Differences between druids and witches

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum Differences between druids and witches

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  • #10168
    Anonymous

    Druids and witches are very different in their rituals and what their purpose for the use of magic is. In fact, the differences are so great, that I don’t see how a witch could ever be a druid.
    Witches call upon spirits and familiars to help them obtain their goals and some witches even allow spirits to enter and live in the witch’s body. An example of this is calling down the moon in the great witches’ rite. My question is who really knows what spirits the witches are calling and being possessed by. If a person calls themself a witch, the general public thinks that the witch is worshiping satan and the witch is treated as someone who is not welcome in society.
    It is also very unclear who the witch father and witch mother is. In contrast, Druids are an earth based spiritual group. We are interested in having a relationship with nature and we do not go about chanting for spirits to possess us. We do not call down the moon, or worship the witch father. Druids are interested in living healthy lives, respecting nature, and being inspired by awen. And Celtic druids are interested in Celtic culture and music. Plus, there are different kinds of druids. Some druids are not Celtic druids and really have no interest in Celtic Culture. I never can understand why someone from Africa or Egypt wants to be a druid. I think that if you were from Africa you would want to worship your own spirit ancestors and gods, and if you were from Egypt, you would want to worship your own spirit ancestors and gods. However, all are welcome in the study of druidry.

    #10176
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    What about past lives? Past incarnations?

    #10182
    Eadha
    Participant

    I’ve long considered myself a pagan, and have practised wiccan rites as a solo practitioner. The casting of circle and calling the quarters is practically identical to the rite described in the course material. The difference for me was adding the three realms to the quaters. I’ve always started at North, as well, the darkness before birth/dawn rather than East, but recently I’m shifting that. I’ve never called on a familiar or sought to be possessed by a spirit, but each to their own. The Lord and Lady of Wicca personify the male and female divine, many witches have particular deities they identify with within that. And anyone thinking witches are satanic is wrong, and I have never really cared what ‘mainstream’ thinks. It’s really just an Earth based animistic tradition, just as druidry is. That’s how I do it anyway.
    Cheers
    Eadha

    #10184
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hi Eadha,

    I’ve always been fascinated by the non-scholastic or folklore survivals and traditions that may have come down to us right from pre-historic times and that in Britain and Ireland would be considered “witchcraft” or the art of the “cunning folk”. For example, there was a Cornish belief that “the knowledge” had to pass from a man to a woman or a woman to a man and that a “charm” should never be written down or it would lose its power. Even though we could never prove it, it’s really tempting to see something druidic in that, and that’s lore that’s been passed down orally for countless generations.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #10187
    Eadha
    Participant

    Hi again, Dowrgi.
    Yes, lots of different traditions, and I kind of mis-spoke when I characterised myself as ‘wiccan’. It’s an easier terminology, but I really don’t do high ritual, and as such my reply might seem disingenuous. I do a lot of pathworking, and trying to work within the Will of a greater spirit, rather than moulding parts of the universe to my will, so I really don’t ‘qualify’ as any specific traditional at the moment. I’m basically a folklore/earth/circle-ritual borderline pagan with a penchant for runes and crone goddesses. Oh, and moonlight. But I love how druidry brings much needed sun/masculine energy in, and my creativity has been wonderfully tickled by the Awen, which is lovely.
    Just wanted to chime in, really.
    Re: reincarnation – I reckon. I think we see echoes of past lives, I really do. It’s something I work with/on.
    Cheers
    Eadha

    #10192
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hello Eadha,

    Could you explain a bit more about pathworking, please? I don’t think I’ve ever really “got it”, I understand it in terms of a visualised journey of some kind, but I’m not sure if I’m on the right track, if you pardon the pun.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #10193
    david poole
    Participant

    It’s kind of like a guided journey where you are taken to a particular destination by a particular route, like a safe space or a ritual space, where you have an experience before coming out through the same route, with someone nominated to lead a group of people by speaking to them, at least this is one variation I have encountered. I guess it is possible to do it alone if you know what you are doing.

    #10195
    Anonymous

    Dear Eadha, I agree that there are many things that are similar in both druidry and witchcraft, and I think highly of the witches. I think that witches and druids should
    alway be friends. I also think that druids should cast magic circles just like the witches do, although some druids do not think casting a magic circle is so important.
    Also, druids do spellwork. So, in many ways the druids and the witches are the same. What I am looking at is how we differ. Plus, there are many different types of witches, such
    as Wiccan and Gardner and folk witches, so it is not really fair to use the word witch without more a specific branch of witchcraft. Further, there are many famous modern druids that
    started out learning the craft as witches. I know that Philip Car-Comm, not our Philip, Philip Shallcrass, wrote a book called Druidcraft, and the book talked about how similar
    Druidry is to witchcraft. Also, Druidry, like witchcraft, is a highly personalized and individualized way of spirituality, and I doubt that you could get fifteen druids to agree to
    anything, so I hope I have not made any rash statements. I assure you that I am only trying to explore the subject, and not trying to state any type of rule or dogma. So here is what I
    think about some things. I feel that there are witches who make deals with spiritual entities to gain power, and these deals can be in the form of a bargain. I live in an area in
    the U.S.A were there is a lot of voodoo, and Papa Legba is always trying to get peoples souls in exchange for a bargain in this region. I have seen people walking around who are victims
    of his trade and it is terrifying. I know that the word witch should not carry any meaning of a satan worshiper, but the Christian Church has brainwashed the people in the area where
    I live, so if they see me wearing a pentacle, they call me a satan worshiper. Needless to say, I wear my pentacle under my shirt, well out of site. And if I ever told someone that I
    am a witch, they would shout devil worshiper. If I tell someone I am a druid, they go what’s that man. And I just say that it means that I like nature and leave it at that. Further, I
    don’t think that druids should make deals with spirits and fetches because we don’t need to. I treat the Celtic Gods and goddesses with respect like I would a good friend. Also, I don’t
    think druids should ever practice baneful magic, but I do agree on banishing spells or spells of protection agains evil people and evil spirits. I would never want to see a situation where
    a witch would not be welcome to be a druid, and I think that witches can be druids, but it is really interesting to me about what is the difference between witches and druids because we
    share so much in common. Also, I think there is a lord and lady of the woods, and there definitely are fawns that look somewhat like the hoofed satan figure, but they are not satan, they are
    just wonderful woodland spirits and I think they also like dancing. Further in druidry, I see the otherworld as being alive and interwoven with ours, and I firmly believe that herbs have
    spirits and that is where the real power of herbcraft is, not just in the chemical makeup. So what is the most important difference between witchcraft and Druidry? Best Star Tree and many blessings
    with perfect love, and perfect peace

    #10301
    Dave TheDruid-3X3
    Participant

    Awens to All:

    I have studied both Wiccan and Druidistic forms of Paganism and I can not tell any differences between the two. They both live by the Cycles of Sacred Wheel, have Reverence for Nature and observe the same Sabbaths.

    I have also studied Buddhist Tradition and found that they have such similar Philosophies as Celtic Neo-Paganism that a Tibetan Monk who traveled to Scotland and meetup with a Celtic Paganistic Priest and Merged Their Two Philosophies called it ‘Celtic Buddhism’.

    I joined Celtic Buddhism and I practice my Sacred Celtic Buddhism at a Buddhist Community Garden which is of the Sri Lankan Vihara Tradition. Since they allow me to practice my Celtic Buddhism, Celtic Paganism and Celtic Druidism at their Temple, I to Volunteer Gardening there. I Grow Vegetables for the Community Garden Vegetable Sales to help them raise Money for the Temple. This year, I am growing Corn and Tomatoes for the Temple Garden Sales.

    If Celtic Wicca Paganism and Celtic Druids could put aside their Egos, they would get along fine as I have with the Celtic Buddhists.

    Dave TheDruid-3X3

    #10318
    david poole
    Participant

    I think that Druidry possessed many forms of expression which Wicca does not have, likewise I think that Wicca is a very formalised tradition with a big emphasis on chains of initiation and specific beliefs and practices, Druidry feels much looser and really available to anyone as a more universal philosophy, which I think is very helpful I think that Druidry is probably much more widely known to the general public or non-practitioners, I think that witchcraft might be seen rather differently which is a bit of a shame really. In some respects I think that both sides work with much of the same lore.

    #10343
    Dave TheDruid-3X3
    Participant

    I have read the Book ‘Essential Guide to Druidism’ by Isaac Bonewits and he mentions that Wicca Paganism is more Exclusionary than Druidism which is what david poole has just pointed out.

    As a matter of a fact, I would one day like to get a copy of Isaac Bonewits’s Book ‘Essential Guide to Wicca’ to check out what he had to say about Wicca Paganism.

    But the Wicca Pagans have the similar Legends, Stories and Deities as Celtic Druids do. So do not see any problem with the two Traditions Cooperating and holding Rituals together in much the same way as the Japanese Jodo Shinshu Buddhists and Japanese Shinto Traditions do in Japan.

    3X3

    #10421
    Anonymous

    Hail Dave the Druid 3X3, that is really great that you have read the Bonewits book. I am just reading it, and it is really interesting about all the different druid groups and the history of the druids. I am now just starting to really work out what the differences are and it is going to take some time because some of the druid groups are slippery as river frogs when it comes to what they really follow and believe in. I did find it interesting that according to Bonewits, the chief of the OBOD, does believe in the otherworld, and I do remember he started off as a witch and then became a druid. I also see where you throw the tarot and the runes. My take on the tarot is that it is based on the Kabbalah and Egyptian magic, and I have work with the tarot enough to know it works, it fact sometimes it seems too revealing. I also worked with the runes and found that they work, but I had to stop because Odin kept sending his Ravens around and it just got a bit too creepy for me. I am very interested in the ogam, and our chief, Greywolf, put out some ogam cards, or tree cards. I have not used them yet but I do think that they will work after I forge a better relationship with all the of the sacred druid trees. As you can tell from my posts, I am not a neodruid who is into being intellectual about druidism and following history. I follow myth and am more intuitive about my spirituality. I take a more long view of being a druid because I believe in reincarnation and the spiral arms of time. Maybe I am a stone druid or a star druid. I think I like calling myself a star druid more because the arms of the galaxies are in spiral arms. Best Star Tree

    #10423
    david poole
    Participant

    I have not read the Bonewits book but I think I spot an important mistake here. Isaac Bonewits used to be part of the ADF, an important perhaps the most important Druid order in America, he was never the Chief of OBOD. OBOD and the ADF are very different in their practices, so there is not really a comparison. The current chief of OBOD is Philip Carr Gomm, soon to be replaced by Eimar Burke in June (they will do this without any attendants, there will be a gathering next year in June 21 but Eimar will take over in June). I don’t know what Bonewits’s history is, so I can’t comment on that. OBOD and Wicca are somewhat connected, I think Ross Nichols, OBOD’s founder, knew Gerald Gardner and that they both attended the same naturist’s club. I don’t think Carr Gomm or Eimar are connected to wicca, although Carr-Gomm has spent time studying Jainism. I find your comments about Odin and the Runes quite interesting. I believe that Odin, in the form of Woden, does figure into the Bardic grade of the BDO and that Greywolf once had a vision of Woden, see also his song Song at Wodnesbeorg regarding this encounter. Has heathenry influenced the BDO? I am thinking that maybe it has.

    #10424
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hi David.

    You’re right, the late Isaac Bonewits (1949-2010) was the founder of Ar nDraiocht Fein (ADF) in the USA. Ár nDraíocht Féin embraces a wide Indo-European “pagan spectrum”, I believe there’s quite a lot of Norse influence and that they also have elements of Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism in their outlook. Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism (CRP) “purists” tend to reject what they consider “inauthentic”, often found in other forms of Celtic spirituality. Having said that, Celtic Wicca, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, Celtic Neoshamanism and Neo-Druidism all share common threads and all influence each other – a great oak has many branches growing from the same trunk. Isaac Bonewits had a long and interesting life with various neo-pagans groups and movements in the USA.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #10427
    Anonymous

    HiDavid, yeah, it reads like an appositive, I see it. I was talking about Car Gomm, That is who I meant, and he is a really interesting person, He says that Ross Nichols visited him after Ross was dead and told him to start the OBOD, and I think Ross did visit Car Gomm after Ross was dead. I feel like I have felt the presence of Ross, and he is definitely a Celestial Druid now. Ross really was about getting people back to nature, and was just freaked out at how people were all moving into cities and industries of WW2, and had left the countryside. So, I think the neopagans should be a lot about getting back to nature, but one thing about neopagans is that that don’t like to be told what to do, and it is a mistake to ever try. I think there was some big fallout between the obod and Adf over if druidism was a religion or not. The ADF chief wanted druidism to be a religion and Car Gomm wanted it to stay kind of an individual spiritual journey. I am a member of the ADF but I don’t know much about it. I hope that druidism never becomes a religion because I like small groves, with Govekeepers, but I do know that a lot of druids feel very very very strong about environmentalism and many druids want to stop pollution and global warming, and that makes sense because all of us love nature, and if there is one thing that ties us all together it is the love of nature. Ross loved nature, but he did get up to some real witchy magic with Gardener. This story even gets more bizarre when you realize that Gardener got a lot of his stuff from a place called the witch museum. I have a book about the witch museum now, but it was and is basically a museum with a collection of tons of folk witchcraft located in England. Since you live there, it might be a cool trip to check it out. But if I lived where you are, I would be at Glastonbury tor, because that place is on a major Ley line and a really great place for magic and seeing into the future. Plus any spell work done there is like ten times more powerful because of the Ley energy, Not to mention New Grange, and all that other stuff in the south of England, it is like magic central there, so you are really lucky. I am starting to think that most neopagans have no problem with Wicca, and I love the witches and have always felt that they are right where it is at. The only problem I have is drawing down the moon, and letting some spirit (the moon goddess) take over the women’s body, and the man having the horn god take over his body. I do not want some spirit in my body. The only spirit I want in my body is my spirit. So I would never get involved in the Great Right. But all the other stuff I love. I think it would be really great to talk to our chief, Greywolf, and ask him what are the differences between the OBOD and the BDO. Druidism is a new spiritual movement, and the neodruids are really the ones who are going to have to decide where they want to take it. I hope the BDO never gets as big as the OBOD, because I just don’t trust really large organizations. Buy local, act local, small is beautiful. Oh, and I am getting ready to plant some Vervain, which is a sacred druid herb, and can only be harvested while standing naked on one foot, or at least that’s what I read. But I will just show some reverence towards the herb and wear clothes when I harvest it. Hope to post some pics of the vervain soon.

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