When my study group explored ethics in neo-Pagan religions, we found that there were several types of ethic principles. Some of these included virtues-based ethical principles, in which people are encouraged to develop good habits of character, duties-based ethical principles in which people are obligated by the Divine or by societal custom to behave in a certain way, and consequentialist ethical principles in which people are motivated by the consequences of their actions. Most ethical systems combine two of more of these types, with one type predominating. Most Druid groups that have either stated or implied ethical statements or ethical concerns seems to have predominately virtues-based sets of ethical principles, with some duties-based sets of principles.
Each of the revised Bardic Grade lessons also includes triad that often describes desirable traits for a Druid to cultivate. While these examples of triads are not found in the Bardic grade lessons, they are quite similar to those given in the lessons: (2)
OBOD has also embraced Erynn Laurie’s collection of Celtic virtues as well: the virtues of truth, honor, justice, loyalty, courage, community, hospitality, strength, and gentleness. (3)
I could find no discussion of ethics per se in the materials by the British Druid Order. Former Joint Chief Emma Restall Orr does have some essays on ethics in Druidry posted on the Druid Network web site.
The curricula for the First and Second Degree emphasize service to the Earth and to nature and service to each other, development and sharing of knowledge. (4)
RDNA does not advocate any particular ethical or moral stance outside of “Nature is good.” Each person is free to develop his or her own ethical stances through thought, meditation, introspection, and/or from other faith paths. (5)
Nine pagan virtues are discussed in the Dedicant’s program : wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation and fertility.(7) ADF’s statement on what neo-Pagan Druids believe also contain ethical concepts concerning equality of the sexes, communitarian duties, duties to maintain the environment, protecting the rights of themselves and others, ecological activism and awareness as sacred duties, and living lives consistent with stated beliefs.
The statement of beliefs also add that “we believe that all life is sacred and should neither be harmed nor taken without deliberation or regard” and “we believe that morality is a matter of personal conviction based upon self-respect and respect for others.” Other possible ethical guidelines or concerns that may be discussed as part of their oathbound materials are not discussed on the Keltrian web site or in publicly available materials.
So, as you can see, there is a great variety of modern Druid groups with differing aims and practices. I hope I have helped you become aware of some of the similarities and differences between groups. Each group has its own unique outlook and unique strengths and contributions to share.
One could almost say that there is a Druid group for every seeker, provided that the seeker wishes to experience his or her spirituality through intimate interaction with nature. If you are interesting in exploring a Druid path, there are resources listed below you can explore. I also urge you to visit the web sites for the organizations I have talked about today; for they will give you far more information than I could include.
If you have more information or have comments about what is on these pages, please contact me through the feedback form.
Druidry and Druids in General
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Beacon Press, 1987. Descriptions of the Reformed Druids of North America and Ar ’nDraiocht Fein.
Bond, Lawrence and Ellen Evert Hopman, Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today. Destiny Books, 2001. This is a slightly revised edition of People of the Earth: The New Pagans Speak Out. Interviews with Isaac Bonewits of ADF and Tony and Sable Taylor of the Henge of Keltria.
Bonewits, Issac. Isaac Bonewits’s Homepage: http://www.neopagan.net/. Various essays on Druids, ancient and modern, and Bonewits’s personal vision of Druidry/Druidism.
Carr-Gomm, Philip. The Rebirth of Druidry: Ancient Earth Wisdom for Today. Element Books, 2003. This is a revised edition of The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today. (London: Thorson’s, 1996.) Essays on various aspects of British and Continental Druid groups and Druidry.
Cowan, Douglas E. (ed.) The Religious Movements Homepage Project at the University of Virginia: Druids. http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/drud.html.
The Druid Network homepage: http://www.druidnetwork.org/.
Greer, John Michael. “ADF and OBOD.” http://www.adf.org/about/adf-and-obod.html. Active as of October 6, 2004. A in-depth discussion on the differences between these two organizations by a person who is a member of both.
Hutton, Ronald. Witches, Druids and King Arthur. Hambledon & London, 2003. Chapter on modern British Druid groups.
Myers, Brendan “Cathbad.” “A Guide to Druids and Celtic Spirituality.” http://wildideas.net/cathbad/druid.html. May 2001. Accessed March 23, 2005. Web site about historical and modern Druids.
Modern Druid Groups
Ancient Order of
Druids in America
Ar nDraiocht Fein
Isaac Bonewits’s Homepage: http://www.neopagan.net/
Bonewits, Isaac. “Ar nDraiocht Fein: A Druid Fellowship”: http://www.witchvox.com/trads/trad_adf.html
British Druid Order. Druidry: Re-Kindling the Sacred Fire.
Orr, Emma Restall. Ritual: A Druid’s Guide to Life, Love & Inspiration. London: Thorson’s, 2000.
________. Druid Priestess. 2d ed. London: Thorson’s, 2001. The first edition was printed under the title, Spirits of the Sacred Grove: The World of a Druid Priestess.
________. Thorson’s Principles of Druidry. London: Thorson’s, 1999.
Shallcrass, Philip. Druidry: A Practical and Inspirational Guide. London: Judy Piatkus Ltd, 2000.
Shallcrass, Philip (Greywolf). “British Druid Order”: http://www.witchvox.com/trads/trad_bdo.html
Henge of Keltria
Henge of Keltria. The Book of Ritual. 4th ed. n.p., 1997.
Henge of Keltria. The Henge of Keltria By-Laws. 2003-2004 edition. n.p., 2003. Available in PDF format at: http://www.keltria.org/Acrobat/Bylaws03.pdf.
Henge of Keltria. “The Henge: An Introduction to Keltrian Druidism.” Second edition. n.p., 1998.
Taylor, Tony. “Keltrian Druidism”: http://www.witchvox.com/trads/trad_keltriandruidism.html
of Bards, Ovates
Carr-Gomm, Philip. The Rebirth of Druidry: Ancient Earth Wisdom for Today. Element Books, 2003. This is a revised edition of The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today. (London: Thorson’s, 1996.)
________. In the Grove of the Druids: The Druid Teachings of Ross Nichols. Watkins, Publishing, 2004.
________. The Druid Way. London: HarperCollins, 1993.
Damh the Bard. “The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids”: http://www.witchvox.com/trads/trad_obod.html
Nichols, Ross. The Book of Druidry. Philip Carr-Gomm and John Matthews, eds. Reprint edition. London: Thorson’s, 1992.
Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. The Book of Ritual. Lewes, Sussex: Oak Tree Press, 2001. (Generally unavailable to non-members.)
Worthington, Cairistiona (Christine). Druids: A Beginner’s Guide. Hodder, 1999.
Some Other Modern Druid Groups (just a small sampling)
The Order of the Whiteoak — http://www.whiteoakdruids.org/
Adder Oaks Druid Community — http://adderoaks.com/aodcmain.htm
Tuatha de Brighid — http://www.tuathadebrighid.org/
Druid Order of the Yew — http://www.druidnetwork.org/yew/index.html
Corcu Nemedhiann — http://groups.msn.com/CromansGrove/_whatsnew.msnw?pgmarket=en-us
The Loyal Arthurian Warband — http://www.warband.org/
The Druid Clan of Dana — http://www.fellowshipofisis.com/druidclanofdana.html
Ord Draiochta na Uisnech (Druid Order of Uisnech) — http://www.irishdruidry.org//index.php?p=14&msgcat=0
The New Order of Druids —
Updated February 19, 2008.|
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