by: Rasullah Clarke
A brief synopsis of the renewed approach to Druidry in the modern era.
Druidry these days is essentially about reverence for Nature, a way of feeling a connection with Creation and Creator through observing and celebrating Nature in all its forms and seasonal variations. There are plenty of different Druid orders worldwide that people can join and each will have its own emphasis, sense of lineage and unique ideas about how to ritualise this witnessing of Nature. The order that I personally hooked up with is the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids from which this comes:
The Druid Tradition is ancient, and represents one of the wellsprings of inspiration of the Western Spiritual Tradition. But even though it is ancient, it is as relevant and alive today as it ever has been. All spiritualities grow and change – and Druidism, or Druidry as it is also known, has changed too – and now it is experiencing a Renaissance. Every year new Druid groups form, new websites spring up, and new books are published. Druidry has become a vital and dynamic Nature-based spirituality that is flourishing all over the world, and that unites our love of the Earth with our love of creativity and the Arts. And flowing through all the exciting new developments in modern Druidism is the power of an ancient tradition: the love of land, sea and sky – the love of the Earth our home.
The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids is a spiritual group dedicated to practising, teaching, and developing Druidry as a valuable and inspiring spirituality. The Order was founded over forty years ago (in 1964) by Ross Nichols and a group of members of The Ancient Druid Order, including the writer Vera Chapman. The Ancient Druid Order developed during the early years of the last century out of the Druid Revival which began about three hundred years ago. The ADO traces its origins to 1717. The term ‘order’ is derived from the tradition of magical orders rather than from the tradition of religious orders. Neither the Order nor Druidry is a cult. A cult revolves around a personality, a charismatic leader, or a particular deity or saint. The Order and Druidry have none of these characteristics.
Membership of the Order is open to followers of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, and there are currently over eight thousand members in fifty countries.
Both the Feminine and the Masculine principles are celebrated and represented in the Order’s teachings and membership. The Order is not patriarchal or biased in favour of men – many women are in leadership roles and over half the membership is female.
Although most members practise Druidry on their own, there are over ninety groups around the world that offer the opportunity for members to meet and celebrate together. In addition individual members and groups organise gatherings, retreats, conferences and workshops.
For the last twenty years the Order has been offering a comprehensive training in Druidry which covers all three grades of Bard, Ovate and Druid.
My experience of OBOD and of Philip Carr-Gomm who is the current head of the order is that, although guidance is given and knowledge passed on, there is plenty of room for finding how to follow your own spiritual path within the teachings and there is no dogma that you must subscribe to. It is also a path that you can follow alone or experience as a member of a local group, the choice is yours.
Studying Druidry has given me more of a connection with, and interest in our ancestors on these lands, what their lives were like, what their myths, legends and beliefs were. It has also made me want to make a deeper connection with plants especially trees and also with all of the animal world. I watch and notice much more about nature than I used to and it is an ever deepening source of pleasure for me. This spills over into what I do – lots of vegetable growing these days. Being a “Druid” has helped strengthen my ecological awareness and desire to live my life in a less environmentally destructive way. I feel like I am on a path that feeds me and one in which I will never stop learning, I don’t have to define it too specifically and so it stays alive and in creation yet I now have reference points that connect me with others who have similar passions. I can feel I am walking my talk with more focus.
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