Many people when first drawn to druidry lack a knowledge of active druid groups. Here is general information on some druid organizations active in the United States, for both revival/traditional and reformed/reconstructionist groups.
OBOD was founded in 1964 from members of the Ancient Druid Order. (The Ancient Druid Orderdeveloped during the early years of the last century out of the Druid Revival which began about three hundred years ago. The ADO traces its origins to 1717. For a history go here: http://www.neopagan.net/AODbooklet.html .) From the OBOD website:
“The Order of Bards Ovates & Druids is a spiritual group dedicated to practicing, teaching, and developing Druidry as a valuable and inspiring spirituality…
The term ‘order’ is derived from the tradition of magical orders rather than from the tradition of religious orders. Neither the Order nor Druidry is a cult. A cult revolves around a personality, a charismatic leader, or a particular deity or saint. The Order and Druidry have none of these characteristics.
Membership of the Order is open to followers of all faiths and none, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or ethnic origin, and there are currently over eight thousand members in fifty countries.”
For 20 years OBOD has offered an excellent three part training course, and a mentor will be assigned if desired. The fee for the course can be shared, and an introductory package is available.
AODA was founded in 1912 as the American branch of the Ancient and Archaeological Order of Druids. They draw inspiration and many teachings from the Druid Revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and describe themselves as a Druid church of nature spirituality. From their website:
“AODA understands Druidry as a path of nature spirituality and inner transformation founded on personal experience rather than dogmatic belief. It is a church in the original sense of that word, a community of people following a spiritual path together. It welcomes men and women of all national origins, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and affiliations with other Druidic and spiritual traditions. Ecological awareness and commitment to an earth-honoring lifestyle, celebration of the cycles of nature through seasonal ritual, and personal development through meditation and other spiritual exercises form the core of its work, and involvement in the arts, healing practices, and traditional esoteric studies are among its applications and expressions.”
AODA has a three degree training program. The First Degree training program for the AODA has been compiled into a book, titled The Druidry Handbook, by John Michael Greer. Their website also has a good resources and study list.
Reformed Druidism was formed at Carelton College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1963 as a protest to the college’s requirement that all students attend a certain number of religious services or meetings per semester. Surprisingly, this loose knit, irreverent group spoke to a real need and in addition to their own adherents has spawned many other groups. From the ‘Pseudo-Official’ webpage:
Druidism tends boast its lack of institutionalized dogma. Druids commonly accept these two Basic Tenets:
(1) The object of the search for religious truth, which is universal and a never-ending search, may be found through the Earth-mother, which is nature, but this is one way, yea, among many.
(2) And great is the importance, which is of a spiritual importance, of Nature, which is the Earth-mother; for it is one of the objects of creation, and with it people do live, yea, even as they do struggle through life are they come face to face with it.
This is generally considered overly word and verbious it has been shortened
(1) The search for spiritual truth is important.
(2) Nature is important and helpful in that search.
Alternatively and less debateably
(1) Nature is Good.
(2) Nature is Good.
A Psuedo-Official Home Page of the Reformed Druids of North America and Directions to the International Druid Archives
The Reformed Druids (and Their Spin-Offs too!)
A Reformed Druid Anthology: http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA/
ADF Formed in 1981, as an offshoot of RDNA. A Neopagan organization, it focuses on Indo-European culture, and with a defined liturgy/church structure. (For information on Neopaganism go here: http://www.adf.org/about/intro-to-neopaganism.html .)
From the ADF website (emphasis added):
The Irish words, pronounced “arn ree-ocht fane”, mean “Our Own Druidism”, and that’s just what ADF is – a completely independent tradition of Neopagan Druidism. Like our sisters and brothers in the other Neopagan movements, we’re polytheistic Nature worshipers, attempting to revive the best aspects of the Paleopagan faiths of our ancestors within a modern scientific, artistic, ecological, and wholistic context. Like our predecessors and namesakes the Druids, we’re people who believe in excellence – physically, intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.
We’re researching and expanding sound modern scholarship about the ancient Celts and other Indo-European peoples, in order to reconstruct what the Old Religions of Europe really were.
ADF has several training systems. The Dedicant Path is prerequisite to other ADF training and is a year-long introduction to beliefs and practices. The Initiate Program is built around more experiential skills of personal ritual, magic, divination, and trance-work. The Generalist Study Program is a core set of courses which complements Guild training, allowing students to learn specific skills of interest. The Guild Study Programs bring in specialized training in such things as scholarship and bardic studies, as well as artistic and liturgical skills. The Clergy Training Program is now open for students that have completed the Dedicant Path.
The Henge formed in about 1986. As a spin-off of ADF they have dropped the Indo-European quest and focused specifically on reconstructing ancient pan-Celtic religious beliefs. From their website (emphasis added):
Keltrian Druidism is a spiritual path dedicated to revering the Nature Spirits, honoring the Ancestors, and worshipping the Deities of our ancient Irish ancestors. The Henge of Keltria is a nonprofit religious corporation dedicated to providing information, training, and networking to those who practice or who are interested in Keltrian Druidism, Druidism in general, and the evolution of mind, body, and spirit through a Celtic Irish context.
The Order of the White Oak formed in 1997, is recognized by some as an offshoot of RDNA. A re-constructionist Druid organization, their beliefs and practices are based on what is known of the original faith and practices of the pagan Celts. They publish Eolas Magazine online.
Formed in 1996, OMS as RDNA druids summarize the tenants as “Nature is groovy” and “Nature is very groovy” (or substitute ‘good’ for ‘groovy’). OMS druids have added another tenant from the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein- “Thou art God.’ It’s not a message of cheer and hope. It’s a defiance–and an unafraid unabashed assumption of personal responsibility.” The OMS is also a melding of the Church of all Worlds and RDNA.
OMS has non-ordained, ordained, and clergy members. They offer a study CD of neo-pagan druidism (The Druid Path), and ‘A Reformed Druid Anthology’ of RDNA materials. OMS is the teaching order for the Reformed Druids of Gaia.
Formed in 2006, RDG follows the basic 2 tenants of RDNA (‘Nature is good’ and ‘Nature is very good’). The Reformed Druids of Gaia is intended to be an international expression of the RDNA.From their website:
The mission of the Reformed Druids of Gaia is to invoke a web of knowledge, mythos and experience that provides a framework for reconnecting with the Earth Mother, and re-gathering her progeny through tribal collectives consecrated to responsible conservatorship and progressive cognizance within the evolving tradition of Reformed Druidism.
RDG also produces an online magazine, the Druid’s Egg.