Msg#: 2318                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Druid Stuff

                            Basic Druidism 101
     Over the centuries, the Druids have been a persistant image in
the Celtic nations of Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Ireland, Brittany and
Manx.  They are also crop up in England.  When most people think of
the Druids, they imagine men in long white robes, cutting mistletoe
with golden sickeles.  Or, especially if British, they think of the
people in long white robes that gather at Stonehenge every Summer
Solstice.  In the Neo-Pagan community, people think of Druids as men
and women in long, white robes, who wear white berets.  Well, they are
all Druids, of a sort.
     The Druids, as an organized above ground group, pretty much
ceased to exist by the seventh century C.E.  Despite their
destruction, their spirit lived on in the imagination of the people in
the British Isles and elsewheres.
     In the past two hundred years, there have been a number of groups
that have called themselves Druids.
     Some, such as the Masonic Druid organization formed by Iolo
Morganwg, claim to carry on the ancient traditions of the Druids.  A
few groups say that they are the decendents (fam-trad) of the origanal
Paleopagan Druids, and have an unbroken line from then to now.  Since
the 1960's, there have been a number of Neo-Pagan groups that have
called themselves Druids.

                           PALEOPAGAN DRUIDISM

     Who really were the origanal Druids?  What does "Druid" mean?
What do we accurately know about them?  What are the sources of our
     About 6000 years ago, 4000 BCE, there lived a group of tribes on
the northwest shores of what is now the Black Sea.  These tribes
shared a set of certain common beliefs, similar social systems and a
common basic language.  History has labled the language and the
peoples the Proto-Indo-Europeans, or PIE.
     As the name implies they are the root stock of the modern peoples
and cultures from Europe to the Indian sub-continent.  Over the
milleniums between then and now, they migrated from their home lands
to cover Europe and part of Asia.  They were known throught history by
many names.  Among the civilizations they founded were the Vedic and
Iranian cultures in the Indian sub-continent, and the Hittites in
Mideast.  In the west, they were the founders of the Greek
civilization.  To the northwest, they established the Celtic, Slavic,
Germanic, and Baltic cultures.
     The Indo-European social system is most easily seen in Vedic
India.  It is based on a one plus three plus one groups.  The three
major groups, or castes are the clergy, the warriors, and the
producers.  At the top, above the clergy, was a High King or Queen.
Beneath the hewers of wood and drawers of water, were the slaves and
outcasts.  This 1+3+1 caste system carried over into the cosmology and
other aspects of life.

... "Bother!" said All as Mistress cracked the whip.
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  Msg#: 2319                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: More Druid Stuff [1/3]
 >>> Part 1 of 3...

                       The Circle System of A.D.F.
                        (c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
                 Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #2

     Some Thoughts on the Training of Neopagan Clergy:

     Theoverwhelming majority of religions on this planet require
manyyears of hard study and training before a woman or a man is
admitted into the ranks of the clergy.  This study and training
usually includes not only the acquisition ofmagical and religious
knowledge, but also the mastering of skills insuch diverse areas as
counseling, teaching,art, music, drama, dance and the basics of what
each culture has in the way of science and technology.
     AmongthePaleopagan Druids,this training may have takenaslong
as twenty years.  In the modern western world,outside of a few
fundamentalist denominations, this training is done through several
years (as many as ten or twelve in some groups) of college level
classes and experiences.
     However,for several reasons,there is no universally (or even
commonly) accepted system of qualifications for Neopagan clergyhood.
Most Neopagan magical/religousgroups are outgrowths of the 60's
counterculture,and theythus have strong egalitarian dogmas.  The
idea that clergy could be "better" than themembersof their
congregations,in any way at all,hasbeenrepugnant enoughtobe
nearly "heretical."  The Protestant Christian idealofevery person
(or at least every man) being their own minister has been acceptedby
manyNeopagans without examination of the historical or magical causes
behind the creation of that ideal.
     AsI have mentioned before,Neopagans have a tendency to be
strong individualistsandare often extremely distrustful of both
leaders andorganized political structures.  Most Neopagan groups
prefer to stress informal collective decision making.  Such factors
are especially prevalent in the more self-consciously feminist
Neopagan groups,such as those now calling themselves the "Dianic
Craft."  This is understandable, since the overwhelming majorityof
mainstream religious heirarchies have been grossly male-chauvanistic,
at least insofaras the extent of overt power has been concerned.
(Oddly enough,the religiousgroups that have been run by the worst
MCPs are often the onesmost dependentuponthe support of and covert
power manipulations by theirwomen members!)
     Inanyevent,thanks to these and other factors,the very
conceptsof religiousorganizationalstructureandofspecialized
qualificationsfor clergyhoodhavebeen discarded by many people as
maleplotsagainstwomen.  Most Neopagan groups,because they tend to
be supportive of the feminist movement, have gone unquestioningly
along with this assessment.
     Most Neopagans who become priests or priestesses do not attain
their positions because they have studied, mastered and then
demonstrated specific skills releventtotheir chosen roles.  Rather,
they become members of theclergy because (a)they have belonged to
the group for a minimum length of time, (b) theirhouseis the one
everyone meets at,(c)they are so nice thatnobody wantstohurt
their feelings by denying them a higher rank thantheyreally deserve,
and/or (d) they have gotten very close to the High Priest/ess.
     Althoughindividualorganizations occasionally have clearly
definedand strictlyenforced standards for their own clergy,those
standards are seldom applied outside of such groups.  And having any
kind of standards at all is the exception, not the rule.
     Does it matter?  For nondruidic groups, perhaps not.  Many
Neopagan traditionsseem to get along just fine (or think they do)
without a highly trained clergyatall.  Asurprisingly large number
of Neopagan clergy havebecome competent through sheer experience (the
old "sink or swim"method).  Yet being a priestess or priest is not an
easy task,as most of us have found out.  In order to keep up with the
demands made upon us,we wind up needing the skills and knowledge of
magicians,psychics, polytheologians, therapists, scientists, artists,
dramatists,politicians,public relationsexpertsandhealers.
Juggling all these activities,when our training was haphazard at
best,makes for a frustrating and difficult "career" in the Neopagan
     Nowaddinthe fact that Neopagans currently have astrong
prejudice againstpaying their clergy any money at all,let alone
enough money to allow themto function as fulltime religious workers.
This forces us to studyand practiceour clergyhood on a part-time
basis,usually while holding down full-time jobs in the mundane world.
     Put it all together, and you have a splendid recipe for creating
frazzled, scattered,incompetent, but very sincere priests and
priestesses who,if they take their responsibilities at all seriously,
suffer professional burnout after onlyafewyears.  They then leave
the community,takingwiththemwhat knowledge and training they have
managed to accumulate.
     I've suffered this sort of burnout myself, and seen several of my
fellow clergy go down in flames.  I would rather this did not happen
with ADF.  It's a topic I've been thinking about for many years and
which I've discussed at great length with my sibling clergyfolk.
     Now here's my plan.....

     Going around in Circles:

     To begin with, I'm stealing the idea of using "Circles" of
development and commitmentfrom the old Church of All Worlds,who in
turn got itfrom Robert A.Heinlein's _Stranger in a Strange Land_
(see Margot Adler's _Drawing Down the Moon_ fordetails).  Everyone's
familiar with the idea of"innercircles" that secretlyrun
supposedly democratic groups.  In point of fact, everylarge
organizationis actually run by a small number of people,regardless
ofwhat theymaytellthe general public.  This is due to factors
involvinghuman communication capabilities and varying degrees of
dedication,as well aswith the commonly mentioned (and less ethical)
motives of greed and power-hunger.
     WithADF,Iwant everything to be as open and aboveboardas
possible.  We'restartingoutby stating that our structure is oneof
circleswithin circles.  The more hard work,dedication and time a
person is willing to put intoADF,thefurther they will progress
towards theinnercircleswhere increasingpowerand responsibility
will be wielded.  But we will never put pressure upon anyone to go
further or faster than they are ready to go.
     I could have chosen other symbols for this system.  Ladders, for
example, oreven climbing a tree (that's both Druidic and
Shamanistic!),would provide an image that would be very hierarchical.
But such climbing images also imply (a)that people "on top" are
spiritually better than those "below" them,and (b) that only a few
people can be on any given level at a time.
     Or we could use a pyramidal structure, which allows more people
to beon the lower levels,with fewer and fewer near the top.  But
that symbolism would makesome folks think we were running an
imitation of the Catholic Church,or even (Danu forbid!) a "pyramid
     Theadvantage of using the images of circles within circles is
that all ofthecirclescan be viewed as being on the samehorizontal
plane.  As mortals,we all stand upon the same Earth,and no matter
how high a treeor building we might climb, the stars are just as far
above us as they always have been.
     It'sprobablethatmanypeoplein theinnercircleswillbemore
"spiritually evolved" than those in the outer circles, at least if our
training system is doing what it's supposed to do.  But it's also
entirely likelythat somepeople will choose to stay in the outer
circles for personal reasons that havenothing to do with their
spiritual development.  For this reason,we're going to try to avoid
referring to "higher"and "lower" circles, even if we do use a
numbering system for them.  Instead, we'll call them "inner" and
"outer" circles, and talk about "inward" and "outward" movement
between circles.
     CurrentlyI'm thinking in terms of five Circles, the Fourth and
Fifth of which are now unpopulated.  The Circles indicate particular
degrees of commitment, of knowledge acquired, of experience gained,
and of skills mastered.
     TheFirst Circle is composed of people who have dedicated
themselvesto learning about Paganism in general and Druidism in
particular.  Most of them do notintendtostudy for the clergyhood,
but they dodesirebothNeopagan fellowshipand a course of Druidic
study.  This is the Circle that, tenor twenty years from now, will
constitute the bulk of our congregations.
     TheSecond Circle is for those who have decided that they want to

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  Msg#: 2320                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: More Druid Stuff [2/3]
 >>> Part 2 of 3...

takea greater role in the affairs of a local grove, or to organize
one if none exists in their area.  Some of the members of this Circle
will be preparing themselves to become priests and priestesses through
studying for the Third Circle.
     Membership in the Third Circle will be a rough equivalent of
having gained aBachelor's Degree at a good university,and will also
be the minimum Circle for holding clergy credentials from ADF.  Third
Circle members will be running localgroves and performing all the
duties of the clergy,includingtraining members of the outer circles.
     Preparationforthe Fourth and Fifth Circles will parallel
studies for Master's and Doctoral Degrees.  Further Circles will
correspond to"post-doctoral" work.
     (Wheredo I fit into this system?  As an individual Druid,I
consider myself to be in the Third Circle, with the Fourth still a
couple of years away.  As the Archdruid of ADF, I'm in the unnumbered
"innermost Circle" -- but not at the Center.  That spot is reserved
for the More-than-Mortal.)
     Now it's time for some further details on the training system.
We'll look first from the direction of further defining the Circles
themselves,andthen examine the Study Tracks that run through every

        Details on the Circles:

        First Circle:

EntryRequirements:  There are no special requirements for joiningthe
FirstCircle,other than a commitment to working with your advisor
(forthe timebeing,that's me),adesire to learn,and a willingness
to work hard.  Folkswho wish to function in the First Circle should
notify me,andperform some sort of self-dedication ritual (see
elsewhere in this issue).

Study Program:  consists of (a) keeping a journal; (b) reading and
discussingintroductorybooksand attending introductory classesin
thevarious Tracks; and (c) beginning practical work in some of the

MinimumDuration& Testing:  People are expected to normally remainin
this Circle for at least one year,and there is no regular testing
periodfor remaining in this Circle.

GraduationRequirements:  (a)achieving satisfactory results on
testing for all 13Tracks;(b)making an oral or written report on
your First Circle experiences,with a self-evaluation of your
progress; (c)showing and discussing your journal; (d) making a formal
request for advancement; and (e) working with your advisor(s)and
group (if any) to create an appropriate Second Circle initiation.

        Second Circle:

Study Program:  (a)more advanced exploration in the various Tracks;
(b) continuing your journal; (c) assisting any First Circle members in
your geographical area.  You may choose a Specialty while in this
Circle, such as healing, teaching, counseling, leading worship,
divination, movement awareness, etc.

Minimum Duration& Testing:  Members would normally stay intheSecond
Circlefor at least two years.  After two years,you must either
retakethe teststhat got you into the Second Circle,or else take
those for theThird.  You can try for the Third at any time after
this,but if you choose to stay in the Second Circle, you must
requalify every other year.

GraduationRequirements:  (a)achieving satisfactory results on
testing for all 13Tracks;(b)making a written or oral report on
your Second Circle experiences,with a self-evaluation of your
progress; (c)showing and discussing your journal; (d) making a formal
request for advancement; and (e) working with your advisor(s)and
group (if any)to create an appropriate Third Circle initiation.

        Third Circle:

StudyProgram:  (a)advanced study and skill gaininginthevarious
Tracks;(b) continuing your journal; (c)assisting First & Second
Circle membersin your area; (d)teaching at least one class --on the
topic ofyour choice -- every year you stay in this Circle;(e)
leading private and public ceremonies,including general worship
celebrations and rites of passage; (f) changing your life's pattern
dramatically --going on the road if you'vebeen settled,settling if
you've been a wanderer,adrastic change of occupation, etc.; (g)
choosing a Specialty if you haven't already.

MinimumDuration & Testing:  Members would normally stay in this
Circle for at least three years.  After three years, you must either
retake the tests that got you into the Third Circle, or else take
those for the Fourth.  You can try for Fourth at any time after this,
but if you choose to stay in theThird Circle, you must requalify
every three years.

GraduationRequirements:  (a)achieving satisfactory results on
testing for all 13 Tracks;(b)making a written or oral report on your
ThirdCircle experiences,with a self-evaluation of your progress; (c)
showing and discussingyourjournal;(d)having successfully run a
healthycongregationand having performed all the routine duties of a
priest/ess for at least two years; (e)making a formal request for
advancement;and (f)creating an appropriate Fourth Circle initiation.

        Fourth Circle:

     Study Program:  (a)continuing advanced study and skills
training; (b) assisting outer Circle members in their work;(c)
spending at least one month inresidencywithyour advisor;(d)
teaching at least oneclassinyour specialtyona continuing basis,
and one other class every year you stayin this Circle; (e) continuing
to perform the usual clerical duties; (f) intensive practice of your
Specialty on a professional basis; and (g)helping to run the national
activities of ADF,as well as leading and advising one or more groves
throughout their time in this Circle.

MinimumDuration & Testing:  Members would normally stay in this
Circle forat least four years.  After four years,you must either
retake the tests that got you into the Fourth Circle, or else take
those for the Fifth.  You can tryforthe Fifth at any time after
this,but if you choose to stay in the Fourth Circle, you must
requalify every four years.

Graduation Requirements:  (a)achieving satisfactory results on tests
for all 13Tracks; (b) making a report on your Fourth Circle
experiences and self-evaluation;(c)writing or producing a thesis on
your Specialty;(d)having trained at least one fully qualified
successor for your grove(s) into the Third Circle;(e)making a formal
petition for advancement; and (f)creating your ordination rite for
the Fifth Circle.

        Fifth Circle:

Study Program:  (a)writing or producing a thesis that ties together
all your studies, in all 13 Tracks; (b) assisting outer Circle
members; (c) practicing your Specialty professionally;(d)supervising
the activities of several groves;(e) helping to run ADF's
international activities; and (f)continuing to grow.

There are no minimum duration,testing or graduation requirements for
the FifthCircle,since the Circles that would be inner ones to this
are notyet defined.

                      Blessed Be!

 "We've only been around a few years and we've done more to screw up
  the environment than cultures that were around for centuries.  The
  knowledge from those cultures is still out there...handed down
  through legends and symbols that we can't quite interpret.  Maybe

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  Msg#: 2321                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: More Druid Stuff [3/3]
 >>> Part 3 of 3...

  because we arrogantly think that technology makes us the most
  advanced civilization of all time."  -Craig Chaquico

... URA Pagan Redneck if: Your circle dance includes the words dosey doe.     
___ TagDude 0.92ss [Unregistered] with 371 taglines.

... "Let's not panic until it's necessary." -Colonel Henry Blake
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  Msg#: 2322                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: More and More Druid [1/2]
 >>> Part 1 of 2...

                       What Neopagan Druids Believe
                        (c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
                 Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #1

     Here's a brief introduction to the basic beliefs that I expect
will characterize most members of ADF (a Neopagan Druid organization).
These spiritual beliefs are similar to most of those held by other
Neopagans (see Margot Adler's book, "Drawing Down the Moon") and the
similarities are far more important than whatever specific
distinctions of doctrine or ethnic focus there might be between us and
other Neopagans.  I should also mention that not all Neopagans who
consider themselves Druids will necessarily agree with every point of
the following list.  Nonetheless, these beliefs will be the roots of
ADF's polytheology, the source of the spiritual grove we seek to
     1) We believe that divinity is both immanent (internal) and
transcendent (external).  We see the Gods as being able to manifest at
any point in space or time, including within human beings, which they
might choose, although they may often have their preferences.  Often
this develops among some Neopagans into pantheism ("the physical world
is divine") or panentheism ("the Gods are everywhere").  We tend more
towards the latter position.
     2) We believe that divinity is as likely to manifest in a female
form as it is in a male form, and that therefore women and men are
spiritually equal.  We insist on a dynamic balance between female and
male deities honored and/or invoked at every ceremony, and a strict
gender balance in whatever theories of polytheology that we eventually
develop.  We're "liberals" about women's rights and gay rights, but
not "radicals;" that is to say, we're unwilling to subordinate all our
other principles in order to promote this particular principle.
People who wish to make feminism or gay activism the absolute center
of all their spiritual activity will probably be happier in other
     3) We believe in a multiplicity of gods and goddesses, all of
whom are likely to be worthy of respect, love and worship.  Sometimes
we believe in these divinities as individual and independent entities;
sometimes as Jungian "archetypes of the collective unconscious" or
"circuits in the psychic Switchboard;" sometimes as aspects or faces
of one or two major deities (the "High God/dess" and/or "the Goddess
and the Horned God"); and sometimes as "all of the above!"  We feel
that this sort of flexibility leads to pluralism (instead of monism),
multi-valued logic systems and an increased tolerance of other
people's beliefs and lifestyles.  All of these are vital if our
species is ever going to learn to live in peace and harmony amid a
multiplicity of human cultures.
     4) We believe that it is necessary to have a respect and love for
Nature as divine in her own right, and to accept ourselves as a part
of Nature and not as her "rulers."  We tend to accept what has come to
be known as "the Gaia hypothesis," that the biosphere of our planet is
a living being, who is due all the love and support that we, her
children, can give her.  This is especially important in our modern
era, when 3000 years of monotheistic belief that "mankind is to have
dominion over the Earth" have come close to destroying the ability of
the biosphere to maintain itself.  Many Neopagan groups refer to
themselves as "Earth religions" and this is a title which we believe
Neopagan Druidism should proudly claim, and which we should work to
earn.  Thus we consider ecological awareness and activism to be sacred
duties.  If the ecology, conservation and anti-nuclear movements are
ever to have "chaplains," we should be among them.
     5) We believe in accepting the positive aspects of western
science and technology, but in maintaining an attitude of wariness
towards their supposed ethical neutrality.  The overwhelming majority
of Neopagans are technophiles, not technophobes.  We tend to be better
scientifically educated than the general population, and thus we have
a religious duty to speak out about the economic, political and
ecological uses and abuses of science and technology.
     6) We share with most other Neopagans a distaste for monolithic
religious organizations and would-be messiahs and gurus.  Obviously,
this places the founders of Neopagan religious traditions in a complex
position:  they need enough religious authority to focus the
organizations they're founding, but not so much as to allow them (or
their successors) to become oppressive.  Since the pluralistic
approach denies the existence of any One True Right and Only Way, and
since Neopagans insist upon their own human fallibility, we expect to
be able to steer ADF between the Scylla of tyranny and the Charybdis
of anarchy.
     7) In keeping with this, we believe that healthy religions should
have a minimum amount of dogma and a maximum amount of eclectism and
flexibility.  Neopagans tend to be reluctant to accept any idea
without personally investigating both its practicality and its
long-range consequences.  They are also likely to take useful ideas
from almost any source that doesn't run too fast to get away.  We
intend ADF to be a "reconstructionist" tradition of Druidism, but we
know that eventually concepts from nonDruidic sources will be grafted
on to our trees.  There's no harm in this, as long as we stay aware of
what we are doing at every step of the way, and make a legitimate
effort to find authentic (and therefore spiritually and esthetically
congruent) parallels in genuine Indo-European sources first.  As for
flexibility, Neopagan Druidism is an organic religion, and like all
other organisms it can be expected to grow, change and produce
offshoots as the years go by.
     8) We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy,
self-love and respect; the avoidance of actual harm to others; and the
increase of public benefit.  We try to balance out people's needs for
personal autonomy and growth, with the necessity of paying attention
to the impact of each individual's actions on the lives and welfare of
others.  The commonest Neopagan ethical expression is "If it doesn't
hurt anyone, do what you like."  Most Neopagans believe in some
variant or another of the principle of karma, and state that the
results of their actions will always return to them.  It's difficult
for ordinary humans to successfully commit "offenses against the
Gods," short of major crimes such as ecocide or genocide, and our
deities are perfectly capable of defending their own honor without any
help from mortal busybodies.  We see the traditional monotheistic
concepts of sin, guilt and divine retribution for thought-crimes as
sad misunderstandings of natural growth experiences.
     9) We believe that human beings were meant to lead lives filled
with joy, love, pleasure, beauty and humor.  Most Neopagans are fond
of food, drink, music, sex and bad puns, and consider all of these
(except possibly the puns) to be sacraments.  Although the ancient
Druids appear to have had ascetics within their ranks, they also had
a sensualist tradition, and the common folk have always preferred the
latter.  Neopagan Druids try to keep these two approaches in balance
and harmony with each other by avoiding dualistic extremes.  But the
bedrock question is, "If your religion doesn't enable you to enjoy
life more, why bother?"
    10) We believe that with proper training, art, discipline and
intent, human minds and hearts are fully capable of performing most of
the magic and miracles they are ever likely to need.  This is done
through the use of what we perceive as natural, divinely granted
psychic powers.  As with many other Neopagan traditions, the conscious
practice of magic is a central part of most of our religious rituals.
Unlike monotheists, we see no clearcut division between magic and
prayer.  Neither, however, do we assume an automatic connection
between a person's ability to perform "miracles" and either (a) their
personal spirituality  or (b) the accuracy of their poly/theological
    11) We believe in the importance of celebrating the solar, lunar
and other cycles of our lives.  Because we see ourselves as a part of
Nature, and because we know that repeating patterns can give meaning
to our lives, we pay special attention to astronomical and biological
cycles.  By consciously observing the solstices, equinoxes and the
points in between, as well as the phases of the moon, we are not only
aligning ourselves with the movements and energy patterns of the
external world, but we are also continuing  customs that reach back to
the original Indo-European peoples and beyond.  These customs are
human universals, as are the various ceremonies known as "rites of
passage" -- celebrations of birth, puberty, personal dedication to a
given deity or group, marriage, ordination, death, etc.  Together
these various sorts of observations help us to find ourselves in space
and time -- past, present and future.
    12) We believe that people have the ability to solve their current
problems, both personal and public, and to create a better world.
Hunger, poverty, war and disease are not necessary, nor inevitable.
Pain, depression, lack of creative opportunity and mutual oppression

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  Msg#: 2323                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: More and More Druid [2/2]
 >>> Part 2 of 2...

are not necessary either.  What is necessary is a new spiritual
consciousness in which short-sighted greed, power-mongering and
violence are seen as absurd, rather than noble.  This utopian vision,
tempered with common sense, leads us to a strong commitment to
personal and global growth, evolution and balance.
    13) We believe that people can progress far towards achieving
growth, evolution and balance through the carefully planned alteration
of their "normal" states of consciousness.  Neopagans use both ancient
and modern methods of aiding concentration, meditation, reprogramming
and ecstasy.  We seek to avoid being locked into single-valued,
monistic "tunnel realities," and instead work on being able to switch
worldviews according to their appropriateness for each given
situation, while still maintaining a firm spiritual, ethical and
practical grounding.
    14) We believe that human interdependence implies community
service.  Neopagan Druids are encouraged to use their talents to help
others, both inside and outside of the Neopagan community.  Some of us
are active in political, social, ecological and charitable
organizations, while others prefer to work for the public good
primarily through spiritual means (and many of us do both).  As
Neopagan Druids we have the right and the obligation to actively
oppose (physically and spiritually) those forces which would kill our
planet, oppress our fellow human beings, and destroy our freedom of
religion.  Also, however, we have a constant need to evaluate our own
methods and motives, and to make sure that our actions are coming from
the depths of our spiritual beings, and not from petty or
short-sighted desires for power.
    15) We believe that if we are to achieve any of our goals, we must
practice what we preach.  Neopagan Druidism should be a way of life,
not merely a weekly or monthly social function.  Thus we must always
strive to make our lives consistent with our proclaimed beliefs.  In a
time when many people are looking for something solid to hang on to in
the midst of rapid technological and cultural changes, Neopagan
Druidism can offer a natural and creative alternative to the
repressive structures of mainstream monotheism.  But our alternative
will not be seen as such unless we can manage to make it a complete
lifestyle -- one with concern, if not always immediate answers, for
the problems of everyday life, as well as the grand cosmic questions.
     Obviously, there's a great deal more to Neopaganism in general
and our version of it in particular.  The details of Neopagan
polytheology will take years to develop.  The section of the "Druid
Handbook" dealing with beliefs will consist of statements with
commentaries (and even arguments) about the meanings of the
statements.  The purpose of this format is multiple:  to emphasise
that there are no final answers to the great questions of human
existence; to express clearly that Neopagans can disagree with each
other about subtle details of interpretation, while still remaining
members of the same religion; and to allow the belief system to grow
and adapt to changing cultural and technological needs.  Neopagan
Druidism is to be a religion of the future, as well as of the present
and the past.

... The Computervangelist virus: "Have your files been saved?"
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  Msg#: 2324                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Even More Druid Stuff

                   A New Tradition of Neopagan Druidism
                        (c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
                 Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #1

     As many of you may know (perhaps from reading my book "Real
Magic" or Margot Adler's "Drawing Down the Moon"), I've been a priest
of the Reformed Druids of North America ("RDNA") since 1969.  I've led
groves (congregations) in Berkeley and Minneapolis, and founded others
elsewhere; published newsletters (both Druidic and general Neopagan);
and wrote most of, edited and produced "The Druid Chronicles Evolved",
(the closest thing to official scriptures the RDNA has).  I'm also a
priest and elder of the Craft, and I've been a Neopagan magician and
occultist for nearly twenty years.
     I've studied, practiced and written about many different forms of
magic and religion over the years, yet always I find myself going back
to Druidism.  Many people have written to me to tell of similar
spiritual histories, of their knowledge that they are meant to walk a
Druid path.  Yet what can we, who wish to worship and to grow as
Neopagan Druids, do for fellowship?  The Masonic Druids have much to
teach us, yet they are not Neopagan.  The "Druidic" traditions of
Wicca are interesting, but they're not really very Druidic.  The
members of the RDNA have no interest at all in being organized by
anyone, nor in recruiting and training would-be Neopagan Druids.
There doesn't seem to be any organized group of people trying to
reconstruct what the Paleopagan Druids actually believed and did, nor
trying to apply such knowledge to creating a Neopagan religion fit for
the Space Age.
     What can we do?  We can do it ourselves!  Thanks to the work of
such scholars as Dumezil, Ross, Piggott, Duran and others, we now have
a sizable amount of realistic data about Indo-European Paleopaganism
and its clergy.  But how do we apply this knowledge to creating a
modern Neopagan religion?  What does it mean to be a Druid in the
1980's?  Using accurate information as a starting point, how do we
create rituals and fellowship, art and music, polytheologies and
lifestyles that will give meaning to our lives and those of others?
     Well, of course, I have my own vision of Neopagan Druidism.  I
see Druids as artists and intellectuals, magicians and clergy, holders
of the highest wisdom their cultures (or subcultures) have to offer.
This is what they used to be, and what (with sufficient hard work and
dedication) they could be again.  A number of people have told me that
they share my vision and approve of the ways in which I think it could
be accomplished.  So, after a great deal of soul-searching, I've
decided to try once again to see what I can do to create a form of
"reconstructionist" Neopagan Druidism.
     This is an announcement of and an invitation for your
participation in, the creation of:  Ar nDraiocht Fein.  The Irish
words (pronounced "arn ree-ocht fane") mean "Our own Druidism," and
that's what I have in mind -- a brand new form of Druidism, not just
Pan-Celtic, but Pan-European.  By this latter term, I mean to include
all of the European branches of the Indo-European culture and language
tree -- Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, even the pre-Classical Greek
& Roman.  Paradoxically, this would resemble the original Paleopagan
Druidism far more than any efforts of the last thousand years.  It
would be based on the best scholarly research available, combined with
what has been learned (about art, psychology, small group politics and
economics) through the theory and practice of modern Neopaganism, and
my own knowledge of the polytheological and practical details of
magical and religious phenomena.
     I've already started this project, through the organizing of my
notes and the beginning of a new book.  The purpose of "The Druid
Handbook" will be to enable anyone who has a copy to start up their
own Druidic grove, or to practice as a solitary Druid.  Everything
necessary will be included:  history, polytheology, liturgy, legal
structures, art and music, calendars and customs, etc.
     ADF is an idea I have been wrestling with for years:  a Neopagan
Druid Order whose members would not be ashamed to honestly compare
themselves with the original Druids.  This requires mature, dedicated
and talented people who are willing to invest both time and energy
over a long period (remember, the  original Druids took up to twenty
years each to be fully trained, and they had an intact tradition).
     At this point in the birthing process, details are in short
supply, but the general outlines are becoming increasingly clear.  I
can at least give you some specific ideas as to what Ar nDraiocht Fein
will and won't be:  ADF will be a Neopagan religion based on solid
(but imaginative) scholarship in the fields of linguistics,
Indo-European studies, comparative religion, archeology, anthropology,
Celtic & Norse & Baltic & Slavic studies, history, musicology and
polytheology.  The scholars we will be basing our research on include
Georges Dumezil, Mircea Eliade, Anne Ross, Stuart Piggott, G. S.
Littleton, Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, Proinsias MacCana, Myles Dillon,
Nora Chadwick, etc.  We will not be accepting Lewis Spence, Margaret
Murray, Robert Graves, Merlin Stone, H. P. Blavatsky or Iolo Morganwg
as scholarly authorities (although some of them may provide poetic
inspiration now and then).  If we have to fill in gaps in our
knowledge with our own imagination, spiritual visions and/or
borrowings from non-IE sources, we will go ahead and do so, but always
in full awareness of what we are doing (and with full documentation of
the process).
     ADF will be developing a slow, careful and steady system of
training for Druidic clergy, equivalent to that gone through by
professional clergy in other religions.  We will not be in any hurry
to initiate people (though we may create and publish self-dedication
rituals for the first level of participation), since an obsession with
rank and titles is usually counterproductive to actual spiritual,
artistic and scholarly growth.  A correspondance course has been
suggested and I'm willing to give it serious consideration, once we
have the basics figured out.
     Although our primary focus will be on the beliefs and practices
of our Indo-European ancestors, and on how these can be adapted to
modern circumstances, we will not tolerate racism or nonsense about
"Aryan blood."  The Indo-Europeans were a motley assortment of tribes
speaking related languages -- not a "race."  All of our ancestors are
of mixed blood, and most of the  black people in America have (however
involuntarily) some European genes.  So anybody, regardless of their
race or color, who is sincerely interested in participating in ADF
will be made welcome.  Similarly, the IE peoples are known to have had
both male and female clergy, and those tribes influenced by
shamanistic practices frequently had clergy who were ambiguous in
their gender identification.  For these historical reasons, as well as
the fact that ADF is a Neopagan religion, we will not tolerate sexism
nor restrict membership or rank on the basis of gender or affectional
preferences.  Having said all that, let me add that I have no
intentions of letting extremists of any persuasion use ADF for
purposes not in keeping with our original goals.
     We will have a carefully structured hierarchy, based on actual
skills and knowledge obtained and demonstrated, with both upward and
downward mobility.  The training system will involve the setting of
specific standards in all the areas necessary for functioning at the
different levels, and these standards will be published in the
Handbook and widely disseminated throughout the Neopagan media, in
order to prevent false claims of rank.  Our primary approach is going
to be the attainment not just of competency, but of excellence.
Democratic safeguards will be built in, but we do not expect everyone
in ADF to be qualified for (or even interested in) attaining the rank
of clergy.  After all, the original Druids were only a small
percentage of their Paleopagan communities, and not everyone has (or
needs) a clerical vocation.  Nor will rank in other Neopagan
organizations guarantee equivalent rank in ADF, since we have no way
of knowing what standards other groups are using, nor how strictly
enforced they are.
     The Ancient Druids were polytheists rather than mono- or duo-
theists; so our main approach will be a pluralistic one.  We are not
going to promote any One True Right and Only Way of Druidism, merely
whatever happens to work for us.  This means, among other things, that
we intend to maintain friendly relations with as many other Druid
organizations as possible, and will encourage our members to
investigate these alternate Druid paths.
     We are going to take our time putting the whole system together.
Based on solid research and a knowledge of the mistakes made by other
Neopagan groups in the past, we can create something magnificent.  But
like an oak tree, it will take time to become strong, and we have no
intentions of trying to force its growth.  Within two to three years
we should get the primary seeds planted.  Then the results will be up
to the individuals who have heard the trees whispering in their ears,
and who know that they are meant to walk a Druid way.

... "I think he's getting tired of watching me smile." -Dax
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  Msg#: 2325                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Too Much Druid Stuf [1/2]
 >>> Part 1 of 2...

         Some Notes on Indo-European Paleopaganism and its Clergy
                        (c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
                 Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #1
     The term "Pagan" comes from the Latin paganus, which appears to
have originally meant "country dweller," "villager," or "hick."  The
members of the Roman army seem to have used it to mean "civilian."
When Christianity took over the Empire and continued it under new
management, the word took on the idea of "one who is not a soldier of
Christ."  Today, the word means "atheist" or "devil worshipper" to
many devout monotheists.  But those who call themselves Pagan use it
differently; as a general term for native, natural and polytheistic
religions, and their members.
     The following definitions have been coined in recent years in
order to keep the various polytheological and historical distinctions
clear:  "Paleopaganism" refers to the original tribal faiths of
Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Australia, where and
when they were (or are) still practiced as intact belief systems.  Of
the so-called "Great Religions of the World," Hinduism, Taoism and
Shinto fall under this category.
     "Mesopaganism" is the word used for those religions founded as
attempts to recreate, revive or continue what their founders thought
of as the (usually European) Paleopagan ways of their ancestors (or
predecessors), but which were heavily influenced (accidentally,
deliberately or involuntarily) by the monotheistic and/or dualistic
worldviews of Judiasm, Christianity and/or Islam.  Examples of
Mesopagan belief systems would include the Masonic Druids,
Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism, Crowleyianity, and the many
Afro-American faiths (Voudoun, Macumba, etc.).
     "Neopaganism" refers to those religions created since 1940 or so
that have attempted to blend what their founders perceived as the best
aspects of different types of Paleopaganism with modern "Aquarian Age"
ideals, while eliminating as much as possible of the traditional
western dualism.  The title of this section should now make a great
deal more sense.  So let's look at the state of Paleopaganism in
Europe prior to the arrival of Christianity.
     It's important to remember that a lot of history happened in
Europe before anyone got around to writing it down.  Around 4000
B.C.E. ("Before the Common Era") the tribes that spoke
Proto-Indo-European began to migrate away from their original
homeland, which was probably the territory around the northwest shores
of the Black Sea.  Some went southeast and founded the Armenian,
Iranian and Indic cultures.  Others went south to Anatolia and
Palestine, and became known as Hittites and Mitanni.  Those who went
southwest to the Balkans became Thracians and Greeks.  Others who went
west and north established the Celtic, Slavic, Germanic, and Baltic
     All this migrating around took many centuries and involved a lot
of bloodshed.  Previous inhabitants of a given piece of territory had
to be persuaded, usually at swordpoint, to let the newcomers in -- and
there went the neighborhood!  The pre-Indo-European cultures in Europe
(which were not necessarily "peaceful matriarchies") were all still in
the late Neolithic ("New Stone Age") cultural era, with only stone
axes, spears and knives with which to defend themselves.  The invaders
had bronze weapons and armor with which to fight, plus bronze axes
with which to clear the great forests that covered the continent,
bronze plows to till the soil, etc.
     The impact of this superior technology can be judged by the fact
that, by the time of the Roman Empire, nearly every language spoken in
Europe (except Basque, Lappish and Finnish) was a member of the
Western branch of Indo-European.  Everything west of the Urals was
pretty much dominated by a loosely interlinked conglomeration of
related cultures, each of which was a mixture of the PIE culture and
that of the previous holders of its territory.  The largest group of
cultures north of the Roman borders was that of the Celts, and the
second largest that of the Germans (some scholars consider the Germans
to be so closely related culturally to the Celts as to be practically
a subset, at least in archeological terms).
     Thanks to the work of Georges Dumezil, James Duran and others, we
are beginning to have a clear idea of the social, political, magical
and religious functions of the priestly "class" in Indo-European
Paleopaganism.  I use the word "class" deliberately, for the Western
Indo-European cultures seem to have been built on the same fundamental
social pattern as that with which we are familiar in Vedic India:
clergy, warriors, and providers (farmers, craftspeople, traders,
herders, etc.).  In fact, it appears that a close to exact
correspondance can be made between the religious, political and social
functions originally performed by a Latin flamen, a Celtic draoi, or a
Vedic brahman.
     The Indo-European clergy basically included the entire
intelligensia of their cultures:  poets, musicians, historians,
astronomers, genealogists, judges, diviners, and of course, leaders
and supervisors of religious rituals.  Officially, they ranked
immediately below the local tribal chieftains or "kings" and above the
warriors.  However, since the kings were quasi-religious figures,
usually inaugurated by the clergy, and often dominated by them, it was
frequently a tossup as to who was in charge in any given tribe.  The
clergy were exempt from taxation and military service, and in some
cultures are said to have spent decades in specialized training.
     They seem to have been responsible for all public religious
rituals (private ones were run by the heads of each household).
Public ceremonies were most often held in fenced groves of sacred
trees.  These were usually of birch, yew, and oak (or ash where oaks
were rare), depending upon the subset of deities or ancestors being
addressed, as well as the specific occasion.  Various members of the
priestly caste would be responsible for music, recitation of prayers,
sacrificing of animals (or occasionally human criminals or prisoners
of war), divination from the flames of the ritual fire or the entrails
of the sacrificial victim, and other minor ritual duties.  Senior
members of the caste ("the" Druids, "the" brahmans or "the" flamens as
such) would be responsible for making sure that the rites were done
exactly according to tradition.  Without such supervision, public
rituals were generally impossible; thus Caesar's comment that all
public Gaulish sacrifices required a Druid to be present.
     There are definite indications that the Indo-European clergy held
certain polytheological and mystical opinions in common, although only
the vaguest outlines are known at this point.  There was a belief in
reincarnation (with time spent between lives in an Other World very
similar to the Earthly one), in the sacredness of particular trees, in
the continuing relationship between mortals, ancestors and deities,
and naturally in the standard laws of magic (see Real Magic).  There
was an ascetic tradition of the sort that developed into the various
types of yoga in India, complete with the Pagan equivelent of
monasteries and convents.  There was also, I believe, a European
"tantric" tradition of sex and drug magic, although it's possible that
this was mostly the native shamanic traditions being absorbed and
     Only the western Celtic clergy (the Druids) seem to have had any
sort of organized inter-tribal communications network.  Most of the
rest of the IE clergy seem to have kept to their own local tribes.
Among the Germanic peoples, the priestly class had weakened by the
early centuries of the Common Era to the point where the majority of
ritual work was done by the heads of households.
     We don't know whether or not any but the highest ranking clergy
were full-time priests and priestesses.  At the height of the Celtic
cultures, training for the clergy was said to take twenty years of
hard work, which would not have left much time or energy for
developing other careers.  Among the Scandinavians, there seem to have
been priests and priestesses (godar, gydjur) who lived in small
temples and occasionally toured the countryside with statues of their
patron/matron deities, whom they were considered to be "married" to.
In the rest of the Germanic, Slavic and Baltic cultures, however, many
of the clergy may have worked part-time, a common custom in many
tribal societies.
     It's also common for such cultures to have full- or part-time
healers, who may use herbs, hypnosis, psychology, massage, magic and
other techniques.  Frequently they will also have diviners and weather
predictors (or controllers).  Midwives, almost always female, are also
standard and, as mentioned above, there is usually a priestess or
priest working at least part-time.  What causes confusion, especially
when dealing with extinct cultures, is that different tribes combine
these offices into different people.
     At the opening of the Common Era, European Paleopaganism
consisted of three interwoven layers:  firstly, the original
pre-Indo-European religions (which were of course also the results of
several millenia of religious evolution and cultural conquests);

 >>> Continued to next message...
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  Msg#: 2326                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Too Much Druid Stuf [2/2]
 >>> Part 2 of 2...

secondly, the proto-Indo-European belief system held by the PIE
speakers before they began their migrations; and thirdly, the full
scale "high religions" of the developed Indo-European cultures.
Disentangling these various layers is going to take a very long time,
if indeed it will ever be actually possible.
     The successful genocide campaigns waged against the Druids and
their colleagues are complex enough to warrent a separate discussion.
Suffice it to say that by the time of the seventh century C.E.,
Druidism had been either destroyed or driven completely underground
throughout Europe.  In parts of Wales and Ireland, fragments of
Druidism seem to have survived in disguise through the institutions of
the Celtic Church and of the Bards and Poets.  Some of these
survivals, along with a great deal of speculation and a few outright
forgeries, combined to inspire the ("Meso-pagan") Masonic/Rosicrucian
Druid fraternities of the 1700's.  These groups have perpetuated these
fragments (and speculations and forgeries) to this very day,
augmenting them with a great deal of folkloric and other research.
     These would seem to most Americans to be the only sources of
information about Paleopagan Druidism.  However, research done by
Russian and Eastern European folklorists, anthropologists and
musicologists among the Baltic peoples of Latvia, Lithuania and
Estonia indicates that Paleopagan traditions may have survived in
small villages, hidden in the woods and swamps, even into the current
century!  Some of these villages still had people dressing up in long
white robes and going out to sacred groves to do ceremonies, as
recently as World War One!  Iron Curtin social scientists interviewed
the local clergy, recorded the ceremonies and songs, and otherwise
made a thorough study of their "quaint traditions" preparatory to
turning them all into good Marxists.  Ironically enough, some of the
oldest "fossils" of preserved Indo-European traditions (along with
bits of vocabulary from Proto-German and other early IE tongues) seem
to have been kept by Finno-Ugric peoples such as the Cheremis.  Most
of this research has been published in a variety of Soviet academic
books and journals, and has never been translated into English.  This
material, when combined with the Vedic and Old Irish sources, may give
us most of the missing links necessary to reconstruct Paleo-pagan
European Druidism.
     The translation of this material, along with some of the writings
of Dumezil (and others) that are not yet in English, is going to be an
important part of the research work of ADF for the first few years.
And we're going to see if we can get copies of some of the films...
     But there are some definite "nonfacts" about the ancient Druids
that need to be mentioned:  There are no real indications that they
used stone altars (at Stonehenge or anywhere else); that they were
better philosophers than the classical Greeks or Egyptians; that they
had anything to do with the mythical continents of Atlantis or Mu; or
that they wore gold Masonic regalia or used Rosicrucian passwords.
They were not the architects of (a) Stonehenge, (b) the megalithic
circles and lines of Northwestern Europe, (c) the Pyramids of Egypt,
(d) the Pyramids of the Americas, (e) the statues of Easter Island, or
(f) anything other than wooden barns and stone houses.  There is no
proof that any of them were monotheists, or "Prechristian Christians,"
that they understood or invented either Pythagorean or Gnostic or
Cabalistic mysticism; or that they all had long white beards and
golden sickles.
     Separating the sense from the nonsense, and the probabilities
from the absurdities, about the Paleopagan clergy of Europe is going
to take a great deal of work.  But the results should be worth it,
since we will wind up with a much clearer image of the real "Old
Religions" than Neopagans have ever had available before.  This will
have liturgical, philosophical and political consequences, some of
which we'll be discussing in future issues of "The Druids' Progress".

... "A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming."  -Barbarella
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  Msg#: 2327                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Still More Druid Stuff

             The Political Implications of Reviving Druidism
                        (c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
                 Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #1

     Throughout all known human history, people who had hidden
knowledge (whether of healing, weather prediction, mathematics, or
magic) have used their exclusive possession of that knowledge as a
source of power, for purposes that were good, bad or weird.  The
warrior caste has always done its level best to take that knowledge
away from the clergy and to put it to political, economic and military
use.  Today, almost all the hard and soft sciences have become tools
for those who wish to control their fellow human beings.  The
polluters, the exploiters, the oppressers, the conquerers -- whether
calling themselves "capitalists" or "communists" -- they are the ones
who control nearly all the technology of overt power and a great deal
of the tech for covert tyranny.
     One of the very few ways we have of defending ourselves and our
fellow passengers (human and other) on this Spaceship Earth is through
the careful and judicious use of magic.  National governments and
private enterprises are spending millions of dollars (and rubles and
pounds and yen) trying to develop psychic powers into dependable tools
for warfare and oppression; while most of us who should be learning
precise techniques and careful timing, in order to use magic and the
power of the Gods to defend ourselves and our Mother Earth, have been
busy being misty-eyed romantics, not wanting to "sully our karma" by
trying to do magic that might really work (that is to say, for which
we would have to take personal responsibility).
     As a result, we have assisted the very forces of oppression which
we claim to oppose.  We are partly responsible for the poverty,
hunger, pollution, disease and early deaths which dominate so much of
our planet.  Occultists have assisted by being unwilling to put their
talents to the test by using them for "mundane" or "lowly-evolved"
purposes.  Ecologists, Celtic nationalists, and would-be
revolutionaries have assisted by being unwilling to use
nonmaterialistic technologies to cause changes in the material world
(after all, if Freud and Marx didn't mention magic as real, it can't
possibly work).  The creation of Neopagan Druidism may be able to help
change those attitudes.
     Despite the efforts of liberal Christian clergymen to make us
forget the physical and cultural genocide committed by organized
Christianity against the peoples of Europe, there is simply no way to
ignore the fact that monotheists in power always seek to silence
competing voices.  We cannot look to the mainstream churches for our
physical and spiritual liberation, for they are the ones who took our
freedom away in the first place.  Marxist atheism is no answer either,
for it is also a product of the monotheistic tunnel-reality, and seeks
to impose its dogmas and holy scriptures just as strenously as ever
the churches have.  Those who want to live in a world of peace,
freedom and cultural pluralism, must look beyond the currently
available, "respectable" (i.e., monistic) alternatives they have been
presented with by the mass media, and consider new alternatives.
     Many people think of Neopaganism in general, or Druidism in
particular (if they think of them at all), as just being "odd"
religions, with no political implications worth investigating.  But I
believe that Neopagan Druidism has important political ideas which
should be considered, especially by those concerned with the survival
and revival of the Celtic peoples.
     Druidism is political because one of the primary tasks of the
clergy has always been to ride herd on the warriors.  (This may be one
reason why barbarian warriors welcomed the Christian missionaries,
because they perceived (correctly) that the Christian priests would be
far more likely to play ball with them than the Druids had been.
After all, if the world is ending any day now, why bother controlling
your local warriors?)  Since the primary threat to life on this planet
now comes from out-of-control warriors, it's time we started taking
that duty seriously again.
     Druidism is political because only a Nature worshipping religion
can give people sufficient concern for the environment.  Monotheism is
a major cause of the current state of the world's ecology.  We need a
strong public religion that tells the polluters, "No, it's not
divinely sanctioned for you to rape the Earth."
     Druidism is political because the Druids have always been the
preservers of the best of their traditional cultures.  The Meso-pagan
Druids of Brittany and Wales, for example, are directly responsible
for assisting the revival of the Cornish language and tradition from
the very edge of extinction.  The various traditional preservation and
independence movements, such as the Celtic, Flemish, Baltic and other
related movements in Europe, need religious and cultural leadership
based in their own cultures.
     Druidism can help create an environment in which such leadership
can develop.
     Druidism is political because it offers a worldview completely
different from that of the monotheistic/monistic tyranny that now
controls our planet.  One of the many things that any religion does is
to shape the ways in which people see the world around them.  We need
a religion that offers people a multitude of options, rather than
traditional western either/or, black/white, win/lose choices.
     Druidism is political, at the bedrock level, because it can teach
people how to use their Gods-given psychic and other talents to change
the way things are.  Make no mistake, magic works, at least as often
as poetry, music or political rallies do.  Magic is a form of power
that we, the people of the Earth, have available to use, not just for
psychological "empowerment" (making ourselves feel better) but to
actually control the individuals and institutions responsible for our
planet's current mess.  If we are unwilling to use magic, then we had
might as well resign ourselves and our descendents to either a life of
slavery in a homogenized, pasteurized world, or a quick and painful
nuclear death.  And what excuse will we give to the "Lords of Karma"

... Good Intentions Paving Company:  "We did the road to Hell."
___ Blue Wave/DOS v2.30 [NR]
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 ! Origin: the Burning Times BBS (318)747-5785 (68:68/0)

  Msg#: 2328                                         Date: 09-16-96  16:09
  From: Dirty Lil' Elf                               Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Samhain Folklore

                            A Samhain Folklore

This story was told by Steven Posch-Coward, who describes himself as a
"Queer Neo-Cannite Polyathiest", at Pagan Spirit Gathering, 1992.  It
is being re-told by Grandmother Owl on CompuServe for Samhain, 1992.
Copyright, Steven Posch-Coward 1992.

Listen, my children, a true story I tell of those of our line who
lived when the world was far younger and the moon quite new.  I tell
of a clan of we call the Celts.  I remember those days when our people
first heard of the strange invaders who had come to the lion island so
long protected by its distance, its cliffs and its sea.  Invaders had
come before.  In time they went away again and we continued our lives
as they had been in the times of our longfathers.  Ours lives flowed
on within the spiral of the year.  Spring we brought to fields with
dance, song and the love of lad for lass.  And winter brought we to
the land that seeds might sleep and harts might raise their mighty
antlers over the high lonely hills.  Upon the night between the moons
long did we lead our people to the hollow hills.

I remember how the flames of the tiny lamps we carry would flicker
although within the hill there was no wind.  I  remember how I thought
I saw the flames reflected in the empty eye holes of the skulls set in
hollows in the walls.  We bow our respect to them when we enter.  We
summon the winds of the world to honor them, we call our Gods and
Goddesses and we cut the veil which from year-birth to year-end has
sundered us from them.  We sit and close our eyes and listen, listen,
listen.  And in soft whispers they would tell us of what might bode
and who may live...and not.  Names they give us for those to enter
life and praise for those whose day will come.  Then we thank them and
seal the door and leave them till the wheel comes round once more.

I remember though those years have passed far beyond the memories of
nations -- and nations strong and mighty in that time have also faded
and grown into stories fit only to frighten children.

But there came a year when those who dreamed strange dreams and saw
strange signs above them in the skies came to Albion and brought their
news of a new God and a new order to the high rules of the land.  They
said that their way was now the only one.  They said that kings must
bow to their dead God or they would fall before his march to own the
earth.  They taught the kings to murder and to kill for differences of
thought or word.

And we, we took our sheep and looms and walked into our further hills.
A foot, a mile, a stead we moved.  For we were not aminded to be one
with them nor to follow their strange God they carried nailed upon a

And when the year rolled round and the dark began to fall, the Dree
declared year-end was nigh.  Where were our barrows and the heads of
those longfathers of our clan who came to us upon the night which
stands between the years?  And I, I was the last of the old women of
the path.  Dead my sisters, lost in the long miles we'd run from the
swords and horses of the new god's priests.

I looked back to where the warmlands teemed and boiled with the tall
and strange followers of new beliefs.  Long miles and long weeks of
walking lay between me and the hollow hills of my clan.  Never again
might I seek the dark eyeholes of my grandmothers, never more would I
look upon their dry bones.  We had left them there in the low lands to
barrows sealed and dark.  What would we do without their words and
thoughts and wisdom?

My people cried and tore their cloaks. "We could have brought them
with us," they said.  "Why did you let us leave them; they wouldn't
have slowed us much."  How could I tell my children that the old ones
couldn't leave their dark and holy caves.  Had we tried to lift their
skulls the sun and air would crumble them.

There's one more night before the year-turn I shall wrap me in my cows
skin and I will dream for us.  I shall dream the hollow hills and the
longmothers heads upon their shelves.  And I shall ask them to tell me
what our people should do.  In my dreams I left the highlands and fast
my mind flew across the land and to the door within the hollow hill.

There I sat up wrapped tightly within my cow skin and made my bow to
the ancients sitting there upon the shelves.  "What shall we do?" I
cried to them, "We have lost this land and n'ere may we return to
visit you here on Samhain's eve."

Soft they spoke to me and soft their words followed me far across the
hills and high into the northland we flew.  Back into my cold stiff
flesh I came and round me sat the clan await for what word I might

And I sat up and cackled and I smiled and I told them to untie the
skin and to help me up.  And from a child I took a round smooth
turnip.  Grown in the soft lands, it was, so large the center had
hollowed of its self.  And I took my knife from my belt and carved
into it eye holes, a nose; a wide and smiling mouth.  And I set within
it the last of the tiny lamps we once had carried into the hollow

The sun set upon the day without a date and all around the poor cold
camp of the clan shown the eyes and smiles of the long fathers and
long mothers.  Through years out of reckoning still I see my children
on that night lighting up the skulls of the old ones.  See, there
beside that house; there's my skull with candle set within.  Watch
I'll keep this night for you and, if you bow in honor of the old ones,
I'll tell you of the year to come.  Of the birth of Arthur and of
Nimue.  Of who must die that life may always change, yet be always of
the same sort and kind.

... "We work on soldiers thru the day and nurses thru the night!" -Hawk &
___ Blue Wave/DOS v2.30 [NR]
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