Druidism, also called Druidry, is a religion that was taught by the Druids (a member of the priestly class of the Celts about 2,000 years ago). Druidism is a nature-based religion that has many elements in common with New Age and Wicca, but with a focus on ancestry and nature. It has no official dogma or sacred Scripture and, therefore, can take many forms. Like the New Age movement, it can adapt to a large variety of spiritual beliefs. So, those who are pantheists, polytheists, monotheists, and animists can adopt druidic philosophy. 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.
Druidism practices a tolerance of many different philosophical and spiritual traditions and teaches that no one system of thought is truer than any other. Rather, it depends on the individual and the "path" that he or she has chosen. Within the Druid movement there are "Bards" who were the ones who kept the oral traditions alive. They had to learn stories and underwent intensive training for many years. There were the Ovates who were the healers, and the Druids who were the philosophers and teachers.
The main elements of druidic belief are . . .
- Sacredness of all life: A philosophy which deals with the sacredness and divinity of all life in which all life is equal in value. Therefore, humanity is on the same level of importance as plants and animals.
- The Otherworld: A place of existence beyond our physical senses. It is a place we are supposed to go to when we die but can be visited with the help of meditation, altered states of consciousness, visualizations, chanting, hypnosis, and shamanic trances.
- Reincarnation: Ancient Druidic practices taught a type of reincarnation in which the soul went to "The Otherworld" between incarnations, which could be in human or animal forms. Most modern Druids hold to this as well.
- Nature: It reconnects us with nature, our ancestors, and ourselves, by "working with plants, trees, animals, stones, and ancestral stories."
- Healing: It brings healing using holistic means for both body and spirit.
- Journey: Life is a journey from one stage to another; birth, marriage, children, death, etc.
- Potential: Developing one's potential for the development of our creative, psychic, intellectual, and intuitive abilities.
- Magic: Where ideas are brought into manifestation and divination is used to predict the future.
Druids do not practice human sacrifice, but they do celebrate eight festivals which are based upon the seasons. They celebrate summer and winter solstices which are the longest and shortest days of the year respectively. They celebrate the equinoxes in the fall and spring when the days and nights are equally long. The other festivals were based on tradition and related to farming such as sending the cattle out to pasture, beginning of the harvest, etc.
Druidism emphasizes the "spiritual nature of life."
It most probably originated in Britain around 2,000 years ago, but this is not certain since ancient records are few and far between. It has recently undergone a revival.