Future of Paganism
Druids: Moving Forward, Remembering the Past
On a more local level we need to do things in our own communities to gain recognition, such as adopting highways and beaches and working to keep them clean, serving food at homeless shelters, and donating to food banks. These are just a few examples of community outreach that will bring good will to our name. We need to make sure that the recipients of our services know who we are, as a way to develop name recognition.
Those who are involved in the arts can use the ancient stories and sacred sites as inspiration, and keep their memory alive for the future. Musicians who play on public stages can make a point of mentioning the Druidic holy days and deities in their songs and stage banter.
Can Druids Be Warriors?
Many Druids are serving in the military at this time but throughout history Druids have been known as peacemakers. Roman historians tell us that the moment a Druid stepped on to the battlefield all hostility would cease. This was partly due to respect for the office, and also because harming or killing a Druid was the equivalent of burning down a library. Each Druid carried the laws, precedents, and religious teachings within their head.
These days there is a "Druid warrior" movement that seeks to create a modern Fiana, modeled on the tribes of warrior-poets who once roamed the Celtic lands. Trained as Druids these eco-warriors work to develop survival skills, are trained in martial arts, diplomacy, and conservation.
The martial arts training is crucial because the masters of these ancient disciplines are not trained to attack anyone, rather they exist to aid and protect the defenseless.
Druidic Goals for the Future
Druidism deserves to be recognized as one of the great world religions. Our history, traditions, literature, and teachings go back thousands of years. Our clergy and lay folk need to be aware of the rich cultural and ethical legacy we represent.
Anyone who aspires to the title of "Druid" should remember that in ancient times it took twenty years to earn the title. Plunking down $25 to join a Druid Order or reading just one or two books does not begin to scratch the surface of what we are and what we can be. (For a list of basic readings about Druids go to www.whiteoakdruids.org and follow the links.)
With thanks to Uwe, Niall, Morgan, Coinneach, Caur, Daibhi, Moonwriter, Craig, Eilidh, Caerwyn, and all the members of Whiteoak for their input. May their work be ever blessed.
Ellen Evert Hopman is the author of the novel Priestess of the Forest: a Druid Journey and its sequel The Druid Isle as well as nonfiction works such as A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine and other volumes. Visit her site at www.elleneverthopman.com.