FAQs

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Open, diverse, and at the same time perfectly organised and structured… There are many questions about Celtic culture and Druidry, here we try to answer some

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any question or uncertainty concerning Druidry or the Pan-Galizan Druidic Fellowship (Irmandade Druídica Galaica, IDG), please do not heasitate to contact us. In doing so, we will continue improving this page with your help.

 

  • What is Druidry?

Druidry (‘Druidism’) is a native European religion and philosophy that has its origins in the culture of the Celtic People. As far as we know it is Europe’s oldest system and ‘institutionalised’ mode of life and it, we believe, originated in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, approximately in the current territory of Galiza and the North of Portugal (ancient Callaecia). For more details read our introduction to Druidry.

 

  • Why Druidry and not Druidism?

Both forms are extant, used and understood, but we tend to perceive the Druidic Way as something fluid that involves the practice above and beyond belief. It is something one dedicates oneself to and it does not contain the rigidity that we so often associate with –isms.
Druidism is what it is, Druidry is what it is and how one does it.

 

  • Is Druidry a religion?

Yes, though the answer needs nuance.
There are some who refer to spirituality, others, religion and others still, both. In fact, the current concept of religion is merely a western construction that began in the 17th Century and took final concrete form as late as the 19th Century, a residue of Christian Supremacism. It is, therefore, a relatively new idea and, when used in contexts outside of the western world, it is essentially a loan word.

However, in our current world and context, the word ‘religion’ is generally perceived as a grouping of beliefs with a surrounding community at least minimally organised, stable and with a clear will to continuity, and this is exactly what the IDG is.

For that reason we do not renounce the use of the term ‘religion’ for Druidry (the Celtic religion), embracing it as do other related groups. The IDG is registered as an official religious entity both with the (Spanish) Ministry of Justice and the tax agency. We find that this clearly maintains our personality as an institution creating, for our beliefs and our culture, a space of dignity and normalisation in the politico-administrative network in which we currently find ourselves.

 

  • Is Druidry ‘pagan’?

No.
Although the terms ‘pagan’, ‘paganism’ and other such variants might seem intuitive in our society when identifying pre-christian beliefs the IDG (and not only us) consider these terms highly imprecise and even insulting.

There is no ‘pagan’ religion as such as it is a word that is used so generically that it includes belief systems so disparate as to embrace, for example, Dodecatism (the native religion of Greece) or Rodism (the native slavic religion). Furthermore, this term contains a series of historically pejorative connotations, imposed as it was from a principally Christian perspective, encompassing all non-Abrahamic spiritual or belief systems (all that were not Christian or Islamic or Judaic). It is, from another point of view, the equivalent of the Islamic words kafir and mushrik (usually translated as “infidels”). In a strict sense, for a Christian, Muslim or Jewish person — Buddism, Hinduism or any other world religion is “pagan”.

Druidry is a religion in and of itself, and it does not need to be placed in any larger category or classification. We encourage every believer in Druidry (every Druidist) or indeed believers of other native European religions to avoid the use of words like ‘pagan’ or ‘neo-pagan’ and use instead the specific name of their own belief-system, faith or philosophy.

 

  • I believe in Druidry and agree with everything written here. Am I already a Druid of the IDG?

No.
The title of Druid (Durvate or Durbede for us) references a priestly category. As is logical, just being a believer or follower of a religion or philosophy does not automatically transform an individual into a priest and neither can these titles simply be self claimed.

One should embark on and complete a formal process of initiation but, most importantly, such persons should be inducted as knowledgable individuals, as those who inspire confidence within their community. The IDG confers these criteria of recognition by the community and of service to the community as fundamental for any subsequent admission into its programme of studies towards eventual ordination. Equally, a Druid is also recognised by their peers at the international level.

It is worth highlighting the significance of the fact that classical Druid apprentices dedicated up to twenty years of their life to study and preparation, under strict tutelage, before being recognised under that name and title. It was even required of them to travel and make pilgrimages. Afterwards they would then be considered as exemplars in the fields of spirituality, philosophy, Celtic law, medicine, education, diplomacy, etc. Acting as authentic elements of cohesion between the different tribes.

Outwardly, individuals who simply are believers of our religion may call themselves Druidists.

 

  • So what’s the deal with ‘self-ordination’ then?

We believe that self-ordination is only valid in cases where individuals are geographically isolated, without any practical possibility of receiving regular training under a well established Order or Druid. In these situations a person would be recognised if they demonstrate seriousness, rigour, and a constant Druidic labour over a long period of time. We continue believing that a Druid should be of their community and, as such, should in some moment offer their services in some way and be recognised by their distant peers.

 

  • I want to be a Druidist (follower of the Celtic religion), where do I start?

You can begin with this introduction to some basic concepts and by following the Nine Rules. Read, study, learn everything you can about the Celtic People. And ask. You can always ask concerning any uncertainty or question you might have.

 

  • What does ‘Durvate‘ mean?

It is a Galizan name for Druids. Durvate is a contemporary title, adapted from the old form Durbede. In this way, Druids of the IDG are called Durvates, leaving Durbede as an honorific form to refer to our Ancestors who have gone before us.

These forms are derived from durbed-, which itself arose from the root dru-weyd-; it is believed that dru, dur, and derw mean “tree” (namely oak) and weyd or wid “to know”. A Durvate would be, therefore, a “knower of the oak”, the most sacred tree along with the yew.

The form dru-wid derived into druí in Ireland and druides in Gaul, while the variant derw-wid can be found in Wales as derwydd and dorguid in Brittany. In Galiza the evolution is dru-weyd- > druwēd > durwēd > durbēd > durbe(t/d)e > dur(b/v)ate.

 

  • Is Druidry not some kind of ‘New Age’ fad or pseudo-spiritual environmentalism?

No.
Druidry is indeed profoundly environmentalist (as well as pantheistic) but it is more than these things alone. Druidry has a series of ethical principles of a religious character that surpass that which is strictly related to environmentalist and ecological concerns, though Nature and a reverence before Nature is the source of primordial inspiration. Apart from this, Druidry is a religion thousands of years old and its current followers base their ideas in these ancient roots: in these sources of knowledge and beliefs that, in the majority of cases are well defined and demarcated. It is certainly not a case of “anything goes”

Reconstructed adapted Druidry, as in the case of the IDG, seeks out paths of research and dialogue with sister organisations, gleaning knowledge, comparing, examining and challenging and growing from its own history, culture and popular wisdom. It is not a diffuse, disconnected mixture of any old rite and philosophy, in and without practical application.

 

  • Is Druidry “Celtic Shamanism”?

No.
Such a thing cannot be. The word shaman belongs to a specific geographical space, to a specific moment and specific conditions which have nothing to do with ours. It is, in fact, a concept that when used in the West reflects linguistic imperialism, racial connotations, cultural supremacism and is, in any case, totally simplistic. We recommend >this article< for more information.

 

  • Is Druidry the same as Wicca or Celtic Wicca?

No.
Wicca has its own liturgy, deities and beliefs that are not the same as the Druidic. Their cosmological vision is completely different. Some variants of Wicca are called ‘Celtic’ and include the names of Celtic Gods, Goddesses and rituals, but the affinity does not go beyond the nominal. The history, the appearance and evolution of Druidry and Wicca are very different, in spite of the fact that friendly and fluid relations often exist between contemporary groups of Wiccans and Druidists.

For more information we recommend reading this article entitled Why Wicca is not Celtic Paganism.

 

  • Is Druidry the same as the cult of Asatru or Odinism?

No.
As in the case of Wicca, they are religions with different rites, beliefs, celebrations and pantheons. Having said that, there do exist certain similarities between Odinism and Druidry, many of which can simply be explained by both of them being Atlantic European religions: two indigenous, neighbouring traditions.

Also, throughout the weave of history, there did exist some transmission of myths, legends as well as a spiritual and symbolic exchange, mostly from Celtic peoples to neighbouring Germanic populations or with those with whom they came into contact. These influences would have spread slowly. In the case of Galiza, the arrival of a significant contingent of Suevians in the 5th Century, politically very significant although quickly ‘assimilated’, could have contributed certain elements of their beliefs to the pre-existing religion.

In any case, as much as in those days as in ours, Druidry and Odinism are two clearly different things.

 

  • Can I be a follower of Druidry and a Christian too?

No.
We can repeat all the points made concerning Wicca and Odinism.

Druidry and Christianity do not have any common links apart from sharing geographical space and the processes of christianisation that occurred over the slow march of history over the religious expression of the Celtic peoples, including the ‘conversion’ and adaptation of some Druids into the Christian sphere on its arrival in Celtic Europe (as such we see some Druidic influence on early European Christianity).

From a theological point of view they are very different religions. For example, in Druidry there does not exist a single ‘Supreme God’ or creator, neither does it have the concepts of salvation, sin, revelations, sanctity, miracles nor so many other christian beliefs or dogmas. Also, in Druidry, proselytising is forbidden while in Christianity it is recommended and encouraged.
Philosophically and ethically Druidry does not share with Catholicism – to use the example of the majority christian group most relevant to Galiza – the role of the human being in the world and in the cosmos, their relation with the Divine or with transcendence, the sense and significance of worship, the absence of ordination of women, the celibacy of the priests, their vision of the family, society and sexuality, etc.
One could say that in many questions, the stances of Druidry and of Christianity are antagonistic.

Historically Christianity originated out of belief systems and events in the Middle East that were later institutionalised into the core of the Roman Empire. Druidry is a religion and philosophy indigenous to the European Celts, with special relevance for the European Atlantic where it was coherent and well organised in the past, though not institutionalised along the lines and patterns used by Christianity. This alone marks differences in the cultural and spiritual approach to mystical concepts and transcendence.

Clearly all of Europe is currently familiar with Christianity and this religion has an important cultural footprint on the continent (and Druidist individuals are not exempt from its influence). Yet, these influences should not be confused with beliefs acquired in a voluntary and conscious form. It is one thing for a christian to study, learn about and even adopt or respect some of the philosophical contributions of Druidry that they consider valid at a persona level, or vice-versa, without necessarily changing their religious beliefs or formal affiliation to a Christian Church or, on the other hand, to a Druidic Order, Group, Grove, Community or Fellowship.

 

  • What is the perspective of Druidry in regards to sex and sexual preferences?

Druids treat the body, personal relations and sexuality with attention and respect, in regards to their own and others. Sex plays with powerful energies that should be studied, revered and enjoyed if one wishes so. Reverence should not be confused with puritanism, modesty or shame, nor with a lack of intensity. True reverence is strong and sensual, full of intentionality and meaningfulness and, at the same time, considerate and kind. The human being is only full and integral when they incorporate all of the elements of their natural way of being and this includes – when and if we wish to have it – a healthy sexuality that leads us to greater happiness and well being for all.

Druidry values the responsibility, honour and commitment of the individual and, therefore, accepts whatever agreements, practices, relational or family structures that are agreed upon by consenting adults which, in a mature and responsible manner, cause no harm to anyone involved. For more information read our “Bigotry Warning”.

 

  • Do Druidists believe in hell, sin, guilt or divine punishment?

No.
We believe we are responsible for our actions. There are no external punishments nor rewards and in this resides the freedom of being human. Do what you feel must be done without hoping for anything in return. It is easy to be good when we fear a possible punishment or desire a possible reward. But a practitioner of Druidry does what they must do because it is in this that they truly feel their responsibility. That is their commitment to their clan; their word and actions are their Honour.

Druidry does not believe in a direct and automatic relationship between negative actions and punishment but we do believe in reparation, that is too say, in undoing any possible harm that we have done, in restoring order, re-establishing harmony. There is no worse punishment than dishonour and dishonour means doing what we should not do.

 

  • Isn’t polytheism a step backwards from monotheism?

No.
In the western world there exists the unfounded idea that polytheism is a primitive and intermediary phase in religious evolution, growing from the even ‘more rustic’ animism, and that it can only ever continue ‘evolving’ towards monotheism, that, in its turn, implies a supreme creator, external to the rest of the Cosmos. This is frequently accompanied with the perverse axiom that links the evolution of religious thought with the degree of a given society’s cultural progress.

However, this linear vision of religion is false, and it is not shared in other cultures, belief systems or religions. For example, the traditional religion of Japan is Shintoism, which is clearly animist, a religion that the Japanese do not define as such but rather as spirituality. This is but a simple example of how criteria and the ways we view these things can change.

The linear form of perceiving spirituality and religion in the western world is strongly influenced by certain sects and dominant faiths, supremacist in Nature, without any deeper reflection into the popular significance of mystical or religions questions, for example, the possibility that polytheism might be an expression of diverse aspects of Nature.
This linear logic can even affect those who call themselves atheists, a clearly western category, as currently accepted, that in many cases is a reaction against the stifling pressure of monotheism and not necessarily against spirituality itself or even the deep feelings we find in a connection with pantheism.

 

  • What is the difference between worshipping and revering Nature?

Druidry is pantheistic and monistic and as such it perceives of Nature and the Cosmos as an All, where nothing is supernatural or alien or strange. Things can be, at most, unknown for now and that can change with time. And of course, in this world, everything is inter-related.

So one way to explain the difference between worshipping and revering Nature is to say that, since we are a part of the All, that All cannot exist without us. As small and tiny a part of it as we might see ourselves, nonetheless this All would still be missing a part. A small part, in the grand scale, but a necessary part for full completion.
From this perspective comes the individual’s sense of wonder, or epiphany, if you prefer, when they open their eyes and see the marvel of Nature, that ineffable feeling of connection and belonging to everything: from the sweeping universal to the very smallest detail. It is that spiritual certainty of knowing that everything forms a part of the same process that marks our Path. From this comes that sensation of reverence, of satisfaction in understanding a piece (our piece) of Nature, and to re-nestle ourselves within it. And so we have neither fear nor shame in proclaiming how extraordinarily beautiful it is and how proud we are to form part of it: we revere it.
We make ourselves proud, yes, positively so. We feel peace and energy, serenity and power — all at the same time. This is the source of Druidic Imbás or Awen (inspiration).

This is what it means to revere Nature. We respect it and we protect it, we are proud of it. Yet, for we are an intrinsic part of it, it would be ridiculous to “worship” a part of ourselves, right? We do not fall into narcissism, but there is nothing at all wrong in finding heartening words for ourselves and sharing with our community the joys and beauties of all life in common.

 

  • What kind of relation with animals do you have? What position do you take on vegetarianism and veganism?

Non-human animals are a part of Nature, just like us. They are our companions in life; they are beings of other species with whom we relate and with whom we can in fact establish emotional bonds. Leaving to one side for a moment religious-symbolic interpretations, in our material lives we grow up with them and all around our relationship with them is woven a series off moral and ethical questions. Their well being and even their very lives can be in our hands. We are, in a very real way, responsible for them as much as we are responsible for the care of every natural element or innocent being who, without consent, can be affected by our ‘intelligent’ actions.

So— as they are sentient beings— the question is: can they be utilised as a source of food? It is best answered with other questions: Do we really need animals as a source of food today, in our current society? Do we have the right to dispose, at will, of the lives of other beings that did us no harm? Fundamentally, why? For what? The answer is clearly negative in all cases.

Persevering in the use and consumption of animals for pure egoism or comfort, or, for mere economic gain (namely the meat industry which is only interested in its own profits) — forcing them, in the process, to undergo brutal and undeniable, widely documented suffering. Such behaviour is illogical and cruel within our current social configurations and necessities as we are writing the histories of who we shall be remembered as.

Hence we encourage all Druidist practitioners to explore the multiple options of vegetarianism or veganism. Furthermore it is important to remember that the practices called “sport” hunting or fishing or any other type of animal abuse is incompatible with membership in the IDG, and that the IDG subscribes to the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

 

  • Where do you practice your religion? Can I attend some kind of Druidic ‘church’?

Druidic religious activities do not necessarily require temples or similar such construction, in fact they can take place just in Nature. We seek shelter in harsh weather conditions and, even then, we always try to ensure the presence of some natural elements.

It is true that throughout Europe there existed (and continue to exist) Druidic temples, but these were places to come together in the practical style indicated above: locations that easily facilitated the assembling of the clan or places that simply made sense for logistical reasons. In fact, they were quite diverse in form and size.

Unfortunately, the IDG still does not have its own sacred centre, but you can give to our ongoing campaign towards its eventual achievement.

 

  • What relation is there between Druidry and Magic? Is there something ‘esoteric’ or ‘ritualistic’ in all of this?

In Druidry, there is a part of initiation that is private in the ordination of those who wish to attain priesthood. From a lay point of view, this apparent secrecy could be perceived as something “esoteric” but really it does not go beyond a part which is very simply, not public. The rites included could appear surprising to someone who had never seen or participated in Druidic ceremonies, but this would occur with any religion or sect with which we are not familiar.

On the other hand, Magic is understood as the capacity to provoke changes in our lives in order to improve them or reach our objectives, strengthening our self-esteem and enhancing our capabilities. The magical rite, as a part of other religions, could be prayer or meditation, for example: ways to formalise our intentions in who we are, how we are and what we do, ways to channel a spiritual connection with the Cosmos. This is not anything supernatural, far from it. It is a way of trying to find, in rituals and practices, accepted and known by all within the community, a systematic manner of learning, intimately, more about reality and Nature.

Rites are also perceived as forms of contact and harmonisation, between ourselves and with the Earth. They are recognisable, simple, clear and easy to repeat formulas which allows us to visualise and perform those commitments.

 

  • Isn’t reincarnation something to do with Buddhists and Hindus?

Belief in reincarnation is not exclusive to Asian religions. The ancient Celts firmly believed in reincarnation, understood as a transmigration of the spirit of one physical entity to another (something which is very present in popular Galizan culture) to the point of leaving debts and contracts to be fulfilled “in the next life”. In fact, it is known that the ancient Druids (Durbedes) insisted in the immortality and survival of the soul after this life; it was a crucial element in their beliefs.

To be clear, in the IDG we do not believe in the eastern concept of reincarnation that is so fashionable today that if someone says they believe in reincarnation we automatically think of that. We do not find that the vicissitudes of our current lives develop according to the law of Karma, that is to say, we do not believe that things happen to us as consequences of previous lives, nor that we are paying off the debt of past sins.
We also do not believe we experience vital oppositions (changing lifestyles with each reincarnation in order to taste all possible life experiences). Nor do we believe that the reincarnation into a non-human being is a sign of “regression”. The Druidic perspective of reincarnation bases itself in the process of apprenticeship, but also in the freedom of choice, even to in the moment of reincarnation.

 

  • Does Druidry defend a return to the past? Is it anti-science and progress?

No.
The Druidry of today is made up of the people of today. The Druids and Druidists of the 21st Century drive cars, listen to rock music and even use the internet (!).
Our tradition teaches us many lessons that come from times gone by and Druidry, as a religion, is based on the teachings of millennia. That presents us with an incredible prize and fortune: the opportunity to access all of that accumulated wisdom. But Druidry does not stay frozen in time, nor is it some attempt to turn back to an ideal romanticised past, which never really existed. Druidry evolved in many ways, just as we, the practitioners of Druidry, evolve.
What we do not do with the past is forget. We do not forget all the good things that it has to teach us, nor the honour that we owe to our Ancestors, as past creators and transmitters of knowledge and, also, we do not forget the lessons learned from all the errors of history.

Druidry considers science essential for attaining the best understanding of history and Nature possible and, consequently, for attaining the best possible understanding of Druidry itself. The more precise and definitive is scientific knowledge the more precise and correct is our understanding of the processes that relate the Human Being to the rest of the Cosmos, so revered by us. We remember that in the root of the very word Druid lies the word knowledge, and science is a fundamental tool for its achievement.

 

  • But weren’t the Celtic peoples primitive barbarians?

No.
Once again, there exist many cliches and false myths about what was truly a great civilisation, thousands of years old, well organised and structured. We recommend reading this text where we gently try to explain some of the common confusions.

 

  • Would being a believer in Druidry imply a change in my relations with other people? Would I have to have socialise only with other believers?

No, absolutely not, you do not have to change a thing.
Druidry does not imply isolation, nor leaving your previous life and your people. In fact, no one should say who you could be with or not, who you should be friends with or not, how you should relate with your family, or not. That is always up to you. Furthermore, Druidry involves itself in the world in which it finds itself, wishing to improve it. It is a religion with a strong sense of service.
Druidry does not promote, for example, asceticism and reclusion away from the world; in the case that someone wishes to (in full use of their personal liberty) retire in order to live a particular experience of Druidry, it would always be occasional and temporary in form. To practice Druidic beliefs does not imply an exclusivity in relations with people who may be believers or not.

 

  • Being a religion native to Europe and firmly tied to an ancient European people, is Druidry reserved only for certain ethnicities or nations? Or for people from certain places or that speak certain languages?

No.
The druidic faith is not closed to any group or person for reason of origin, language, sex, ethnicity, etc. (please read our “Bigotry Warning”) — it was not that way in the past and it certainly is not that way now.

Culture is not transmitted through genes; philosophy and religious feelings transcend the sporadic circumstances of the individual’s life. The links between Druidists (practitioners in Druidry) is based on the acceptance of a particular ethic, a vision of Nature and a form of living the religion. It certainly helps enormously to be aware of the origins and history of the religion and of the people that created it and keep it living, in order to better understand the communion between the Earth, Humanity and Druidry.

It is certainly true that each individual should find the Druidic group with which they harmonise best. The IDG (the Pan-Galizan Druidic Fellowship) considers, for example, that its path is valid for all its members and it understand that it has fullest meaning in Galiza, which is not to say that other paths cannot be equally valid for other diverse individuals or groups, nor that people outside of Galiza cannot wish to follow our path.

 

  • How can I become part of the IDG? How can I be an ‘official’ Caminhante?

As explained in the section on affiliation [in Galizan only], the IDG is a religious association strongly tied to its country. For this reason, it is considered as something quite logical that the individual should have some type of relation with Galiza, be that thorough family, or having lived in Galiza, be it personal, emotional, etc. That is to say, one must understand Galiza.

Given that first criteria, the candidate to Caminhante (official member) should ratify their acceptance of the Nine Rules and, in conformity with the statues and internal regulations of the IDG, complete a questionnaire or personal interview, after which they will enter into a trial period. In this time the person will evaluate whether or not they feel comfortable in the folds of the IDG and, also, it will give time for to see if the individual truly believes in the precepts of the IDG, respects its organisation and shares its vision and objectives.

Obviously, it is not necessary to be a Caminhanate in order to simply be a believer in Druidry. A Caminhante of the IDG is a person that takes the next step, acquiring a decided commitment both personal and practical (putting in labour time) in the daily needs of the IDG. The Caminhante is a person that wishes to learn the spiritual path of Galizan Druidry, represented by the IDG and, perhaps, someday continue towards an eventual priesthood.

Druidic believers in general (Druidists) do not have to put their name down to anything at all, nor do they have to add themselves to any list. The IDG always tries to extend its services and help to all who need and want it regardless. In other words, you can follow the IDG and consider yourself a Galizan Druidist wherever you are without being a Caminhante, and we will try to be there for you within our possibilities.

 

  • Can the IDG perform a rite for me? Would it be possible to get married with a ‘Celtic ceremony’?

Yes, but there are nuances to the answer.
One of the basic principles of the IDG is to attend to Druidists, believers. This includes offering services, rituals, and assisting in personal and spiritual growth. In other words, these things are done under a strictly religious perspective for sincere Druidists. As such, the IDG would be able to satisfy petitions for celebrations or ceremonies (rites of passage, handfasting, etc) where it is logistically possible and once the commitment of the individuals involved is assured.

The IDG will not organise religious rites for merely playful events nor events with lucrative intents nor for individuals who are simply “curious”. In fact, we have published a piece on the “culture of the spectacle”, something that we, from the IDG, criticise [in Galizan only].

 

  • Do you charge fees? Is this not some kind of business or money-making scheme?

No.
The IDG is not only a registered non-profit organisation but we also consider that spirituality and religion should never be used for this type of thing. We have spoken publicly many times about this.

Additionally, the IDG defends the secular State (the separation of religion from State and from public powers at all levels and in all ways). For this reason the IDG never sought, nor seeks now nor will seek subventions, grants or public economic privileges, just as it repudiates the fact that other religions do have such public privileges.
Religious practice can be officially organised, but each organisation should only rely on its own financial resources. We believe that any other political interests and interference leads only to dark places, to supremacism, to dangers, to a distortion of reality and a perpetuation of sinister power relations. From within our own community we sustain our own work.

In order to be able to confront the expenditures that we have (materials for religious ceremonies, internet costs, administrative costs, trips, social work, laying groundwork for the future, etc) We avail ourselves of some donated materials, scrupulously selected — in this way we also accept direct donations. But this is something based on free volition, at the will of whosoever wishes to give and in whatever way they wish to do so.

Moreover, the IDG does not ask for any type of quota from its Caminhantes (official members), for this would signify that formal membership of our Fellowship would be conditioned by a certain regular payment, something which is completely contrary to our way of understanding spirituality and it would create, whether we wished it to or not, a contractual economic relationship. The services to the clan are also completely free.

 

  • Why is the organisation hierarchical?

In order to avoid fragmentation and dissolution in the currents of history.

The ancient Celtic societies lived perfectly organised according to their reality, their time and place, which allowed the Druids to act, structure their teachings and transmit the traditions in a clear and well organised manner. However, now it is necessary to adapt our organisation to the society in which we find ourselves in order to position ourselves to best find each other and be able to walk in our spiritual journey together. Druidry needs this internal organisation with the view to manage resources, to have the possibility of better understanding its own origins, and in order to plan for the future without letting such a structure turn rigid and inflexible. This essay further explores the topic.

The internal hierarchy of the IDG expresses a level of commitment with the Fellowship in terms of time, effort and knowledge. The hierarchy reflects the Clan’s vision of the IDG and its dynamism. The hierarchy has nothing to do with things like “blind obedience”, but everything to do with recognising those with experience and devotion, those in whom we entrust the administrative functioning of the IDG, those in whom we can turn to for help and guidance in our personal and spiritual development.

 

  • How is Druidry organised? Is there a central institution? A world leader?

Druidry is normally organised in Fellowships, Orders, Groves (Arvoredos in Galizan) and Meeting Groups (Gorseddau), each independent of a central hierarchy, each an independent Druidic tradition, though all together, they maintain certain shared minimums. Generally each is centred in its own reality and objective conditions.

It is possible for there to be Groves or local groups that belong to a broader Order or Fellowship. Such groups follow the structures and norms put in place by their mother Order.

A unified “Druidic Church” does not exist as such, nor there is a Supreme Arch-Druid. There is no leader over all Druids. The distinct organisations customarily choose a leader of the group, very often for administrative reasons, but there does not exist a figure of the infallible leader to which one must show submission. But of course, this does not stop us from listening with special attention and honouring figures of each Druidic group that act as spiritual models, nor does it impede us from accepting certain Druids as particularly wise or significant, recognising their value in the direction of the group.

It is possible to find, in some occasions, different alliances or associations of independent Druidic groups that work towards common objectives or seek a common good. Still, each of these entities conserves, within the alliance, their complete autonomy, outside of the freely agreed core principles that bind them together.

 

  • How is the IDG organised? Who is in charge?

This is explained in this introduction. Essentially, the public point of reference of the IDG falls always on the office of the Durvate Mor (Arch-Druid), currently held by /|\Milésio.

 

  • What authority does the IDG have? Who recognises it?

The IDG is a ‘newly created’ order (not previously affiliated with any other), though it is the fruit of rigorous labour and thorough processes. From the first moment the IDG established links of friendship and reciprocity with serious Druidic groups that could help it in its initial steps, before its public presentation in 2011. From that point the IDG was recognised as an official religious entity by the competent administration at the highest levels and also by many of its religious peers at a global level. Therefore, today, and in spite of its humble size, the IDG is a well respected Druidic group in Europe.

Equally, the IDG is an entity associated with the Galizan Cultural Heritage Network (Rede do Património Cultural). The IDG also frequently collaborates with other religious entities (Druidic, of course) as well as non religious in the fields of culture, history, language, environmentalism, etc.

 

  • What does “serious” Druidic group mean?

For us, groups that observe the following minimums:

– An open and honest attitude in relation to native Celtic traditions. That is to say, groups involved in the research, study, practice and teaching of exclusively Celtic cultural heritage and spirituality, without ‘fusions’, eclecticisms or unfounded inventions.
– Not market oriented. That is to say, only non-profit groups and organisations without interest in personal or commercial promotion.
– Groups that are not-racist, not-sexist, not-fanatical. That is to say, groups with a clear and respectable public presence of impeccable reputation.
– Groups against animal abuse and solidly aligned in environmentalism. That is to say, groups that situate Nature, and its defence, in a central and visible place in its ethical and philosophical structures.

The IDG will only contemplate officially recognising another Druidic group if they are aligned with these four points.

 

  • Does there exist a holy book or sacred writings?

No.
There are no sacred books in Druidry, nor are there revealed scriptures, nor commandments carved in stone. At the forefront of Druidry — as in Celtic culture in general — is pluralism, though always from a common base of shared philosophical principles, ethics and beliefs. Sacred books would lead Druidry to an excessive rigidity and obsession with the word. Writings, like this page for example, are simply seen as ways of communicating and transmitting some of our knowledge, experience and ideas.

 

  • What does the IDG’s logo represent?

Our logo represents a union between a modern Druidic symbol, recognised by all Druidists everywhere in the world, and a Celtic symbol, also very well known, but here in its Galizan form. The first is the Awen, the three rays. The second is the triskele. Also, the layout of the letters and the detail of the small triskeles closing off the name and giving the impression of a torques is not fortuitous.

Awen means inspiration in Welsh (like Imbás in Irish) and it is the name of this symbol, created in the eighteenth century, representing three rays of light that fall from above. The number three is of great importance in Druidry as all of reality is perceived in triades whether it be the Deities, the three stages of the sun (dawn, mid-day and dusk), the three classic kingdoms (Land, Water and Sky), the three components of the human being (body, mind and spirit, the three classic seasons (spring, summer and winter), the three steps of life (birth and childhood, maturity and fullness, old age and death), etc.

The triskele is a common sacred symbol amongst many different cultures around the world from the oldest of times. In the Galizan case, it also encapsulates the significance of the previously mentioned triad, with special attention to the three stages of the sun as it journeys over the sky, dies and is reborn, endlessly, from west to east from the Land of the Dead to the Land of the Living, returning to begin again (from this journey its bearing is represented). The triskele in Galiza always has a protective role, benefactor, of help and guide in the journey to the Beyond (bearing east to west in this case).

The colours green and blue were chosen to represent earth (green), water and sky (blue), and where the rays themselves turn green in their descent, in this complementarity and link between all of the elements. They are, as a matter of fact, the traditional Celtic colours of the psyche, associated with protection, good luck and good omens, plentitude, beauty and hope.

 

  • Where there really Celts and Druids in Galiza?

Yes.

— First of all, by purely geographical logic: the Galizan territory was never an exception in its social-cultural sphere in the European Atlantic, with which it interacted and had a direct relationship since the megalithic era. Consequently, the Celtic culture and its religion (a fulcral cohesive element) were not strange and foreign, but rather the opposite. In fact, we defend the historical pan-Galizan origin of all Celtic culture. From within the spiritual expression of that culture, the Druids appeared, pan-Celtic figures of knowledge and power.

— Secondly, for the existence of clearly Celtic elements in the fields of religion, spirituality, philosophy, behaviour (psychology), cultural, ethnographical, folk culture and Galizan mythology, – all in direct consonance with other Celtic territories – normally euphemistically called “pre-roman”.

— Thirdly, by the existence of ancient inscriptions documenting the knowledge and presence of such figures, namely in the Gallaecia Bracarensis (Southern Galiza, including today’s Northern Portugal). For example, inscriptions showing the evolution of the proto-Celtic term.

druwid– “priest, druid” (cf. Matasovic)

durwid– (metastasis of /r/ in contact with /u/ ou /w/, cf. Matasovic s. v. *tawr-)

durbid– (cf. PIE *tawr– > PClt *tarw– > OIr. tarb “touro” [bull]; this last evolution is also found in the MARTI TARBUCELI, Braga, AE 1983, 562).

And, the subsequent Galizan form durbed– (hence Durvate) clearly arising etymologically from dru-weyd

Some known inscriptions are:

D(IS) M(ANIBUS) S(ACRUM) / POS(UIT) IULI/A QUTI FI/LIO IULIO / FAUSTO {A} / AN(N)OR(UM) XXXIII / ET DURBE/DI(A)E NEP/TI SU(A)E CA/RISSIM{E}/IS MEIS (Vigo: HEp-15, 00307)

CELEA / CLOUTI / DEO D/URBED/ICO EX V/OTO A(NIMO) [L(IBENS?)] (Guimarães: AE 1984, 00458)

LADRONU[S] / DOVAI BRA[CA]/RUS CASTEL[LO] / DURBEDE(NSE) [H]IC / SITUS ES[T] / AN(N)O/RU[M] XXX(?) / [S(IT) T(IBI)] T(ERRA) L(EVIS) (AE 1984, 458)

Where DURBEDIE is a feminine personal name, that is to say, ‘Druidess’ (Druwidyā), DURBEDE is a place somewhere near Braga (druwidī — something which could possibly explain the toponym Druidantes in Ogrobe, Galiza), and DEO DURBEDICO, an epithet “to the God of the Druids” or “to the Druidic God” (Druid-ik-)

— Fourthly, by the persistence in historical period of, at least, two druids ‘converted’ into Bishops.

Primarily Prisciliano (4th Century), assassinated for his “pagan tendencies” as he defended, amongst other things, equality between women and men, the abolition of slavery, the right of members of the clergy to marry, the use of dance and music in religious ceremony, animism, contact with Nature and the celebration of religious services in Nature, the elimination of hierarchy in religious institution in which he was inscribed (an institution which eventually learned embarked on punitive actions against him and ended up executing him as a “heretic” and “witch”, etc). The influence of Priscilianism persisted for a very long time and the memory of him lives on even today.

In second place, Mailoc (6th Century), spiritual and political leader of the colony of Britons established in the very north of Galiza by Celtic emigrants who abandoned the island of Britain and Armorica (the current Brittany), fleeing the Germanic invasions. His legacy and the legacy of that community still persists in those parts of Galiza.

– – – /|\ – – –

A special thanks go to the Orden Druida Fintan (Catalonia) for their help in the compilation of the ‘frequent questions’ and use of part of their own FAQ section.

Translation: Paris Xácia Ceive, whom we also thank, deeply.

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