Celtic Druidism accepted as a religion in Britain
Druids hope that recognition will make Druidry more accessible
Under charity law Celtic Druidism has been classed as religion for the first time in Britain.
This ancient form of worship has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years but the ancient pagan tradition, celebrating the sun and earth, has never be categorized, in Britain, as a religion.
Druidism is most famously known for the gatherings of people at the Hill of Tara in Ireland the Stonehenge in Britain around the solstice every year.
Druids were the religious leaders, judges and sages amongst the Celtic people during pre-Christian times but little about their lives survives. At the center of Druidism is the worship of natural forces such as thunder, sun and spirits that they believe are present in places such as mountains and rivers. They have a sacred relationship with the natural world.
Modern Druidism is chiefly concerned with helping practitioners to connect with nature and themselves through dancing, singing at sacred stone circles and rituals.
The fact that Druidism is now recognized by the charity regulator means that it will receive tax exemptions on donations and will have the same status of as the Church of England.
Phil Ryder, the Chairman of the 350-member Druid Network told the AP “It will go a long way to make Druidry a lot more accessible.”
In Britain alone there are about 10,000 practitioners. Their numbers are currently growing a people become more aware of the importance of preserving the environment.
The acknowledgement of the Druid Network is the culmination of a five-year campaign.
One acknowledging it the commission said “There is sufficient belief in a supreme being or entity to constitute a religion for the purposes of charity law."
A Druid, who also works as a counselor, Adrian Rooke, said that Druidism is now appealing to those who wish to turn away from monotheistic religion but still want to have spirituality in their lives.
He said “It uplifts the spirit...The world is running out of resources, and in that context it's more important to people now to formulate a relationship with nature."
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