Druidism is a wisdom tradition. If you see that nature is the source of wisdom, and that you can learn anything that you need to know from it, philosophically, spiritually, or scientifically, it is not unreasonable to call yourself a Druid.
Druids were both natural philosophers and theologians. They did engage in contemplations of God, but not in the modern sense. God in the metaphysical sense as a part of explaining why the world behaves as it does, and in drawing conclusions about how to handle human needs. They didn’t look to the Gods as distant sources of law. For them the Gods lived here in the invisible part of the world, and what you did or didn’t do for or against them would have an immediate or prompt consequence. Many scientists these days are seeming very Druid are they not? And their discoveries, as well as moral observations are backing up what the Druids already believed. That we have a positive wisdom in our very natures as living beings, and not to heed it is the most serious error.
Song of Amergin:
I am the wind on the sea
I am the wave of the sea
I am the bull of seven battles
I am the eagle on the rock
I am a flash from the sun
I am the most beautiful of plants
I am a strong wild boar
I am a salmon in the water
I am a lake in the plain
I am the word of knowledge
I am the head of the spear in battle
I am the God that puts fire in the head
Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
Who can tell the ages of the moon?
Who can tell the place where the sun rests?
~ Druid Amergin
Druidism both is, and isn’t, a religion. It originated in a culture that didn’t originally have the Roman Catholic view of religion. It‘s perhaps more accurate to say it’s a wisdom tradition, sort of like a western Taoism. Shamanistic? Yes, in a sense, but not as strictly grounded as that. They had a long standing, and sort of unified tradition. So in a way, Druids were a single people, though they weren’t totally in agreement with each other, nor was this required. They were serious philosophers, and were perhaps the first “natural philosophers.” Natural philosophy was what would come today… Seek More
Sort of like Indian mysticism, the Druid recognized that spirituality isn’t a single path. They acknowledged three. The Druid as we know the word, who was the keeper of observances and the village Sage. The Ovate who was more like the Native American Shaman, seeker of spirits and signs, and psychopomp or spirit guide to the departed, and the Bard who was more of an educator and social conscience. Druidism had no dogma really, so in a way you can’t be an expert on Druidism. Like Gnosis, your learning was valid, and members of the Druid orders came up with… Seek More
The Druids tended to live outside of tribal holdings, and not in the walled villages. Bards tended to live in them, but move from one village to another, and Ovates tended to live in places of power, but not natural power per se. Druids lived near their sacred groves. In border spots like caves, Ovates focused on seeing through the veil, while the Druid order itself focused on the sun, moon, and animal behaviours. So an Ovate might make a hut near the shore, so they could always feel that energy. Where as the Druids would gather together in the… Seek More
Divination by Druids was to see the spiritual forces in the world, and it was often for healing. They didn’t see disease as a punishment from God that you should just take because you deserve it. They saw it as an imbalance. So any plague, or famine, or what not, was cause for divination, and based on what they were able to divine they would take corrective action. They weren’t fatalists by any means. What were Druid circles? The circle, or the grove, was the meeting of Druids. It was more like a Native American medicine society than a church gathering.… Seek More
It’s hard to say much that’s absolute about Druid creed, because as part of their creed they were not absolutist thinkers. The culture the Druids would be most like is the Magi, and they would often later be called Magi in Latin records of them. They were rationalists, but not materialists. Before the advent of empirical method, and the modern materialistic view, science did in a way still exist. Science was known as natural philosophy, but Druids didn’t stick to natural philosophy. Natural philosophy was the idea that nature could teach us about itself, and about creation in general. Druids… Seek More
The Druids were not a dogmatic people, and it would be entirely reasonable if you see gnosis in nature, to adopt the Druid name. You would not dishonour the ancestors having no static doctrine and gaining wisdom from observances of nature, and keeping of human history. To declare yourself a Druid is merely to say those are your goals also. It‘s not to belittle those goals. We need them in today’s world rather badly. How long and when were Druids a culture? That can’t be said with certainty. Evidence goes very far back, potentially to many hundreds of years BCE,… Seek More
Those into what can perhaps most broadly be called “necromantic” practices, are not at odds with Druid thinking. Mediumship, or communing with the dead, and giving the dead place and respect were quite acceptable. Mediumship would have been undertaken by the Ovates. In our modern technological age, not only do we not adequately respect life, but we don’t really respect death anymore either. How did Druids take care of the dead? Did they bury, burn, etc? Burial. This is why it endured as a practice in Europe. Likely a tree on top? Oh yes, burial in the wood. This is… Seek More
Shall we discuss Bard magick? It might help to start with some background on the school of thought known today as wizardry. It had an older name, but I am awkward with ancient tongues so I will just stick with what we all know. The ancient Wizards were the sages and wise men and women of the northern countries. They were the keepers of chants that contained all their peoples remembered history and insights about the world. Not only that, but the forms by which they composed these chants and songs were structured so that any new insights could be… Seek More
Bards were perhaps the most feared and respected of the Druid order. The Druids themselves lived as hermits when they weren’t officiating ceremonies, even practicing asceticism much like a Buddhist monk. You could call a news anchor a Bard perhaps? Yes, you could. But the old Bards had more integrity and wielded their influence much more responsibly. They weren’t about coin. In fact, they didn’t actually have to earn much coin, as the villages they visited would feed them as a matter of course. The Ovates were also strange, but besides having strange fits and visions and telling the village… Seek More
The Bards kept a history not only of their people, but of language itself, and song extending back into what we would call prehistoric time. Perhaps to no surprise, their history parallels what science now says of language development in the brain. They speak of a time when nothing knew what it was, so the world would change forms freely, and there was no peace for humanity. Then they spoke of the original spirit speaker. A God among the people who spoke and by speaking revealed not only the form but the way of those things in the world, and… Seek More