Do Neopagan Druids Believe?
by Isaac Bonewits
Many of the members of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid
Fellowship,Inc. (ADF) have come to accept most of the following
beliefs. However, its 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
Thou Art God/dess
We believe that divinity is both immanent (internal) and transcendent (external),
with immanence being far more important for us to pay attention to at this
crucial phase of human history. Deities can manifest at any point in space
or time which They might choose, including within human beings (through the
processes known as inspiration, channeling, and possession).
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 Goddess makes just as much sense
as God. 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, Neopagan Druidism 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, Who is due all the love
and support that we, Her children, can give Her. We consider ecological awareness
and activism to 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
We believe that monolithic religious organizations and would-be messiahs and
supergurus are a hinderance to spiritual growth. We believe that healthy religions
should have a minimum amount of dogma and a maximum amount of eclecticism
and flexibility. Neopagan Druidism 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 actual harm to ourselves and others, and
the increase of public benefit. We try to balance peoples needs for
personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the
impact of each individuals actions on the lives and welfare of others.
We believe that its 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 Neopagans are fond of food, drink, music,
sex, and bad puns, and consider all of these (except possibly the puns) to
be of spiritual value. However, we do not approve of addictive or compulsive
behavior and we support people with dysfunctional histories who have entered
appropriate recovery programs.
Magic and Mystery
We believe that with proper training, art, discipline and intent, human minds
and hearts are fully capable of performing most of the magic and miracles
they are ever likely to need. Magical/miraculous acts are done through the
use of what most of us perceive as natural (some say divinely granted)
Liturgical Art and Science
We believe that there is an art and a science to creating, preparing and performing
worship rituals. Our worship celebrations are continually evolving as we search
for the most intellectually satisfying, artistically beautiful, spiritually
powerful, and magically effective rites possible.
Connecting to the Cosmos
We believe in the importance of celebrating the solar, lunar and other cycles
of our lives. We consciously observe the solstices, equinoxes and the points
in between, as well as the phases of the moon. Such rites of intensification
are human universals, as are the various ceremonies known as rites of
passage celebrations of birth, puberty, personal dedication to
a given deity or group, marriage, ordination, death, etc.
Born Again Paganism
Many of us believe in some sort of afterlife, usually involving rest and recovery
in the Otherworld before reincarnating. We have no concept of eternal
punishment, refusing to worship deities who could be that cruel.
Hope and Action
We believe that people have the ability to solve their current problems, both
personal and public, and to create a better world. Our utopian vision, tempered
with common sense, leads us to a strong commitment to personal and global
growth, evolution and balance.
We believe that people can progress far towards achieving personal growth,
evolution and balance through the carefully planned alteration of their
normal states of consciousness. We use both ancient and modern
methods of concentration, meditation, reprogramming 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. Neopagan Druidism, 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.
Theres 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
lifestyles. We actively encourage everyone to apply these principles to
the practical questions of their daily lives.
Contents may be freely reprinted by NeoPagan media, including BBSs and online
lists providing no editing is done and this copyright is included.