Druidism is a nature based path, the forefathers of whom pre-date Christianity dating back even to pre Roman times. The original Druids were educated men of philosophy looking to align their spirituality with the knowledge and learning of the day. In modern times practising Druids are looking to reaffirm the relationship between man and earth focusing on strengthening the bond with nature and the natural world.
Druidism of olden times was a religious path worshipping a single divinity while honouring the spirits of nature. Druidism as a modern path is more of a belief system with nature at its core. As with many modern Neopagan religions the modern druid if approaching Druidism from a religious perspective is more likely to adhere to a polythestic or duo centric religion and worship either a God and Goddess or a pantheon of (likely Celtic) deities.
Druidism is associated with the Celtic people of Britain, Ireland and Northern France. The influence of the nature religion can be seen in many of the Celtic myths and the Celtic deities (Cernunnos the Horned God likely being from Druidic inspiration).
Similar to Traditional Witchcraft the Druids place significant emphasis on the teachings of their ancestors and those who have gone before. The modern Druid seeks to reinterpret the lessons of those who have trodden the path before us to make the spiritual traditions relevant to modern times. An example of a modern focus would be learning environmental awareness and looking for ways to improve the health of the planet.
The Druids consider animal life to be sacred and believe that individual species of animals can offer wisdom and foresight to the man who takes the time to listen. In Druidic practise it is not uncommon to commune with the spirits of animals with the Druid sometimes travelling out of body to the spirit realm in order to do so. Animal life is revered but the olden day Druids would not have opposed hunting to kill for sustenence. Some modern Druids may argue that we have evolved to the extent where we can live without needing to consume animals but their ancestors would have considered hunting a natural part of the cycle of life and death.
The Druids are perhaps most popularly associated with Stonehenge (Salisbury Plain UK) built 2000 BC. Interestingly Stonehenge pre-dates the Druids and the high ceremonial association of the the man made temple goes against the ethos of the olden day Druid who would have preferred to worship at natural shrines. Modern Druidism however makes much of both Stonehenge and the other megalithic monuments dotted around Ireland and Britain and the celebration of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is probably the most famous Pagan celebration of modern times.
By Caz Rooney
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