The either or, versus, the Both and

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum The either or, versus, the Both and

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      This is going to be more philosophical than bardic, but it is something I want to express, and something that I think a lot of druids have to deal with. I think there are two types of people.
      The either or, and the Both and. The either or people are that kind of people who tell you that
      You either believe in the bible or you are going to hell. And the Both and people tell you that you can believe in the bible and the Celtic Gods and Goddesses at the same time. I am a both and person. As a Celtic person I have no difficulty living with paradox. And I think that the Godhead talks to different people in different ways. I know that some pagans hate the bible because some pagans blame the world’s global warming and ecological destruction on the Christian belief system. And I think they have a good argument for this. Also, the Abrahamic religions have destroyed Celtic culture and persecuted witches and druids for many years, and I
      think to some extent the Abrahamic Religions are still persecuting us. But on the flip side, the Christian religion does talk of peace, and mercy, and forgiveness, and these are all good things.
      Further, there is no reason to think that the early druids did not believe in love you brother, and forgiveness and mercy. I do think that the druids got a bad rap from the Christians who wrote about us in earlier times. Further, modern druids are kind and loving people who follow an earth-based religion. Druids are intelligent people who think for themselves and don’t like dogma, meaning someone telling them they must follow some creed. Plus, I have found that most of the Celtic Christians are the either or type of person. And then there is the whole concept of Satan, which I just think is the personification of evil. I like what Jerry Garcia of the Grateful dead said about evil, “ if you didn’t have evil, how would you know what the good is.”
      I do think that we can all benefit from studying different religions and not condemning other druids because they may be Christian druids, or Buddhist druids, or voodoo druids, or New age druids.

      Best Star-Tree

      david poole

        I think that the Abrahamic religions, all three of them, are more exclusionary or more rigid and controlling than other faiths. Celtic culture is an interesting case. Before the Celts we had paganism and shamanism of one kind or another, that was I think basically what Britain was like all over. This period gave us all of our monuments and sacred sites, which were pre-Celtic, I think mid Neolithic for definite, large monuments all around the country. Then the Celts came in and things changed a bit. The Celtic period was supposed to be something like 30bce to 70ad, but the Celts were around long after that period; possibly this refers to pure Celtic culture. While the Celts ruled Britain the Romans invaded and romanised our country, which the Celtic tribes worked with or succumbed to to one degree or another. After the Romans left we got Christianity, which basically either eradicated the Celts or assimilated the Celtic tribes. Hence we got a faith which combined both, Celtic Christianity. I have seen what this is like, you can get Christianity today which has heavy Celtic elements such as prayers in Gaelic. This might be more common for example in places such as Ireland. Paganism was driven underground by Christianity, and the witchcraft act didn’t help, fortunately that was repealed in 1951 which was when we got Wicca thanks to Gerald Gardner. Although witchcraft is older than that. Maybe a few thousand years old as it may be linked to the Celtic tribes. Some of their practices may have meshed with what we think of as witchcraft. Then after that we got some element of heathenry, and don’t forget the Vikings came and invaded us as well, so we got parts of their culture. I think there may be a possibility that Jesus himself may have come to Britain to study under the Druids during what I think is some thirty or so missing years, I have read about this but I think it would need a separate thread to cover all of the theories for that, which I might do next. It would certainly be interesting. Among modern Druids I can certainly attest that OBOD is very open minded, I have seen OBOD members who combine other faiths or spiritual paths with Druidry. There does not appear to be any problem with that, I guess it is somewhat syncretic, taking what we think of as the best parts of other paths and mixing them together. One thing, Nuinn possessed an interest in Jainism and passed some of this on to Philip Carr Gomm, who does mention it frequently in the rather revealing DruidCast podcasts from OBOD. It keeps coming up in interviews with Philip, he does say however that he does not consider himself to be a Jain. In Jainism there is a strong emphasis in honouring the four directions just as modern pagans and Druids do, you can see why Jainism might be a subject for discussion although I know next to nothing about it apart from that. In one particular interview, Philip talks about whether it is possible to follow more than one path, and then says that one particular member, who is a hydrologist, said that if you want to drill for water you need to drill in more than one place. Implying that spiritual roundedness can only be obtained through experience of different kinds rather than either or thinking. Paganism today combines lots of elements of Druidry, witchraft, heathenry and other approaches such as animism, shamanism, pantheism, immanentism and other concepts, so where do you draw a line? We in our country have been invaded and assimilated so many times that maybe nothing is completely pure any more.


          Interesting ideas that open up myriad thoughts and pathways to explore.

          Let’s not forget, though, that the greatest historical persecutors of the Druids, not necessarily Celtic religious beliefs per se, were the non-Christian Romans. The Romans didn’t like the Druids, the Romans didn’t like anyone who might challenge or undermine their imperial authority and the “Divine Emperor” – the fact that Celtic kings/chiefs had to defer to the authority of their druids didn’t sit well with the Romans, and perhaps – for the more cynical among them, with some celtic chieftains either.

          My roots are in Cornwall. Cornwall has been called the “Land of Saints”, and if you travel around Cornwall you’ll find that practically every other village is dedicated to a saint or there’ll be a holy well dedicated to another. Many of these saints are hardly known outside Cornwall, Wales, Brittany and, to a lesser extent, Ireland. It has been said that some of them may well have been druids, or what was left of druids after centuries of Roman rule. And although medieval hagiographers were wont to make things up, exaggerate the ire of the saints against the heathens and suchlike, there seems to have been a far more subtle and peaceful transition to “Celtic” Christianity than in other parts of Europe.

          There is one story, a legend, concerning Saint Petroc. He goes to help a village that’s being terrorised by a dragon. What does he do? He tames the dragon and makes it promise to be good! There’s no slaying, casting out evil, fierce battle or what you may expect in such a tale, but rather a working out of balance with nature. Now, it’s just my opinion, but if that not “druidic”, then what is? In Scotland, even the legendary Saint Columba of Iona, who battled with “druids”, has the saying “Christ is my Druid”, ascribed to him – so if he did say or write that, he obviously didn’t think that all druids were bad in every way shape or form… Is é mo drui Crist mac Dé, Crist mac Muire mòrda in t-ab, Athair, Mac is Spirut Noem, m’fhearannus ic Rlgh na righ, is ord i Cenandus is Moen.


            David and Dowrgi, I think these are both mighty replies, and I love the stories of how you experience things in Cornwall Dowrgi. It really helps me to understand a druid way of life when I can hear stories of modern day druids experiencing a druid way of life. And I loved it when Greywolf talked about meeting Odin in a reply to a post on the horned god by David. Being a druid to me is about having a relationship with nature, and I think that is what Ross Nichols was trying to do with bringing back a druid lifestyle. I know that my life is greatly enhanced by listening to Celtic music, and harp playing, and learning about the names and healing powers of different plants. I feel like it just makes me a whole person. And I was once visited by the goddess Rhiannon when I was playing harp, and I felt the pure joy and love that the goddess Rhiannon has. Also, just as a side note, the faeries love Celtic harp music and will show up when you play. So, that is one good way to meet them. Also, I found the the Pilgrim harp company makes some very good harps, and I like the ash-down model. So, I just want to say that I want to live in harmony with all druids and respect all druids’ views. The Bible talks about the Fear of the Lord is the beginnings of wisdom, and the word Fear here means the reverence of the Lord. I would add this druid’s thought, that the reverence of nature is the beginning of wisdom. Further, I think that stories can change the world, and that modern druid bards are playing a great part in bringing our world back into balance with a recverenced relationship with nature. Plus, the druid way of life is fun, and kind, and loving, as it should be. I do think that druids have a sense of humor, and joy, and happiness that can’t be found in the industrial life style. And for me, being a part of the Celtic and druid culture is very healing, reconnecting to the beautiful enchanted forest, and magical ocean, feeling safe and connected to my fellow druids.
            woof, Star-tree


              In another legend, St Petroc actually helps a dragon by taking out a splinter from its eye.

              Far from being a dragon-slayer, we have a dragon-tamer. I do tend to prefer the latter to the former.

              Yet another legend has him rescue a fawn from a cruel chieftain who even accuses him of being a “wizard”.

              So what are these legends really telling us then?

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