Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I have recently become interested in learning more about Druidry due to finding three sites on the subject. The first site, Little Heathen Fox, is the blog of Kitsune who is a member of the group that put together the site, Celtic Tale. Her blog is her personal journey of her path. The second site, Celtic Tale, which is the site of the aforementioned group in Colorado that has laid out their group's beliefs in a well designed site. Druid Journal is the blog of Jeff Lily, a linguist who has recently embarked on the path of Druidry with the AODA.

I found it interesting that Druidry as can be seen as a set of beliefs and spirituality but that it can also be approached as an Art. Because of this, people of many different religious backgrounds decide to go through the training. According to the AODA site:

[The] AODA has Pagan members who participate in many different traditions, but it also has Christian members, Jewish members, Buddhist members, and members who belong to no particular tradition but find that Druid nature spirituality speaks to their needs and their understanding of the world.

I was curious as to how long the training would last. The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (or OBOD) has a training program that lasts about 3 years. The Ancient Order of Druids in America (or AODA, link above) has a training program that lasts about 6 years. A third group, Ár nDraíocht Féin, says 3 to 5 years, depending on program. And of course, you can take longer to work through any of these programs. The numbers above are minimums. I thought that all these groups seemed to have set a reasonable amount of time considering what they propose that you learn. I also found it interesting (and refreshing) that some groups recognize training from some of the other groups.

While looking for information of grove/group/etc. in Minnesota, I found a group called the Old Belief Society. I admit that this group raises feelings of doubt and makes me somewhat uncomfortable, especially considering the main person involved is only 25 years old. He expects people to train for many years under him while he is yet a babe himself. (Of course, I haven't heard anything bad about them. This is my opinion based on what information is on the site. Others could have quite a different view.) This particular example just goes to show me that people have to be careful about what group to become a part of. This doesn't just go for Druidry, but for any group that one is looking to join.

I will be talking more about this new interest in the future, I'm sure.


Michael said...

Hi Sojourner,

I'm a "graduate" of the Bard program at OBOD, and I started, but never completed, the Ovate program. I like that organization a lot. Their training program is excellent. Their tutors are very good, and everyone I've ever dealt with at the organization was helpful and friendly, and knowledgeable. I have never been to an event of theirs, but I've heard great things about them from others.

If you find yourself drawn to that religion, I would highly recommend checking OBOD out.

Mike said...

Me again - sorry for the double post, but I'd never seen my name show up in a comment as "michael." Just wanted to make sure you knew this was your Buddhist friend from the Midwest writing. :) -Mike

Sojourner said...

:) Blogger system changing things around again, huh? Thanks for letting me know that it is you!

CrimsonFox said...

Just to let you know those participating in the same project I am in my Tuatha my also be starting blogs here soon so I'll let you know where they set up shop as soon as they do.

Sojourner said...

Great! I would love to know when they have their blogs set up. I would love to see what they have to say as well.

Ligeia said...

ooooo my best friend knows about all this Druid stuff.
I'll be sending her to your blog post haste.

Sojourner said...

LOL. I look forward to her addition to the conversation.

neosnoia said...

I looked into both the OBOD and AODA courses and was very impressed with what I learned of both. If I ever get around to doing either of the courses I think I'd like to do the AODA course first and then OBOD's course. I'm ambitious. :)

Sojourner said...


I was thinking the same thing - that both courses look good. It would be difficult to choose when it came down to it, so I can understand that you would choose do do both!

If I decided to either of them, I will probably go through the AODA course. But then again, that is the one that I ran into first and I have a good role model in Jeff over at Druid Journal.

Mariah said...

Have read your blog but didn't realize you were in the Twin Cities!

I am a former member of the Old Belief Society, and I can tell you that your suspicions are warranted- while I did gain some valuable knowledge & experience the leader became rather authoritarian and when I rated it on the Cult Danger Evaluation Form, and a lot of red flags were raised.
There are several other Druid groups in the area however- Mists of Stone Forest, an OBOD grove and I am working on starting to organize an ADF grove as well:

Sojourner said...

For the most part, I wasn't in the TC up until about two months ago. I was going to school in Duluth and moved back after finishing my degree.

Thanks for mentioning the OBS. As I read about them, I got the "red flag" instinct, too. Some of the things just didn't sound right.

Thanks for letting me know about the group that you are starting. I'll have to check it out.


AndrewJJacob said...

I realize this post is rather old, but I just now came across it. I am the "babe" in question (and now a whopping 26 years old!). I'm the main teacher at Temple of the River, which is Old Belief Society's temple.

I felt I should express a counterpoint to what others have said above. Yes, I am young. It does limit what I am able to teach. I am very open about this with my students. On the other hand there is a saying in Old Irish: Sruithiu feb aes or "Skill is older than age". I keep this in mind when I prepare lessons, making sure that every fact is fact-checked, every Irish term is grammatically correct and properly pronounced, and every exercise or practice is something my students can take pride in learning.

My students do work hard, being expected to meditate each day and learn quite a bit of traditional poetry and lore. Is it authoritarian? Yes, I suppose so, but not in a way that is unusual among traditional religions. I have seen the same teacher-student relationship among Hindu, Buddhist, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American traditions. For that matter, it is the same thing one would experience in a French ballet school, a martial arts studio, or any other kind of traditional apprenticeship. It is difficult at times, but nothing is expected of students that I have not done myself.

As for Mariah's comments, I feel very sad about that. Mariah was a good student and seemed to take a lot from the classes. I thought we had parted on good terms, and in fact I had actively encouraged her to take a break from the classes because she did not seem sure about the level of commitment that was expected. I have never heard of a cult leader allowing, let alone encouraging members to leave and pursue other dreams.

I guess one of my main hopes for the pagan/polytheist community is that we respect each other. Old Belief Society's path is very different from a Wiccan coven or an OBOD seed group, but we do not think the other groups are bad or wrong. There have always been many ways to pursue the path--that's the great strength of polytheism. If people have reservations about our group or any group, I would hope they at least give a call and find out what we're really like before passing judgement.

On that note, I'll just close by saying that I welcome any questions that you have about the Old Belief Society and Temple of the River. We also have public events from time to time so you are more than welcome to come see for yourself, if you like.