The pagan tradition been formally classed as a religion under charity law in Britain. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Wait. What’s wrong with this picture? Didn’t the Druids originate in the United Kingdom? Apparently origins didn’t buy the worshippers and recognition. On Saturday, October 2, 2010, the ancient pagan tradition was finally formally recognized under charity law in Great Britain. This recognition gives Druids tax exemptions on their religious donations as well as recognition that puts them on the same level as the Church of England.

The process took about five years and is fairly complicated. According to the Washington Post:

To register as a religious charity in Britain, an organization must satisfy requirements that include belief in a supreme entity, a degree of cohesion and seriousness and a beneficial moral framework. After a process that took nearly five years, the Charity Commission ruled that Druidry fit the bill.

“There is sufficient belief in a supreme being or entity to constitute a religion for the purposes of charity law,” the commission said.

Druids have been active for thousands of years in Britain and in Celtic societies elsewhere in Europe.

They worship natural forces such as thunder and the sun, as well as spirits they believe arise from places such as mountains and rivers. They do not worship a single god or creator but seek to cultivate a sacred relationship with the natural world.

Although they are best known as the robed, mysterious people who gather every summer solstice at Stonehenge – which predates the Druids – believers say modern Druidry is chiefly concerned with helping practitioners connect with nature and themselves through rituals, dancing and singing at stone circles and other sites throughout the country they view as sacred.

It is estimated that there are nearly 10,000 practitioners in the United Kingdom. If Druids have been active in Great Britain for thousands of years, one has to wonder if some of the traditions were actually handed down without a break in old and neo-Druid society. The Druids were still very much a part of ancient society when the Romans invaded Britannia. We still see their influence in various holiday and religious celebrations. The Druid societies are growing in number  as more emphasis is placed on the environment and more people seek to establish a relationship with nature.

11 Thoughts to “Druids Finally Recognized in UK”

  1. What does it take to be recognized as a religion in the USA? I honestly have never thought about it. Would the Druids just be wedged in with the Wiccans or are they too different? I know zero about practicing ‘druidism.’

  2. DB

    Druidism and wiccan ideas are similar and can be combined into what is called Druidcraft.

    Druidism is a spiritual, nature-based religion that believes all of nature and all creatures are divine and sacred. They believe that it is wrong to cause harm to any creatures, and in ancient time, Druids were exempt from wars.

    Druidism is fluid, and there is no fixed set of beliefs or practices, nor is there any sacred book. It is not a dogmatic religious system. Druids can be monotheistic, polytheistic, or pantheists. And all agree that none of us has a monopoly on the truth.

    Duids believe in reincarnation as humans need more than one life on he earth to develop the qualities with in us. When we die here we are born in the otherworld, when we die in the otherworld, we are born in this world. So death is seen as the rebirth of the soul.

    The 3 goals of Druidism are love, wisdom and creative expression, and they see the body, sexuality and relationships as sacred and deserving of the utmost respect.

    Here in the US, Druids would probably be lumped in with the wiccans, just as christians are all lumped together even though there is diversity in Christian views.

  3. Firedancer

    Thanks for the post 🙂

  4. So how does druidism differ from wiccan?

    Thanks for that detailed contribution, DB. Is druidism recognized in this country?

  5. DB

    I don’t know if Druidism is a recognized religion in the US, but the Air Force Academy has created an outdoor worship space for any Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, and other earth-centered believers which I think is cool.

    There really are more similarities than differences between wicca and Druidism. However, wiccans believe in a god and godess, and there are some differences in how the rituals are practiced by the two religions. Modern day wicca was inspired by druidism and other pagan religions, and Druidism is based on the ancient Druid practices. Some choose to be wiccan and druid, and some choose to be only one. It’s a personal choice thing.

  6. I think that is cool too and it also surprises me a great deal. The AF Academy was under quite a bit of heat because of overly agressive Christian evangelists. In fact that is what Mikey Winestein’s organization is all about.

    Tell more. That is very interesting. Wiccans aren’t quite as mysterious as Druids. One of my favorite books and movies is Mists of Avalon which has heavy duty Druids in it. Another of my favorite books as a Druid or 2 in it. Sarum.

  7. Let the Pagans, Wiccans and Druids of the world unite and take back our root holidays!

    and Halloween

  8. And all those earth tilty holidays…..solstices and equinoxes.

  9. One of my friends in the Navy, back in the 90’s, was harassed at work because he was a Wiccan. That is, until he told his boss that Wiccan holidays fall on different days from Christian ones, and he wouldn’t mind working on THOSE days so that his fellow sailors could take off……

    After that, everything was just hunky-dory. Heck, I know about a lot soldiers and Marines that have found faith in the Norse mythos just because it fits with their world view and they love the idea of Valhalla.

    1. Works for me. Live and let live. Blessed be and all that. :mrgreen:

  10. I am glad that the Druids gave up that whole human sacrifice thing. Wicker is expensive….

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