I think there are a lot of people out there who love and revere Nature, and who desire to
protect Nature from the greed that threatens it, who are without knowing it, Druids. They may
not call themselves Druids but that is what they are (I met a lot of these folks when my sons
were young and we were all in Scouting together).
I think that if you in fact call yourself a Druid and have an affinity for Nature, then, no matter
what else you might be, or think, or do, then you are in fact a Druid. If you happen to also believe that
“Nature is good,” then you are a Reformed Druid, at least in the declared sense. I don’t think your spiritual path or you belief system necessarily needs to be of a Celtic orientation.
I don’t think you yourself or your family need to come from a Celticcountry, speak a Celtic language nor do you even have to like Celtic culture or music or anything. You
can still be a Druid. That happens to be because of how other religions have evolved over time. If the ancient Druids had survived, and if they had migrated over from Europe to America, and if they had continued to thrive here, what would their religion look like here today? I doubt very much that a lot of Celtic culture would still remain intact. I doubt very much that a lot of Welsh or Gaelic would be spoken or prayed or sung in Druid services. Maybe a little taste here or there, but not a lot. The Druids would become modern and American. In fact I believe that if the spirit of the ancient Druids is alive today, then it is alive within the Reformed Druids of Gaia, and that group is very much like what I think the ancient Druid religion would be like, if it had survived.
Now, that’s not to say that perhaps pockets of “orthodox” Druids might also survive, clinging to the Celtic culture and perhaps doing services in Welsh. Like Judaism, Druidry might have ended up with many parts, but I think the largest part would be very Americanized, just as Reform Judaism is very Americanized.
A study of how Judaism has changed and grown and evolved since times ancient would surely parallel the path that ancient Druidism would have taken. In fact, modern Druidism, without any connection to the ancients, has actually branched in much the same way.
In America, the oldest Druid group (founded in 1912) is the Ancient Order of Druids in
America (AODA). They are still barely alive, with branches mainly in California and the
Pacific North West. If you drive around some towns in Northern California you run into
remnants of AODA’s past, in the form of buildings in downtown areas, much like those the
Masons and Odd Fellows built. I don’t know a lot about AODA other than that, but if they say
they are Druids, then they are.
The next oldest Druid group (founded in 1963) is the Reformed Druids of North America,
founded originally as a college protest against mandatory attendance at religious services.
Most of the better known Druid groups (such as: New Reformed Druids of North America,
Missionary Order of the Celtic Cross, Ar nDraiocht Fein, Henge of Keltria) are actually
branches from RDNA‘s family tree.
In 2006, Archdruid Ceridwen Seren-Ddaear noticed the international nature of Reformed Druidism, and
was led by personal vision to declare a new epoch of
Reformed Druidry, the Reformed Druids of Gaia. By
the simple affirmation that “Nature is good” one
becomes a member of this 5000 (+ or -), nonprophet,
ir-religious, dis-organization, which has become the canopy organization which all Reformed Druids living on this planet belong to. I am a member of the Reformed Druids of Gaia (RDG), the Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) and I am one of the founders of Order of the Mithril Star (OMS). My
Grove is called Cylch Cerddwyr Rhwng y Bydoedd Grove (which means in Welsh: Circle of
Walkers Between the Worlds). We are located in Eureka CA.
Druid orthodoxy began to appear in the late 1990’s, under such labels as “Celtic reconstruction,” “Celtic revivalism,” and “Celtic restoration.” Some of these disparage the use of the word Druid to describe themselves, and others (in the manner that Ultra-Orthodox Jews view Reform Jews) will declare that only themselves, and those like them have the right to the title Druid.
I think that’s very un-Druid-like. But, some require a feeling of superiority over others. Some dude reads 21 Lessons of Merlin, or some such other drivel, and decides he is an expert in all things Druid-like, and declares “Celtic restoration” (or whatever) to be the “one and true revival and reconstruction of ancient Druidism,” even though there are Druids who know better and have been around 30 to 80 years longer, and even though archaeologists and historical anthropologists tell us that even today, we know practically zip about what the ancient Druids believed, or how they practiced (many well written, “scholarly” books written by Neo-Pagans having now been debunked by actual scientists). Regardless, they’re Druids too. They may also be shmucks. That’s ok (every family has them) – they are my brothers and sisters, and I accept them regardless.
I think though, that in a broad sense, all of us are “revivalist – reconstructionist –restorationist” Druids, because we are all in our own ways doing Druidism exactly the way the ancient Druids did:
“……the old fashioned way: making it up as we go!” (Jim Fox-Davis, Ancient Keltic Church)
It always amazes me that people don’t grok the simple yet obvious fact that all religious systems are purely the inventions of human thought. Somewhere, at sometime, someone invented every cult, sect, religion, spirituality, and philosophy that exists. Over time we forget who all these someones’ were, but regardless, someone had to make it all up.
And that, in my opinion, is what a Druid is: a person who is in love with Nature and is making
their religion up as they go.