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Druidry: An ancient religion makes a comeback

Updated on December 5, 2011
A modern day druid
A modern day druid | Source

Druidry is one of the oldest religions still being practiced in some form today.  Although Druids left no written accounts of themselves and much of what was written about them (by Julius Caesar, for example) is considered suspect, we know that they predate Christianity by quite a long time and were active in Gaul and other parts of Western Europe.

Druids believed in the Pythagorean doctrine of reincarnation, thinking that after a body died, its soul would enter into another body after a certain amount of time.  They also practiced magical rites, using mistletoe in some ceremonies as a sacred healing plant.  Although they worshiped nature, there is a fair amount of evidence suggesting that they also took part in human sacrifice to appease the gods.

Druidry has experienced a modern revival, starting in the 18th century when Stonehenge, an ancient monument that predates Druidry itself but which has since become an important element of the religion, started receiving attention.  In the 21st century, as support for mainstream religion is falling away, Druidry is once again on the rise, as the religion's innate concern for environmental issues strikes a chord with many people.

Recently, the British Charity Commission decided to officially recognize Druidry as a religion, taking its place alongside Christianity and other mainstream religions and making Druidic organizations eligible for tax breaks.


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