October 20, 2017 by Rua Lupa
Druidism – Is It Celtic?
Druidism. It is most commonly seen as being strictly Celtic in practice, so much so that “What Does It Mean To Be Celtic” is the primary subject in most Druidism circles. And most every Druid group has some aspect of Celtism in it (and yes, I just made that word up on a whim – but feel that it makes complete sense in this context). Which does make sense as the word “Druid” is directly linked to the Ancient Celtic Elites – with today’s Druidism being mostly associated with the Spiritual Leaders of that ancient group.
Unfortunately, modern ideas of what it means to be Celtic, at least in terms of pagan religious practice, have attempted to bottle up the place and time of Spiritual Druid origin, which cannot reflect the realities of other bioregional areas and what we have come to know about the world today. To limit it so is kind of an archaic way to practice in my opinion.
This is where I feel that many Celtic Reconstructionists are correct in the stance that, as a culture, to limit the practice to a geographical place and time is not how the Ancient Celtic Religious practices would have resulted had they continued unabated and if it had spread to other regions – which is what Celtic Reconstructionists are all about.
So ALL Druids of today essentially practice Neo-Druidism, as we cannot go back to that time and place and must accept what is done here and now will never be the exact same as it was then, and thus no matter what is ‘New’, hence ‘Neo’-Druidism. And Neo-Druids who have adapted their practice to their bioregions and material goods of where they are today is what would have happened, to the best of our knowledge. Druidism would simply have had different expressions in different regions – just as it did in their prime in Europe. Viewed in this way so many arguments of Druidism being limited to “The Homeland”, “Gaelic Language” and the way things are done there today are a blatant misconception of what a Culture is and how Cultures function. Cultures cannot be boxed and isolated, and thus will always, and always have changed.
So with regards to that, it is possible to be a Druid – in the essence of being based on what we know about Ancient Druid belief and practice, having adapted it to your modern and regional realities – while at the same time, be no longer Celtic.
I realize what I just stated may be regarded as blasphemy to many, but, as I see it, that is the long and short of it because “Celtic” as a culture, has it’s definitions – the Gaelic languages and the material goods associated with that language’s reach. And even so, modern peoples who are, with all intents and purpose, Celtic people, today frequently do not speak Gaelic, nor partake in the traditionally associated cultural goods (food, music, clothing, craft etc.). Being more likely to describe themselves by their modern national names – Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Cornish, etc.
So, does this not mean being “Celtic” in Druidic practice is a moot point to begin with? With Druidism being it’s own expression?
Is the term “Celtic” more appropriately left to the ancient world?
These very questions are the primary reason why I instead call myself a Saegoah – or alternatively to non-pagan aware folks, a Naturalist (which also refers to Naturalism, which I ascribe to). It is nascent still, but useful and accurate for me, because, while I still most strongly relate to Druidism out of the main Pagan branches, I realize that the Celtic aspect of it is something I have difficulty with. In the end, what is being done now is in no way how the ancient Druids would have seen and done things anyway, so why should I feel any attachment to the term?
As a Saegoah, I have found that I feel liberated in my religious exploration of my Local Ecosystem and Biosphere. Whereas trying to stick to what is “Celtic” felt limiting, even though it remains inspirational to the point of Ehoah originating as an off-shoot of Druidism. Which is why I still study Neo-Druidism and Celtic Reconstructionism. But, I find Shintoism just as inspiring, and as a Saegoah can study it in the same capacity without having my religious practicing perceived as no longer of that practice.
Ultimately, as a Saegoah, I study Nature-based beliefs from around the world, along with Druidism and seek out the tangible ways they benefit Solar-Earth Life (Solterrestriale Vitae) and apply that to my practice. This, in a nutshell, is how you can be a Saegoah.*
Mind, that not all Saegoahs are Naturalistic. Saegoahs can be Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Animists, Wiccans, Druids, Hellenic, Kemetic, Jewish, Christians, and more. Such diversity in worldview is encouraged in the Ehoah Path. The core of being a Saegoah is our approach to religious practice – facilitating tangible outcomes in accomplishing Ehoah (Complete Harmony within Nature).
*All anyone has to do to be considered a Saegoah is adhere to these three basic tenets,
“Through Nature fulfillment can be found;
Nature, being inseparable from humanity, is important in human pursuits;
As Humans are a part of Nature, it is important to ensure our connections within it are Harmonious.”
It is simple and fairly straight forward, leaving enough room to adapt to different regions of the world, community and individual expression. All the while helping avoid the “No True Scotsman” fallacy.