What the resurgence of druids says about spirituality today

Druids were the high priests of ancient British tribes but disappeared for more than a thousand years. Today, a new generation of people are identifying as druids. Len Williams asks why

<p>Performers take part in the Imbolc Celtic fire festival to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring</p>

Performers take part in the Imbolc Celtic fire festival to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring

Every morning Larisa White walks out her door to greet nature. “I call it ‘going out to say hello to my people’,” she says. As a druid living in California, White’s spiritual practice follows the rhythms of the seasons. “I celebrate the first day when the fog bank of summer rolls in… the first rains… and also the first flowers, which in California come out towards the end of January.”

She also celebrates the equinoxes (twice a year when the sun crosses the equator). “I personally love the equinoxes because those are the only two moments where every person on the planet shares the experience of equal hours of day and night. I like thinking about those moments as moments of connection with the rest of humanity.”

While White stresses that her practice is not necessarily representative of all druids, her rituals provide a fascinating insight into the modern manifestation of an ancient tradition. White recently published a study into Druidry around the world. Although the religion traces its roots to the British Isles, her survey received responses from more than 700 druids in 34 countries. It’s impossible to say exactly how many people identify as druids today, but White gives an educated guess of somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000, with most living in English-speaking countries.

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