Druidry is the ideal rewilding spiritual path


#1

i have been a druid all my life, since long before i knew what a druid was. since i was raised very catholic, having made a lifelong study of the occult and magick, i’ve also been a heretic since before i knew was a heretic was.

the druidic relationship to nature is perfect for rewilding, since it is through an intimate realtionship with nature that we can survive within it. communication with the tree people, the plant people and the animal people allows us to live as one with them.
certainly shamanic cultures learned for the spirits of nature, which plants to use for food and medicine, which animals are willing to give themselves to us for food and how best to live amongst them.

i welcome discusson. i would love to share ideas.
peace, patrick


#2

I don’t know about the ideal path, but I’m sure many stand to benefit from exploring druidry. If I remember correctly druids were unique to the British Isles or Celtic cultures more generally. I would expect those that live in those regions, those that live in similar regions and those whose ancestors came from those regions to benefit the most from studying druidry.


#3

Okay, I have to nitpick, both as an anthropologist and someone who has belonged to a Neo-Druid church for years:

There’s this great tendency in certain subcultures to use the word ‘druid’ to mean something almost completely unrelated to the origins of the word. I get slightly miffed by this, kind of like my rant about people misusing and appropriating the term ‘shaman’. The main difference is just that ancient Celts aren’t around today.

The word druid originally refers to the intelligentsia of peoples in ‘Celtic’ cultures. The Dumezilian “first function”, as it were.

The common usage that I’ve seen spring up has basically reduced the term to mean ‘nature priest’, or really just be so watered down as to generally mean that something is animistic in some way. I see this coming originally from Romantic era writings, then later from roleplaying games (I often play a Ranger and/or Druid in D&D games :P) and cheesy movies. Some of the influence comes from the Neopagan and New Age-y movement, in which even there it is usually applied will-nilly, but even in groups like ADF that use scholarship to excuse the usage, the argument is rather flimsy. And of course, most Neopagan Celtophiles have little to no actual knowledge about what indigenous, pre-Roman Celtic cultures were like.

All I’m saying is that the term is thrown around far too liberally, with little regard to history or reality. Do we really mean that the ideal path is one practiced a couple thousand years ago by agriculturalists, and that we have little actual evidence of their practices?

/nitpicking

I can make the same argument for Asatru or Vodun at least as easily…but I won’t.


#4

I only know the pop-culture version of Druids like indeed, those in D&D and crappy modern fantasy-flicks. I never really considered what “real” druids were like. What you’re saying sounds like they were a specialized upper-class is this correct? ifso, how’d one gain entry into this class? Or was it more like a formalized version of the wise-old-man? or community father-figure.

Just curious :wink:


#5

Another nitpick: the Celts were not indigenous. They had three social classes, warriors, druids, and commoners.


#6

[quote=“timeLESS, post:4, topic:1320”]how’d one gain entry into this class? Or was it more like a formalized version of the wise-old-man? or community father-figure.

Just curious ;)[/quote]

According to a lot of research, mostly historical accounts, it appears it wasn’t a static class of people, but somewhat permeable. Largely, the designation had to do with the roles one played. The druid designation applied to scholars, lawyers, doctors, priests, etc. Of course, wealthier families seemed more likely to produce druids and warriors.

That all depends on your definition of ‘indigenous’. :stuck_out_tongue: I chose to stray slightly from the one we tend to use here, and more towards the anthropological one. Might be better put as “pre-Roman” or “pre-Christian”.

The three classes you mention are the tripartite social organization proposed as being present in some form in all Indo-European societies by Georges Dumezil. They are the magical/religious/managerial, the military, and the producers, all of which he claims are reflected in various myth-cycles. The theory has it’s problems, not the least of which is the probable reflection of Dumezil’s own Nazi-sympathizing mentality. As I said above, the more recent historical research seems to indicate that while these concepts seem fairly evident in Celtic thought, they were not considered classes so much as roles.


#7

Nice I was just about to ask about the Celt “classes” . it already hit me that people might be reading things into it that aren’t there. A role is certainly not the same as a “class”.

Dan, can you tell you me what it’s called in english when this “mistake” is made? (like the Nazi-sympathizer who sees warrior castes and so on) I believe this is common anthropological pitfall?


#8

glad to see we have a discussion started here.
i believe that the druids were preceltic. the druids were not a celtic priest hood, but were pre-existing. much of the scholarship places the origons of druidry in ireland. the irish mythologies indicate that there were druids in ireland before the celts (milesians) arrived. the fir bolgs and the tuatha de dannan both had druids.
i choose to use the word druid, because it reclaims my native spirituality.
i do live in the woods and the trees are very important to me. they provide shelter, heat and cooking fires and provide for many of my needs.
unfortunately, there are no oaks, but my woods are lovely none-the-less.


#9

“Indigenous” doesn’t mean classless, it’s roughly a synonym of “native”. Though, as bikerdruid noted, the Book of Invasions relates that the Celts weren’t native to Ireland. In the long run no one is native to anywhere besides Ethiopia or thereabouts. I suppose a necessary component to rewilding is becoming native to where you live, and not just in the shallow sense in which anti-immigration “nativists” are native.


#10

[quote=“nusabo, post:9, topic:1320”][quote author=starfish link=topic=1400.msg14603#msg14603 date=1234800101]
Another nitpick: the Celts were not indigenous. They had three social classes, warriors, druids, and commoners.
[/quote]

“Indigenous” doesn’t mean classless, it’s roughly a synonym of “native”.[/quote]

i’ve found that a lot of people in this milieu use the term “indigenous” to refer exclusively to uncivilized people that basically live in harmony with their landbase, as opposed to the more general anthrobology term.


#11

my ancestors were indigenous to ireland and by reclaiming druidry as the spirituality of my ancestors, i honour them. by living as a druid in the north of canada, i honour my ancestors and the spirits and ancestors of my valley. visit with balm trees rather than oaks and honour my native land with that of my ancestors.
although i have been a member of the order of bards, ovates and druids for many years, my ritual and practices are a blend of those of neodruidry, local native culture and as inspired in communion with local spirits, the trees, the animals and others that live in the valley with me.
i’m a very fortunate man.


#12

I would consider myself a druid-shaman.


#13

I read a book or two on Druids when I was back in my ancestral homeland the UK. Even though I knew what I was reading was mainly new age make believe, it still helped me connect to the land and nature in a strong and profound way. I was tempted to join that ‘order of the druids’ but never did.
We don’t actually know a lot about the ancient druids so people must reconstruct their ways these days into something called neo-druidry. What I remember is that they revered oaks and other trees in a sort of animist fashion. They were priests, judges and teachers. They sacrificed animals and humans for religious purposes. They were male and it took 20 years of study which they did orally, and out in nature to become a druid. Although there was a druid ‘class’ it wasn’t passed on via heredity, I guess this means anyone could become one if they were made of the right stuff.
As long as Neo-druids aren’t claiming their doing exactly as the ancients did, I don’t see anything wrong with them, they are helping to create a nature based religion firmly rooted in their homeland, its sacred places and their ancestral connections. Religion and cultures change over time and currently everyone has their own interpretations of what being a Druid is.
Just maybe… over time as the religion matures, leaders and scholars and organisation will come into play, a council of eldar druids will form to create a learning program again and the religion will evolve as their studies and as the world itself evolves.


#14

Actually, there’s plenty of evidence for female druids, which isn’t surprising since the druid “class” existed at its strongest during a period in which Celtic cultures were largely egalitarian in reference to the power of men and women. During the period in which the Romans basically started disbanding or persecuting the class, they had already begun to become more patriarchal, probably due to the influence from Rome.

A good compilation of historical references is Peter Beresford Ellis’s The Druids.


#15

[quote=“incendiary_dan, post:14, topic:1320”][quote author=Ulverston link=topic=1400.msg15384#msg15384 date=1242044267]They were male and it took 20 years of study which they did orally, and out in nature to become a druid.
[/quote]

Actually, there’s plenty of evidence for female druids, which isn’t surprising since the druid “class” existed at its strongest during a period in which Celtic cultures were largely egalitarian in reference to the power of men and women. During the period in which the Romans basically started disbanding or persecuting the class, they had already begun to become more patriarchal, probably due to the influence from Rome.

A good compilation of historical references is Peter Beresford Ellis’s The Druids.[/quote]

I havn’t come across any evidence for them I’m afraid, I was surprised at first however I now think just because the Celts were egalitarian doesn’t mean men and women all did the same jobs. I have read (In Kendricks ‘The Druids’ for example) there were important female priestesses, seers and healers but they were not of the druid order. Perhaps I will check out that book you recommend some day.


#16

i don’t know how factual the book is, but in Mists of Avalon the female priestesses and seers were of a whole different pre celtic tradition. druidry seems to have existed and worked together with the older traditions, but they weren’t of the same origin.


#17

Haha I’m a fan myself, watched it with my gf, however I it’s just a work of fiction. It does show how priestesses could have had a different but equally valuable role. Perhaps they were from a tradition that pre-dated even the Celts in Britain. The big shame about the Druids is that they didn’t write things down (they thought it made the memory weak) so a lot of what we know about them was written by their enemies. And as Dan said the Romans were patriarchal so their writings would reflect this.