(Missed Friday’s post for the Pagan Blog Project due to life getting in the way. I’ll publish two “D” posts this week to make up!)
So, I’m a member of ADF. Therefore I am a Druid, right?
Except I’m not always so comfortable with the term. It’s got different baggage than “Witch” (Which Ci Cyfarth neatly talks about here, so I’ll let you go read over at Land Sea and Sky), but there’s definitely still some confusion around the term.
So here in the early 21st century, when we use the word “Druid,” we might mean one or more of the following:
– A historical person from antiquity, who may or may not be well-documented by Classical neighbors, but definitely didn’t leave any useful notebooks laying around, but would have been very well educated and would have had a reasonably well-defined role in their community. (Hint: these don’t exist anymore, and if someone claims to be one, look for a TARDIS.)
– A person who’s part of the Eisteddfod movement, which is non-religious and focused on the arts.
– A person who’s a part of the fraternal Druidry movement, which is non-religious and philanthropic/social.
– A person practicing Revival Druidry, which is the non-sectarian spiritual/philosophical movement that came out of the fusion of lodges, nationalism, culture revival, Unitarian Christianity, enthusiasm about henges, and the poetic stylings of that guy I mentioned earlier with the laudanum. Revival-style orders include OBOD, AODA, BDO, etc.
– A person practicing a religious form of Pagan Druidry, which emerged from the larger Pagan community. Pagan Druid groups include ADF, Henge of Keltria, Order of WhiteOak, etc.
– A person who uses the term “druid” for other reasons, which may range from quite complex to “I just like it better than ‘witch.’”
So anyway, there’s lots of things that a Druid can mean. It can mean something as free-form as New Reformed Druids of North America (Nature is Good), or something as structured as formal high ritual in ADF, or something completely different.
Of course, the term “Witch” is just as fraught with baggage in our language. I came to a sort-of peace with the term when I was actively seeking a Wiccan initiation, and still consider myself a witch (lowercase “w”) when I do certain types of magic.
But since I am still in the treehouse (HA! I’m not in the Broom Closet, I’m in the Treehouse! Get it? Druid? Tree? Har har? I think I finally found a solution to my terminology problem), I don’t talk openly about my druidry to most people. And there’s the added layer of confusion that I work with (primarily) Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian Gods, yet call myself a Druid. There is a word for Druid in Anglo-Saxon, but it wasn’t necessarily a term for someone who practiced the AS religion. More like they knew that Druids existed (at least to my knowledge).
But I am a practicing member of ADF, and leading a decidedly druidic study group, so I guess the word fits me pretty well. As a descriptor for my practice, Druidry fits about as well as anything else, and fits nicely into the Neopagan umbrella as well. So I guess I’ll stick with it.
After all, I do like to hug trees.