Druidism: an ancient spiritual religion

Roisin Maguire

Druidry or druidism is a religion taught by the Druids who were members of the priestly class of Celts around 2000 years ago.

It is a religion that is based on nature which means that many elements of it are similar to modern Wicca in which Wiccans worship the earth to a certain extent. However Druidry focuses more on ancestors. 

Like Wicca, it has no spiritual text or God compared to other religions like Islam which has the Quran and Christianity which has the Bible. Druidry is more about adopting spiritual beliefs so it is free for anyone to join. There are different types of druids: monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic and animistic.

According to Carm.org, “Monotheistic Druids would believe in a god or goddess.  Polytheistic Druids would affirm gods and goddesses. Pantheistic and animistic Druids would deny a personal God and would instead affirm the presence of God, as a force, that would exist in all things.”

Druidry teaches people to tolerate a range of different philosophical and spiritual traditions. It also teaches people that everyone is on an individual path so everyone is following a unique spiritual enlightenment. In this way, it can be said that Druidism is similar to Buddhism as Buddhism teaches us that our suffering is different and we must all follow a path that will better us as human beings. 

In Druidism there used to be teachers; bards, ovates and druids. The bard was like a professional storyteller. They went through intense training to learn stories and keep the oral tradition alive. They were also music makers, historians and they were often employed by a patron who gave them the task of keeping their family history alive. Ovates were known as healers, seers and diviners. In today’s world, they would be the ones who practise herbalism and divination within Druidism. The English word “ovate” comes from similar meanings used by classical writers. For example, the classical author Strabo, described an ovate as an interpreter of nature. Druids were teachers and counsellors. They often attended a Druid training order and some could spend 20 years in training.

Ireland has one Celtic Druid temple in county Roscommon. It is Ireland’s only Druid school and it is also a registered charity. On the schools website, you can access Druid courses, celtic spirituality weekends and training courses. They also encourage people to volunteer with them for a day and lunch will be provided. They state that no one will be asked to do any work they are uncomfortable with and volunteers must have an appreciation of nature. 

What is possibly of most interest to people is that they invite people to celebrate the full moon ceremony, to celebrate the eight folds of the solar year and to participate in a pilgrimage to Crom. 

Druidism is still misunderstood as the religion where they burned human sacrifices inside a giant wicker man however there is no evidence of sacrifice of any kind in Ireland.

Roisin Maguire

Image Credit: Wikimedia