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Witch … or Druid? What is Druidry?

In the mosaic of modern spirituality, threads from ancient traditions often intertwine with our present-day practices. Among these are Witchcraft and Druidry, paths that share a deep connection with nature, yet each holds its own unique set of beliefs, rituals, and historical lineage.

I recently found a new tattoo artist in Phoenixville and during my six-hour session, we spent a lot of time discussing … well a lot of things! Since I was getting a goddess tattoo, one of our main topics of discussion centered around our various practices and beliefs, many of which overlapped. During the conversation, she said that she was still unsure of exactly where she best fit in, but she was leaning toward Druidry.

I had heard about Druidry before, but I had only a vague idea of what it was and I didn’t realize how closely it aligned with what I identify as … a witch. So, I decided to learn more about it. What I basically discovered is that she is basically my “sister from another mister” as we are walking very similar paths.

The Essence of Druidry

Modern Druidry, sometimes referred to as Druidism, draws inspiration from the beliefs and practices of the ancient Druids, the learned class among the ancient Celts. These individuals served as priests, teachers, and judges. The Druids of old are shrouded in mystery, leaving behind no written records of their own. What we know comes from Roman and early Christian sources, as well as the rich body of mythology and folklore preserved in medieval Irish and Welsh manuscripts.

Today’s Druidry, while inspired by the past, is a contemporary and evolving path. It is a reconstructionist or revivalist movement, meaning it seeks to rebuild a spiritual tradition by drawing on historical sources, folklore, and modern inspiration without claiming an unbroken lineage to its ancient namesake.

Key Aspects:

  1. Nature Reverence: Druidry sees nature as sacred and alive, a belief that manifests in a profound respect for the earth and its landscapes.
  2. Polytheism and Animism: Many modern Druids are polytheists, honoring a pantheon of deities often drawn from Celtic mythology. Animism, the belief in the spiritual essence of all things, is also commonly embraced.
  3. Seasonal Celebrations: Druids celebrate the cycles of nature, marking moments of change such as solstices, equinoxes, and other festivals that connect participants to the rhythms of the earth.
  4. Spiritual Growth: The path encourages personal development, creativity, and the pursuit of wisdom through various means, including meditation, study, and artistic expression.
  5. Community and Harmony: A significant aspect of Druidry is living in harmony with others and the environment, often manifesting in community service and environmental activism.

Druidry in Relation to Witchcraft:

While witches and druids follow distinct spiritual paths with their own unique practices and beliefs, there are several areas where they overlap or share similarities. Here’s how they are akin:

  1. Nature Reverence: Both witches and druids have a deep reverence for nature. They see the earth and its cycles as sacred and often draw energy and inspiration from the natural world for their spiritual practices.
  2. Seasonal Celebrations: Both paths often celebrate the cycles of the seasons, including solstices, equinoxes, and other cross-quarter days that mark important agricultural and natural events. These celebrations, often known as Sabbats in witchcraft and as festivals in Druidry, are times for ritual, reflection, and community gathering.
  3. Polytheism and Animism: While not universal among all witches or all druids, many practitioners of both paths believe in multiple deities or spiritual entities. Both paths may also practice animism, the belief that all things (plants, animals, rocks, natural phenomena) have a spirit or consciousness.
  4. Ritual and Magic: Both witches and druids may engage in ritual practices, though the specifics of these rituals can vary widely. These rituals can include magic, which is often seen as a way to work in harmony with natural forces to bring about change.
  5. Spiritual Growth and Personal Development: Both paths encourage personal growth and self-discovery, often emphasizing a deep inner journey and fostering a connection with the divine, however it is perceived.
  6. Community and Harmony: Both paths often emphasize the importance of living in harmony with others and the environment. There is often a focus on community building, whether through shared rituals, festivals, or group work for environmental or social causes.

Despite these similarities, it’s important to remember that witchcraft and druidry are distinct paths. Witchcraft is a broad term that encompasses various magical practices and beliefs, and can be practiced within many different religious contexts or as a standalone spiritual or magical practice. Druidry, rooted in the ancient Celtic priestly class, is a spiritual path that has been reconstructed and revived in modern times, focusing on nature reverence, wisdom-seeking, and cultural heritage, among other things.

Both paths offer rich, nature-centered spiritual practices that honor the past, celebrate the present, and embrace the future with reverence and joy.

In summary, while both paths celebrate the sacredness of nature and the cycles of the earth, Druidry and Witchcraft each have their unique characteristics, traditions, and philosophies. Druidry is not typically categorized as a form of witchcraft, though the two paths can complement and enrich each other when practiced side by side.

Conclusion

While this article obviously isn’t going to definitively answer the question, “What is Druidry?” I can clearly see that both Witchcraft and Druidry offer rich, nature-centered spiritual paths that honor the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future with hope and reverence. So, whether you are drawn to the diverse and magical practices of witchcraft or the nature-focused and community-oriented path of Druidry, both journeys offer profound ways to connect with the natural world, the divine, and yourself.

Oh, and here’s a link to look at my beautiful tattoo!

Recommended Reading

Here’s a recommended reading list for those interested in learning more about Druidry:

  1. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America” by Margot Adler – An insightful exploration of the American Pagan community, this book delves into various traditions including Witchcraft and Druidry, offering a comprehensive look at modern Paganism.
  2. The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth” by John Michael Greer – A guide to integrating Druidic practices into daily life, this book combines history, mythology, and ritual to explore the path of Druidry.
  3. The Book of Celtic Myths: From the Mystic Might of the Celtic Warriors to the Magic of the Fey Folk, the Storied History and Folklore of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and Wales” by Adams Media – Dive into the rich world of Celtic myths and legends, which form the backbone of many Druidic and Witchcraft traditions.
  4. Celtic Tree Magic: Ogham Lore and Druid Mysteries” by Danu Forest – This book offers a detailed exploration of the Ogham, the ancient Celtic tree alphabet, and its connections to Druidry, divination, and tree magic.
  5. The Path of Druidry: Walking the Ancient Green Way” by Penny Billington – This book offers a detailed, practical approach to modern Druidry, encouraging readers to explore nature and harness its power in their lives.