When most people hear the word Druid, they think of old men with long beards, wearing robes and frolicking around Stonehenge. However, the modern Druid movement is a bit different from that. One of the biggest Neopagan Druid groups out there is Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF). According to their website, “Neopagan Druidry is a group of religions, philosophies and ways of life, rooted in ancient soil yet reaching for the stars.”
Although the word Druid conjures up visions of Celtic Reconstructionism to many people, ADF welcomes members of any religious path within the Indo-European spectrum. ADF says, “We're researching and interpreting sound modern scholarship (rather than romantic fantasies) about the ancient Indo-European Pagans - the Celts, Norse, Slavs, Balts, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Vedics, and others.”
ADF was founded by Isaac Bonewits, and is divided into semi-autonomous local groups known as groves. Although Bonewits retired from ADF in 1996, his writings and ideals remain as part of the ADF tradition. Although ADF accepts membership applications from everyone, allowing them to become a Dedicant, a significant amount of work is required to advance to the title of Druid. Over sixty ADF groves exist in the United States and beyond.
The Order of Bards, Oviates and Druids:
In addition to Ár nDraíocht Féin, there are a number of other Druid groups in existence. The Order of Bards, Oviates and Druids (OBOD) says, “As a spiritual way or philosophy, Modern Druidism began to develop about three hundred years ago during a period known as the ‘Druid Revival’. It was inspired by the accounts of ancient Druids, and drew on the work of historical researchers, folklorists and early literature. In this way Druidry’s heritage stretches far back into the past.” OBOD was formed in England in the 1960s by Ross Nichols, in a protest against the election of a new Druid Chief in his group.
Druidism and Wicca:
Although there has been a significant revival in interest in things Celtic among Wiccans and Pagans, it’s important to remember that Druidism is not Wicca. Although some Wiccans are also Druids – because there are some overlapping similarities between the two belief systems and therefore the groups are not mutually exclusive – most Druids are not Wiccan.
In addition to the above mentioned groups, and other Druidic traditions, there are also solitary practitioners who self-identify as Druids. Seamus mac Owain, a Druid from Columbia, SC, says, "There's not a lot of written material about the Druids, so much of what we do is based upon Celtic myth and legend, as well as scholarly information that has been provided by anthropologists, historians, and so forth. We use this as a basis for rite, ritual, and practice."
For further, more advanced reading on the topic, our reader Kenneth recommends the following titles:
- The Druidry Handbook and The Druid Magic Handbook by John Michael Greer
- Druidcraft by Philip Carr-Gomm (the chosen chief of OBOD,)
- The Book of Druidry by Ross Nichols (the founder of OBOD as we know it)
Also be sure to read:
- Ellen Hopman and Selena Fox on the Awen Symbol
- Mistletoe: Myths, Mysteries and Medicine
- Britain Officially Recognizes Druidry as a Religion
- England's Druid Wars
- Druid Camps Out at Stonehenge
- Druid Full Moon Ceremony in Avebury