The Political Implications of Reviving Druidism
(c) 1984 P. E. I. Bonewits
Reprinted from "The Druids' Progress" #1
Throughout all known human history, people who had hidden
knowledge (whether of healing, weather prediction, mathematics,
or magic) have used their exclusive possession of that knowledge
as a source of power, for purposes that were good, bad or weird.
The warrior caste has always done its level best to take that
knowledge away from the clergy and to put it to political, econo-
mic and military use. Today, almost all the hard and soft scien-
ces have become tools for those who wish to control their fellow
human beings. The polluters, the exploiters, the oppressers, the
conquerers -- whether calling themselves "capitalists" or "commu-
nists" -- they are the ones who control nearly all the technology
of overt power and a great deal of the tech for covert tyranny.
One of the very few ways we have of defending ourselves and
our fellow passengers (human and other) on this Spaceship Earth
is through the careful and judicious use of magic. National
governments and private enterprises are spending millions of
dollars (and rubles and pounds and yen) trying to develop psychic
powers into dependable tools for warfare and oppression; while
most of us who should be learning precise techniques and careful
timing, in order to use magic and the power of the Gods to defend
ourselves and our Mother Earth, have been busy being misty-eyed
romantics, not wanting to "sully our karma" by trying to do magic
that might really work (that is to say, for which we would have
to take personal responsibility).
As a result, we have assisted the very forces of oppression
which we claim to oppose. We are partly responsible for the
poverty, hunger, pollution, disease and early deaths which domi-
nate so much of our planet. Occultists have assisted by being
unwilling to put their talents to the test by using them for
"mundane" or "lowly-evolved" purposes. Ecologists, Celtic nation-
alists, and would-be revolutionaries have assisted by being un-
willing to use nonmaterialistic technologies to cause changes in
the material world (after all, if Freud and Marx didn't mention
magic as real, it can't possibly work). The creation of Neopagan
Druidism may be able to help change those attitudes.
Despite the efforts of liberal Christian clergymen to make us
forget the physical and cultural genocide committed by organized
Christianity against the peoples of Europe, there is simply no
way to ignore the fact that monotheists in power always seek to
silence competing voices. We cannot look to the mainstream
churches for our physical and spiritual liberation, for they are
the ones who took our freedom away in the first place. Marxist
atheism is no answer either, for it is also a product of the
monotheistic tunnel-reality, and seeks to impose its dogmas and
holy scriptures just as strenously as ever the churches have.
Those who want to live in a world of peace, freedom and cultural
pluralism, must look beyond the currently available, "respect-
able" (i.e., monistic) alternatives they have been presented with
by the mass media, and consider new alternatives.
Many people think of Neopaganism in general, or Druidism in
particular (if they think of them at all), as just being "odd"
religions, with no political implications worth investigating.
But I believe that Neopagan Druidism has important political
ideas which should be considered, especially by those concerned
with the survival and revival of the Celtic peoples.
Druidism is political because one of the primary tasks of the
clergy has always been to ride herd on the warriors. (This may be
one reason why barbarian warriors welcomed the Christian mission-
aries, because they perceived (correctly) that the Christian
priests would be far more likely to play ball with them than the
Druids had been. After all, if the world is ending any day now,
why bother controlling your local warriors?) Since the primary
threat to life on this planet now comes from out-of-control
warriors, it's time we started taking that duty seriously again.
Druidism is political because only a Nature worshipping reli-
gion can give people sufficient concern for the environment.
Monotheism is a major cause of the current state of the world's
ecology. We need a strong public religion that tells the pollut-
ers, "No, it's not divinely sanctioned for you to rape the
Druidism is political because the Druids have always been the
preservers of the best of their traditional cultures. The Meso-
pagan Druids of Brittany and Wales, for example, are directly
responsible for assisting the revival of the Cornish language and
tradition from the very edge of extinction. The various tradi-
tional preservation and independence movements, such as the Celt-
ic, Flemish, Baltic and other related movements in Europe, need
religious and cultural leadership based in their own cultures.
Druidism can help create an environment in which such leadership
Druidism is political because it offers a worldview completely
different from that of the monotheistic/monistic tyranny that now
controls our planet. One of the many things that any religion
does is to shape the ways in which people see the world around
them. We need a religion that offers people a multitude of op-
tions, rather than traditional western either/or, black/white,
Druidism is political, at the bedrock level, because it can
teach people how to use their Gods-given psychic and other tal-
ents to change the way things are. Make no mistake, magic works,
at least as often as poetry, music or political rallies do. Magic
is a form of power that we, the people of the Earth, have avail-
able to use, not just for psychological "empowerment" (making
ourselves feel better) but to actually control the individuals
and institutions responsible for our planet's current mess. If we
are unwilling to use magic, then we had might as well resign
ourselves and our descendents to either a life of slavery in a
homogenized, pasteurized world, or a quick and painful nuclear
death. And what excuse will we give to the "Lords of Karma" then?
This article has been reprinted from "The Druids' Progress",
issue #1, and is copyright 1984 by P. E. I. Bonewits. "DP" is the
irregular journal of a Neopagan Druid group called "Ar nDraiocht
Fein", founded by Bonewits (author of "Real Magic"). For more
data, send an S.A.S.E. to: Box 9398, Berkeley, CA, USA 94709.
Permission to distribute via BBS's is hereby granted, provided
that the entire article, including this notice, is kept intact.