An Absence of Ancient Druids | Druid Life

An Absence of Ancient Druids | Druid Life.

By Nimue Brown

I’ll confess up front that when I first came to Druidry I knew very little about the history of Druids. There were many things I did know a bit about… Taliesin and Amergin were familiar names, for a start. I was taking an interest in Paganism from late in my teens, exposed, inevitably at that time, to people who claimed ancientness for Witchcraft, and expecting Druids to be to some degree at least, peppered with genuine survivals from the Celtic era. I was young, I ask that you cut me some slack!

I went to my first few Druid-led rituals, rather thinking they would be based on ancient wisdom. No one told me what they were based on. I looked around at the Druid Orders, especially the Ancient Druid Orders, and a niggle of doubt crept in. At what point would an ancient Druid Order have been re-named to remark upon its ancientness? I started reading, and asking, and poking about and slowly got some sense that the idea of modern Druidry as a direct descendent of ancient Druidry, was actually a bit daft. There are fragments we use that are older, but much of it comes from the revival Druids, or more recent invention.

Then I read Blood and Mistletoe, which demonstrates that we really can’t be too confident about anything.

This has led me to several conclusions. The first is to note that modern Christianity looks nothing like Mediaeval Christianity, which is a long way from what people were doing in those first few hundred years AD. Secondly, all religion is made up. Even if you postulate some divine inspiration, religion is a human response to the idea of the sacred. Every word of ritual, every prayer, every rule and idea was made by a person at some point. Those which have been tested over time may have more substance. However if only age confirmed authenticity, then we might all still be Catholics believing in a flat earth. Alchemy is older than science.  Judaism is older than Christianity. Paganism may be older again, but we don’t know enough about what they were doing in the first place. Using age to prove authenticity is not reliably a good idea.

We cannot have authentic ancient Druidry. They did not write anything down. If we did find something written down by ancient Druids, we’d pretty much have compromised the whole process because that basic tenet of their being an oral tradition would have gone. If we did today what Celts of thousands of years ago did in the context of their times and culture, would that be authentic? You only have to glance at the Christians to see that other religions evolve over time to respond to the world. So not only can we not have the past, but we also can’t have the trajectory Druidry would have taken had it been left to continue. It wouldn’t have been called Druidry, that much at least we can be sure of.

At which point the temptation to quit and just call yourself an animist, or go back to ‘pagan’ is huge. Many people who start out as Druids find the language and history so problematic that they leave. This is in many ways a shame because it knocks out the people who often know most about the history and its implications, leaving behind people who know so little that they can still image they really are doing ancient Druidry and the people who get excited about titles. Of course in between there are a lot of people who stay, and who know and who grapple continually with the issue of what it means to use the word ‘Druid’. We should be uneasy about it, that uncertainty stops us getting smug or complacent.

Something about the word ‘Druid’ and the idea of Druids keeps drawing people. Not just for the romance and the beards, but a sense of something deeper, a possibility waiting to be embraced. Beyond the titles and the history, beyond the endless squabbles about who isn’t doing it right, there’s a sense of something. A glimmer of possibility that there may be a real thing out there, intrinsic to the land and the natural world, awash with inspiration and creative potential, spiritual and rational all at once, and just waiting for us to listen. Druidry seems as good a name for it as any other. Names are, after all, just feeble human attempts at making sense of the world. Actual Druidry, is bigger than us and surprisingly tolerant of all our silliness.


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Fully Qualified Druid | Druid Life

Fully Qualified Druid | Druid Life.

Get on facebook, or into any online, public Druid space and you will find people who want to determine who is, and is not a ‘proper’ Druid, who is a ‘better’ Druid than whom, and who is therefore the most important. It doesn’t take many over-loud voices to create an impression that Druidry is a judgemental space, as hierarchical and dogmatic, full of rules as any other religion. You must do this, a proper Druid wears, says, owns, celebrates…


(Actually, to clarify, a proper Druid does not necessarily own, wear, say or celebrate bollocks, but they remain an option).

Why are we pouring so much time into telling other people what they ought to be doing? What does it matter? I don’t think it matters at all. If you aren’t behaving antisocially, if you aren’t hurting or harming anyone else, why should I care in the slightest why it is that you call yourself a Druid? Why should I mind if your Druidry looks different to mine? If I trust the value and integrity of my own work, why would I need the affirmation of yours looking really similar?

Sharing what we do, for the purposes of mutual inspiration and to enable exploration, is a wonderful thing. Coming back with the results of experimental Druidry and taking about it, is brilliant. Let’s do that. I want to hear about the things you’ve tried and the inspiration you’ve been blessed with.

The fear of course is of dumbing down and falling standards. If we do not hold the boundaries and control who can be a Druid, then those other people will get in. The ones who do it wrong. The silly ones. The other sort. They are easily identified because they are not like us. We, on the other hand, are fine and reasonable, our Druidry underpinned by solid things, properly studied, thoroughly justified, and it is outrageous that anyone should suggest otherwise. And you know, maybe we need to do this a bit less. Maybe it is born of insecurity and a need to prove how good and special we are, and not a consequence of anything useful or spiritual at all.

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Singing Over the Bones | Philip Carr-Gomm’s Weblog

Singing Over the Bones

golden ;leaves

A guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving…

The year is releasing itself, letting go with the kind of intense beauty that never fails to inspire awe in me. There was a time I used to dread this season, sensing the darkness closing in; the claustrophobia of the encroaching winter. Now I see how beautiful this time of year is. The sun is low in the sky producing a golden light whose filter adds an even greater warmth to the colour of autumn trees; the sunsets are vivid and mists gather in the folds and recesses of the land, hovering over water meadows and sliding down cliffs, reaching out across the sea until the boundary between land and ocean is no more and we can no longer tell where one world ends and another begins.

This blurring of the boundaries between worlds is very much a theme of the Pagan festival of Samhain which now approaches. As the year releases its grip on life, the harvest gathered and stored, the nights lengthening, we turn away from the light and growth and move towards the darkness and repose. It can be a challenging time because the darkness is not only about stillness, rest and germination – it is also the place where our fears lurk; our eyes do not adjust easily to its shadows and our anxieties twist and distort their shapes.

There comes a point when the darkness and stillness of winter have a peace about them; we get a real sense of life waiting beneath the soil for re-emergence; there is a restfulness – a natural, easy pause after the out breath of the year – that centres and calms us. Samhain’s energy proceeds this time and is much more vivid and intense, much the way that spring’s energy is, only then, of course, the energy surges outward, carrying into the world an expanding tide of life. I find autumn as intense but the energy is one that has built throughout the summer months to this moment of powerful release.

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The Unbelievable Photos Taken by the Crazy Russians Who Illegally Climbed Egypt’s Great Pyramid

The Unbelievable Photos Taken by the Crazy Russians Who Illegally Climbed Egypt’s Great Pyramid.


The Unbelievable Photos Taken by the Crazy Russians Who Illegally Climbed Egypt’s Great Pyramid

Last week in Egypt, a group of Russian photographers apparently climbed the Great Pyramid of Giza—hiding from guards for four hours after closing time before beginning the ascent. Climbing the pyramid, one of the photographers claims, carries a punishment of one to three years. But it was worth it. “I was speechless,” one wrote. “I felt a chilling delight, absolute happiness.”

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The Sacred Masculine

The Sacred Masculine.
The Sacred Masculine PDF Print E-mail
In the last few decades we have started to see a re-awakening of our awareness of the Sacred Masculine. This consciousness is not confined to men – although men are the group in our society who are often out-of-touch with their spiritual essence. In the same way that both men and women have a feminine aspect to their conscious make-up, so too do both genders have a masculine aspect.

For over two thousand years many cultures have ascribed or assigned the male gender to their gods. The Divine is most often referred to as ‘He’. We have become accustomed to thinking of God as male. Yet the Divine Feminine has also had a strong presence throughout history. The Goddess takes many forms and names: Isis, Diana, Gaia, Yin, Hecate, Brigid, Venus, Moon, … to name just a few.

masculine_tenderness.jpgThis introduction to the Sacred Masculine explores some of the ways in which male spirituality is now being understood and experienced. In a recent book on the subject, Matthew Fox asserts: “When the Sacred Masculine is combined with the sacred feminine inside each of us, we create the ‘sacred marriage’ of compassion and passion in ourselves.”

The Sacred Masculine is most often presented through archetypes, metaphors and images. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette were pioneers of the modern-day men’s movement. They identified four classic archetypes of the man in touch with his sacred self, that they named King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

  • The King archetype is the fully conscious male commanding leadership with respect. He is associated with authority, order, law and direction. He has two shadow ‘wings’ identified as the Tyrant and the Weakling. The immature boy version of the King is the Divine Child that can also be a child-tyrant or a weakling.
  • The Warrior archetype is the holy campaigner or activist. He has courage, persistence and devotion. He has two shadow aspects of the Sadist and the Masochist. His immature boy version is the Hero, that can descend into the bully or the coward.
  • The Magician archetype is full of consciousness, growth and transformation, often associated with our ‘third eye’ of insight and intuition. His shadow side can be exposed as the Manipulator or the denying Innocent. His immature boy version is the Prococious Child, that can descend into the trickster or the dummy.
  • The Lover archetype is sensual and delightful, appreciating goodness, truth and beauty. His shadow sides include the Addicted Lover and the Impotent Lover. His immature boy self is the Oedipal Child, that can descend into mama’s boy or the dreamer.


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