Q: Do you feel that it is important for someone wishing to practise Druidry to have a connection to the places in which it originated? Would it, for instance, be as appropriate to practise Druidry in Tasmania (Aus) as it would be in Wales or Scotland?
GKT / JW :This is an extremely complex subject. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 18) states that ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.’ It is a right that we support absolutely. In that respect one has the right to be Druid irrespective of whether you live in Snowdonia, the Freycinet Peninsula Tasmania), or a pressure dome half way up Mons Olympus on Mars.
Whether it is entirely appropriate is another question. It is a matter of roots. To be Druid is to draw from Celtic heritage. The Celtic speaking peoples derived their understanding of the world and their spiritual and religious beliefs from the land in which they lived. Yet they were (and still are) inveterate travellers and they took their vision of the world with them. However, they always applied it to the place in which they found themselves. That is why, for example, Welsh, Breton, and Irish mythology are different in detail and ambience whilst clearly having a common genesis.
We do not know how the beliefs of ancestral Celts would have evolved beyond Europe, although there are clear signs that along the borders with the Germanic tribes there was a melding of ideas and beliefs. Did, for example, the Celts that formed the personal bodyguard of the Ptolemies continue with their native beliefs, or did they immerse themselves in Greco-Egyptian culture? And those Celtic remains found in China. Would they have become Taoists or Confucianists, or would they have sought for signs of Celtic deity in the alien landscape?
Of course, the world is a very different place. Celts have been instrumental in most of the great colonizations of the planet – often forced out of their homelands. And for all that they were nominally Christian; they no doubt took many of the old ways with them. It is no surprise, therefore, that the old ways are re-emerging all over the world. The pagan impulse is deeply embedded in the human psyche.
Those who become Druid in places that were not originally Celtic, are aware of the local deities and work in sympathy with them – which is not the same as appropriating them. Pre-Christian Celts did not proselytize, nor were they imperialistic. Like modern Druids, they would probably have kept their own ways in private whilst also acknowledging that they were guests in another land that has its own spiritual traditions. Source
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