What is Druidry?

Druidry was the native spiritual tradition of the peoples who inhabited the islands of Britain and Ireland, spreading through much of Europe.  Though many consider it to have been a religion or political force that came to Britain with the influx of culture concurrent with the Iron Age, it is increasingly understood, and acknowledged, to be of an older indigenous if ever-evolving religious tradition sourced within these islands.

As an ancient pagan religion, Druidry is based on the reverential, sacred and honourable relationship between the people and the land.  In its personal expression, modern Druidry is the spiritual interaction between an individual and the spirits of nature, including those of landscape and ancestry, together with the continuities of spiritual, literary and cultural heritage.

Through this reverence, Druidic practice is based on honour for the ancestors, considered sacred. In ancestral stories, in human nature and life’s patterns, in the long river of history, in poetry and music, the Druid finds the divine inspiration known as Awen, the force that flows into his/her own sacred creativity of living, allowing depths of understanding and wisdom.

Through this reverence, Druidic practice seeks too to understand the patterns of nature outside humanity, within our environment, honouring the powers of nature as wholly sacred. All life is deemed to be unconditionally sacred, bearing its own intrinsic validity and purpose.

Those who practise Druidry do so through a deep spiritual connection perceived and experienced with this land and culture, either directly (as residents) or through links and empathies of ancestry, literature, art, history , heritage, philosophy and mythology. So does Druidry continue to grow, not only in Britain, but all around the world.

Though many shy away from the word ‘religion’ with its connotations of political monotheism and authority, preferring the word spirituality, Druidry is a religion. Its practitioners revere their deities, most often perceived as the most powerful forces of nature (such as thunder, sun and earth), spirits of place (such as mountains and rivers), and divine guides of a people (such as Brighid, Rhiannon and Bran).

Druidry cannot be defined by or limited to the reverence of one deity or a pantheon.  Thus while most within Druidry honour what are known as the Celtic named and mythologized deities, others honour Christian, Saxon, Nordic or Classical Pagan gods. Many honour animistic and conceptual forms of deity. These differences do not divide or dilute the tradition, however, for such differences are integral parts of the tradition’s essential nature.

The spirits of a place bring the richness of ecological diversity, encouraging us to experience the wealth of different ecosystems, from moorland to meadows, mountains to wetlands. So does reverence for life and nature engender a diversity of practice in those expressing devotion and seeking to live in sacred relationship with the spirits of a place. Thus is locality another factor that brings diversity to the tradition.

Ancestral lineage, local history and heritage add diversity in the same way.  Generations of miners, fishermen or travellers, personal tragedy or wealth, close family or solitude: all are factors that affect our spiritual seeking and expression. As Druidry guides us to honour and learn from our ancestry and our path of life, so is this diversity too a defining factor in Druidic practice, as is acceptance and indeed celebration of this diversity.

Coherence is brought to Druidry upon the spiritual foundations of its reverence for nature.

Based on reverence and respect for life itself, and the practice of seeking honourable relationship with all, Druidry guides us to live with truth and responsibility.

While sacrifice is a core notion within most world spiritual traditions, within Druidry it is confused by historical accounts of the killing of both human and animal victims. No such practice is deemed acceptable with in modern Druidry. What is sacrificed within the tradition today is that which we value most highly in life and hold to with most passion: time, security, certaint y, comfort, convenience, ignorance, and the like. Indeed, most Druidic sacrifice is expressed through work that benefits the wider community and the planet as a whole, such as environmental volunteering, ethical consumerism, spiritual education, dissemination of information, caring for family and community (notably children, the sick, the elderly and dying) and creative expression.

Most Druidic practice is celebrated openly. Public ritual ceremonies marking the seasonal festivals are open and free to all. Examples of these include the gorseddau at Avebury and Stonehenge (Wiltshire). Most Groves or individuals practise quiet ritual and meditation in public places, whether that be city parks, open beaches, forests or stone circles, while some prefer the privacy and convenience of their homes and gardens for prayers, ritual and meditation. There are no occult, secret or hidden practices within Druidry; teachings are open to all.

(Courtesy of The Druid Network)


The Druid Network

The British Druid Order, PO Box 1217, Devizes, Wiltshire SN10 4XA

The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, PO Box 1333, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 3ZG

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