What Do Neopagan Druids Believe?
What Do Neopagan Druids Believe?
Many of the members of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) make the following assumptions regarding belief; however, it's important to remember that not everyone would use the term "belief" in reference to these concepts, and that every concept mentioned has a wide variety of accepted interpretations within the organization. ADF as a whole considers itself orthopraxic rather than orthodoxic, so some of these may be more “standard assumptions underlying practice” rather than “standard beliefs.”
Spirit Is Everywhere
We believe that divinity is intrinsically present in the material and natural world, including in human nature. Divinity manifests as an uncountable number of beings, commonly called the Gods and Spirits. These can manifest at any point in space or time which They might choose, including within human beings.
Goddesses and Gods
We believe that divinity is as likely to manifest in a female form as it is in a male form, and that the word “Goddesses” makes just as much sense as “Gods.” Women and men are spiritually equal, and “masculine” and “feminine” attitudes, values, and roles are of equal importance.
We believe in a multiplicity of gods and goddesses, as well as lesser beings, many of whom are worthy of respect, love and worship. We have a wide variety of nonexclusive concepts as to the nature of these entities. While some of us believe in a “Supreme Being,” Neo-Pagan Druidry is emphatically polytheistic. We have no figure of ultimate Evil.
We believe that it is necessary to have respect and love for Nature as divine in Her own right, and to accept ourselves as part of Nature and not Her “rulers.” Many of us accept what has come to be known as “the Gaia hypothesis,” that the biosphere of our planet is a living being, to who is due all the love and support that we, Her children, can give. We consider ecological awareness and activism to0 be sacred duties.
We believe in accepting the positive aspects of Western science and technology, but in maintaining an attitude of wariness towards the supposed ethical neutrality of that science and technology. We also consider it important that scientists (like everyone else) pay as much attention to their means as they do to their goals.
We believe that legislated doctrine, authoritarian leadership and would-be messiahs and super gurus are a hindrance to spiritual growth. We believe that healthy religions should have a minimum amount of dogma and a maximum amount of variation and flexibility. Neo-Pagan Druidry is an organic religion, and like all other organisms, is growing, changing, and producing offshoots.
We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy, love, self-esteem, mutual respect, the avoidance of harm to ourselves and others, and the increase of public benefit. We try to balance the need for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the impact of each individual's actions on the lives and welfare of others.
We believe that it’s difficult for ordinary humans to commit offenses against the Gods and Goddesses, short of major crimes such as ecocide or genocide. Our deities are perfectly capable of defending their own honor without any need for us to punish people for “blasphemy” or “heresy.”
The Good Life
We believe that human beings were meant to lead lives filled with joy, love, pleasure, beauty and humor. Most Neo-Pagans are fond of food, drink, music, and sex, and consider all of these to be of spiritual value; however, we do not approve of addictive or compulsive behavior and we support appropriate recovery programs for people with dysfunctional histories.
Magic and Mystery
We believe that spiritual practice includes skills that help us to improve our lives. We believe that with proper training, skill, discipline and intent, human minds and hearts are capable of performing most of the magic and miracles that we are ever likely to need. While not all agree, some Pagans believe in ‘psychic abilities’ others talk about work with the spirits, or with the energies in the land.
Liturgical Art and Science
We believe that there is an art and a science to creating, preparing and performing effective worship rituals, that bring the blessings of the Gods and Spirits into the lives of the worshippers. Our worship celebrations are continually evolving as we search for the most intellectually satisfying, artistically beautiful, spiritually powerful, and magically effective rites possible.
The Holy Cosmos
We believe in the importance of celebrating the cycles of the natural world, and of our own lives. Our sacred calendar observes the solstices,
equinoxes and the points in between, as well as the phases of the moon. These rites make the passing of nature’s seasons into sacraments, bringing us into harmony with the tides of the world. We also observe ceremonies known as “rites of passage”—celebrations of birth, puberty, personal dedication to a deity or group, marriage, ordination, death, etc. Thus we make our own lives part of the Sacred Order.
Born Again Paganism
We believe a variety of thing about the ‘afterlife’. Many hold with reincarnation – that the personal spirit returns in a new form or person. Others look forward to being received by one of the Gods, or to dwelling in the Fields of the Happy Dead. We believe that veneration of the Ancestors is a source of comfort and wisdom for modern Pagans.
Hope and Action
We believe that people have the ability to solve our current problems, both personal and public, and to create a better world. We seek to temper vision with common sense , and to bring a strong commitment to personal and global growth, evolution and balance.
We believe that people can work toward achieving personal growth, evolution and balance through the carefully planned alteration of their emotions and states of consciousness. We use both ancient and modern methods of concentration, meditation, self-management, and ecstasy.
We believe that human interdependence implies community service. Some of us are active in political, social, ecological and charitable organizations, while others prefer to work for the public good primarily through spiritual means (and many insist on doing both).
We believe that if we are to achieve any of our goals, we must practice what we preach. Neo-Pagan Druidry, like any other religion, should be a way of life, not merely a weekly or monthly social function. So we must always strive to make our lives consistent with our proclaimed beliefs.
Cooperation and Defense
We believe in cooperation and ecumenical activities with those members of other faiths who share all or most of these beliefs. We also believe in resisting efforts by members of dysfunctional religions who seek to persecute us or suppress our human rights.
There's more to our beliefs than these few details, of course, and a great deal of variation in how these beliefs are extended to cover other topics. Some of our members are pacifists and others are in the military; some are animal rights activists and vegetarians, others are carnivorous hunters; some are committed to conservative and others to alternative life styles. We actively encourage everyone to apply these principles to the practical questions of their daily lives.
Updated by Ian Corrigan in 2013