Perspectives on "Traditionalist", "Faery" and "Avalonian" Druidism.


Morgaine of the Avalon Druid Order, explores what is meant by 'Faery' and 'Avalonian' Druidry and how Traditionalist Druidism differs from mainstream Druidism

Definitions of Terms

We've all grown so accustomed to the mainstream definitions of druidism it can be surprising and even disorienting to discover that these familiar definitions do not actually encompass the path in all its forms. Traditional Druidism is actually a fairly large section (comprised of many individuals and small groups) of our community that often falls through the cracks. There are many reasons for this: (1) Traditionalist Druids often make hereditary claims for their practices, claims which are uncomfortable to those who prefer to be able to produce manuscripts in support of their practices. (2) Traditionalist Druids seldom are members of large, formally structured organisations. (3) Traditionalist Druids often diverge from conventional or popular Druid practices. (4) Traditionalist Druids often hold beliefs that run contrary to current academic thinking, because they follow first what the lore teaches them. This lore does not have its origins in modern academia, or in the Annals of foreign authors, but in teachings passed down by example and by word of mouth.

Returning to Our Roots

There is a strange dichotomy in modern Druidism. We acknowledge that Druidism was an oral tradition and revere the idea of ancestral lore, whilst ridiculing the possibility of any modern survival (or revival) of such a practice. We read the myths but practice according to the report of foreigners who admittedly had every reason to distort their reports. We speak of the wisdom and temporal power of the ancients without any real belief in the spiritual power they wielded. We are afraid to trust things that might sound incredible from a modern scientific perspective; because of this, we do as much to diminish the living root power of our path as the modern era has done to diminish the power of the Gods in literature.

Faery Druidism

These root wisdoms are the special concern of Faery Druids. 'Faery' Druids follow the ways of the native Druids of the Isles, Western Europe, and (in some cases) eastern N. America as they have been passed down through families and/or through teachings lineages. Most make no claims for the teachings being 'unchanged since ancient times'. That would be ridiculous! But we do make a claim for the adaptive strength of the ancestral teachings. These teachings are adaptable not because of the addition of foreign concepts, but because of the retention of universal concepts such as Cycle, which permeate every aspect of our lives and encompass not only seasons and worlds, but ages, dimensions, and realities. Because all things repeat (but never the same way twice), we never come to a completely new situation; thus the knowledge for how to work with each phase of life exists already in our lore. It is our understanding of how to work with this knowledge (and not the Way itself) that must be forged each time anew.

This is what Faery Druidism is all about: Remembering, rediscovering, and reclaiming our ancestral heritage. Avalonian Druidry represents one 'family' within this rather broad category of Druidism. The Avalon Mystery Tradition, at its root, is a Faery Tradition (i.e. a tradition founded upon the native mysteries of specific peoples and/or lands). Avalonian Druidism is one branch of this Tradition, and centres its spiritual work on the roots of what would eventually be called 'The Matter of Britain', but which is in reality the Matter of Sovereignty. Although our lore does encompass the Arthurian period, it is rooted in a much earlier time and a Mother-centred society. Thus the great majority of Avalonian Druidism is not about Arthur or Camelot; it is a pantheistic Druid path that teaches self-empowerment, sustainable living, and right relationship with the land and all Life.

Avalonian Druidism

Avalonian Druids do not divide themselves into 'Druids, Ovates, and Bards'. Druids with special callings may choose to pursue them through specialised studies. The original names of these studies, like our original mother tongue, is now lost and so we use the words that seem best to encompass the essence of each discipline: Dreamers, Singers, Pathwalkers. These specialised areas are not so much about holding different wisdoms or skills as they are about using the same skills differently to different ends. Thus they are not 'levels' in any sense of the word, nor do we consider them ever to have represented different Orders within the ancient world. Whether they evolved into, or were displaced by the later Celtic roles, or whether these were but a misrepresentation of Caesar and his contemporaries, will likely be a matter of debate for the rest of time (or until we all get tired of debating that which can never be proved definitively).

The Shared Path

In any event, Avalonian Druids have two basic purposes: to achieve a state of inner Harmony and spiritual insight; and to become good world stewards. In this we share much with other Druids, with whom we hope to join our efforts in support of the highest good. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Avalon, Traditionalist, Faery
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