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Is every Druid a Witch?

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  • Is every Druid a Witch?

    As a recently budding Druid, I'm having a hard time sorting out my spirituality. I came across your typical Pagan Witchcraft before I did Druidry, but now as I'm researching the topic I'm becoming more confused if I should just call myself a Druid or keep a Druid and keep the title of Witch along with it? I'm sure it honestly doesn't really matter, because it's just a title... But I'm curious as hell to find out what these defining lines are.

    In my research I've seen druids who do no magic at all and those who do magic and call themselves a witch as if their Druidry and Witchcraft were a separate thing. But, reading up a little bit on the history, I've read that Druids had to mix up herbal brews that reminded me a lot of the typical Witch brew. There have also been mentions of similar incantations to their god/goddess or simply just nature itself. So, where does one draw the line of what is Witchcraft and what is simply Druidry?

    So, do all Druids practice magic? If so, do they consider themselves Witches or is it simply a craft of the Druids?



  • #2
    It really depends, as they're both reclaimed terms. I definitely don't think it should be generalised that ALL druids should be linked with magic. It's an appropriate antique association, as س hسgلin says," the simplest, and yet the most telling, evidence for the supernatural skills of the druids in ancient Ireland is furnished by the word for druidry itself, druيdecht. This (in modern spelling draيocht) has always been the ordinary term in Irish for magic," but magicians were just one role that historic "druids" filled. They were members of various classes of learned men, from doctors, judges, priests, lawyers, philosophers, bards, e.t.c.

    These roles are filled today by our own standards, although the image of the druid remains with us in romantic thought of most things pre-christian& Celtic, which obviously shines through in modern pagan attitudes towards religion, the occult, and spirituality, but crafting magic(k) and druidry is but one association.
    Semper Fidelis

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    • #3
      So, I suppose it's up to the Druid themselves to decide if they practice magic. It's not as though there's a prerequisite stating that if you consider yourself a Druid you must practice some sort of magic. It seems to me that Druidry is more of a way of life than just spirituality choice like I originally thought. Interesting! I still have a lot left to learn on the subject, so thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


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      • #4
        No worries! Ronald Hutton has some good stuff on historic druidry such as Blood and Mistletoe(focused on Britain), but it seems some of the modern Druid orders like O.B.O.D follow ways that make it more than a spirituality, such as being involved in environmental awareness, and have different grades and correspondence courses, e.t.c. The solitary route isn't much different from modern pagan religious witchcraft, with a certain emphasis of course, as far as I can see anyway.
        Semper Fidelis

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        • #5
          There's magic within everything, even science and religion.

          Searles O'Dubhain

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Somnious View Post
            As a recently budding Druid, I'm having a hard time sorting out my spirituality. I came across your typical Pagan Witchcraft before I did Druidry, but now as I'm researching the topic I'm becoming more confused if I should just call myself a Druid or keep a Druid and keep the title of Witch along with it? I'm sure it honestly doesn't really matter, because it's just a title... But I'm curious as hell to find out what these defining lines are.

            In my research I've seen druids who do no magic at all and those who do magic and call themselves a witch as if their Druidry and Witchcraft were a separate thing. But, reading up a little bit on the history, I've read that Druids had to mix up herbal brews that reminded me a lot of the typical Witch brew. There have also been mentions of similar incantations to their god/goddess or simply just nature itself. So, where does one draw the line of what is Witchcraft and what is simply Druidry?

            So, do all Druids practice magic? If so, do they consider themselves Witches or is it simply a craft of the Druids?
            The one defining thing you can say about all Druids is that there's no one defining thing that you can say about all Druids.

            I know Druids that are on a purely spiritual path, and those who are on a wholly academic path. I know Druids that practice Magic, and those that don't. I know Druids that are Witches, Wiccan, Asatru, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, Gnostic, Pagan, Monotheists, Polytheists, Pantheists, etcetera et al ad nauseum. I know Druids who don't call themselves Druids...and, unfortunately, I know some who go by the title of Druid who act absolutely nothing like a Druid.

            Granted your mileage may vary, but from my point of view, one can certainly follow multiple paths.
            "Cattle die, kinsmen die, one day you yourself must die.

            I know one thing that never dies:
            the dead man's reputation."


            Havamal- Sayings of the High One

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Somnious View Post
              but now as I'm researching the topic I'm becoming more confused if I should just call myself a Druid or keep a Druid and keep the title of Witch along with it?
              As said earlier, it's a bit blurry since both are words being reclaimed by pagans today, and since Witch is a really retroactive term when referring to ancient practitioners of magic. These days, "witch" is used within the pagan community to refer to all sorts of folk magic practices; low magic such as herbalism and elemental magic, in addition to basic theurgy and more culturally-based sympathetic magic. It is, as I said, a retroactive term that wouldn't really be used to describe people during their own times, and covers such a broad series of practices that they wouldn't have been seen as part of any single tradition in their time, either.

              Druids, in ancient Celtic lands, were a mix of magicians, teachers, priests, and keepers of their tribes' oral history. Ceremonial magic, and some folk magic, was certainly a part of some Druidic ways. But it wasn't always such. Over time, they gradually became more of priests and teachers--the "learned caste" of Celtic tribes. Something that remained when Druids were subsumed into the Roman and later Christian clergies during Gaul's occupation from the 1st century BCE onward.

              One could certainly be a Druid and a Witch simultaneously, depending on how one, as a Druid revivalist, orients oneself along the sliding scale of folk and ceremonial magic.

              So, do all Druids practice magic?
              As above, not necessarily. Though a great deal of Neo-Druids do, as part of reclaiming the folk-magic elements of their culture.

              PS)
              Originally posted by Micheلl View Post
              Ronald Hutton has some good stuff on historic druidry
              That man's literature is, in my opinion, essential if one wants to have a better historical understanding of modern paganism.
              Last edited by Louisvillian; December 31st, 2011, 03:19 AM.

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              • #8
                If you consider the fact that Druidry is the oldest recorded religion, you have to look at the fact that other religions which came after, such as witchcraft, will naturally hold parts of the Druidic path. Today there are so many different traditions of Druidry that nothing defines any of them. Ross Nichols defined this in detail in the book "History of the Druids". So just because several Pagan paths and traditions carry some Druidic aspects they are not necessarily Druidian in nature. You can label yourself with whatever you choose to. There is no defining term as to what is and what is not acceptable when it comes to that. We are getting into the "defining lines" as you call it on my website forum with all the Pagan paths and I've found so much interesting information out there. It seems you are not alone in wanting to know what is which path and what makes it that way.
                "Death is Only the Beginning"
                www.gypsystavern.com

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                • #9
                  The only problem is that Druidry is not a religion it was a social class within Celtic society. They may have overseen the religious and spiritual practice of their society and people but their practice was not druidry nor is it probable thier religion / spiritual practice was called Druidry.

                  In some ways to call the religion / spiritual practice "Druidry" is akin to saying Native American practices are "Medicine People" because the Medicine man / women usually oversaw the spiritual / religious aspects of the culture and society. Sitting Bull was a Medicine Person and Spiritual Leader of the Lakota yet their spiritual practice was not "Sitting Bull" or "Medicine Man"

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                  • #10
                    Personally, I do practice magic, although not often, and I (currently) consider myself a Druid but not a Witch. To me, it's more about the overall "feel" of the spiritual practice. To me, Witchcraft "feels" more lunar and feminine, whereas Druidry "feels" more solar, focused on the seasons, and masculine.

                    Originally posted by Myrddyn Emrys View Post
                    The one defining thing you can say about all Druids is that there's no one defining thing that you can say about all Druids.

                    I know Druids that are on a purely spiritual path, and those who are on a wholly academic path. I know Druids that practice Magic, and those that don't. I know Druids that are Witches, Wiccan, Asatru, Christian, Taoist, Buddhist, Gnostic, Pagan, Monotheists, Polytheists, Pantheists, etcetera et al ad nauseum. I know Druids who don't call themselves Druids...and, unfortunately, I know some who go by the title of Druid who act absolutely nothing like a Druid.
                    Just out of curiosity, what would you consider behavior befitting the title "Druid"? I ask in sincerity, as my spiritual practices in general (Druidic or otherwise) have become lax while I've been in school, and now that I've graduated I want to more seriously delve back into a spiritual practice, and I've always struggled with what specific practices I could do on a daily basis to live out the path of Druidry in which I have chosen for myself.
                    sigpic

                    "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.... life is either a daring adventure or nothing." - Helen Keller

                    http://contemplatingspirit.blogspot.com

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FindingMyself View Post
                      To me, Witchcraft "feels" more lunar and feminine, whereas Druidry "feels" more solar, focused on the seasons, and masculine.
                      I can kinda see that. Though certain forms of Witchcraft are more balanced, with a prominent place of male deities. I mean, I'm sure Druidry is the same in that regard, considering its critical place in the evolution of Neopaganism and the Pagan movement's focus on feminism and gender equality.

                      Originally posted by MonSno_LeeDra View Post
                      The only problem is that Druidry is not a religion it was a social class within Celtic society. They may have overseen the religious and spiritual practice of their society and people but their practice was not druidry nor is it probable thier religion / spiritual practice was called Druidry.
                      Well, no. But the modern religion of Neodruidism isn't attempting to identically copy ancient Celtic indigenous religion. It's taking certain practices and cultural facets and reviving them in a modern context. It doesn't necessarily matter what the Celts called it or what the ancient Druids called their behaviour. What matters is that the cultural ideas, practices, and divinities are being revived.

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                      • #12
                        My understanding has always been that magic is intertwined with Druidism so closely that you cannot separate the two. I believe calling oneself a witch is really there call, a title some Druids may avoid despite still practicing magic.
                        'Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.'

                        ― Alex Levine

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