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are also the songs of our children "

The Druid Way

My Memory Has Failed Me…

October 4th, 2010

This morning I wrote that the news about the Druid Network applying for Charitable status came out of the blue for us in OBOD, and that we hadn’t been involved. I went on to say that I felt this was fine – consult 4 druids as they say, and you get 5 opinions.

I have now discovered that I was wrong, and apologize for any confusion or incorrect understanding this may have caused. Emma Restall Orr emailed me (and a number of other Druid leaders I believe) in 2007 and canvassed my opinion. I felt the project was well worth pursuing and supported it, and made some suggestions to “include provision for those who sense their Druidry as a philosophy rather than as their religion, and those for whom the concept of Deity is unnecessary and could even be described as atheistic (as can Buddhism & Jainism)”. The years then flowed by and I’m afraid I forgot all about it…

My feeling is that the benefits that the Druid Network have gained with this initiative will outweigh any disadvantages that might be perceived, and it is important to remember, as TDN spokesperson Phil Ryder says, that it is not ‘Druidry’ per se which has been registered, but the Network.

Is Druidry a Religion?

October 4th, 2010

News has hit the headlines that Druidry has been classed as a religion by the UK Charity Commissioners. Like everyone else here I’m still digesting what this means. This is the Druid Network’s initiative and it’s out of the blue for us in OBOD, we haven’t been involved. (Which is fine – consult 4 druids as they say, and you get 5 opinions.) But this means it needs careful consideration. On the one hand this could well be a positive move, bearing in mind though, as one commentator said: “there is in the UK no real way for a religion to be recognised officially as in the US, as our constitution relies on precedent and there is no single mechanism. The Charities Commission is an important body which regulates the activities of bodies constituted as charities (which Druid groups can now be), but its ruling will have no effect on other areas of UK law such as the registration of places of worship for weddings etc., until these different areas are tested in court or ruled on by other bodies or the Home Office. It does set a useful and helpful precedent though and opens the door for other Pagan groups who want to be constituted as charities.”

However, I – and many other OBOD members – have always liked the way Druidry has avoided being ‘boxed-in’ to one definition: a spiritual path to some people, a magical tradition to another, a religion to a third, a philosophy or cultural phenomenon to another, and so on. As soon as you start on the path of trying to define Druidry you run into problems: look at the last sentence of the quote I gave: ‘other Pagan groups’ – well some Druids don’t consider themselves Pagan so you’ve got a problem right away. Not all people who call themselves Druids would agree with all aspects of the definition of Druidry that The Druid Network have agreed with the Charity Commission. As with many things there are positives and negatives and it’s a question of weighing these up and looking more closely at the implications of the decision.