The indomitable Mark Townsend, magician, priest, author, Druid, has compiled a collection Jesus Through Pagan Eyes, to be published later this year, that promises to make interesting reading. In it is a splendid essay by one of the most cogent thinkers in Druidry today – John Michael Greer – I came across this concise account of how he ended up in Druidry that manages to say a great deal in very few words. If anyone doubts the ‘quirky history’ of recent Druidry, see the post on Libya and the Druids a few posts down!
‘When Christianity finally came to my attention, it was by way of the strident evangelical revival that swept over America in the late 1970s, and that movement’s passion for dwelling on assorted motes in other people’s eyes and ignoring the beams of intolerance, hypocrisy, and political opportunism in its own did not exactly encourage me to take Christianity seriously as a spiritual option. Instead, like much of my generation, I explored other paths—atheism, Asian religions, a handful of the new religious movements—before finding my spiritual home; in my case this was on the far end of the religious spectrum, in that branch of the alternative spiritual scene that embraces the name and draws on the inspiration of the ancient Druids.
The modern Druid movement has a complex and quirky history of its own, reaching back to the eighteenth century, when it evolved out of a collision between liberal Anglicanism, nature worship, and fragments of Celtic tradition.3 It inherits from its origins a distrust of dogmatism that has made it a haven for eccentrics and a nightmare for would-be systematizers. Even so simple a question as the number of deities Druids worship—one, two, many, none—finds nearly as many answers as there are Druids. At the core of most visions of the contemporary Druid way, though, lies a sense that living nature is the least murky expression of the divine accessible to human beings. We may not agree about much else, but the shorthand creed drafted by one Druid tradition wins almost universal assent: “nature is good.”‘
John Mchael Greer in ‘Jesus Through Pagan Eyes’