Following on from yesterday’s post about the Forest of Druidry I’ve seen a number of posts on Facebook, including a comment on my page post, asking how there can be such a thing as a Christian Druid. I started to reply on the Facebook thread, but the post became a little long, and I wanted to say more, so I thought I’d do a blog post instead. Obviously this is all from my discussions with the Christian Druids I know, and this might not apply to all Christians who also call themselves Druids.
The attitudes towards this topic within the Druid community seem to vary with peoples’ upbringing, where they live, who their friends are, their experiences of Christianity etc. To understand Christian Druids you really need to forget all of your experiences, understanding, and prejudice of what Christianity is. Christianity is almost as open a description at Paganism these days. There are so many forms that it’s more accurate to calls them ‘Paganisms’ and ‘Christianities’.
We need to back before Christianity became a form of control, before it became a political tool. Here you will find the Gnostics, the Celtic Christians, the followers of Palagius. This is before the Synod of Whitby and before Augustine declared the existence of ‘Original Sin‘. These later concepts that have been accepted as Christian ‘Truth’ are in fact the additions of political control, individual opinion, and interpretation.
The Christian Druids I know look back beyond this, to the Christian Mystic.
They weren’t the Smoke and Brimstone preachers of later times, they had no concept of Original Sin (it hadn’t been invented yet). Theirs was not the style of Christianity we often see now, it is not the Bible thumping version seen in the Bible-belt of the USA. Instead it is a celebration of this world as being truly sacred. Seeing the world around them as the ultimate creation of their God. How could such a creation be seen as a place from which to escape? How can the very creation of God be the dominion of evil and sin? It doesn’t make any sense.
If you look at early Celtic Christianity, Gnosticism and the teachings of Palagius, you will find a very different religion. It was at the Synod of Whitby, where priests made the decision about which form of Christianty would become the dominant form, and we can trace many of the big changes that followed to that decision. Imagine if they had chosen the Celtic Church instead of Catholicism. Would we be living in a different world? Who knows.
So it is to the older Celtic version of Christianity, a nature-based form, that many of the Christian Druids I know turn their gaze. Not the more modern forms of evangelism, strict regimes and guilt.
That obviously works for many people, but not to Christian Druids.
You can hear a very interesting discussion about this on DruidCast 78 between myself and Mark Townsend embedded below.