Locating my Druidry

When someone says “I’m a druid” they could be talking about any number things, depending on the Order, Grove or Gorsedd. When I say “I’m a druid”, what am I saying? Here’s a little historical context (for something more in depth, go here).
The modern Druid movement is a lively and growing tradition (or variety of traditions), born out of the Druid Revival of the 18th Century – to see how varied, take a peek here. There is little or no connection with the ancient druids, of whom we know very little, and the contents of modern Druidry have a much wider source than archeological remains, historical records and folkloric heritage of the Celtic peoples.
Out of the Druid Revival arose three distinct but related branches: there are “fraternal druids” that are organised and behave in much the same way as Freemasons and other fraternal organisations; there are “cultural druids”, like the gorsedds and eisteddfods of Wales, that get together and celebrate their Celtic cultural heritage without significant religious content; and there are “spiritual druids” that think of Druidry as something religious or spiritual, perhaps hailing back to the pre-Christian Celtic religions. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD), the druid order I’m a member of, can be considered as part of the latter.
Next to these Revival Druids a new druidry has emerged, Reconstructionist Druidry, that bases itself as much as possible on historical accuracy, instead of invention and eclecticism. Personally, I’m happy with being a Revival Druid, since all religious and spiritual traditions are, in some way, invented and eclectic, and so little is known of the ancient druids that “filling in the blanks” is unavoidable. But I do think that reconstructionism adds a bit of objective integrity to the movement, so when we are “making things up” we don’t trick ourselves into thinking we aren’t. That doesn’t make it any less meaningful for us though.
Another strain of Druidry that deserves consideration is “activist druidry” based on activism and social reform. The image of the ancient druids is as the professional elite, acting as counsellors, judges and mediators. They were actively involved in the functioning of their society. In some cases this Activist Druidry stands alone (they profess no spiritual or cultural interest in Druidry, but the druid-image suits their purposes), and sometimes it is a part of the above “strains” of Druidry. I’ve already written on the Function of Druidry, something I consider vitally important to how I understand Druidry.
In the near future I will be writing on various spiritual, religious and philosophical influences that I consider as part of my druidry.


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