The American Druid

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MountainGnome
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The American Druid

Postby MountainGnome » 29 Aug 2014, 07:36

I was listening to audio samples from the Druidism courses, and in particular "Introduction-from-Supplementary-Gwers-1.mp3."

It says, "Druidry ... offers a connection with the land and with the past."

There are lots of people here in America who trace their ancestry back to the British Isles. I'm one of such people. Out of the four families which represent each of my grandparents' birth names, I can definitely trace two of them back to Britain, one to England and the other to Clan Fraser in Scotland (changed to Frazier in America). Both families first arrived in Britain during the Norman Invasion and came from France, and before that, one of the family names appears to be of Gaulish origin.


But even knowing that, and that this blood runs through my veins, I was born and raised in a different land. Throughout the great migrations of all the Indo-European peoples, the land we settle in seems to always make deep impressions on our cultures and ways of life that we adopt. The rocks in the mountain sides seem reverberate to a different song here, and the more I connect with it, the more I think the Cherokee and other native tribes were more in tune with it. I even feel as though the Native Americans may have come here with a culture of their own, but the land itself is what changed them into what they were when the white man first encountered them. They had become a feature of the land itself. The white people came and nearly exterminated them, but many parts of their culture continue to influence us even today. I wonder if it's not the land itself continuing to speak to its new inhabitants and move us in the same way.


I agree completely that Druidry should be about a connection with the land. Though bagpipes can easily bring me to tears, and I still feel for the Scots and the Irish and the Welsh in a kind of rebellious way for what has happened to what was once their original cultures historically, I feel an even deeper connection to cultures which I feel are really more direct expressions of the land itself in the place where I live. And the knowledge of plants must be different here because though we have lots of European plants brought over during colonization, there's a lot of variation as well, so the study of plants and trees and wildlife varies some.


So this is this topic and this is what I've been pondering on. I think the idea of an "American Druid" should be explored more deeply for Americans I think. It's not a difference of ideology, if we can even say that we have defined ideologies, but really just a difference of the land itself, the way it feels, which spirits roam these mountains and what they say. And I say mountains because I live in the Appalachians, a great crossroads for many native tribes, but the natives of the southwest lived in deserts and their culture was different yet again, and others lived up farther north in cold areas, others further south in almost tropical regions, and still others along the beaches in marshes and lowlands.


Can anyone else offer their thoughts on this?

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Brân Gannaid
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Brân Gannaid » 29 Aug 2014, 09:58

I'm a mixture of English and Scottish on Dad's side and Lakota (aka Sioux) and Welsh/French on my Mom's side. Mom was mostly raised by Lakota who were living among a mixture of Lakota and Northern European people in the northwestern U.S., while Dad is from the Appalachians.

I find I'm very connected to Nature generally. I've just moved to the Appalachians, and I'm very drawn to the area, although I only visited a couple times each year after moving away when I was 2. I'm also drawn to the east coast where I grew up, with hills and lots of rivers, bays, and Atlantic coastal areas.

And, when I've visited Native American areas, it's as if the ancestors come alive for me whether it's my mother's Standing Rock tribe or some other. That also happens in the Appalachians and when I travel in my ancestral Northern European lands. I feel a deep connection to the ancestors.

I do think that place is important, and I love the fact that the East Coast Gathering will be in the Poconos, where I've spent some wonderful times over the years. I'd love to see more weekend camps or gatherings in the southern Appalachian area. It does call to me, and so do the OBOD Gwersi. There are other druid groups in the USA that hold events and have great leaders and writers, and at this moment in time, OBOD is what resonates with me, for whatever reason. And the Appalachians are my home. I have a sense of interconnectedness to everything, that transcends all the peoples who have ever inhabited the area and brings us together--the living and the ancestors. And I do find myself immersed in the music.

The drone of bagpipes truly can bring me to tears. And I love traditional Appalachian music more every day.
Soaring high on a wind current, I gaze down at the rugged shapes of the mountains and the shimmering water of the lakes, and thank the Goddess that I am Crow.
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Davin Raincloud
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Davin Raincloud » 29 Aug 2014, 10:52

It's a similar thing as an Australian Druid. I'm 4th generation Australia. White fella, no native blood in me.
German, English, Scottish, Irish mix as you do.

I've had a bit of an identity crisis dealing without other Druid groups especially reconstructionists who don't live in the old Celtic lands, but want to recreate or strengthen their identity with it.

I'm Australian. I'm not German, I'm not English, I'm not etc etc.

That's what I like about OBOD, it seems to allow for spiritual practices in the now. Not endless debates on the ancient history of another land.

Check out this too: http://www.bioregionalanimism.com/

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Re: The American Druid

Postby Badmoose » 30 Aug 2014, 19:28

My own take is that the study we do of Druidry in the British Isles gives us the tools to connect to the native spirits in our own land. We don't need to study American Druidry per se, but rather what it means to be a druid in the abstract (using some concrete examples) and then we can apply those principles to wherever we live. We learn from the land. We learn how to learn from the land from each pother.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Whitemane » 31 Aug 2014, 12:21

Do your own thing, and the spirits will find you.
May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you,
Guide your way on.

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Re: The American Druid

Postby DJ Droood » 31 Aug 2014, 15:00

As far as the mud and blood stuff goes, my view is "you are what you eat"....and breath and drink. The cells of the body regenerate fast...really fast in some case...when I googled it I found this fascinating article... http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... -body.html

So wherever you are, your blood will be "part of the land" in about 4 months and you will be fully the land in about 10 years.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Welsh Mythology » 05 Feb 2015, 11:30

My own take is that the study we do of Druidry in the British Isles gives us the tools to connect to the native spirits in our own land. We don't need to study American Druidry per se, but rather what it means to be a druid in the abstract (using some concrete examples) and then we can apply those principles to wherever we live. We learn from the land. We learn how to learn from the land from each pother.
Yup, just let the land live in you and you'll come to live in the land. And other quasi mystical mumbo-jumbo.

As an aside, mongrels (diversity) are genetically healthier according to some choo-choos of thought. Mother Nature likes us to get all mixed up, its just our egos (collectively expressed as nationalism) that doesn't like the idea, because it / they / we depends on the pretence of the 'pure' and 'sacrocanct'. Ancestors are old families, and families very often adopt, particularly when they have a feeling for their very human instincts.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby ideagirl » 13 Apr 2015, 01:23

My own take is that the study we do of Druidry in the British Isles gives us the tools to connect to the native spirits in our own land. We don't need to study American Druidry per se, but rather what it means to be a druid in the abstract (using some concrete examples) and then we can apply those principles to wherever we live. We learn from the land. We learn how to learn from the land from each pother.
Yes. And yes again! As an American practitioner of Druidry (and Shamanism, and member of a spiritual circle with some Native American roots), I agree that having this system to work with is very useful and it is "portable" to other lands. That being said, I do think it wise to study the spiritual stories and practices of people native to your land (Native Americans in the Americas, Aborigines in Australia, Maori in New Zealand...)

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Re: The American Druid

Postby Allenis » 18 Aug 2015, 09:05

I've had a bit of an identity crisis dealing without other Druid groups especially reconstructionists who don't live in the old Celtic lands, but want to recreate or strengthen their identity with it.

That's what I like about OBOD, it seems to allow for spiritual practices in the now. Not endless debates on the ancient history of another land.
I've also had a bit of an identity crisis, because in many of the photos of druid gatherings, everyone is white. I'm a mixed American, with various degrees of black, Filipino, French, and Native American. The closest thing I have to being even remotely European is the French bit, which comes from my Creole great-grandmother who lived in the Louisiana swamps.

But nature has always called to me and I've always felt a connection to it. I'd never been able to put it into words until discovering druidry, which then allowed me to explore this part of myself and allow it to blossom. (I suppose it's also possible I was reincarnated, and that's why druidry feels so natural a way of life?) I worried a bit about the small number of POCs, but as someone in another online druidry group pointed out, larger religious followings like Christianity and Judaism started out in one section of the world as well, expanding eventually into other ethnic groups and evolving along with it. If druidry had been allowed to expand just as freely and fervently in its earlier days as it has the chance to do now, the diversity would probably be greater.

I like to think that yes, learning Celtic lore is great, because it's always good to know the roots of the path you're spiritually following. There's much to be learned from the early druids even if you can't trace your ancestry back to them. And even though I'm not descended from them, I still feel a kinship through our mutual appreciation of the beauty of nature, of the pursuit of wisdom and the arts. That's why I personally relate more to OBOD than any other Druid group, for the very reason that it allows for the focus more on the spirituality aspect to which I relate so deeply, not necessarily the worship of Celtic gods. It seems more flexible in its practices than any other group I've heard of so far.

Just my two cents, and something to think about for anyone else feeling that identity disconnect :)

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Re: The American Druid

Postby Heddwen » 18 Aug 2015, 12:27

I've had a bit of an identity crisis dealing without other Druid groups especially reconstructionists who don't live in the old Celtic lands, but want to recreate or strengthen their identity with it.

That's what I like about OBOD, it seems to allow for spiritual practices in the now. Not endless debates on the ancient history of another land.
I've also had a bit of an identity crisis, because in many of the photos of druid gatherings, everyone is white. I'm a mixed American, with various degrees of black, Filipino, French, and Native American. The closest thing I have to being even remotely European is the French bit, which comes from my Creole great-grandmother who lived in the Louisiana swamps.

But nature has always called to me and I've always felt a connection to it. I'd never been able to put it into words until discovering druidry, which then allowed me to explore this part of myself and allow it to blossom. (I suppose it's also possible I was reincarnated, and that's why druidry feels so natural a way of life?) I worried a bit about the small number of POCs, but as someone in another online druidry group pointed out, larger religious followings like Christianity and Judaism started out in one section of the world as well, expanding eventually into other ethnic groups and evolving along with it. If druidry had been allowed to expand just as freely and fervently in its earlier days as it has the chance to do now, the diversity would probably be greater.

I like to think that yes, learning Celtic lore is great, because it's always good to know the roots of the path you're spiritually following. There's much to be learned from the early druids even if you can't trace your ancestry back to them. And even though I'm not descended from them, I still feel a kinship through our mutual appreciation of the beauty of nature, of the pursuit of wisdom and the arts. That's why I personally relate more to OBOD than any other Druid group, for the very reason that it allows for the focus more on the spirituality aspect to which I relate so deeply, not necessarily the worship of Celtic gods. It seems more flexible in its practices than any other group I've heard of so far.

Just my two cents, and something to think about for anyone else feeling that identity disconnect :)

Welcome to the OBOD board, Allenis :shake:

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Re: The American Druid

Postby DJ Droood » 18 Aug 2015, 13:42

Just my two cents, and something to think about for anyone else feeling that identity disconnect :)
I am of Northern European stock and have a solid Scottish lineage, and "America" has been the family home for coming on 400 years. "Celtic (or any other ethnic group or nationality)" does not play a central role in my Druidry. For me, it is about community service, honouring life, seeking and speaking truth, aligning with natural rhythms. I suppose interest in my genetic heritage led me to Druidry in the first place, but I could never really feel that Iron Age Irish and Welsh stuff had much bearing on my life here and now. If anything, I think concepts of "race" and nationality are holding humanity back and should be in the dustbin of history.

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Re: The American Druid

Postby Green Raven » 19 Aug 2015, 12:07

As any DNA swab will tell us, we all came out of Africa at one time or another so ethnicity is not a factor. After that it’s just sunscreen. Apart from our brains, every single molecule in our bodies is replaced over a decade, so as long as you eat a diet respectful to the land – seasonal and local – then you are intrinsically of your land. The names of the gods and spirits change from location to location, understood according to local culture, but even if the neighbourhood druids are (were) called by another name, a druid is a druid (is a shaman, filidh, sangoma, cunning man, midew, ollamh etc). The path is the path and we are all richer for a little variation of expression.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Geordon » 26 Aug 2015, 03:33

This topic intrigues me, and has been something that I've been kicking around in my head in general for many years. A bit of background: My family has English, Dutch, German, and Irish roots. However, those roots are old and withered, since the family line has been on what is now thought of as American soil since before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. From a certain perspective, I'm about as close as you can get to being a "native" American without being First Nations. However, even as that goes, there was some intermarriage in my family with a Native tribe way back when we were still one or two generations here. Myself? I'm about 8 generations American, somewhere around 300 years, if my math is accurate.

My father was an Air Force brat who grew up on foreign bases but ended up settling in Colorado, my mother grew up in Colorado. I was born in Connecticut. My oldest brother (younger than I) was born in Kansas, and my younger brother was born in Illinois. The three of us grew up around Northern Illinois, though one now resides in New Mexico and the other is in Indiana, while our parents retired to Arkansas a few years ago. I remain in Illinois with hopes of moving to either Florida or the PNW, if things go my way.

All of that is a long way of getting to this point: I am American by culture, through and through, but I (along with many Americans) have no real cultural roots. We, Americans, are mostly nomadic, settling in one area for a while, then moving on, all with no real "family home" to go back to. More to my point, I was raised with no religious upbringing (my dad was a strict agnostic, though my mom had me baptized Lutheran) at all. No community to call my own. My family is even radically divided politically, with me being a Progressive leftie, my youngest brother being strictly conservative right, and our middle brother being (I think, we don't talk much, let alone politics) left-leaning Libertarian. Dad is a Rush Limbaugh Republican, and Mom is quietly Mormon, who seems to take her political lead from Dad.

So what makes for a distinctly American Druidry? I honestly don't know if it is even possible to distill that down to a single unit. Rather, I suspect that, if anything can be assumed, there can only be regional variations of practice, even if American Druids take guidance from a larger organization (e.g. ADF, OBOD, etc). Sure, I'm of this Land here in Northern Illinois, bother literally and figuratively, but there is no cultural framework that I can hang off of.

To quote the great sage Popeye, "I am what I am and that's all what I am). It's taken me years, but I'm finally coming to be okay with that.

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Re: The American Druid

Postby aaron » 26 Aug 2015, 06:00

Hello everyone,
I entered into this discussion late, but I do have something to say. (oh no, you say :roll: )
I do not believe that there is any such thing thing as an American Druid. I believe that there are Druids who happen to be American, just as there are Druids whop happen to be Spanish.
To me, Druidry is a universal belief which has its origins in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
As an American who spent many years in Great Britain I feel a great affinity for land and the beliefs that are so honored in the OBOD and I am proud to call myself a Druid.
Blessings and good fortune.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby MountainGnome » 29 Aug 2015, 04:54

To me, Druidry is a universal belief which has its origins in Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
And France, and possibly elsewhere, which gets into another whole subject of fragmented and mysterious pre-history and where all of these peoples originally came from and what religions they already had developed.

The thing about Druid tradition for me is that it was surely originally all about the local lands, the local plants and trees and animals, weather patterns, etc. When you come across the Atlantic Ocean to North America, things change. There are many of the same species of plants and trees, but many different species are prevalent as well, and Native Americans taught white men their medicinal, culinary and spiritual uses. Tobacco is one example of a plant very sacred to the Native Americans that was quickly taken back to Europe, and if it had been available in Europe already there's no reason to believe that the Druids wouldn't have been making some kind of use of it just as the Native Americans were.

So I guess basically for me, Druidism is about becoming more integrated with nature and the local environment, and in this respect Druidry has to change in some of its details and traditions when it's introduced to this new environment. It's still a temperate region so we can still celebrate the 8 high days in a way that makes sense, but imagine if you were in the Southern Hemisphere, not even the seasonal celebrations would make sense unless their dates were also changed.

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Re: The American Druid

Postby malcolmb » 29 Aug 2015, 15:56

A very interesting and thought provoking thread. Like many who have responded to the original comment, I do not see Druidry as being restrictive in location or in belief. A druid is a druid where-ever they may be. While the writings on the past origins and beliefs of ancient druids and the resulting mythology and debatable invention of 'facts' about them is fascinating as a study, I do not focus on it as part of my belief and in fact I personally find it irrelevant. The natural world is spiritual and I embrace that spirituality, honour it and respect it. I do not need stone circles to connect with the land and while I honour and respect the ancestors, I do not seek to emulate them. I live in the "today" world and my Druidry is a "today" belief. So I am perfectly content to celebrate my belief in any land and in any culture. What is important is the land today, not vague perceptions of the past.

Of course I appreciate that many will not share my views. And I fully respect their right to believe as they choose. But I do wonder if focusing on the past creates exactly the conundrum raised in this thread. Can you be a real druid in the USA or Australia or anywhere other than the UK and France? Of course you can. It is the belief that makes us Druid, not the location. Frankly, we are not ancient Druids, we are "today" Druids. We may have taken the name Druid to recognise our roots but we should not constrain our belief by looking backwards. If Druidry is to have the future it both deserves and our beautiful Planet desperately needs, we must look forward, embrace our differences and make Druidry a vibrant, relevant belief to today. And we must do this across the whole World.
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Re: The American Druid

Postby Allenis » 29 Aug 2015, 20:56

A very interesting and thought provoking thread. Like many who have responded to the original comment, I do not see Druidry as being restrictive in location or in belief. A druid is a druid where-ever they may be. While the writings on the past origins and beliefs of ancient druids and the resulting mythology and debatable invention of 'facts' about them is fascinating as a study, I do not focus on it as part of my belief and in fact I personally find it irrelevant. The natural world is spiritual and I embrace that spirituality, honour it and respect it. I do not need stone circles to connect with the land and while I honour and respect the ancestors, I do not seek to emulate them. I live in the "today" world and my Druidry is a "today" belief. So I am perfectly content to celebrate my belief in any land and in any culture. What is important is the land today, not vague perceptions of the past.

Of course I appreciate that many will not share my views. And I fully respect their right to believe as they choose. But I do wonder if focusing on the past creates exactly the conundrum raised in this thread. Can you be a real druid in the USA or Australia or anywhere other than the UK and France? Of course you can. It is the belief that makes us Druid, not the location. Frankly, we are not ancient Druids, we are "today" Druids. We may have taken the name Druid to recognise our roots but we should not constrain our belief by looking backwards. If Druidry is to have the future it both deserves and our beautiful Planet desperately needs, we must look forward, embrace our differences and make Druidry a vibrant, relevant belief to today. And we must do this across the whole World.
Agreed, very well said.


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