The original druids were the intellectual class of the Celtic people. Little is known for certain about the original druids. However, they are generally considered to have been scholars, teachers, peacemakers, arbiters of disputes, ambassadors, sages, advisors (including to kings and queens), soothsayers, priests, mages, keepers of history, philosophers, astronomers, healers, musicians, poets, and storytellers. Modern-day druids are inspired by ancient druids, but they do not claim to be identical to ancient druids.
Modern-day druids generally fall into these categories:
- Reconstructionists emphasize a historically accurate understanding of the original druids. They are most likely to emphasize paganism and polytheism. Groups include ADF, Henge of Keltria, and Order of White Oak.
- Revivalists such as myself value understanding history accurately, but also believe in drawing inspiration wherever we can find it, rather than only from one particular time period and culture. For inspiration, Revivalists look not only to the original druids, but also to the ideas of Revivalists over the past several centuries, to nature, and to science. Revivalists tend to see druidry as a spiritual path compatible with a variety of religions and theologies (including Christian, monotheist, polytheist, pantheist, and atheist). Groups include OBOD and AODA.
- Reform druids take a freeform, humorous approach ("a non-prophet, ir-religious, dis-organization"), Groups include RDNA and RDG.
- Druidry is an earth-centered spirituality. Our holidays are based on the turning of the seasons. We find spiritual inspiration in time spent in nature. Druids like trees, especially oaks.
- Reverence for nature leads to care for nature. Druids try to live sustainably.
- Inspired by nature's seasons, druids prefer a cyclical world view rather than a linear or dualistic world view.
- Druids value science, learning and freedom of thought.
- Druidry is not only about book-learning. Hands-on practice is also essential to druidry. Druids value things we create for ourselves over consumption, materialism, and advanced technology. We may grow our own food, make our own music, build our own furniture, etc.
- Druids value the arts, including music, poetry, storytelling, and crafts.
- Druids are often interested in herbal healing.
- Druids value the ancestors. This includes are biological, cultural, and spiritual ancestors. Druids preserve and pass on history, because history is the stories of our ancestors.
- Many druids are interested in magic and divination, although I am not. There is a distinctively druid style of divination based on the ogham alphabet.
- Many druids believe in reincarnation and/or an afterlife, but I do not.