What is Druidry?
Druidism is the indigenous religion of the Celtic people, one of the great Indo-European tribes, who occupied Middle and Western Europe long before the time of the Roman Conquest. Druidism was driven underground, first by the Romans, then by the Christians, but its tenents and traditions continue to exist, embedded in the folklore, mysticism, stories, music, and customs of the Celtic people.
Druidism is a religion, a philosophy, and a body of knowledge that guided the Celtic people from the time they evolved a separate identity from the ancient tribal melting pot of Europe. At the coming of Christianity, many Druids accepted Jesus as one of their own, and helped form the early Celtic Christian Church. Saint Columba (Colum Cille) is reputed to have said, "Christ is my Druid."
Druidism has had many revivals, going back to the Dark Ages, and is presently experiencing an astonishing revival as we enter the Aquarian Age. The time has come for Druidism to take its place among world religions, along with nature based indigenous religions world wide, with whom Druids share much of their wisdom.
The word Druid means "one with the knowledge of the oak". Oak, in Irish is Daur; in Gaulish is Dervo; in Welsh is Derw, and in another Indo-Eurpean culture - Greek - is Drus. Wid is the IndoEuropean root word meaning, "to know". (The Elements of the Druid Tradition, Philip Carr-Gomm). The Oak is the wise old sage of the forest who whispers its ancient secrets to those who understand its language. Druids gathered in groves of oaks, and other sacred places including stone circles, to teach and perform their mysteries.
At the Bardic level, Druidry embraces a love of words and music, and honors the arts of the Seanchaidh (the storyteller, historian), the Bàrd (the poet), and the Clàrsair (the harper, minstrel). At the Ovate level, Druids are also knowledgeable in the arts of shamanism, Slànaich (healing) and of Fàisneachd (prophecy), using the wisdom of nature as a guide. At the Druid level, they were accomplished in Feallsanachd (philosophy), and could fulfil the role of Fear-Teagaisg (teacher) and Breitheamh (judge). Druids fulfilled the most responsible roles in Celtic society, and were the instrument by which Celtic society sustained their culture down through the centuries.
The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids is one of many orders of Druidry that exist today. OBOD is not a religion, it has no priests or dogma, it is a spiritual path which is compatable with all loving religions. OBOD offers an excellent correspondence course which has attracted students from all over the world. The course material covers the three levels of Druidry - Bard, Ovate, and Druid in a series of sagely written "Gwers" or lessons. OBOD welcomes students of all backgrounds and religions. Because it is a life affirming, nature loving, ecologically responsible philosophy, one can be a Druid as well as a Christian, Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, or even Atheist. For many, Druidism offers a philosophy and structure that more than satisfies their need for a religious path.
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