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> Definitions, of wicca and druidism
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MacAibhistin 
Posted: 18-Sep-2004, 10:01 PM
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ZodiacOak

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Could some please give me a current definition of Wicca and Drudism and how these are practised in the 21st century.

Thanks,
Rory
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celticwoodsman 
Posted: 20-Sep-2004, 04:17 PM
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these are the actual definitions by miriam-Webster, but actually I feel that these are really good explanations:

Wicca:
A polytheistic Neo-Pagan nature religion inspired by various pre-Christian western European beliefs, whose central deity is a mother goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic and benign witchcraft.
A group or community of believers or followers of this religion.

druid:
A member of an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain who appear in Welsh and Irish legend as prophets and sorcerers.


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You will not go hungry until I starve, you shall not go thirsty as I have drink, you shall have my bed and be warm, you shall sit on my right as we feast in the great halls of our ancestors, and for when we die, and go to the great battle of valhalla....we shall stand together and fight ....at the end we shall look upon each other strewn with the blood of OUR enemies, and then....I shall call you FRIEND
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 20-Sep-2004, 09:22 PM
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ZodiacAlder

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Let me see if I can field this one...jump on in when you can add to it, gang.

Wicca is a relatively new religion (by new I mean it came into public light in the late 1940s/early 1950s) that is an attempt to recreate, by British Victorian spiritualism standards, what they felt was the "Old Religion", or the Pagan practices Western Europe before the arrival of Christianity. The founder was a British civil servant named Gerald Gardner, who took many aspects of many sources, including Freemasonry, Egyptian and Greek magical practices, and Thelema to name a few, filed the serial numbers off, and presented it as a "new" Old Religion. He claimed his information came from still-extant covens dwelling in England, and further claimed to have been initiated by a woman named Dorothy Clutterbuck. The details beyond that are fuzzy.

At any rate, Gardner published several books a few years prior to the 1951 repeals of the last few anti-witchcraft laws on the books in England, portraying in a fictitious manner the practices of Wiccans. He went fully public after the legal coast was clear.

As per Gardnerian standards, groups are ideally of 13 people, with a High Priest and High Priestess officiating at ceremonies. Larger groups will "hive off" and form their own incipient covens under the guidance of the old High Priestess.

Gardnerian Wiccans (from which all other traditions have come) believe in a male/female balance in all things, which includes a Goddess as well as a God. They're commonly referred to as the "Lord and Lady" and are thought to be the archetypes of all things masculine and feminine. By the same token, it is believed that all Gods are one God and all Goddesses are one, so to call them by one name or another is to merely address an aspect of the One. If forced to give description of them beyond that, the God is often referred to as "The Horned One" (which has no connections to Christianity/Satanism save those construed by others) and he is depicted as a robust male in his prime with a set of antlers. The Goddess is known as variants such as "The Earth Mother", "The Great Mother Goddess", or just simply as "The Goddess". Alternately, she is depicted in a triuine aspect: The Maiden, Mother, and Crone, showing the three major stages a woman evolves through in life.

Details regarding Esbats (services attended at the full moon) and Sabbats can be referred to in a pinned post above.

Druidism is a different story.

Now, originally, so far as anyone has been able to tell, the Druids were the priestly class of the Celtic tribes. Beyond that, because there were no written records by themselves or their tribal contemporaries, we must rely on outside sources, such as Julius Caesar's accounts of his campaigns in that area and his observations. They were, of course, a little less than objective, but some information could be gleaned from them. Any other information regarding the Druids must come from interpretations of artifacts and archaelogical sites, which is problematic in and of itself. "Interpretation" being the operative word there. Some scant vestiges of Brehon law preserved through the ages survive which shed bits of light, but by no means give a fully-embroidered picture.

Most of the "common knowledge" of Druids didn't come from the Druids at all, but rather from late 19th century revivalists who wanted to bring the practices as they felt they were or should have been to life. Ever wonder how Stonehenge got linked to the Druids when it's much older than the time frame in which the Celts lived in Great Britain? It's from sources such as these.

There are side-branches of Freemasonry who claim to have knowledge of the Druids in a lineage spanning back to whenever the details can get conveniently murky, but outside of their circles little is known about it. There are also modern groups who have made the same attempt to revive them, and are still in existence today. For more information on that, I'd suggest looking in Isaac Bonewits' website and reading his articles.

...man, I didn't expect that to go on as long as it did! But...there's the two of them, in very, very sketchy format. smile.gif






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MacAibhistin 
Posted: 22-Sep-2004, 11:13 PM
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ZodiacOak

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Well, Sekhmet, that is a fabulous definition of Wicca. I had a relateively basic knowledge of Druidism, but I have often found Wicca and Celtic spirituality to be intertwinned in modern print symbols and motifs. I've always been skeptical of a historical link between the two, and you have now made it clear to me that there is no real historical link. Again, thank you so much for your informative response!

Rory
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Sekhmet 
Posted: 23-Sep-2004, 01:46 AM
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You're quite welcome. If you have any other questions, go ahead and throw them past me. smile.gif

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