Druid Monasticism?

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Green Raven
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby Green Raven » 15 Jan 2016, 12:33

Paleo-Druids were essentially monks and had dedicated their entire lives to the service of Druidry. The Catholic Christian faith came across what we now call monasticism and adopted the style, and livelihood from a preexisting pagan model in the 3rd Century AD.
I have to take issue with the statement that the pre-Roman druids were monks. Defining characteristics of the monastic life are the vow of celibacy and spiritually retreating from society – even when interacting with it.

The Celtic druids were in the centre of society and part of it. Spiritual, legal and medical authorities, yes, they studied for twenty years, but so does anyone with a tertiary education. I could loosely accept a parallel with parish priests, but druids married, had families and were skilled in the arts of combat, killing when appropriate. They lived in the community not outside of it.

I have always felt that the Roman rite tells us more about pagan Roman society than 1st century Judea or early Gaulish Europe. However there were aspects of the ancient way in the Celtic Church, some of which passed to the Roman and some that was rejected – the confession, the peregrination, the Celtic tonsure that resembled the band of the Deal Warrior’s druid crown, and there are hints that the trivium, quadrivium and ‘memory palace’ methods of learning were being practiced, possibly from the close contact with Greek philosophers, pre invasions.

There were certainly holy hermits – most notably Merlin the Wild and Mad Sweeny – who could not cope with the company of other people and took to the woods but it was the dwelling in nature that made them mystics and seers. The cause of their self-imposed exiles was shame at fleeing battle and failing their duty, the tales seeming to describe complex PTSD. Merlin was rehabilitated back into society by caring friends and Sweeny was murdered by a farmer.

Yours is an interesting concept but it would not be for me as I prefer to be in society, ‘preaching’ peaceful solutions, the cycle of life, respect and coexistence with the bionetwork and repairing it where I can, by action in my work and social interplay. I do not ‘pray’ (from the Latin precari, ‘to plead, beg or entreat’), I ‘spell’ and ‘spiel’ (from the proto-Germanic spellam, ‘to talk’) to my great, interconnected, universal family.

Just my viewpoint and I wish you well in your experiment. :shake:
“Listen, O little pig! are not the buds of thorns
Very green, the mountain beautiful, and beautiful the earth?”
- Myrddin Wyllt, Hoianau / Greetings (to a Pig)

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malcolmb
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby malcolmb » 15 Jan 2016, 12:41

Green Raven - Concur.
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My original "Druid Music" CDs (all proceeds to the charity "Pagan Aid":
https://lylemusic.bandcamp.com/

My original Celtic / Folk / Jazz music at:
http://www.soundclick.com/lylemusic
http://www.soundclick.com/malcolmbrown
http://www.youtube.com/user/LyleMusic

“So many Gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind. While just the art of being kind, is all the sad world needs.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox

skepticskitchen
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 15 Jan 2016, 15:25

Paleo-Druids were essentially monks and had dedicated their entire lives to the service of Druidry. The Catholic Christian faith came across what we now call monasticism and adopted the style, and livelihood from a preexisting pagan model in the 3rd Century AD.
I have to take issue with the statement that the pre-Roman druids were monks. Defining characteristics of the monastic life are the vow of celibacy and spiritually retreating from society – even when interacting with it.

The Celtic druids were in the centre of society and part of it. Spiritual, legal and medical authorities, yes, they studied for twenty years, but so does anyone with a tertiary education. I could loosely accept a parallel with parish priests, but druids married, had families and were skilled in the arts of combat, killing when appropriate. They lived in the community not outside of it.

I have always felt that the Roman rite tells us more about pagan Roman society than 1st century Judea or early Gaulish Europe. However there were aspects of the ancient way in the Celtic Church, some of which passed to the Roman and some that was rejected – the confession, the peregrination, the Celtic tonsure that resembled the band of the Deal Warrior’s druid crown, and there are hints that the trivium, quadrivium and ‘memory palace’ methods of learning were being practiced, possibly from the close contact with Greek philosophers, pre invasions.

There were certainly holy hermits – most notably Merlin the Wild and Mad Sweeny – who could not cope with the company of other people and took to the woods but it was the dwelling in nature that made them mystics and seers. The cause of their self-imposed exiles was shame at fleeing battle and failing their duty, the tales seeming to describe complex PTSD. Merlin was rehabilitated back into society by caring friends and Sweeny was murdered by a farmer.

Yours is an interesting concept but it would not be for me as I prefer to be in society, ‘preaching’ peaceful solutions, the cycle of life, respect and coexistence with the bionetwork and repairing it where I can, by action in my work and social interplay. I do not ‘pray’ (from the Latin precari, ‘to plead, beg or entreat’), I ‘spell’ and ‘spiel’ (from the proto-Germanic spellam, ‘to talk’) to my great, interconnected, universal family.

Just my viewpoint and I wish you well in your experiment. :shake:
I'm certainly not suggesting that Druid Monks retire away from the world, if anything I'm suggesting that they be more active in it. Ora et Labora...Work and Pray. Where does the work need to be done? Right here in our own communities. I volunteer at my neighborhood soup kitchen and advertise my services as an herbalist and mediator/arbitrator in my town. All those services I provide for free, but small donations are accepted. Franciscan Monks are very active in the community running shelters and soup kitchens wherever they are to be found.

A Monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire lives to God(s). That's what I mean by "the Paleo-Druids were essentially monks" Their entire lives were dedicated to the Gods. They had no other occupation. They had a vocation, and that vocation had them acting as servants to their community. Many of them were itenerant, traveling from town to town providing their services as a healer, judge, counselor, diviner, and many other things to each town they visited. Thats about as Ora et Labora as you can get. They were monks inasmuch as that they had no other occupation or vocation other than being a Druid and it was a lifetime commitment

I guess the main thing that would differentiate a Druid Monk from a regular Druid is that the Monk would have taken vows and dedicates much more of their life communing with the Divine through prayer and ritual so much so that they are communing with the Divine several times a day ritualistically. They would also dedicate much of their time when they're not praying to the service of their community and some of their time each day would be dedicated to Lectio Divina, prayerful reading. Monks dedicate 2 hours a day to Lectio Divina and the reading material can include almost anything spiritual. Currently my Lectio Divina times are spent studying The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, I have also included Ross Nichols' The Book of Druidry, The Element Encyclopaedia of 5000 Spells, the Gwersi, and many others.

Now to be clear, I don't think the monastic vocation is for everybody. First of all you would have to be at a place in your life where you have the time to be more dedicated to prayer. I'm semi-retired so I have all day to dedicate to Ora et Labora. Many folks just don't have those kinds of hours on hand due to work, school, raising the kids, etc. But there is a place in monasticism for those people, they are called Oblates, people who are interested in monastic spirituality and like to pray more in a ritualistic fashion but just have too much else going on to take any vows. I was an Oblate once, to a Benedictine Monastery in Conyers, GA.

As far as the difference between praying and spellcasting. I look at casting a spell as a form of prayer. I cast spells too, as well as offering services to break spells and curses that are negatively affecting someones life. It's a part of my vocation as a Druid. I don't charge any money for that, it's simply a part of my spirituality to provide those services to people in need.
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 15 Jan 2016, 15:39

You're right Nollaig and I apologize for that. There is a Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Egypt that has been operating since the 1st Century AD.

But when the Catholics destroyed Druidry in the 5th through 8th Century, they subsumed many of our Gods and turned them into Saints. I believe that many Druids became Monks at that point. There were certainly many Monks who were sympathetic to Druidry inasmuch as they recorded many of the bardic stories and poems on paper after Druidry had all but disappeared.
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 15 Jan 2016, 15:43

Oh, and Green Raven, my defining characteristic for a monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire life to the Divine and have no other occupation or vocation. The idea of Celibacy didn't come about until the 10th Century and that was to keep the churches as property of the Church.

Druid Monasticism would have three simple vows:
I vow to take responsibility for my wealth, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Non-attachment)
I vow to take responsibility for my sexuality, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Chastity)
I vow to take responsibility for my power, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Obedience)
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby malcolmb » 15 Jan 2016, 16:41

But when the Catholics destroyed Druidry in the 5th through 8th Century, they subsumed many of our Gods and turned them into Saints. I believe that many Druids became Monks at that point. There were certainly many Monks who were sympathetic to Druidry inasmuch as they recorded many of the bardic stories and poems on paper after Druidry had all but disappeared.
Paleo-Druids were essentially monks and had dedicated their entire lives to the service of Druidry. The Catholic Christian faith came across what we now call monasticism and adopted the style, and livelihood from a preexisting pagan model in the 3rd Century AD.
skepticskitchen - I am sure my query above was obviously lost among the much more erudite statements from nollaig and Green Raven. I fully admit my own research into the ancient Druids is not comprehensive, but I am not aware of the historical evidence to support your above statements. So may I please ask again as to your sources regarding ancient Druids being Monks, Druids becoming Monks within Christianity and Christianity adopting Druid monastic tradition.
A Monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire lives to God(s). That's what I mean by "the Paleo-Druids were essentially monks" Their entire lives were dedicated to the Gods. They had no other occupation. They had a vocation, and that vocation had them acting as servants to their community. Many of them were itenerant, traveling from town to town providing their services as a healer, judge, counselor, diviner, and many other things to each town they visited. Thats about as Ora et Labora as you can get. They were monks inasmuch as that they had no other occupation or vocation other than being a Druid and it was a lifetime commitment.
As the Druid of my Grove and being retired, my life is dedicated to my Druid belief and I fulfill at least a few of the above services for my community. I personally do not consider that makes me a Monk.

(EDIT - I wonder if you have read "Blood and Mistletoe" by Professor Ronald Hutton? He has much of interest to say about the recording of bardic stories and poems during the Middle Ages by Christian Monks and considers the driving force for this activity to be the need to develop a Welsh nationalism in the face of English aggression rather than any sympathy for Druids.)
Peaceful Earth Grove: http://www.peacefulearthgrove.com/


My original "Druid Music" CDs (all proceeds to the charity "Pagan Aid":
https://lylemusic.bandcamp.com/

My original Celtic / Folk / Jazz music at:
http://www.soundclick.com/lylemusic
http://www.soundclick.com/malcolmbrown
http://www.youtube.com/user/LyleMusic

“So many Gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind. While just the art of being kind, is all the sad world needs.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox

skepticskitchen
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 15 Jan 2016, 17:30

But when the Catholics destroyed Druidry in the 5th through 8th Century, they subsumed many of our Gods and turned them into Saints. I believe that many Druids became Monks at that point. There were certainly many Monks who were sympathetic to Druidry inasmuch as they recorded many of the bardic stories and poems on paper after Druidry had all but disappeared.
Paleo-Druids were essentially monks and had dedicated their entire lives to the service of Druidry. The Catholic Christian faith came across what we now call monasticism and adopted the style, and livelihood from a preexisting pagan model in the 3rd Century AD.
skepticskitchen - I am sure my query above was obviously lost among the much more erudite statements from nollaig and Green Raven. I fully admit my own research into the ancient Druids is not comprehensive, but I am not aware of the historical evidence to support your above statements. So may I please ask again as to your sources regarding ancient Druids being Monks, Druids becoming Monks within Christianity and Christianity adopting Druid monastic tradition.
A Monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire lives to God(s). That's what I mean by "the Paleo-Druids were essentially monks" Their entire lives were dedicated to the Gods. They had no other occupation. They had a vocation, and that vocation had them acting as servants to their community. Many of them were itenerant, traveling from town to town providing their services as a healer, judge, counselor, diviner, and many other things to each town they visited. Thats about as Ora et Labora as you can get. They were monks inasmuch as that they had no other occupation or vocation other than being a Druid and it was a lifetime commitment.
As the Druid of my Grove and being retired, my life is dedicated to my Druid belief and I fulfill at least a few of the above services for my community. I personally do not consider that makes me a Monk.
I'll admit that my primary source material for those statements come from The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, and therefore suspect, but I think it only makes sense that the Irish Druids became Christian Monks after the Goddess Brighid was subsumed by Catholicism and became St. Brigit. They didn't stop worshipping Brighid, they "converted" and continued to worship here as a saint rather than a God. The Druids didn't altogether disappear in a puff of smoke in the 6th Century during the Christianization of Prydain they went somewhere. The Catholics didn't murder them all at the destruction of the Druid College on Anglessey there were still hundreds if not thousands of itinerant Druids all over Prydain.

It has long since been thought that the Ovate grade of Druidry became the Cunning Men and Cunning Women who were herbalists and spell-breakers from the 8th Century all the way up until the early 20th Century. They simply put on a Christian veneer and continued to practice as they always had. Many of them escaped the Witch trials of the 16th Century but many did not. My 6 or 7x Great Grandmother, Gwynnydd Colley was one of those who did not, she was drowned as a Witch in 1633. My Grandmother, Mary Pauline Colley, was a Cunning Woman in Aberystwyth, Wales until she immigrated to the US in 1948. One of the stories she would tell me when I was little was how the Cunning People continued to thrive after the arrival of Christianity. I still have her copy of Culpeper's Complete Herbal from 1850 that has been handed down over the course of 5 or 6 generations of Cunning Women in my family. I'm the first male to inherit the book, as I was the only one interested in her stories and techniques in my (now American) family.

The Bardic Schools were still teaching up until about the 16th or 17th Century, maybe later. They simply put on a Christian veneer and continued to teach the poems and stories and songs they always had. Those Christianized Druids were the main ones behind writing down the ancient stories that are contained in the 4 Ancient Books of Wales. It's because of those Bardic Schools that we have such a comprehensive history of ancient Wales.

Some people throw anything written by Morganwg right out with the trash, but I believe the Awen was flowing through him at the time of his writing and that he was tapped into something ancient and Holy. I treat Morganwg's writing with the grain of salt (I suppose) that it should be treated with but I can't deny the impact he had on the Druidic Revival of the 18th Century. Like I said, I believe he was tapped into something during his writing career.

His work today remains very important in understanding modern Druidry from the Meso-Druidic era to the neo-Druidic era we now live in.

And you could call yourself a monk if you wanted to. Some people are happy just the way they are. Me, I wish to follow and eightfold wheel of the day marked by prayer and devotion and thankgiving as well as the eightfold wheel of the year and take vows to that effect. It's also easier for Christians and non-Druids to understand when I show up for my weekly service in the soup kitchen wearing a white robe and cowled hood. "I'm a Monk" clicks more easily in their heads than "I'm a druid." If they ask if I'm a Christian Monk, I tell them no that I'm a Druid and THEN will go through the explanation of what "being a Druid" means, but I rarely get those questions. A few people, including the Pastor of the Lutheran Church I serve food at know that I'm a Druid and we talk about that with each other frequently and have a great ecumenical relationship. We both see the participation of a Druid Monk as interfaith cooperation to serve a common end. We get along great. We both pray for each other and he has never tried to convert me.
Last edited by skepticskitchen on 15 Jan 2016, 18:41, edited 1 time in total.
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Green Raven
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby Green Raven » 15 Jan 2016, 18:40

Oh, and Green Raven, my defining characteristic for a monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire life to the Divine and have no other occupation or vocation. The idea of Celibacy didn't come about until the 10th Century and that was to keep the churches as property of the Church.

I accept that I was not born into christianity or brought up in the Roman Catholic faith so I have to rely on other sources. Shall we agree on the below?
Wikipedia Monk

A monk (from Greek: μοναχός, monachos, “single, solitary” and Latin monachus) is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decided to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Eastern Christianity
In Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Eastern Catholicism, monasticism holds a very special and important place: "Angels are a light for monks, monks are a light for laymen" (St. John Klimakos). The Orthodox Church measures its health by the quality of its monks and nuns. Orthodox monastics separate themselves from the world in order to pray unceasingly for the world. They do not, in general, have as their primary purpose the running of social services, as is common in Western Christianity,[citation needed] but instead are concerned with attaining theosis, or union with God. However, care for the poor and needy has always been an obligation of monasticism,[citation needed] so Orthodox monasteries are not normally "cloistered" like some contemplative Western houses are, though the level of contact will vary from community to community. Orthodox hermits, on the other hand, have little or no contact with the outside world.

Roman Catholicism

Order of Saint Benedict
Within Roman Catholicism, a monk is a member of a religious order who lives a communal life in a monastery, abbey, or priory under a monastic rule of life (such as the Rule of St. Benedict). St. Benedict of Nursia is considered to be the founder of western monasticism. He authored the Rule of St. Benedict, which is the foundation for the Order of St. Benedict and all of its reform groups such as the Cistercians and the Trappists.

The religious vows taken in the West were first developed by St. Benedict. These vows were three in number: obedience, conversion of life and stability. Obedience calls for the monk to obey Christ, as represented by the superior person of the monastery, which is an abbot or prior. Conversion of life means, generally, that the monk convert himself to the way of a monk, which is death to self and to the world and life to God and to his work. A Christian monk is to be an instrument of God’s work. Stability entails that the monk commit himself to the monastery for the remainder of his life, and so, upon death, will be buried at its cemetery.
My preconception of the “monk” was that of, “to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation.” I accept that there are other definitions.

However, to dedicate one’s life to a set of beliefs and to actions reflecting those beliefs describes the adherent of any faith or philosophy, religious, political or other secular.

You are suggesting an order of OBOD monasticism loosely based on Benedict’s precepts. The above states that fundamental to that is the founding of a community – with all the property and assets required – with a leader that requires obedience to that office, to consider ties to the previous life, family and attachments severed, to selflessly consider themselves as an instrument of divine will – as represented by the holder of the leader’s office, and to commit themselves for the remainder of this life to the community and to be buried within that community.

I still see no resemblance to the pre-Roman druids, who lived in villages and towns, with their families, bringing up children, and dispensing spiritual guidance, medical aid (as existed at the time), divining the will of the gods and the future, military and political strategy, and keeping the peace through mediation and presiding over trials of fact by precedent and decree. Parish priest, doctor, historian, think-tank, magistrate, I can accept those resemblances but not to ‘monk’.

Suetonius Paulinus' slaughter at Mona, genocide of the Ordovicians, suppression of the Boudiccan Revolt and the Claudian extermination would have driven the faith underground and subsequently we see reports of itinerant druid seers but again more as a Catholic priest moving from refuge to refuge in Britain during the Protestant suppression 1558 and following. British polytheism melded with Roman and priests were appointed, still no monks though. The survivals in unconquered Ireland show life much as before but gradually organising into schools as the nobility lost patience with the vast retinues that followed the great druids, demanding food, drink and housing from them. The christian tsunami that followed Patrick ousted the druid tradition and drafted the sages into the new religion – three of Patrick’s advisors were former druids. The bardic schools were seized and turned into seminaries – and thus reorganised as Catholic institutions. The new faith absorbed whatever was found useful (deities turned into ‘saints’, traditions given new Christianised interpretations etc.) and discarded the rest. Important oral lore was bowdlerised into quaint tales.

I have studied the archaeology of the British Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages following the evolution of the various cosmos views (this is not my profession) and scoured the classics for descriptions of the religious beliefs and practices of the ‘Celtic’ cultures and yet, I don’t see any resemblance to monastic traditions that originate in the original druidic practice, bar the absorbed traditions that I detailed above (confession etc.). The elements of the monastic life seem to originate in the Near East although communities based on shared beliefs have, and do, exist everywhere and in every time.

Good luck with your community.
Last edited by Green Raven on 15 Jan 2016, 19:10, edited 1 time in total.
“Listen, O little pig! are not the buds of thorns
Very green, the mountain beautiful, and beautiful the earth?”
- Myrddin Wyllt, Hoianau / Greetings (to a Pig)

skepticskitchen
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 15 Jan 2016, 19:06

Oh, and Green Raven, my defining characteristic for a monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire life to the Divine and have no other occupation or vocation. The idea of Celibacy didn't come about until the 10th Century and that was to keep the churches as property of the Church.

I accept that I was not born into christianity or brought up in the Roman Catholic faith so I have to rely on other sources. Shall we agree on the below?
Wikipedia Monk

A monk (from Greek: μοναχός, monachos, “single, solitary” and Latin monachus) is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of other monks. A monk may be a person who decided to dedicate his life to serving all other living beings, or to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation. The concept is ancient and can be seen in many religions and in philosophy.

Eastern Christianity
In Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and Eastern Catholicism, monasticism holds a very special and important place: "Angels are a light for monks, monks are a light for laymen" (St. John Klimakos). The Orthodox Church measures its health by the quality of its monks and nuns. Orthodox monastics separate themselves from the world in order to pray unceasingly for the world. They do not, in general, have as their primary purpose the running of social services, as is common in Western Christianity,[citation needed] but instead are concerned with attaining theosis, or union with God. However, care for the poor and needy has always been an obligation of monasticism,[citation needed] so Orthodox monasteries are not normally "cloistered" like some contemplative Western houses are, though the level of contact will vary from community to community. Orthodox hermits, on the other hand, have little or no contact with the outside world.

Roman Catholicism

Order of Saint Benedict
Within Roman Catholicism, a monk is a member of a religious order who lives a communal life in a monastery, abbey, or priory under a monastic rule of life (such as the Rule of St. Benedict). St. Benedict of Nursia is considered to be the founder of western monasticism. He authored the Rule of St. Benedict, which is the foundation for the Order of St. Benedict and all of its reform groups such as the Cistercians and the Trappists.

The religious vows taken in the West were first developed by St. Benedict. These vows were three in number: obedience, conversion of life and stability. Obedience calls for the monk to obey Christ, as represented by the superior person of the monastery, which is an abbot or prior. Conversion of life means, generally, that the monk convert himself to the way of a monk, which is death to self and to the world and life to God and to his work. A Christian monk is to be an instrument of God’s work. Stability entails that the monk commit himself to the monastery for the remainder of his life, and so, upon death, will be buried at its cemetery.
My preconception of the “monk” was that of, “to be an ascetic who voluntarily chooses to leave mainstream society and live his life in prayer and contemplation.” I accept that there are other definitions.

However, to dedicate one’s life to a set of beliefs and to actions reflecting those beliefs describes the adherent of any faith or philosophy, religious, political or other secular.

You are suggesting an order of OBOD monasticism loosely based on Benedict’s precepts. The above states that fundamental to that is the founding of a community – with all the property and assets required – with a leader that requires obedience to that office, to consider ties to the previous life, family and attachments severed, to selflessly consider themselves as an instrument of divine will – as represented by the holder of the leader’s office, and to commit themselves for the remainder of this life to the community and to be buried within that community.

I still see no resemblance to the pre-Roman druids, who lived in villages and towns, with their families, bringing up children, and dispensing spiritual guidance, medical aid (as existed at the time), divining the will of the gods and the future, military and political strategy, and keeping the peace through mediation and presiding over trials of fact by precedent and decree. Parish priest, doctor, historian, think-tank, magistrate, I can accept those resemblances but not to ‘monk’.

The slaughter at Mona, suppression of the Boudiccan Revolt and the Claudian extermination would have driven the faith underground and subsequently we see reports of itinerant druid seers but again more as a Catholic priest moving from refuge to refuge in Britain during the Protestant suppression 1558 and following. British polytheism melded with Roman and priests were appointed, still no monks though. The survivals in unconquered Ireland show life much as before but gradually organising into schools as the nobility lost patience with the vast retinues that followed the great druids, demanding food, drink and housing from them. The christian tsunami that followed Patrick ousted the druid tradition and drafted the sages into the new religion – three of Patrick’s advisors were former druids. The bardic schools were seized and turned into seminaries – and thus reorganised as Catholic institutions. The new faith absorbed whatever was found useful (deities turned into ‘saints’, traditions given new Christianised interpretations etc.) and discarded the rest. Important oral lore was bowdlerised into quaint tales.

I have studied the archaeology of the British Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages following the evolution of the various cosmos views (this is not my profession) and scoured the classics for descriptions of the religious beliefs and practices of the ‘Celtic’ cultures and yet, I don’t see any resemblance to monastic traditions that originate in the original druidic practice, bar the absorbed traditions that I detailed above (confession etc.). The elements of the monastic life seem to originate in the Near East although communities based on shared beliefs have, and do, exist everywhere and in every time.

Good luck with your community.
I can agree on the dictionary definition of "Monk."

As far as renouncing your family ties and handing all your property over to the Church andf withdrawing from society...those are all Catholic inventions that I don't feel has a place in Monastic, or Contemplative Druidry. If you read the vow of non-attachment above, it simply states to take responsibility for your wealth and use it in the service of life.

It would be very difficult if not practically impossible to form a cenobitic monastery for Monks and Nuns to live in communally, but it is possible for a group of people to share the same prayers at the same times of day (time zones taken into consideration). Where there are 2 or more druids in a given town or city, they would operate as Cenobites. For instance, I own my home and would be willing to take in 2 more lodgers to form a Charter House, but I only have the space for 2 in my little cottage. Where there is only one Druid in a given town or city, they would operate as Anchorites. The Charter House would simply be the residence of one of the Druids where their communal prayer, celebration, and worship were conducted. The individual Anchorites home would then become their Hermitage upon joining the Order. The Anchorite would not be with a leadership figure and the Cenobitic Charter Houses would have no leader, just a prior who took care of the mundane business of running a Charter House and the Prior could be replaced every two years, or sooner if he is acting "too much like a leader instead of the servant he actually is" and is deposed and replaced by the other brothers and sisters.

The Community would be the greater body of Druid Monastics wherever they may be. Praying together several times a day. Meditating together and putting conscious, focused intent on the same thing from several places at once. Those would be mighty powerful prayers/spells.

I also consider the ancient Druids to be somewhat of Monks because they were in the world but not of it. Really Druidry seems like it's closer to Franciscan Monasticism rather than Benedictine Monasticism considering Druidry's exhortation to be of service in their community. I'm simply using the Benedictine model because that is what I'm more familiar with, but I'm loosely basing the Order on both Benedictine and Carthusian Monasticism. Benedictines are Cenobitic with a leader, Carthusians are Anchorites with no leader.

Back in 2010-2012 there was a guy in Mexico who attempted to found The Order of the Sacred Nemeton Monastery. He lost interest after his idea was slow to take off but I feel the same thing he must have back then. There is a place for monasticism within druidry. I'm trying to get in touch with him now and see where he currently stands. You can see his website at http://monasticdruidry.weebly.com/
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malcolmb
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby malcolmb » 15 Jan 2016, 21:42

I'll admit that my primary source material for those statements come from The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, and therefore suspect, but I think it only makes sense that the Irish Druids became Christian Monks after the Goddess Brighid was subsumed by Catholicism and became St. Brigit.
skepticskitchen - very many thanks for the clarification. There are many who see the writings of Iolo Morganwg as being at the very least inspirational and even accurate. I have reservations about both such views but fully accept people's right to interpret them as they wish.

Trying to justify a particular path within Druidry by citing historical precedent is always difficult, allowing for the significant lack of scholastically 'proven as accurate' written sources about the ancient Druids concurrent with their existence. Conversely, interpreting sparse or suspect writings to create new insights is a widely accepted scholastic function and sells lots of books - whether they are right or wrong only the next scholar can judge. My personal interpretation of the ancient Druids and their presence in and influence on Christianity differs to yours. But of course that is only my assessment, right or wrong. I wish you well.
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby kresta » 16 Jan 2016, 13:40

Hi I’ve just been reading the thread and just wanted to add my two pennies worth.

First of all let me say that I understand that people with different temperaments will feel drawn to spirituality in different ways - some choose a more contemplative life, others need to be more active; some need to study, others need to experiment. While I am ‘enticed’ by the idea of a monastic group (because sometimes I would like to isolate myself from the rest of society and I do feel the need for more ritualistic routines...), I just don’t really see the ‘need’ for a monastic order.

I agree with Malcolm and Green Raven and they have expressed much of what I think already.

From a very personal point of view, I think that many have already ‘taken a vow’ when they joined the order and it’s the reason why I joined the order in the first place: I wanted to openly ’declare’ a decision I had already spiritually taken.

My life choices have been informed by this decision and I’m sure that many already live their lives according to ora et labora - but it’s up to them to decide how they pray and how they work and in which context. We already have many orders and smaller groups and groves, etc, that meet up regularly to ‘worship’ through the year .

A somewhat polemical question would be “Who can decide how a life dedicated to God is to be displayed?Who should decide how or how many times we should pray?"

Basically my fear with funding a ‘monastic order’ is that we end up creating a dogma that has got absolutely nothing to do with historical druidry as we know it or even neo-druidry (although of course, everyone can interpret the information that we have as they see fit… :whistle: )

The great thing about Druidry for me (and OBOD in this case) is that while we might be given 'spiritual guidelines', we are primarily responsible for our spiritual practice and that makes us accountable for our spiritual growth. Rules imposed externally diminish our personal responsibility and I think that's a great danger...

Still. I'm interested to see how things develop so keep up informed ! :)

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby treegod » 16 Jan 2016, 19:06

Oh, and Green Raven, my defining characteristic for a monk is simply someone who has dedicated their entire life to the Divine and have no other occupation or vocation. The idea of Celibacy didn't come about until the 10th Century and that was to keep the churches as property of the Church.

Druid Monasticism would have three simple vows:
I vow to take responsibility for my wealth, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Non-attachment)
I vow to take responsibility for my sexuality, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Chastity)
I vow to take responsibility for my power, enjoy it, not be controlled by it and apply it in the service of life. (Obedience)
I recognise those :grin:

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby Saphidha » 17 Jan 2016, 05:16

Personally I have some difficulty with this. I have spent a good number of my adult years working to free myself from feelings of unworthiness, guilt and fear, inculcated within me by Church doctrine. One of the qualities I appreciate about OBOD and the course is the opportunity it affords me to explore and experience my beliefs within a structured framework that provides guidance and grounding but without dogma. I appreciate ‘we’ all have different spiritual experiences and I believe in individual freedom to practice one’s beliefs without prejudice. I would be anxious however to see a monastic order formally endorsed or sponsored by OBOD.

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby DJ Droood » 17 Jan 2016, 07:15

I would be anxious however to see a monastic order formally endorsed or sponsored by OBOD.
I would be surprised and confounded to see the OBOD formally endorse or sponsor much of anything, other than a camp or card set.

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 17 Jan 2016, 17:10

I would be anxious however to see a monastic order formally endorsed or sponsored by OBOD.
I would be surprised and confounded to see the OBOD formally endorse or sponsor much of anything, other than a camp or card set.
It would most likely be formed as "Seed Group" located in a fixed point but allowed membership of folks from all over.
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby treegod » 17 Jan 2016, 17:34

I would be anxious however to see a monastic order formally endorsed or sponsored by OBOD.
I would be surprised and confounded to see the OBOD formally endorse or sponsor much of anything, other than a camp or card set.
It would be "OBOD" in as much as members are free to collaborate and work on common projects, and as a sort of extension on the idea of seedgroups and groves, but it would still be a fairly independent enterprise.


I've heard of the idea of monastic or contemplative druidry for years, and there have been ideas for retreats going around, but there's more movement than I realised, what with all the links shared here. Somethings a-stiring. :wink:

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 18 Jan 2016, 02:26

|-)
I would be anxious however to see a monastic order formally endorsed or sponsored by OBOD.
I would be surprised and confounded to see the OBOD formally endorse or sponsor much of anything, other than a camp or card set.
It would be "OBOD" in as much as members are free to collaborate and work on common projects, and as a sort of extension on the idea of seedgroups and groves, but it would still be a fairly independent enterprise.


I've heard of the idea of monastic or contemplative druidry for years, and there have been ideas for retreats going around, but there's more movement than I realised, what with all the links shared here. Somethings a-stiring. :wink:
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 18 Jan 2016, 02:28

Yes, you've hit the nail on the head as far as official OBOD sponsorship. I see it as a seed group which anyone would be able to join regardless of the physical place the Novitiate is located.

The ADF has a monastic order through their organization. They worship the Irish pantheon whereas I worship the Welsh pantheon usually in Welsh. I think there ought to be a contemplative/monastic order which follows the Welsh Gods and Goddesses

Not everyone is well suited for Monasticism and it would have a hard time getting more than a small handful of Monks and Nuns. But that small number has the most dedicated Druids in it. Te Druids who feel thay praying and communication with the divine at the seasons of the Eighth wheel isn't enough for them and they feel that they have to pray and give thank on wailing daily and that fosters a discipline that a lot of people that many people are just don't have the time or inclination to attain. Thats not saying that Druids who pray a daily office are superior to Druids that don't on the contrary. They're just different. Each with their own modes of worship which works for them. Some prefer the Eightfold yearly calendar while others want an eightfold day.
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby Green Raven » 18 Jan 2016, 10:57

Why not found your community as a retreat with full time members who are also OBOD initiates, Bards, Ovates and Druids? After a few years, establishing that it can sustain itself, has real and renewing purpose in the greater community, and upholds the philosophy of OBOD without becoming dictatorial, oppressive or culty, perhaps OBOD will affiliate it?
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Re: Druid Monasticism?

Postby skepticskitchen » 18 Jan 2016, 13:58

Oh my goodness folks, please forgive ny last post. I don't even remember making it. You see, I suffer a very bad form of insomnia and my doctor has me on 75mg of Amitryptaline to go sleep at night. It is a very strong pill that kicks in about 20 minutes after you take it and I had taken the pill about 45 minutes before I made my post. I was essentially sleep-typing. I don't eve know what I was trying to say last night but whatever it was it is ot the message I wish to convey. Once again, please forgive me. I should have been in bed, and I did o to bed right after that post. When I woke up this morning, I ead what I had typed and it doesn't even make lot of sense and it was written in pretty awful English. That's the last time I will post while high on sleeping pills.
Yours in the Peace of the Grove,
/|\ Colley y Bara

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