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Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

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Modern Druidry is a 300 year old path that focuses on nature spirituality and inner transformation founded on personal experience rather than dogmatic belief.

Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby freyja13 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:58 pm

I've read DJ Conways's Celtic Magic and her Norse Gods' books in which she outlines methods in which both groups form a circle? However, as an eclectic Wiccan, myself, I borrow from here and there. I don't have a set Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses; rather, I incorporate the ones that speak more to me. It seems to me that this is where Wicca is heading; however, there could be other opinions.

My real question is:
Does anyone know if Druids worship the same pantheon of Gods and Goddesses as the Celtic Wiccans?
I was under the impression that Druids are more about the worship of trees, herbs, plants and the eight Sabbats of the year?
Do Druids form a circle in the same way Gardnerian, Alexandrian or even Eclectic Wiccans do, or do they have their own ways of building a circle?
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby SpiritTalker » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:03 am

I haven't ever researched Druidry proper or the Celtic culture, so others here will have to help. There is a Reconstructed Druidic Order of America today.

According to Wikipedia on Celtic & Druid:

Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic and Slavic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celts, leaving behind a legacy of Celtic cultural traits.[4] Territories in north-western Iberia—particularly Galicia, northern Portugal and Asturias, historically referred to as Gallaecia and Astures, covering north-central Portugal and northern Spain.

A druid (Welsh: derwydd; Old Irish: druí) was a member of the high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures. While perhaps best remembered as religious leaders, they were also legal authorities, adjudicators, lorekeepers, medical professionals and political advisors.

One of the Druid's god-names mentioned on Wikipedia is Dagda. There's way too much to copy and paste, so you'll maybe want to look it up too. Celtic Wicca is a reconstruction from Welsh &'Irish histories, the same sources probably used for some of the modern day Druidic reconstruction. There are core shamanic practices that are common wherever magic is done. Some form of a circle is one such common practice. Druids would work with the spirits of the Land, and probably out doors, with trees as guardians and teachers. The Gardnerian Wiccan method is taken from recorded ceremonial magic and Masonic ritual text, and their base sources are no doubt older than dirt. I don't think anyone knows how an ancient Druid would detail it specifically since they left no written records. The 8-day wheel is an entirely modern Wiccan development as far as I know, combining the solar and agricultural cycles.
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby planewalker » Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:14 pm

I can only speak to the historic Druids. They were bordered to the east by the Teutonic Germans, to the north by the Finns, Nordic, and Lapp peoples, to the south by the Romans. { I'm neglecting the tribes of the high Alps and the Iberian Penninsula as they have little to do but occupy ground.} They were themselves driving the Picts to extinction against the Atlantic. The Picts would live on in the Highlanders and Welsh. There was however, by the time of the Roman invasion of Briton, much injection of minor tribes of Gaels into the parts of the British Isles that would become the Highlands and Wales. The Druids were the intellectual elite of the Gaelic people from roughly 1,200 BCE until 60 AD. As Spirit says, they were not only the workers of wonders. They were the lawyers, doctors, educators and pharmacists of their people. They were beaten and ejected from continental Europe with the defeat of Vertingetorix, at Alesia, in 52 BCE. The last historic Druids were eradicated by the Romans, at the end of the revolt of Boudicca, in circa 60 AD. I'm not sure of the teaching of the Neo-Druids, but I am sure that the last of the original Druids were butchered on the island of Anglesey by the Romans. The Romans were very good at eradicating people they found inconvenient. They always raped, pillaged and burned in that order.
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby Lady_Lilith » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:11 am

I would take anything DJ Conway says about history with a grain of salt.
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby SpiritTalker » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:52 pm

I browse around you.tube a lot, and was going to suggest Greyson Silverwolf but his video isn't the best, as he's distracted. Https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=OOm-WYp-8zA

John the Verbose (as he calls himself) also has videos if you want to checkmhim out. He is more focussed. He has a short piece on sacred space. https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=Kf8zCouVGDk

It seems as with pagan practices everywhere, that there is no one agreed on method.
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby SpiritTalker » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:01 am

While the 2 you.tube sites probably didn't help a "bleep" with your questions, (sorry about that. They were pathetic sources) I just now read this comment in "The Book of English Magic" by Philip Carr-Gomm & Richard Heygate, pg 62., paragraph 2:

"Like it's cousin, modern witchcraft or Wicca, Spiritual Druidry developed a threefold initiation system. Drawing on the accumulated magical heritage of what has come to be known as the Western Mystery Tradition, it developed ceremonial forms that include casting a magical circle, consecrating the circle with fire and water, and invoking the blessings of four elements and cardinal directions."

So the answer to your question of whether Druids cast a circle like a Wiccan is Yes. "Spiritual Druidry is considered a valid spiritual & magical path in it's own right." (same source) "Today's Druids also practice shamanic journeying...communicating with plants & animals, ancestral spirits & spiritual guides..." (ditto) The ref. also mentioned today's Druids observe the Solstices and Equinoxes and "old cross quarter days".
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Re: Are Druids a subgroup of Celts?

Postby Ròcas Cearcall » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:37 pm

Modern druidry doesn't necessarily involve the worship or any particular set of gods, unless you are in an order like ADF, which is essentially a church. I assume they have certain gods, but I am not entirely sure. I am in the Ancient Order of Druids in America and the Druidical Order of the Golden Dawn. The AODA has members from all over the religious spectrum, including Christians. Druidry isn't necessarily a religion. It can be practiced as a spirituality. While some druids, such as myself, invoke gods and goddesses (usually of one Celtic pantheon or another), some don't use any gods, preferring to involve energies of the elements. My religion is Wicca, which is complimented by my druid spirituality.

As far as the circle, they can be similar, but aren't the same, and in fact, the way you work with the energies has a different feel. Every morning, I do AODA's sphere of protection ritual. While it has similarities to calling the quarters, it is a bit different. Instead of creating a circle in which to hold energy for a purpose, it is meant to call in the elements (actually seven energies in all) and surround yourself with them in order to keep out negative energies throughout the day. (You can read a sample ritual at https://aoda.org/Articles/The_Sphere_of_Protection.html)

As part of my DOGD practice, I perform the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram every evening, which invokes the elements using certain divine names and involves projecting a circle similar to casting a circle, but again for a different purpose. (You can read about it in The Celtic Golden Dawn by John Michael Greer.) You can work within it, especially meditation work, but whereas I cast a circle for particular purposes in witchcraft, whether it is divination, ritual observance, or to do spellwork, in my druidry practice, the circle IS the purpose, at least more often than not, and it is left in place all day long rather than drawn up at the end of the ritual. To further complicate things, we use the same rituals to set up a grove or temple similar to Wicca in order to celebrate the sabbats. I am still fairly new to druidry, but that has been my experience so far.

It's important to remember that modern druids do not have the same practices as the original druids, although we are inspired by them and a number of our rituals are at least partly based upon what we know of them, the reality is that there is very little surviving information. There isn't an actual, direct connection. That being said, modern druidry is three hundred years old, at this point, and covers a wide range of practices. I practice magic, but there are many druids who don't, at least not to the extent of what we would expect as witches. Each order approaches things differently. In AODA, we have druids who rarely if ever do magic outside of the sphere of protection. They are ecologists, permaculture farmers, artists, etc. ADF operates as a church with a certain set of beliefs. Yet, the Gnostic Celtic Church within the AODA does not require any particular pantheon. OBOD is more of a spiritual philosophy (from my understanding. I am not totally familiar, though I plan on joining them as well at some point). In the DOGD, we are all magicians and invoke Welsh gods according to the system of magic designed by John Michael Greer and based upon the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but modified for druid practices.

Modern druids do a great many things, which makes the answer to the original post pretty complicated. On each point, I could say some do, but some don't. We've incorporated a lot of practices that aren't even Celtic in origin, including runes, tarot, gi gong, and eastern meditation practices. Personally, I tend to worship the Wiccan god and goddess concept and often Celtic gods such as Bridid, Lugh, Dagda, The Morrigan, and The Cailleach. I think it is common for druids to associate with Celtic gods, but it definitely isn't required. In AODA, we are encouraged to incorporate whatever gods (or lack thereof) that fit our religious beliefs. I invoke the above gods in my work. Mostly, we expand our spirituality through a close relationship with nature and a clear understanding of our impact upon our local environments. I find that it combines well with my witchcraft practice, since I tend to draw upon elemental energies.

I am afraid I just muddied stuff up more than anything else, but there you go. Modern druidry is sort of all over the place, but I think that is part of its beauty. It continues to evolve, much like Wicca. In fact, Gerald Gardner was a member of a druid order and was good friends with Ross Nichols, who founded OBOD. From my understanding, before Nichols, druids celebrated the equinoxes and solstices. Nichols added the cross quarter days, having discussed the concept with Gardner. As a result, in AODA, which predates Nichols, the cross quarters are optional, though I celebrate them anyway due to Wicca.

That seems like a lot of stuff, I know. You can find a lot of information on the websites for OBOD (http://www.druidry.org) and ADOA (aoda.org). They were a lot of help to me when I was decided whether or not to add druidry to my practice. Otherwise, if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them as well as I can. Like I said, I am pretty new, but have worked very hard to absorb as much as possible and will be happy to share my experiences thus far.
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