Saturday, October 2, 2010

Neo Druidism In Britain

Neo Druidism In Britain Cover The origins of the modern Druid Revival lie in speculation about the historical druids in Early Modern 17th century Britain. William Blake, the artist and poet, was among those who used the image of bards and druids symbolically in his poetry. In Blake’s mythos, bards are cast as the noble and admirable advocates for imagination (“Divine Imagination” as Blake characterized it). Druids, on the other hand, were used most often by Blake in a negative way to symbolize priesthoods of Literalism without imagination. In this poetical symbolism, Blake was inspired by current theories of certain scholars of his day which speculated that the British druids were in fact a remnant of the antediluvian religion of Noah and Adam in the Biblical mythos. Some saw them as the martyred exponents of the true religion taught by God in the Garden of Eden, as distinct from Christian religion as it later developed, which was seen by Nonconformists such as Blake to be corrupt. The theory that ancient druids were the true inheritors of the ancient Patriarchal religion was a move intended to make “True Religion” something British rather than foreign. Such a theory turned on its head the previous view of churchmen that druids had been bloodthirsty pagan priests who worshiped “devils” and were quite rightly stamped out by the superior culture of the Romans.

A more positive view of the druids, portraying them as wise old men arose with the northern European Romantic movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. One of the key proponents of the idea that the bards preserved a purer and more universal religion that transcended sectarianism was the Welsh Iolo Morganwg. His writings, though now acknowledged to be partly his own invention claimed to be based on manuscript sources and oral traditions in Wales. His work led to the establishment of the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards and influenced the forms of the Welsh National Eisteddfod, celebrations of British culture as distinct from that of the conquering English. The romantic positive figure of the druid and the bard became powerful images within the Welsh and Irish nationalist movements.

In 1964, George’s son Robert MacGregor Reid, then chief of the The Druid Order, died, and Dr Thomas Maughan was elected as his successor. Following a differing amongst some senior members, Ross Nichols founded the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, fully recognizing those three grades in a way that is not formalised in The Druid Order. The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids now represents the largest body of organized Druidry in the world, with over ten thousand members.

Recent decades have seen an explosion of druidic orders and groups in Britain, including the Loyal Arthurian Warband (founded and led by British activist Arthur Uther Pendragon, self-declared reincarnation of King Arthur), the British Druid Order, the Secular Order of Druids, the Glastonbury Order of Druids and so on, with the Council of British Druid Orders set up in 1989 to enable meetings and discussions between different Orders to take place. In February 2003, The Druid Network was launched; its aim is to be a source of information and inspiration about the modern druid tradition, its practice and its history.

Free eBooks (Can Be Downloaded):

Anonymous - So My Kid Is A Witch
Reeves Hall - Asatru In Brief
Franceska De Grandis - Goddess Initiation
Max Heindel - Ancient And Modern Initiation
Eleanor Hull - The Northmen In Britain