Item Details

Is Druidry Indigenous? The Politics of Pagan Indigeneity Discourse

Issue: Vol 9 No. 2 (2018) Special Issue: Indigenizing movements in Europe

Journal: International Journal for the Study of New Religions

Subject Areas: Religious Studies

DOI: 10.1558/ijsnr.37622


This article asks if “indigenous,” associated as it is with “colonized peoples,” is being employed strategically by Druids in Britain to support cultural or political aims. Prominent Druids make various claims to indigeneity, presenting Druidry as the pre-Christian religion of the British Isles and emphasizing that it originated there. By “religion” it also assumes Druidry was a culture equal to if not superior to Christianity—similar to views of antiquarians in earlier centuries who idealized a pre-Christian British culture as equal to that of ancient Greece. Although British Druids refute the nationalist tag, and make efforts to root out those tendencies, it can be argued that it is a love of the land rather than the country per se that drives indigeneity discourses in British Druidry.

Author: Suzanne Owen

View Original Web Page

References :

Albanese, Catherine L. 1990. Nature Religion in America: From the Algonkian Indians to the New Age. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Billington, Penny. 2011. The Path of Druidry: Walking the Ancient Green Way. Woodbury: Llewellyn.

Blain, Jenny and Robert Wallis. 2007. Sacred Sites/Contested Rites/Rights: Pagan Engagements with Archaeological Monuments. Brighton: Sussex Academic.

Cox, James. 2007. From Primitive to Indigenous. Farnham: Ashgate.

Deloria, Vine. 1973. God is Red. New York: Grosset and Dunlap.

Harvey, Graham. 2007. Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism. 2nd edition. London: Hurst and Co.

Hughes, Kristoffer. 2007. Natural Druidry. Loughborough: Thoth Publications.

Hutton, Ronald. 2009. Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain. New Haven, CT, Yale University Press.

Johnson, P. C. 2002. “Migrating bodies, circulating signs: Brazilian Candomblé, the Garifuna of the Caribbean, and the category of indigenous religions.” History of Religions 41(4): 301–327.

Koch, John T. 2003. The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales. 4th Revised edition. Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications.

Naddair, Kaledon. 1990. “Pictish and Celtic shamanism.” In Voices from the Circle: The Heritage of Western Paganism. edited by P. Jones and C. Matthews, 93–108. Northampton: Aquarian.

Owen, Suzanne (2013) “Druidry as an indigenous religion.” In Critical Reflections on Indigenous Religions, edited by J. Cox, 81–92. Farnham: Ashgate.

Restall Orr, Emma. 2004. Living Druidry: Magical Spirituality of the Wild Soul. London: Piatkus.

Shallcrass, Philip and Emma Restall Orr. 2001. A Druidry Directory: A Guide to Druidry and Druid Orders. Devizes: British Druid Order.

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. 1999. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples. London: Zen Books / Dunedin: University of Otago Press.

Wallis, Robert. 2003. Shamans/Neo-Shamans: Contested Ecstasies, Alternative Archaeologies, and Contemporary Pagans. London: Routledge.

Williams ab Ithal, John, ed. 2004. The Barddas of Iolo Morgawg: A collection of original documents, illustrative of the theology, wisdom, and usages of the Bardo-Druidic system of the Isle of Britain. Boston, MA: Weiser Books.