Thursday, 25 September 2008

Bastille Day II: The Druid Strikes Back

Over the past couple of weeks, discussion has arisen over the matter of modern Druidry. The ignition point was this statement;

Have you ever thought that there’s something wrong with modern Druidry?

We have reached a stage in our evolution as a ‘movement’ where we have become self-satisfied and complacent. The format of our rituals and festivals lack passion and religious insight, but of even far greater concern, they are starting to become set in stone. They have no concept of the Pagan inner mysteries and stagnate in some superficial desire to connect with the seasons and the world of nature. Our practices have become far removed from that which we pretend to honour.

We have been led to fear the words ‘religion’ and ‘dogma’, as if the ancient Druids were as unstructured, undisciplined, ill-informed and confused as we are today. So we accept the received wisdom from a handful of authors and it is leading us down a road to nowhere. We have forsaken the dying and rising sun god, within and without. We have relegated the goddess to a mere spirit of nature. It is we who would seem naive and primitive in the eyes of our ancestors.

In their time our druidic ancestors were at the cutting edge of philosophy, natural science and the understanding of the glory of the cosmos. Yet we insult these ancestors by pretending to be shamans, as if the ancient Druids had not evolved beyond the hunter-gatherers and still clung desperately to some primitive Mesolithic awareness until the arrival of the Christians.

Druidry is more than just animism, more than a counter-culture reaction to monotheism. But still we generalize with the symbolism of the gods. Where is the passion on our tongues and the fire in our bellies? Is there is no yearning in our hearts to look deeper? Do we really believe we already have all the answers we need? Where is the real belief in the gods? Where is the fire in our heads?
Can we say, before our gods, that druidry today answers those questions? No it cannot, enlightened spiritual insight remains our greatest weakness.

Many who read this may find our words offensive, and if we have hit a raw nerve, then having done so is way over due. But if you feel like we do, that it’s time for change, that Druidry today needs to be shaken out of its complacency before its too late, then you will find a way to contact us.

Our illustrious tradition deserves better of us. Together we can make a difference. Lets make it real, lets do it with passion, lets re-connect to the gods and stoke those ancient fires once again.

In Truth/|\
Stefan Allen Seniuk, Head of the Albion Conclave of Druids,
and many others.

A couple of blogs; Ancestral CeltMochen Ddu posted it and made comment, other forums such as the BBC Pagan boards and Caer Feddwyd also ran discussions, in one case still ongoing. As someone whose membership of the druid network lapsed years ago, I cannot see what has been happening there but I am told it has gotten quite excitable.

Credit to Stefan for bringing to the fore the kind of matter which I talked about in small groups but not much really goes on after that. Slap on the wrist for his very dodgy interpretation of what the original druids were (italicised paragraph above in the statement), take this paragraph from the message and the message holds. It makes the same call and raises the same issue – ironically, with the crap history, it has a streak of the thing is riles against – and demands something be done. And what is to be done?

Well, in October there will be a gathering of people, who want to go, to discus the matter at Flag Fen. It seems to be an open invitation.

I am in all probability going to go with the members of Brython. We have discussed this since it was released and what ‘we’ would like to see happen.

My view? I want to see a (metaphorical) druidic French revolution in which we abandon the title of Druidry and any pretence that druids have ANY relevance today whatsoever. The druids of the Britons 2000 years ago were priests, philosophers, genealogists, law keepers and much else besides. They served their community and the gods much as priests do from many cultures. Take away that culture and the need for a priest is gone too. This is a classic case of to many chiefs and not enough Indians. Modern druids aren’t serving anyone but themselves. They are pointless, they fulfil none of the roles of a druid. As someone on Caer Feddwyd pointed out, the only people with any remotely sound basis for calling themselves as druids, as in that they are keepers of tradition, of culture, of song and prose, are the Gorsedd of Druids at the Welsh National Eisteddfod.

We establish our tribe and our community, we get together and sort out what we are first of all. Build the community first, build the relationship with the gods - together. THEN when we have a community the need for priesthood might arise - unless you have a community you don’t need priests and their many roles. if such an occasion arises, people will naturally assume the role and the community will accept them as such - those they don’t accept wont have a role or community to serve.

the whole thing should be an organic evolution, not a forced top down creation.

Right now we lack any cohesiveness as a community, nothing firm that we can say binds us together in a common framework of religious belief and observance. This is where matters such as a dogma of sorts comes in – those things we can ‘sign up to’ as being what we believe to be the Native British Tradition in the 21st Century

I see Brython as being at the beginning of that bottom up, cohesive and (French) revolution. This time though we wont strangle, bludgeon and garrotte someone before throwing them into the Fen. Probably


Anonymous said...


Well said :)

I will hold my hand up and state that I helped write the first part of the paragraph that seems to have been picked up by the nay-sayers as their casus belli.

I do wonder if they are using simply because they cannot accept the truth of what the rest of the statement brings.

I wrote "In their time our druidic ancestors were at the cutting edge of philosophy, natural science and the understanding of the glory of the cosmos."

I don't see what is wrong with that. You yourself have said above that "The druids of the Britons 2000 years ago were priests, philosophers, genealogists, law keepers and much else besides." So what's the difference?

Ho hum... I live and learn I suppose. Both Stefan and we members of Brython are really fired up by this, full of passiona based upon a level-headed understanding of the task before us.

We understand that this task will probably not be completed in our lifetime, but hey every revolution has to begin somewhere.

As for garrotting, I have a little list...


Anonymous said...

You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.....


Anonymous said...

nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose... does it Jimmy lightbulb head