradicates Celtic Christianity So, one can be both Druid and Christian without contradiction

11 Worldview Animistic (nature is alive, animals, plants have souls) Pantheistic (world itself is divine) Panentheistic (nature is imbued with divine beings - gods of nature) Nature based World, body positively valued Worldview Animistic (nature is alive, animals, plants have souls) Pantheistic (world itself is divine) Panentheistic (nature is imbued with divine beings - gods of nature) Nature based World, body positively valued

12 Worldview Cyclical Reincarnation Cross-species interdependence (man eats salmon, becomes a druid, druid transforms into salmon, is eaten, so man can be born) Salmon of Wisdom

13 Worldview Magical Powers Sidhe (fairies) Psychic abilities Prayer

14 Worldview Rational Natural laws Scholarship, training, discipline Teach and Serve

15 Ethics Grant, O God/ess, thy protection And in protection, strength And in Strength, understanding And in understanding, knowledge And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it And in that love, the love of all existences, And in the love of all existences, the love of god/dess God/dess and all goodness. Triads “The People should worship the gods, do no evil, and exercise courage” Universal Druid Prayer

16 Theology PolytheisticPolytheistic DanaDana Tuatha de Danaan –Bel (sunlight, rebirth, new beginnings - Beltaine) –Brigid (fires, healing, fertility - Imbolc) –The Dagda (the Good God, patron of Druids, social justice) –Donn (God of the Dead) –Lugh (arts & crafts, society, Lughnasadh) –The Morrigan (death, war, battles)

17 Organization Groves Bards (creativity, imagination) Ovates (mysticism, magic, theology, ritual) Druids (scholarship, magic, knowledge) –(or, First, second, third circle druids)

18 Organization Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD) –Founded by Ross Nichols (1964), previously member of the Druid Order, tracing roots back to John Toland’s 1717 revival group –Christian/pagan emphasis –Reorganized much more of a pagan emphasis –Clergy training program - female clergy rank called “Modron”

19 Organization ArnDraiocht Fein (ADF) –Founded by Isaac Bonewits (1983) –“Our Own Druidism” –Public Rituals required –Indo-European emphasis

20 Organization Henge of Keltria –Private rather than public rituals –Celtic rather than indo-European –Mistletoe Rite (healing) - 6th night of the moon –Vervain Rite (magic) - third quarter of lunar cycle, when neither moon nor sun is in the sky –Patron and Matron deities for each of eight seasonal festivals

21 Organization Celtic Reconstructionist Pagans (CR) –Four seasonal festivals only - Oiche Shamhna (Samhain), La Fheile Bride (feast of Brigid, or Imbolc), La Bealtaine (Beltain), and La Fheile Lunasa (lughnassa, lamas) –Attempt to stay true to archaeological, textual, etc. sources –Total rejection of any Christian emphasis

22 Rituals Fire, Well, Tree Ancestors, Nature spirits, Shining Ones The Wheel of theYear A Blessing for the Trees A nine-fold blessing of the sacred grove Now be upon all forests of Earth: For willow of the streams, Hazel of the rocks, Alder of the marshes, Birch of the waterfalls, Ash of the shade, Yew of resilience, Elm of the brae, Oak of the sun, And all trees that grow and live and breathe On hill and brake and glen: No axe, no saw, no fire shall harm you, No mind of ownership shall seize you, No hand of greed or profit claim you, But grace of the stepping deer among you, Strength of the running boar beneath you, Power of the gliding hawk above you. Deep peace of the running stream through your roots, Deep peace of the flowering air through your boughs, Deep peace of the shining stars on your leaves. That the harp of the woods be heard once more Throughout the green and living Earth. Mara Freeman, Honorary Chief Bard of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids Copyright 2001, The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids

23 Rituals The Wheel of the Year –Yule (Alban Arthuan) Dec. 21 –Oimelc Feb. 1 –Spring Equinox (alban Eiler) Mar. 21 –Beltainne (May 1) –Midsummer (alban Heruin) June 21 –Lughnasadh (Aug. 1) –Autumn Equinox (Alban Elued) Sept. 21 –Samhuin (Oct. 21-Nov. 1)


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