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Druidry FAQ

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Druid?
  2. Are you a Cult?
  3. What do Druids believe?
  4. Do you believe in God?
  5. Do you practice witchcraft?
  6. Do you sacrifice people?
  7. Is there a church?
  8. Do you worship the Devil?
  9. Do you know that you're going to Hell?
  10. Do you do black or white magic?
  11. Is this like Buffy/Charmed/the Craft/etc.?
  12. Is this some phase you're going through?
  13. That's a lot about what you don't do, but what do you DO?
  14. Do you wear silly costumes?
  15. Are you the same as ancient druids?
  16. Okay, I'm done here. Where can I learn more?

  1. What is a Druid?

    Good question. I don't know a lot more than anyone else, really, because all Druids are a bit different, but usually they have a few things in common. A reverence for nature, a belief in the magic of the world around them, and a general belief in polytheism (the belief in many gods) at least to one degree or another.

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  2. Are you a Cult?

    Trick question. Either way we'd say no, right? But the long answer is that I really mean it when I say no. In a lot of ways we're the opposite of a cult. In a cult there are a lot of secrets and the leaders wield great power. They try to cut you off from your former life and make a new one for you. We don't do that at all. In my experience, Druids are very open about what they do and believe. Our leaders have no more power or authority than anyone else (in fact, in my organization our only real piece of proper unchanging law is the idea of fallibility: that our leaders are human and are not infallible). And we love community and try to grow not only connections to each other, but the world around us including our families and loved ones. (Disclaimer: I have not seen all druid organizations. just because a group uses the word Druid doesn't mean they are automatically not a cult. Do your homework).

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  3. What do Druids believe?

    That's a bigger question than you know. It's a lot like asking what Christians believe. Not only is it a LONG list, but no two groups believe much of the same stuff. Apart from the central beliefs above, though, most druid organizations work under a few basic assumptions. the first is that the world around us is alive. Maybe not organically, but mystically. That it has an energy. And that we can either feel or manipulate that energy somehow. This is why we have rituals (it's the same reason that other faiths pray or celebrate sacraments). They also believe in learning. All druids that I have known are on a never ending quest to know more about their faith, their roots, and the world around them. We take learning very seriously (I don't know if that's universal, but so far it has been). Some believe in multiple gods (Celtic and Norse gods are common) and spirits and faeries and in communing with nature and reincarnation ... there's a lot of variations. But you'll find that what I've outlined is pretty common.

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  4. Do you believe in God?

    Of course. I believe in many gods. Personally, I believe in most all gods. I just don't worship them all. But usually, when people ask this question, they are wanting to know if i believe in THEIR god. Usually Yahweh, the God of the Christians and Jews. And I do, I guess. A lot of people believe in him and he's no more likely than any of the gods I worship. But do I venerate him? No. I'm not a big fan, personally, but I have known druids who do worship him.

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  5. Do you practice witchcraft?

    Well, yes and no. If you mean Wicca, the associated ritual, or the highly fantastic idea of riding brooms and turning people into toads, then no. But if you're asking if I do magic, then yes, I do. Understand, though, that your idea of magic probably includes a lot of movies. You expect Merlin to make it storm, or for me to look into my crystal ball and tell you the future. We don't really do that. The magic we do is a lot like most other religious ritual. We pray to the gods and tell them how great they are. We give them things (no, we do not sacrifice people or animals, but we do sacrifice. More on that later). And then we ask them for things in return. Most people are familiar with this pattern from mainstream religion and are surprised at how similar it is. Here's the secret: different religions are not as different as you think.

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  6. Do you sacrifice people?

    No. Nor do we sacrifice (or even just kill) babies, goats, cats, rats, or anything else. Here's how it works: We give things to the gods and spirits around us. When we do that, it helps them and makes them more aware of us. So that's a good thing. And then we ask them to return the favor and give us things that we might want. But the gods are not people. They don't need a goat. What would they do with a goat? Instead, maybe we give them a statue of a goat. Or a silver ring. Or some fresh produce that came from our gardens. These things have meaning attached to them that is symbolic. The garden produce represents hard work and love. The goat statue is just as real a goat to the gods as any goat could be (more so sometimes, because you can design the statue). We give these things to the gods. It's likely that ancient druids (and members of most other ancient religions, including Jews and Christians) sacrificed living creatures, but we do not do that now. For starters, there is no reason. Also, any god that demands that is probably a negative influence and best to be avoided.

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  7. Is there a church?

    Well, sort of. There is for me. They are sometimes called Groves. Mine has around 30 or so members (I think) and our rituals usually have at least that many people (though deep winter is smaller numbers and Samhain - or Halloween if you prefer - is much larger - more than 70 people). It's a lot like any other church group: we get together often to talk about our ritual and we talk about our religion (and make dick and fart jokes). Pretty much, it's normal.

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  8. Do you worship the Devil?

    Well, the simple answer is, "Of course not." The complicated answer is that the Devil is a part of the Judaeo-Christian faith, and the real identity of this figure is vague at best, but any way you look at it, he pretty much only exists in that one faith. But early Christians called a lot of gods from other faiths demons and devils in an attempt to make them seem less legitimate, so I'm sure some of the gods I worship would be called demons by those Christian schollars. Just not by me.

    The much more complicated answer goes like this: usually people associate devil-worship with doing evil for the sake of evil. And that is something that I certainly do not do. We strive never to harm anyone if it can be helped and certainly don't do so religiously.

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  9. Do you know that you're going to Hell?

    Well ... no, but please don't try and tell me.

    Hell, like the devil, is a product of the Christian and Jewish faiths (in one form or another). And I understand that you probably believe in hell and you probably want to save me from it, but try to see it from my point of view. I've chosen a different faith and a different belief. When I die, nobody judges my soul or sends me to hell. I don't stand at the pearly gates and talk to saints and, from my point of view, odds are good that you don't either.

    But, if I'm wrong about the universe and I can be sent to hell for all eternity for living a good and decent life and simply making a different choice about my faith, then so be it. I'm okay with those odds. In all fairness, Druidry (the way I practice it, at least) is less about what happens when I die and more about what I do while I live.

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  10. Do you do black or white magic?

    I get this one sometimes, and I'm not sure where it comes from. For starters, I don't believe in black or white magic and what I do isn't really "magic" so much as it's me working closely with the divine. When you pray to your god, is that black or white? Have you ever prayed for anything bad? Well, maybe not, but maybe you prayed to get a job or to win a game. How is that different than praying for the other guy to not get the job or to lose the game?

    The bottom line is that you don't do anything in a working that you wouldn't do with your hands or voice. If it's wrong to do it directly, it's wrong to do it indirectly. So even if there were such a thing as black magic (and I don't think there is) it's not part of my faith.

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  11. Is this like Buffy/Charmed/the Craft/etc.?

    Boy, is it not. There are some movies that have come close to paganism in some ways and don't make it seem like a farce, but most movies are trying to capitalize on the mythology and I can't blame them. Its good stuff. But its not reality. In reality my religion isn't much different from yours (if you have one). I know that a Christian mass doesn't probably seem like a ritual to you, because you've been taught not to think of it that way, but it's not different. You talk to your God, often there's a magical aspect (the transubstantiation, for example) and the clergy prays for the things you want and gives thanks and praise. My rituals are the same.

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  12. Is this some phase you're going through?

    Is your faith a phase? Of course it's not a phase (or if it is, it's a phase coming up on 2 decades). But honestly, try to think about how that question sounds before you ask it of anyone about their religion. It's really dismissive, as if the descision they made was made without any real thought or intent. I'm not a Druid to spite anyone or to piss anyone off. I'm a druid because it's the faith I've chosen (and I've looked into a lot). My beliefs match up with theirs and that's all there is to it.

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  13. What do you actually DO?

    Good question. Druids do a lot of the things normal people who are religious do. We gather for rituals about monthly (on high days most of which are solstices and equinoxes). I perform blessings and send prayers for people when need be (like when they're sick or upset or going through a rough time). We perform weddings (I've performed two myself) and funerals if need be (I've lucked out there so far). In life we try to have a reverence for the world around us. Does that sound a lot like what happens in your religion? Not surprising. In fact, in practice I find that almost all religions are the same. "Be a good person. Be nice to people. Don't be an asshole." They all say about the same thing there no matter how they say it. The rest are just details about how you see the world.

  14. Do you wear silly costumes?

    Of course, just not for religious services! The truth is that a lot of organizations and Druids wear ceremonial robes. Sometimes they're hokey and sometimes they're not (though check out the way a priest dresses sometime for a comparison). For some people, it helps them get in the right frame of mind. Personally, I don't usually. I used to, but I find that ritual is about my mind, not my outfit. But if I were ever to lead a ritual and act as clergy, I would probably wear the outfit, not for me, but for the other people in the Grove.

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  15. Are you the same as ancient Druids?

    It depends on your point of view. Historically, no. A lot of what we do is based on what we know about ancient Celts, but honestly we know very little and what we know is shrouded in myth. Take what, say, Christians know for a fact about the time of Christ and then understand that we're talking about an older culture with less written history. It's not a science but honestly, thre is no direct tie at all.

    So, what makes us Druids? Well, choice, I guess, but some of it is the idea of inspiration. Try this analogy. God did not write the bible (not with his own hands) but Christians believe that it's his word, and that he inspired the people that wrote and edited and compiled it. In the same way, we believe that our worship is inspired by the gods. We listen to them and see if we can't figure out what they like and what works for us and that defines our worship. So while we may not have a direct line to ancient Druids, we are using the same material they were to decide what is part of our faith and what is not.

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  16. I'm done here. Where can I read more?

    Here's a few links that I think are helpful and contain good information:

    Wikipedia's Entry is honest and well researched.
    r nDraocht Fin: the druid organization that I am a part of.
    Three Cranes grove: The Grove in Columbus, of which I am a founding member (thank you very much).

    That's all for now, but I'll have more up later.

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