Differences between druids and witches

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

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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 34 total)
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  • #10434
    david poole
    Participant

    The Museum of Witchcraft is located in Boscastle in Cornwall, I think there is plenty of information on them online including their own website if you want to find out more. I think it came some time after Gerald Gardner so he did not draw from it, I think the Museum is meant to carry a legacy of witchcraft items that was created after wicca and 1951. I think some of it may be Alexandrian rather than Gardnerian. Tintagel is just down the road, this is extremely important for different reasons, Tintagel is connected with the legend of King Arthur but that is working with a completely different kind of energy. on another note, St. Nectan’s Glen is close nearby, all of these places are worth a visit so as you can imagine this whole area is a great place for pilgrimage as you might want to visit all of them. OBOD and the BDO are different but kind of connected as Carr-Gomm and Greywolf used to know each other in the past. You might find this out if you listen to some of the videos on the BDO Youtube channel or read some of the accounts, Greywolf wrote an article for Pagan Dawn once about the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri where Carr-Gomm and Greywolf came together. OBOD is somewhat psychological and self analytical and inward and relies a lot on meditation, the BDO is a little more hands on and pagan and outgoing but that it just one point of view, I think this does broadly outline some of the differences. Both use classical literature such as the Mabinogion but in the BDO I think there is more emphasis on the medieval period and the creative arts. This is what I have seen so far.

    #10436
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    Hi David.

    The Museum of Witchcraft is down in my neck of the woods. The museum has an eclectic collection of items from throughout the ages, I don’t believe it’s dedicated to any specific period or path and also holds items from around the world. The museum in Cornwall was opened by Cecil Williamson in 1960. Prior to that, he’d had a museum on Mann, founded in 1949, after having also founded one in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1947 but abandoning Stratford for Mann because, according to accounts, the locals in Stratford weren’t all too keen on it! During this time on Mann, Williamson’s friend, Gerald Gardner, was the “resident witch” in the museum. The museum was renamed the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft in 1951 after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act. It then seems that Williamson and Gardner’s friendship began to suffer and they both went their separate ways. After selling the museum on Mann to Gardner, he first moved to Windsor, where he again met with opposition from the local community and then to Bourton-on-the-Water where his museum suffered an arson attack. Williamson finally ended up in Cornwall where the current museum has been since 1960. I don’t know of any opposition or hostility from Cornish people towards the museum and certainly not anything that would warrant the museum being transferred again. The museum was sold to new ownership on Hallowe’en 1996.

    Apart from the colourful history of the museum(s) in question, Cecil Williamson is an interesting figure indeed, apparently he had worked for MI6 during the Second World War, investigation Nazi occult research and propaganda.

    Bennathow.
    /|\

    #10437
    david poole
    Participant

    Thanks Dowrgi. I remember that the Museum was severely damaged by flooding one year when most of the cars in Boscastle were swept away. That is a good piece of history, and more than I knew before. It is a shame that the reaction to the Museum was so irrational. I wonder what would happen if a similar project were attempted today?

    #14171
    Dave the Druid
    Participant

    Peace and Harmony to all.
    There is a field spotters guide to modern paganism out on the web. It’s good for a laugh.
    Our wiccan sisters may be similar in their beliefs to ours at least in the natural focus and connection. There I think the similarities end. The Druid goes to a Grove to practice ritual the Wiccan goes to the alter.
    I am happy to meet any other pagan and discuss belief paths. If we do it right we come out stronger knowing that there others who share similar beliefs.
    I generally get a slightly cocked head when I give them the , Peace and Harmony blessing. I chanced to meet a fellow Druid, ADF. And he felt that my words were appropriate for a Druid.
    I’ve been doing this for 30 years, yes I am that old, and one thing I have learned is that people are touchy about their beliefs. Respect to all, allegiance to none. Tough to reconcile with being a member of this order but I chose this path. Lately I have been considering the idea that this path choose me. Another time perhaps.

    Peace and Harmony
    Dave the Druid

    #14173
    Simon Robson
    Participant

    When I myself have written books with the title witch in them I have always focused on nature and the Earth and the use of simple easy to get items for magick. I however was not writing on wiccan. In reality what witchcraft is depends on the individual because its an overused word: when occultists are beheaded they always seem to say that a witch has been killed. It has become a catch all word. I personally think that witches favour nature in their magick. Druids I don’t write a publisher mentioned the word druid on an early book and it stirred up quite a stir among druids of the time they do not understand that once a publisher has the copyright they can do almost whateveer they want and that includes advertising descriptions: In fact that book concentrated on celtic deities and that was all. The occultist is easy to describe because although an occultist need not be a satanist an occultist must know dark magick and to me is probably a practitioner with a varied set of spirts, devils whatever that he uses. The definitions sometimes get in the way of the magick. I must say though I class witchraft as new agey and that isn’t my stuff I have written 602 books and maybe a few on witchcraft so not much of them at all.

    #14177
    Angela Lawton
    Participant

    I’ve been to the Museum of Witchcraft at Boscastle twice, once before the flood and once after. If I recall before the flood they had a real skeleton of a deceased witch in a glass case, I didn’t think it was a very dignified way to keep someone. It was quite an interesting place.

    #14178
    Dowrgi
    Participant

    @Angela

    The skeleton was that of Joan Wytte of Bodmin, who died in Bodmin Gaol in 1813. Joan was a wise woman and quite well-known throughout Cornwall. However, she also lived in the poverty of the time and was, supposedly, of an aggressive temper. She died of pneumonia at the age of 38 while imprisoned for “brawling”. Unfortunately her earthly remains were used for all kinds of 19th century séances and suchlike. Joan was finally buried in Minster in 1998 – on Hallowe’en. Now I’ve heard and read stories that the Museum had had Joan for about forty years, but then it started to report strange happenings … Make of it all, what you will. Whatever the case, Old Joan has finally been given a proper burial and had her dignity restored, in a sense.

    Bennathow
    /|\

    #14183
    Angela Lawton
    Participant

    Thanks Dowgri I had a quick look online and saw that she was imprisoned in Bodmin Jail in Cornwall. I’ve been there too and must say it is a very dark and oppressive place with a definite spiritual presence, I felt a spirit touching my arm whilst in there and said so to my daughters. We didn’t know anything about the jail at the time but bought a guide book and read it after our visit and it said a few people felt someone touching their arm at that particular place in the jail. It’s a very foreboding place..
    At least old Joan has been put to rest now and I suppose the keeping of deceased bones is on a par with the Catholic church keeping relics of Saints, which leads me to believe that the spirit can become attached to physical bodily parts. I for one want to be cremated and I’m not donating any of my organs as I don’t want to be tied to this plane by any earthly remnains. Let the spirit go free I say.

    #14185
    david poole
    Participant

    I agree that the dead woman should have been buried properly rather than put on display, it would have been more respectful. I guess that the same argument could be used for all uses of real human remains in museums

    #14360
    Noel
    Participant

    The type of witchcraft mentioned in the original post appears to be “Traditional Witchcraft” specifically, which is only one type of witchcraft among many. And even then, there are various streams depending on which sources one chooses to follow and focus on. For example, many Trad Witches work heavily with the fae, while others focus solely on published grimoires.

    As for other types of witchcraft, there’s also Wicca, Eclectic Witchcraft, Hereditary Witchcraft, Hellenic Witchcraft, Christian Witchcraft, Luciferian Witchcraft, Satanic Witchcraft, and so on. It’s difficult to generalize, and doubly so when you consider that each practitioner is an individual with unique perceptions and beliefs.

    I myself am both a witch and a Bardic Druid. Before turning to Druidry, I already worked with and honored Na Morrígna as I am a polytheist. Then over time, I was pulled towards other aspects of the various Celtic cultures, and inevitably, this path. But besides honoring Deities, my craft also includes spirit work, animism, and meditation. None of which I’d consider incompatible with Druid beliefs.

    #14362
    david poole
    Participant

    Fully agreed with you there Noel. You make a good point about the many different types of witchcraft that exist today

    #14368
    Dave the Druid
    Participant

    Wonderful Noel,

    Terrible generalization on my part. I know several Wiccans and they all seem to follow different paths. You left out Alexandrian Wiccans but I think it was covered by the, and others.

    I studied wicca as a general subject for my ordination and my comments were a bit off the cuff. Sorry

    I don’t see much difference between some of the Wiccan sects and Druidry. I have met some Druids who seem more like witches and vice versa.

    I always wondered how a witch making the move to Druidry would feel about the differences. Your story causes me to think there isn’t much of a jump. I would love to find some time to talk with you about your experience.

    Peace and Harmony
    Dave the Druid

    #14369
    Noel
    Participant

    That’s quite alright! With many people just using the term “witch” in the broader sense, it can get quite confusing, even for some of us in the community. It definitely doesn’t help that a lot of authors and blog owners don’t always make it clear which path they’re writing about either.

    I actually wouldn’t fall under the Wiccan umbrella as I don’t follow the religion by Gerald Gardner or any of it’s offshoots. If I had to pick an existing label, I’d probably fall closest to Eclectic since my craft is not part of an established religious structure and is based more on folk practices and lore from different cultures. There was also a point I would have considered my practice Trad Craft, just a different variant than the one mentioned in the first post, but I found that the label did not quite fit what I do and was limiting.

    Of course! I would be more than happy to discuss my practice further and answer questions. Thank you for listening to my input.

    #14375
    david poole
    Participant

    Thank you for your story Noel I look forward to hearing more

    #14388
    Greywolf
    Keymaster

    Having realised that Druidry was the path for me in 1974, I looked for a Druid group to join. Failing to find one, I joined a Wiccan coven being formed by my friend, Gary, who had just finished his training with Alex Sanders. It was great experience for working with a group. The process of Drawing Down the Moon into our priestess, Pamela, was very beautiful and remarkably effective. She grew in stature, her voice became deeper and more authoritative and she actually glowed with a Moon-like light in our windowless basement temple. Awesome! To this day, some of my best friends are Witches.
    I composed ceremonies for the coven and stayed with them long enough to pass through my third degree initiation and emerge as a High Priest. I was also asked to compose ceremonies for the group. These were so imbued with characters from native British myth that we eventually stopped calling ourselves a coven and became a grove instead. The BDO grew out of the seeds planted in that grove.
    Emma Restall-Orr, who I worked closely with for 7 years, had also been trained as a Witch, though by an individual rather than in a coven. Philip Carr-Gomm became sufficiently intrigued by Witchcraft that he joined a Wiccan coven in the 1990s and subsequently wrote the book, Druidcraft, in which he compares and contrasts the two. Isaac Bonewits was a ritual magician, Witch and Druid. These are just a few of many Druids who either have Wiccan training or are still active members of covens. So yes, there’s a lot of cross-over between the two traditions, especially when you get into the realms of Celtic Wicca.
    As for possession in native British tradition, there’s good evidence for it among the Awenyddion of medieval Wales, inspired seers who allowed themselves to become possessed in order to give prophecies. I’ve been possessed by various spirits, including those of a Wolf and an Eagle. Images like the antlered man on the 1st century BCE Gundestrup Cauldron suggest that possession by animal spirits has been with us for a long time. Possibly not for the faint-hearted or untrained, but, for me at least, one of the defining abilities of the Druid (rather than bard or ovate).
    It’s also quite hard to pin down differences between Druids and Witches simply because there are so many different varieties of both, some of which can look and feel remarkably similar.
    The primary difference I would suggest between the two traditions, based on my own exposure to them, would be that Druid ceremonial gatherings tend to be more focused on celebration, while Wiccan covens (at least those I’ve known) tend to be more focused on acts of practical magic. But then Wiccans also celebrate and Druids also work magic. Again based on my own experience, Wiccan ritual language, as represented by the Gardnerian and Alexandrian ‘Books of Shadows,’ tends to borrow more much from the medieval grimoire tradition of ritual magic than does any of the Druidry I’ve witnessed. That said, both traditions commonly cast circles and call their quarters in ways that have their roots in earlier forms of ritual magic.
    Blessings,
    Greywolf /|\

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