Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

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Aoife
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Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Aoife » 22 Jun 2013, 06:43

I resent the term neo (new) druidism. To me is suggests that we're "making it up" for the sake of doing some new age spirituality, when I don't believe that is the case. How can it be "neo" when it is over 300 years old? How long does it take before we're "legitimized"? 2,000? It's up to debate if it's on par with ancient druidism but it seems like we largely have it figured out. Does anyone else feel this way about the neo- label?

**The quotes are more for a lack of correct descriptive words. No need to debate those.**

"The second strand has its source in the much later period of the Druid Revival, which began over three hundred years ago, at the end of the seventeenth century. Our Order traces its lineage to this period, and from this source of teachings we have inherited certain ritual forms and teachings. Some of these we have discarded as inappropriate to the modern age, but others have been kept, not only for their beauty and relevance, but because they too might well derive from earlier sources, or draw their inspiration from them."

http://www.druidry.org/about-us/frequen ... -questions
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Sciethe » 22 Jun 2013, 12:04

I agree, partly because I think the term Neo-Druid is clumsy and unpoetic, and partly because who cares if we are "neo"? We believe the things we believe right now.

Reference to past Druidisms is fascinating, and may well inform what we are about to an extent, but the past is our roots, not all of our current reality.

In order to call ourselves "neo" we would have to be a lot clearer about what pre-1700s Druidism was about than the records allow. I expect that you'll be aware that yet again a certain British Arch Druid is claiming an ancient legitimacy over and above the rest of us because of very old documents which he says he holds- apparently we are not worthy to see them, nor is any public expert or the library of Wales either. They're secret. This relative vacuum of historic Druidic knowledge is always attracting loonies who want to fill it with their personal self-aggrandizement schemes.

It's "I'm an ancient Druid so I'm legitimate, every other Druid is kidding themselves. And no, you can't see my evidence for this"

So, a Druid is a Druid. Modern, or present-day might be suitable prefix expressions for when a historical distinction has to be made, I think the term "neo" denigrates us, it gives the flavour of a fad, something which will not last, and lets fools like the above gentleman play silly games.

Druidism is largely about personal belief and attitude to nature, not historic legitimacy. One person who loves and wants to heal the planet is worth ten books from the 9th century.
S
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby shirley mclaren » 22 Jun 2013, 13:23

Have to say it has never bothered me whatever we are called. I know I have found my calling in life. I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever about it. Names are immaterial as far as I am concerned.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby treegod » 22 Jun 2013, 14:12

The neo- prefix is a historical category for describing a group of self-proclaimed druids in the modern era, and distinguishing them from other form/s of druidry. I liked Isaac Bonewits description of paleo-, meso- and neo-pagans, though I think the distinction between the last two isn't so clean-cut: http://www.neopagan.net/PaganDefs.html

As for describing the spirituality/philosophy/religion, I think it is less applicable, if at all. I don't use it to describe my spirituality. For me spirituality is a universal human endeavour, and Druidry (modern or ancient) just one aspect of this.

In fact I wrote about it here once.

I don't think prefixing neo- onto druidry makes it any less legitimate; it's just a category reference for distinguishing from non-neo- forms of druidry.

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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Cosmic Ash » 22 Jun 2013, 23:05

I'm not bothered by the term neo-Druid, though I would agree it sounds a little clumsy. And I think that we are 'making it up' and I don't see what's wrong with that. I was under the impression that OBOD druidry was a a fairly new thing, dating back to the early twentieth century, with the most part of it being made up in the sixties. But what's wrong with new things? Old isn't always better. I see it as meaning we're not prepared to just accept what has gone before, but are going to adapt and change to find what works for us.

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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Whitemane » 22 Jun 2013, 23:29

I think it was Tagore that said "not by the chanting of names shall you come to know your God."

What you believe is more important than the name you give it. The name has uses, but they're limited.

What we are trying to do is place nature at the centre of our beliefs, like many pre-Christian beliefs did. Bear in mind that very few of us have the sort of visceral relationship with Nature that Bronze Age man did, but we believe this strongly and truly, and shouldn't be concerned about names, or about those who would criticize us for trying.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Sciethe » 23 Jun 2013, 00:10

I think it was Tagore that said "not by the chanting of names shall you come to know your God."
Nice one. Truth.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Aoife » 23 Jun 2013, 02:43

All of you are right. I guess I'm still young and foolish enough to get mad at being labeled. I've always chaffed at wearing any sort of label, no matter how mundane. Woman, American, ginger, gamer, nature-lover...I just hate being classified. It feels like a cage to me. :shrug:

I don't even really talk about studying this because to me it's intensely personal and I don't think I could make people understand even if I cared to. Wow, that sounds SO teenager-y. :frustration:

I've seen some so-called neo-druids (that seem very, very different from the OBOD that was formed 50 odd years ago) and it seemed more like a bunch of nerds trying to bring DnD to life...seemed more video-gamey and wanting to have "special powers" than any sort of spirituality or philosophy. They were also hateful of Christians and were pretty combative when they encountered them...so pretty much all the time. You could tell they were venting something and creating a new generation of lame-ness to be carried on.

Those were actually the first neo-druids I ever encountered and I have to say I was judgmental and looked down my nose at them. To me it seemed like a blatant bastardization by a bunch of zitty virigins that wanted to feel special, if only in their own circles. I know, it's quite a judgement. I believed what a bunch of people believe...that druidry was lost forever and anyone who calls themselves a druid is a pretender and nothing more. I didn't know about the "underground" passing of knowledge and Nichols establishing the OBOD.

I didn't start studying this -and finding myself- in this because I want to wear robes and call myself a druid so I could feel special. I'm part of this because it makes more sense to me than any other "spirituality" I've studied. I'm part of this because it makes me feel closer to my roots. I'm part of the OBOD instead of any other "sect" because you are free and not chained. It's not about judging and rejecting things that are different; it's not about pleasing a deity; it's about finding our place in nature, feeling the spirit of nature and opening our minds up to creativity. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and it makes me feel like I have a place in this world that isn't subject to debate (though people will always try)

It's all about learning, really, and the scholar in me resonates with that.

That guy with the super-secret-druid-texts reminds me of Joseph Smith of the Mormon religion (no offense to any Mormons out there) he was pretty "Oh I have these super secret papers and no one can read them but me. Just trust me." about his stuff too.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Art » 23 Jun 2013, 09:25

Don’t look now but there was not an ancient Druidry, or a middle Druidry, or a Neo-Druidry. The term Druid in antiquity referred to a social class that represented the intelligentsia of the indigenous people of northern Europe. Certainly it appears they facilitated religious and social ritual however the evidence of the spade clearly shows that we’re not talking about one codified, dogmatic religion or social system.
Philosophically our heritage extends back to the latter part of the seventeenth century; however in terms of practice and ritual structure, we’re no older than the middle of the 20th Century. We come from the same naturist collaboration that gave the world Wicca and its many offshoots. There is no “neo” since we have not updated or reinvented anything that previously existed in its current form.
While there may be slight variations to these principles, the overall history remains the same. While there are quite a few different complexions of modern Druidry, the fact remains that we belong to the largest, most widely respected, and carefully vetted Druid organization in the world. We can indeed take pride in being called Druid and pride in our affiliation with OBOD; no neo required.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Aoife » 23 Jun 2013, 23:19

Don’t look now but there was not an ancient Druidry, or a middle Druidry, or a Neo-Druidry. The term Druid in antiquity referred to a social class that represented the intelligentsia of the indigenous people of northern Europe. Certainly it appears they facilitated religious and social ritual however the evidence of the spade clearly shows that we’re not talking about one codified, dogmatic religion or social system.
Philosophically our heritage extends back to the latter part of the seventeenth century; however in terms of practice and ritual structure, we’re no older than the middle of the 20th Century. We come from the same naturist collaboration that gave the world Wicca and its many offshoots. There is no “neo” since we have not updated or reinvented anything that previously existed in its current form.
While there may be slight variations to these principles, the overall history remains the same. While there are quite a few different complexions of modern Druidry, the fact remains that we belong to the largest, most widely respected, and carefully vetted Druid organization in the world. We can indeed take pride in being called Druid and pride in our affiliation with OBOD; no neo required.
Ah, I see. Thank you for explaining that! It seems that "neo" is basically just an incorrect term or at the most a way to distinguish it from iron age type druids.
The neo- prefix is a historical category for describing a group of self-proclaimed druids in the modern era, and distinguishing them from other form/s of druidry. I liked Isaac Bonewits description of paleo-, meso- and neo-pagans, though I think the distinction between the last two isn't so clean-cut: http://www.neopagan.net/PaganDefs.html

As for describing the spirituality/philosophy/religion, I think it is less applicable, if at all. I don't use it to describe my spirituality. For me spirituality is a universal human endeavour, and Druidry (modern or ancient) just one aspect of this.
In fact I wrote about it here once.
I am so sorry! I had completely forgotten I was part of that thread. Sometimes I have a bit of a memory issue because of my epilepsy.
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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby treegod » 24 Jun 2013, 08:19

I am so sorry! I had completely forgotten I was part of that thread. Sometimes I have a bit of a memory issue because of my epilepsy.
Not to worry, me too, lol. I was googling "neo meso paleo druid" and that thread came up. So many threads I've been involved with here; it's hard to keep track of them all.

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Re: Neo-Druid and my dislike of the term.

Postby Explorer » 24 Jun 2013, 11:24

Don’t look now but there was not an ancient Druidry, or a middle Druidry, or a Neo-Druidry. The term Druid in antiquity referred to a social class that represented the intelligentsia of the indigenous people of northern Europe. Certainly it appears they facilitated religious and social ritual however the evidence of the spade clearly shows that we’re not talking about one codified, dogmatic religion or social system.
Philosophically our heritage extends back to the latter part of the seventeenth century; however in terms of practice and ritual structure, we’re no older than the middle of the 20th Century. We come from the same naturist collaboration that gave the world Wicca and its many offshoots. There is no “neo” since we have not updated or reinvented anything that previously existed in its current form.
While there may be slight variations to these principles, the overall history remains the same. While there are quite a few different complexions of modern Druidry, the fact remains that we belong to the largest, most widely respected, and carefully vetted Druid organization in the world. We can indeed take pride in being called Druid and pride in our affiliation with OBOD; no neo required.
Good point... because we all create it ourselves there is no need for the '"neo" prefix. 'Druidry' didn't exist before we made it up in modern times.

But most folks, including many of our fellow druids, still think that there was such a thing as 'ancient druidry', and that we somehow derive from that.
And OBOD itself embraces that romantic fantasy from time to time also, until Ronald Hutton shows up again to debunk all of that with one of his brilliant lectures.

So whenever words like 'ancient', 'celtic', etc appear in discussions I usually throw in the prefix 'neo' anyway for balance.
I'm 'neo', which means that I honour my own time and place, and claim the right to also create new stuff, like pieces of 'druidry'.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

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