Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Someone posted a long screed to a pagan mailing list I'm on that he titled, "Why are We Druids?" In it, he proposed to speak for all druids by going on about how we worship nature as if that were the only reason for the concept to even exist.

I realize that the term druid has been ripped from its moorings so long that the original connection points have rotted into uselessness. I'm not annoyed at the nature-boy approach being dubbed druidry per se so much as I am at the claim all who use the term mean the same thing he means by it. I have protested the claim that all pagans practice Earth-based spirituality for a long time. I for one do not. I see conservation and related behaviors as sensible. I also know my ancestors practiced slash-and-burn agriculture and thought midden heaps were just peachy. This is why I see green paganism as a valid modern innovation instead of a return to the way the old ones would have wanted it.

I've also been making my way through Barry Raftery's Pagan Celtic Ireland recently. It contains a drawing that reconstructs the probable look of a pre-Christian temple they know was built on Emain Macha. And where there's a permanent temple, I know there were druids who were happy to be out from the rain leading sacrifices under its roof. Not so much with the communing with trees there unless you consider dead timber to be the same as an oak grove for the sake of argument. And while I can enjoy an outdoor ritual, I have issues with sunscreen and blood sacrifices to mosquitos being mandatory to my pagan experience.

So, I grant that neither the nature lover nor myself can really claim an unbroken line of descent from Cathbad in any realistic form. I was still not represented by his words. I figured my definition of druid is as good as his and posted it. To wit:

"I am a druid because I am a priestess of the Celtic gods and serve a tribe (small and scattered, to be sure) of like-worshipping people."

It's a definition I don't see used too often, truth to tell. But it's mine, and I like it.

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