History of Modern Druidism
Modern Druidism, that is, modern Pagan Druidism, owes a debt of gratitude to the monotheistic fraternal Druid orders that comprise their not-so-direct predecessors. Some of these organizations still exist: many continue today as fraternal orders (much as the Elks Lodge and similar organizations), others have developed into more Pagan groups, as has occurred with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). More groups seem to appear on a regular basis, some lasting only a brief time, others leaving a lasting mark on society.
Probably the oldest purely American Druid Organization is the RDNA (Reformed Druids of North America). Originally, this group seems to have been almost anything but Pagan. However, some offshoots are quite Pagan in nature. The Major offshoots of the RDNA are Ar n’Draiocht Fein and Keltria.
Ar n’Draiocht Fein (ADF) was founded by a former member of RDNA, and at one time boasted the largest “Neo-Pagan” Druidic membership in the United States. ADF strongly advocates the “Indo-European” theories behind their spiritual traditions. Many local congregations maintain a traditional Celtic focus, while others strive to promote Norse, or even Greek, Druid systems.
Partially as a result of this broad spectrum outlook, and partially for other reasons, the Henge of Keltria was formed by members dissatisfied with ADF’s brand of Druidry. Keltria follows a narrower focus, that of purely Celtic origins.
Other Druid Groups and organizations appear to have come forth out of other organizations and other traditions, as well as many which came forth from the love and inspiration of a few devoted members.
The Druid Clan of Dana originated within the Fellowship of Isis. These Druids cling closely to not only Celtic, but also Irish roots and structure.
The Divine Circle of the Sacred Grove (DCSG)is an organization which calls itself Druidic and Pagan, but displays a decidedly eclectic basis. It also claims to have lineage to British Traditional Orders that are decidedly non-pagan fraternal groups. Some of the early history of the organization has some questionable entries, but it is unclear if the organization currently follows such practices.
The American Druidic Church was formed by dissatisfied members of the DCSG, but is little heard of outside of their California community.
The Druidic Association of North America (DANA) is a fledgling organization of Druid groves, based in the New England area. The Grove of the Golden Leaves is the founding and most substantitive of these groups. DANA places a high emphasis on scholarship and study in the traditional disciplines. The Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids is discussed in depth in another article. While members of CTOD have been, and continue to be, involved in other organizations, CTOD does not claim to be ‘descended’ from any of these groups.