A Legacy of Druids Excerpt

Feb 27th, 2018 | By | Category: Book News, Books, Books for Druids

In this excerpt from A Legacy of Druids, Ellen Evert Hopman talks a bit about her background in Druidry and her purpose in collecting interviews with Druids from around the world.

“The Druid path honors the spirits of nature and I have been passionate in my defense of the natural world as well. I have done extensive political work and fundraising for environmental causes, my yearly donations going to organizations like The Nature Conservancy, and the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust. Without the natural world no beings on Earth, animal or human, will have water to drink, air to breathe, or room to survive.

The Druid path also honors trees. I have spent decades writing about trees and educating the public about the medicinal, practical and spiritual value of these beings. A Lakota grandmother gave me the medicine name Willow, yet I feel the strongest kinship with the oaks of Western Massachusetts. I am blessed to live in an oak forest and the trees have taught me much about stability and the ability to withstand the trials of life.

The Druid path encompasses the ancient traditional healing ways with prayer, meditation, herbs and water. I have been a professional herbalist since 1983, and a mental health counselor since 1990, lecturing and writing books on the subject, and training at least a score of students every year.

The Druid path is also a profoundly devotional path, honoring Goddesses and Gods as well as the spirits of the stones, plants, trees, birds, animals, and the honor of every human being. There is something within me that feels a profound need for the devotional path and in Druidism I have not been disappointed.

Intellectuality is a component of Druidism. The Druids of old were historians, lawyers, healers, poets, musicians, storytellers,
philosophers, and political advisors. Since the age of five I have devoured at least a book a week, at times reading six or seven books at the same time. Most Druids I have met share this love of learning. Most recently this love of scholarship has spilled over to the internet where Druids across the globe participate in study groups focusing on Celtic culture, law and religion.

In 1996 I was the founder of the White Oak online discussion group that explored Celtic and Druidic ethics and Brehon Law. That group eventually became the Order of WhiteOak (Ord na Darach Gile) (www.whiteoakdruids.org) at Winter Solstice 1997 and I served as co-Chief with Craig Melia for five years. I am currently Arch Druid of Tribe of the Oak, an international Druidic teaching Grove (www.tribeoftheoak.com), along with co-Arch Druid Gwennic.

I also co-founded and was privileged to serve as the Vice-President of The Henge of Keltria, an American-based international Druid Order and the largest Celtic Neo-Pagan organization in the United States, for three terms. During that time I have met with and corresponded with Druids from England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Peru, France, Japan, Australia and Italy. Differences exist, but the devotion to the spirit of Druidry is the same, wherever I look.

In the book People of the Earth (Destiny Books, Rochester, VT 1996, now titled Being a Pagan – Druids, Wiccans and Witches Today) I interviewed Pagan leaders from across the United States, in an effort to create a forum where Pagans could give voice to their own opinions about their beliefs and practices. As Druidism slowly gained recognition, I saw that a forum was needed where Druids too could express themselves so that the public would come to know us more fully.

At this time in history Druids are still a small sub-set of the current Neo-Pagan revival, with many different flavors and beliefs within each sect. OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) is attempting to be a Universalist-style umbrella group, embracing all flavors, AODA (Ancient Order of Druids in America) is heavily Masonic and
influenced by Romantic Revival British ideas, ADF (A Druid Fellowship) is Indo-European, The Henge of Keltria is Celtic, while the Order of WhiteOak and Tribe of the Oak are Celtic Reconstructionist, preferring to focus on the corpus of Irish material handed down to us from the 7th century. As you will see from the interviews that follow, there are also many smaller British Orders focused on worshipping at and preserving their local sacred sites. The one thing we all have in common is our reverence for nature and a passionate desire to protect our Mother Earth.

Some of these interviews were conducted in person, in England and in the U.S., and some were conducted by mail. Others were conducted over the internet, a practice that will surely become commonplace in the new century. There is a subtle difference in the way these various methods play out; at the top of each interview I list the method of information gathering for the interested reader.

As a single tree could never express the grandeur and power of a forest, many voices are required express the true essence of this ancient and ever new path. This book is dedicated to the hearts and souls of the Druids of today.”

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