1)Define Paleopaganism, Mesopaganism, and Neopaganism, giving examples of each. (minimum 100 words for each)



Paleopagnism is the original form of worship.  The Paleopagans are the ancients.  They are the ones that we, as Neopagans, strive in many respects to be.  These are the people that we study to find out what was historically done.  Unfortunately for us in ADF, the Druidic Paleopagans have long been wiped out.  There are Paleopagan groups still around.  These include groups such as Native Americans that still practice their traditional customs and worships.  Isaac also includes Hinduism (prior to the influence of Islam), Taoism, and Shinto as Paleopagan religions.  We also have to include the traditions of any Aboriginal culture in this.  In the end, the Paleopagans are the ones who practice(d) the ancient religions in their original form. (Bonewits 140)



Mesopaganism is a blend of what that group thinks is the best aspects of a paleopagan group, but influenced by other major religious movements.  What this means is that in many cases it’s a blend of a monotheistic religion and a pagan based religion.  Some examples of this include the Spiritualism movement, Voudoun, Santeria, some of the Norse base religions, and even some Druid groups.  Another thing that does happen often but not always with mesopagans is that they can be discriminatory based on race, sexual orientation, sex, etc.  In the end though, this group of religions is a mixture of multiple historical and modern religions. (Bonewits 141)



Neopaganism is the category that ADF falls into.  This group of religions takes the best parts of the ancient religions and adapts them to modern practice.  In general these religions are earth based and environmentally conscious, believe in multiple deities, and non-discriminatory.  Some other groups that fall into this category are Church of All Worlds, Henge of Keltria, and many Wiccan groups.  Overall these groups are very accepting and open to new ideas.  While many of them strive to be recreationalist, they do realize that we live in a different time than the original celebrants did.  As a result things have to be adapted to modern laws and environment. (Bonewits 142)


2)Name and describe several of the literary sources that contributed to Neopaganism in the first quarter of the 20th century, and discuss their impact on its development. (minimum 300 words)


Sir James Frazer published The Golden Bough in 1890.  This book was  suppose to be a comparative study of mythology and religion.  The central idea that came out of this book was the idea of a fertility cult, and the worship and sacrifice of a sacred king.  This book was important because authors, like Margaret Murray, took this to heart and included some of its theories into her works.  You can also see these theories in current pagan practice, such as the oak king/holly king traditions. (The Golden Bough) (Adler 47)


Charles Leland’s work, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches was published in 1899, and was an attempt to describe an underground witch tradition in Tuscany.  He reportedly got his information primarily from a woman he called Maddalena, along with the local folklore and customs. This book has contributed some to the liturgy in modern Wiccan practice in that it includes in the text various rituals and spells that were used by that tradition. (Adler 56)


Margaret Murray is by far one of the most important sources for the beginning of the twentieth century.  Her book, The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, was a primary source for Gerald Gardner and his invention of the modern Wiccan religion.  In this book, Murray argues that there was a major, anti-Christian cult in Europe during the medieval times.  The leaders of this cult were not the heretic that the inquisition was originally after, but instead were Pagans, and possibly witches.  She also postulated that what these people worshiped was based off of worship of Diana and her male counterpart Dianus.  Even more preposterous was that this was a universal worship that did not change from city to city. (Adler 46)


Overall, these books worked to inspire Gerald Gardner.  It is Gardner that took the works of his predecessors; combined them with traditions from the Freemasons, Golden Dawn, Rosicrucian Theater and a supposed family tradition.  This combination of various works and groups was then worked this into what is now known as Gardnerian tradition.  This tradition has since inspired many other Neo-pagan religions in the years since.


3)Describe several examples of authentic folk customs absorbed into Neopaganism, and describe how they have been adapted. (minimum 300 words)


There are many folk customs that have been transformed and eventually absorbed into modern Neo-Paganism.  What readily comes to mind is how we celebrate the traditional eight high days throughout the year.  Many of the symbolisms and customs that we use come from traditional folk customs.


The first thing that comes to mind deals with Samhain.  Traditionally, it has been thought that this time of year the spirits can more easily move around in this world.  While this has since evolved thanks to the Catholic Church into Halloween, many of the original customs still survive.  As Neo-Pagans, we still often hold feasts at this time to celebrate the end of the harvest, but usually we don’t cull the herd to prepare for winter since most of us are not farmers.  Many of us also still set a plate for our honored guests, our ancestors.


If we hop over to Beltane, we can see more of the old customs still in use.  In Ireland, it was customary to light bonfires at the start of the summer with hopes that this would bring about a good harvest.  They also drove cattle through these fires to purify them and bring them luck.  People, too, would drive themselves between the fires for the same reason.    It is customary in our practices to purify by fire at this occasion, just now it’s usually been changed to jumping a fire (or candle) instead of being driven between two.


For a third set of customs we can look at Lughnassadh.  Traditionally, this was the festival to start the harvest season and to share in the fruits of the first harvest.  It was the marriage of Lugh, and also a time for games in honor of Lugh’s foster mother.  In modern practice we often share in a “loaf mass” which if possible, is made from freshly harvested grains.  There also are games that are played at this time of year.  The biggest one that comes to mind is the SCA event, Pennsic.


These are just a few of the customs that are still practiced.  The majority of the symbolism for the commonly practiced eight high days dates back to old customs.  Also ritual segments can be traced back to the old customs, such as with our practice, the fire is a way of making offerings to the Shining Ones.  Water is a connection to the underworld, and a place to make sacrifices like we do with the traditional silver and the list can keep going on. (Green 34)


4)Of the following names, identify and explain the importance each has had in Neopagan history and/or the magical revival (minimum 100 words for each):

a)Gerald Gardner (June 13, 1884 - February 12, 1964)

Gerald Gardner is probably one of the most important men in the history of Neo-Paganism.  He drew upon the works of Murray, Leland, and Frazer and the works of groups, like the freemasons, to start what is now known as Gardnerian Wicca.  He claimed that he was  initiated by a woman called, “Old Dorthory”.


After this, he wanted to write about this “ancient” religion, but due to the anti-witch laws of England, he was not able to.  This started the process of initiating as many people he could find, old and young, male and female.  It was through these initiations that the religion spread, eventually coming to America.


It is now widely believed that much of the material he published since 1951, when the anti-witchcraft laws were repealed, has been borrowed from other sources, or made up by him.  Even so, he did start what has become the oldest Wiccan religion that is currently still in practice, and he is widely seen as the father of modern Wicca. (Adler 56) (Bonewits 49)


b)Robert Graves (24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985)


Robert Graves is known for his publishing of the book, The White Goddess.  This book is of huge importance in the Pagan community because of the theories that it lays out.  The primary idea that he gives is that there has been  universal Goddess worship.  As Bonewits states in Witchcraft: A Concise Guide,

Graves constantly asked his readers to accept a “slight” bit of illogic and error, then built these up into gigantic megaliths of theory. (Bonewits 56)


This book, even though it was based on very sloppy scholarship, did have major influence.  The idea of the Crone, Mother, and Maiden being the aspects of the Goddess largely comes from this book.  He also argued for Ogham contained in a calendar that contained a key to the ancient liturgy.  While the vast majority of his writing has been disproved, his ideas have been adopted as part of modern Wicca. (Bonewits 55) (Adler 59)


c)Dion Fortune (1890 - 1946)


Dion Fortune was born as Violet Mary Firth.  Her magical name, Dion Fortune, came from her family’s motto, Deo Non Fortuna, God not luck.  It is said that at age four she had visions of Atlantis.  This was just the start of her psychic abilities.  She was initiated into Alpha et Omega, a lodge of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.  She had a falling out with them, and then founded The Fraternity of the Inner Light, which later was changed to The Society of the Inner Light.


One reason that she is of importance to our history is because she was one of the first to publish our “secrets”.  Her most important literary work was The Mystical Qabalah.  It was written to be an introduction to the tree of life for her Fraternity of Inner Light students. (Dion Fortune) (Knowles) (Haughton)


d)Oberon Zell (November 30, 1942 – Present)


Oberon Zell Ravenhart as he is now known is one of the founding memebers of the Church of All Worlds (CAW).  This group was founded in 1962 and was largely inspired by Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.  An important milestone for CAW is that they were the first Pagan “church” that was recognized by the IRS as just that.


Oberon was also one of the first to use the term “Pagan” to describe this new religion.  Before he did, it referred to the ancient religions or its derogatory meanings.  He also formulated and published the thealogy called, The Gaea Thesis, which is basically saying the earth is a deity.


To me, this ground breaking work of getting the IRS to recognize a Pagan group as a religious organization was probably his most important work.  His work with the ecology and “The Gaea Thesis” is also the foundation of what we now call Neo-Paganism.  We always were based on the cycle of the year and harmony with the earth.  He just put it up front and made it so that most of the modern groups are out to help improve and even worship the earth.  We can see this influence in ADF in that we honor the Earth Mother, or an Earth Mother deity as one of, if not the first, offering. (Oberon Zell-Ravenheart) (Adler 283)


e)Starhawk (June 17, 1951 – Present)


Starhawk is one of the most influential people to bring feminism to the Neo-Pagan movement.  Her book The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess has become an important resource throughout much of the Neo-Pagan community.  This book draws from Margaret Murray and her hypothesis of Goddess worship.  The Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft was co-founded by Starhawk.  This is now an international group of feminist witchcraft that focuses mostly on goddess worship.  Starhawk is also known as an environmental activist that protested to protect the environment and for environmental causes.


While I do recognize her as an important figure in the Neo-Pagan movement, I feel that a lot of what she has done has almost brought back monotheism but with a female deity.  Her works mostly are about the worship of the Goddess and very feminist in their viewpoint.  This focus on only one sex to me is not a good balance in religion. (Starhawk: Bio and Bibliography)


f)Isaac Bonewits (October 1, 1949 – Present)


What can be said about Isaac?  Well, he probably has explored the whole range of Paganism throughout his years.  Starting off with being exposed to Voodoo at age 13, experimenting as a Satanist, founding a grove of the NRDNA, joining the NROOGD, trying to revive OTO, and even Gardnerian Wicca.  Let’s just say he’s well versed and that is just a brief look at his Pagan background.


He was first really noticed due to his individual group-study program at Berkley to get the only American degree in Magic.  This led him to write his influential book, Real Magic.  Since then, he started and aided in many organizations most of which unfortunately folded.


What he probably will be best known for is being the founder of ADF.  Much of the new Druid religion he founded was based off of his experiences of RDNA.  One of the great tenants of ADF is the emphasis on scholarship.  We are one of the first groups to use scholarship extensively in our worship.  Another thing he insisted on was that you were able to prove what you were saying.  This has since evolved into our extensive use of exit standards for all of our courses and study programs.


Isaac refers to himself as a heretic in his book Witchcraft: A Concise Guide.  His heretical ideas though, have now mostly become accepted as the norm.  It is partly because of him that we now have a better understanding of our roots as Neo-Pagans.  When all is said and done, Isaac will probably remembered for questioning everything, doing the necessary research, and be bold enough to declare something that his research has proved false to be just that. (Bonewits, A Brief Biography of Isaac Bonewits) (Adler 67)


g)Gwydion Pendderwen (1946-1982)


While his life was short, Gwydion has had a major influence on the Neo-Pagan community.  He was by far one of the most influential bards in our movement.  Much of his music has permeated through the Neo-Pagan community and the vast majority of us can probably sing a few of his songs, even if we don’t recognize that they were his.  I think it’s safe to say that he inspired many of our current day bards.  On top of this he was also an environmentalist.  He requested in his will that his land would be maintained by Forever Forests and be left forever wild. (Adler 90) (Pendderwen Gwydion)


h)Garan Du (1958 – Present)


Garan Du is a founding member of the Green Faerie Grove out of Columbus, OH.  He is also a third degree initiate of the Minoan Brotherhood.  Both of these groups are Neo-Pagan groups of gay and bi men.  He has written articles for various publications and is currently working on a biography of the founder of the Minoan Brotherhood.


He takes his queer spirituality seriously.  He does this by helping coordinate the Rainbow Center at PSG.  In 2002 he co-founded the Between the Worlds Men’s Gathering.  This is a festival for gay and bi men only.  As far as I know, this is the only festival of its kind in America.  He is truly dedicated to creating a safe environment for queer spirituality to be practiced, and I personally owe him many thanks for opening my eyes to that path over my 3 years of Between the Worlds and my many discussions with him between the festivals. (Du)


5)Compare and contrast your understanding of three various forms of Neopaganism, such as Wicca, Asatru, eclectic Neopaganism, shamanism, and discordianism. (minimum 300 words)


Asatru is a religion that is based on the Norse mythology and culture.  This group has also been called Odinists, and has had a history of attracting the White Supremacists.  Since this religion is based solely on the Norse, it does tend to be a blunt group of people.  They also have had a history of attracting people that were looking for power.  It’s become quite popular in prisons as of late, and recently, there was an execution in Virginia of a prisoner that killed another prisoner for dishonoring his altar.  Granted, there is nothing in Asatru that is violent, but people do take the old Viking ways to an extreme.  For me, I have an issue with Asatru because they don’t generally accept people that follow Loki, like I do. (Adler 273)


Eclectic Neo-Pagans are probably the most common group of Pagans you will find.  Many of them call themselves Wiccan, but they are really eclectic.  In general, they hold too many of the Wiccan tenants, such as “and it harms none, so mote it be.”  But instead of being pure Wiccan with the worship of a God and Goddess (unnamed), they often worship two specific deities for each occasion.  They also tend to pick and choose what they feel works from other groups.  That is what truly makes them eclectic.


Druidism, like Asatru, is based on a specific culture.  Most Druids are based off of the Celts of the British Isles, and often specifically, Ireland or Wales.  Some groups, such as ADF, are based off of a wider population.  In ADF’s case, we’re based off of the people that spoke Indo-European languages, and hence cover many cultures other than just the Celts. (Adler 319) 


In general, Asatru and Neo-Pagan Druidism tend to be culturally based and as a result, tend to be based on some kind of scholarship.  Since they are culturally based, they are usually polytheistic.  Mesopagan Druids have influence that is not just from the Paleo-Pagans they draw from, but also other religions and world views.  The Ancient Druid Order as discussed later is one of these groups.  They are also based on what was considered at that time as scholarship   Asatru and the Druid groups also tend to promote the learning of the original language of the culture.  In contrast, Eclectic Neo-Pagans come from a variety of backgrounds and use what they were taught, and are constantly in search of new ideas that they can add to their practices.  While they are not always scholarly, many are.  Many also tend to be culturally centered, but not all.


6)Discuss the origins and practices of hermetic or ceremonial magic, and how they have influenced Neopaganism. (minimum 300 words)


Hermetic traditions can be traced back to the Corpus Hermeticum, also know as  Hermetica, which is a series of discussions between Hermes and various others.  In these discussions, Hermes is taught the secrets of the universe.  The writing of this is commonly thought to date back to Pharaohic Egypt but language used in some parts is not consistent with that timeframe.  This work is of great importance because it provided a connection between the spiritual works of the newly forming Judeo-Christian religions and magic as a spiritual path.  I believe John Michael Greer says it best.

It also provided one of the most important weapons to another major rebellion of the age - the attempt to reestablish magic as a socially acceptable spiritual path in the Christian West. Another body of literature attributed to Hermes Trismegistus was made up of astrological, alchemical and magical texts. If, as the scholars of the Renaissance believed, Hermes was a historical person who had written all these things, and if Church Fathers had quoted his philosophical works with approval, and if those same works could be shown to be wholly in keeping with some definitions of Christianity, then the whole structure of magical Hermeticism could be given a second-hand legitimacy in a Christian context. (Greer)


Modern hermetic or ceremonial magic can mostly be traced back to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD).  This group has taken information that includes: Hermetic Qabalah, Astrology, Tarot, Geomancy and Alchemy, and adapted them to magic.  The group started thanks to a few freemasons, Dr. William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott, and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, in 1888. (Hermeticism)


HOGD focuses extensively on ritual to achieve a magical or divinatorial end.  It is also an initiatory group that has many ranks based on experience.  They are not truly a religious group.  As a result, they draw from many religions and cultures, including Catholicism and Judaism.   In that respect, they can be seen as rather eclectic.  A good picture of how the all the various Hermetic groups fit can be found at http://www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/bigpicture/bigpicture.htm


Modern Neo-Paganism owes much to the hermetic orders.  Much of what we do today can be traced back to them.  A major reason for this is the influence that hermetic orders on the “fathers” of the Neo-pagans.  It is known that Gerald Gardner had taken many of his original ideas from groups like the Freemasons, Golden Dawn, and Ordo Templi Orientis.  Another major name that was known to be associated with Golden Dawn is Aleister Crowley, who also was involved in the starting of the modern Neo-Pagan movement.


One thing that can be argued that comes from these groups is the idea of initiation.  Not only initiation, but the thought that there are different levels or degrees, that one can move up like a ladder.  We can see this in most of the current groups.  It’s a deep rooted tenant that in Wicca you start off as an initiate, and work your way to your third degree, which in most groups is the highest you can go.  Even in ADF we have a similar system.  All of our study programs to date are based on three circles.


The other thing that really has been entrenched in our current worship is the idea of a structured ritual.  In all of Wicca, there is a general structure to their ritual, which follows the basic outline of the rituals of the Hermetics.  ADF also falls into that same kind of structure.  Ritual is also usually the process of how one can advance in rank from one to another.


Overall, why do we use the initiatory process and all the rituals that come with it?  We do it because it works.  That is the essence of why the ceremonial magicians do what they do.  They do it because it works, and gives them the magical outcome that they desire, or the divinational experience they were looking for. (Hermetica - a history of the Western Esoteric tradition) (Hermetic Kabbalah)


7)Discuss the influence of the Pagan festival movement, and how the festivals changed Paganism in the 1980s. (minimum 100 words)


The festival movement has had a major influence on Paganism.  Prior to the first festivals, one had to search high and low to try to find a group to worship with.  Once you found that group, there was no guarantee that it would be in tune with what you actually believed.  With the advent of the festival movement it now became easier for people to find other groups.  Before festivals, you were lucky if you could go to one ritual in a month.  With festivals, we can now do multiple rituals in a day, exposing us to many flavors of Paganism.  On top of that, it has made it easier for networking, and has allowed the spreading of ideas and techniques to be done much easier. (Adler 421)


8)Discuss the influence of the Internet, and how it has changed Paganism in the 1990s (minimum 100 words)


In the years prior to the internet, information was spread mainly through newsletters and the occasional journal.  While this did work well, the spread of information was slow, as most of these publications were sent out monthly at best, and most on a very haphazard schedule depending on when there was enough information to fill the space, and the time the editor had to put it all together.  With the advent of the internet, the spread of information has become much easier.  Now most organizations have e-mail lists where they can send out information as it becomes available.  It is also now possible to have real time chats with multiple people where before it was easily done unless you all met in person.  The internet now also makes it easier to find information.  We can do web searches to find information that before we would have to network through friends and at festivals to find the same stuff.  In the end it has made it easier to find out what you wanted to know, and run larger, national organizations.  It does have the downfall though of leading to less face to face contact, and we must remember that it will never replace meeting someone in person.  You never know what you’ll find out when sharing a beer.


9)Discuss the origins of the Druidic revival in 18th and 19th century England, naming its key players and describing their contributions. (minimum 600 words)


The origins of the Druidic revival can be traced back to the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century.  The most influential person from this time frame was John Aubrey.  He was an amateur antiquarian which was the term at that time for an archeologist.  Aubrey made an archeological survey of Stonehenge and Avebury.  We now know that these sites pre-date the Druids by potentially thousands of years.  From these, he made the suggestion that they may have been used as temples for the Druids.  This was to be the foundation of the work of many since.  The book he was writing, Templa Druidium, was not published as a work of its own, but as part of a larger work, Monumenta Britannica, which while completed in the 1670’s, was never published until the 1980’s, although excerpts from his works were published in 1695, including his theories on Stonehenge. (Piggot 130) (Ellis 256) (Green 140)


In 1717, William Stuckeley got a copy of Templa Druidim, including the non-published parts, and took the idea of Stonehenge as a temple for Druids and ran with it.  In 1724 he published Itinerarium Curiosum which was the result of his tours of Britain.  In this work, he connected the burial mounds to the Druids.  We also have found that these actually date to the Neolithic and Bronze Age, not the Druids.  In 1729, Stuckeley took holy orders and became the Vicar of Stamford.  This may well explain why he spent so much time trying to connect the Druids to the Patriarchs in the Christian Bible.  Needless to say, the more he researched the Druids, the more he identified with them, and the more his sermons included Druidic lore. (Piggot 146)


In 1717, John Toland claimed to hold a meeting in which Druidic and Bardic representatives from around the British Isles appeared and formed the Universal Druidic Bond (U.D.B.).  He was then elected their leader and ceremonially installed.  The group Mother Grove, An Tich Geata Gairdeachas, claims to have come from the U.D.B.  In 1726, Toland published History of the Druids where he painted a rather poor picture of Druids. (Piggot 135) (Ellis 223) (Green 146)


The Reverend Henry Rowlands used Tacitus’ accounts and linked the Druids with the island of Mona.  In 1723, he published Mona Antiqua Resturanta.  This book promoted a theory of the Druids being descended from Noah.  He also had them using altars made with cairns and capstones of cromlechs, the roofs of passage graves.  Of course, this altar setup grew in popularity, considering before this book they were made of tree stumps or grass and dirt. (Ellis 174) (Green 147)


In 1781, Henry Hurle founded the Ancient Order of Druids (AOD).  The first members used Kings Arms in Poland St. as a meeting place.  The AOD was set up along the lines of the Freemasons, an exclusive and masculine group.  The basic tenants of the AOD were largely based on Stuckeley’s works.  This group was very much for the upper class of men.  When some lower class people were admitted, this led to a schism in the group and eventually, in 1833 a group splintered off and formed itself as a benefit society, The United Ancient Order of Druids. (Green 147) (Ellis 273)


Around this time, Edward Jones had helped recreate the Eisteddfod (literally translated into assembly) With this Edward Williams, who took the Bardic name Iolo Morgannwg,  started creating elaborate myths and rituals as part of the National Eisteddfod.  Many of the ritual aspects would be very obviously Pagan to modern Neo-Pagans, such as the phallic nature of the sheathing of the sword, but the attendees for the most part did not get it.  Unfortunately, Iolo forged manuscripts that were to prove a lineage between the ancient Druids and the 18th century.  (Green 152)


Now at the same time as all of this going on, a similar movement was happening in France.  Unfortunately, the scholarship was just as poor.  1729 brought Jean Martin, who in his book Religion des Gaulois, again made the Druids descendants of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament.  In 1805 Jacques Cambry wrote Monumens Celtiques where he described the megaliths as Druidic, and associated with astronomy.  In the 1860’s there was someone that took the idea of the Druids being descendants of Christians.  Vrain Lucas fabricated letters of ancient Gaulish nobles, the craziest of which was from Lazarus to St. Peter, which alluded to the Druids. (Green 148)


In the late 1700’s and the 1800’s, there were many books written with references to Druids.  William Blake referred to them often in his Prophetic Books.  Blake saw them as priests, law-givers, and philosophers.  He went beyond that though and like all his contemporaries, connected them again to the Biblical patriarchs.  Blake also identified as a Druid. (Green 147)


Overall, in the 18th and 19th centuries there was a lot of poor scholarship that led to more poor scholarship.  The men of that age also took a lot of effort to connect the Druids to their world view where the Bible was their history.  Thankfully, we have gone past this and have better, but not perfect scholarship and have moved on.


10)Discuss the origins of the RDNA, and the influence of Isaac Bonewits, and the founding of ADF. (minimum 600 words)


The Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) was founded as a protest group at Carlton College, in Northfield MN, in 1963.  What they were protesting was the requirement of the college that everybody attend a certain number of religious services or meetings throughout the semesters.  One way of fulfilling this requirement was to attend services of your own religion.  So, this group of students, as Mike the Fool says in the unofficial FAQ, “protested by making a bizarre group and attending it regularly.”  This protest worked so well that Carlton College removed that requirement the following year.  Much to the surprise of the founders, the group continued strong even without the requirement of religious services or meetings. 


The basic tenants of the RDNA were rather long winded, and often boiled down to “Nature is good” and “Likewise, nature is good.”  In essence they were honoring the Earth Mother in a Celtic fashion.  As people graduated from Carlton, the RDNA spread where the graduates moved to.  Robert Larson moved to Berkley and that is where Isaac Bonewits first ran into the RDNA.


Robert Larson probably had no idea what he was getting himself into when he started a grove in Berkley.  Many of the members of the grove were Neo-Pagan in orientation, and under the antagonism of Isaac, that grove started to overlap with the Neo-Pagan movement.  As you can see by the tenants of the RDNA, it’s rather easy for it to become Neo-Pagan.  The groups that have become Neo-Pagan have since called themselves NRDNA.


Currently, there are only a handful of groves around.  Throughout their history, various cultures and religions have been used in the RDNA.  These have included: the Indo-European cultures we use in ADF, Wicca, Zen, Hasidic, and the monotheistic religions too.


Well, this group apparently had influence on Isaac and the rest of his life.  At the time, Isaac was a budding Neo-Pagan.  He was working on his BS in Magic at Berkley when he ran into RDNA.  Through his being Isaac, the grove there turned Neo-Pagan and was the first Druid group he worshiped with.


Eventually, Isaac graduated and Berkley stopped allowing metaphysical self study programs.  Isaac went out into the real world and whereever he went, he set up some kind of Neo-Pagan group.  These included: a grove called Schismatic Druids of North America, another one of the Hasidic Druids of North America, and eventually, ended up back in Berkley and the NRDNA grove he was with there where he was elected Archdruid.  While back there, he aided in establishing the Druid Chronicler as a national Druid publication.  Finally, in 1983 Isaac met Shenain Bell and actually discussed the starting of a Druid organization.


In 1983, Isaac sent out his open letter to the general Neo-Pagan community.  In this letter he stated his credentials, what kind of research was then available, and his long term vision, “I see Druids as being artists and intellectuals, magicians and clergy, holders of the highest wisdom their cultures (or subcultures) have to offer. This is what they used to be, and what they could be again.”  From there, he then announced that he was forming ADF in that vision.  His original plan was to work ten to twenty hours a week, with help from donations, to build this religion.  Those who donated above a certain threshold would get the irregularly published newsletter, and to support him in doing the research.


Well, to everyone’s surprise, he got a good response.  The book he was looking to write based on that research took a bit longer than the 5 to 10 years he expected (26 years to be exact), and the group has grown by leaps and bounds.  Who would have thought that a Druid group that was created as a protest to having to attend religious services would still be in existence forty years later, and that asplinter group from the RDNA would be where ADF is today? (Bonewits, A Brief Biography of Isaac Bonewits) (Bonewits, The Origins of Ár nDraíocht Féin)


11)Describe the groups that have split off from ADF, their history and work. (minimum 600 words)


Over the twenty plus years that ADF has been around, there have been a few individuals, or groups of individuals that felt that ADF was going the wrong direction or had interpersonal issues with the leadership leading them to leave and start their own groups.  What follows is a brief look at a few of the groups that branched off from ADF, or were affected by ADF.


The Henge of Keltria is one such group.  In 1986, five people at Pagan Spirit Gathering taped a list, numbered one through twelve and ninety five, of concerns about ADF on to Isaac’s van’s door.  Throughout the following year, many of the concerns were addressed, but not to the satisfaction of those who posted the list.  One thing that irked them was the cultural focus of ADF.  According to these five, ADF included many people that had similar customs, but didn’t have a priestly class referred to as Druids.  The Druids were a purely Celtic phenomenon and hence that is Keltria’s cultural focus.  A second irk was that ADF required public ritual, while they felt that worship should be a more private, intimate affair.  They also were concerned that at that time ADF didn’t have much magic or mysticism.  So, they went off and created The Henge of Keltria.  From what I can tell of them from their web site, they appear to be very similar to ADF, but are more culturally focused than we are.  Unfortunately, to get at any of their materials besides their FAQ, you have to be a paying member. (I. Bonewits, The Origins of the Henge of Keltria)


In 2006, Fellowship of Druidism for the Latter Age (FoDLA) was formed by Todd Covert.  From my understanding, there were personal conflicts between him and others in ADF and the leadership, which lead him to leave and form FoDLA.  From reading over their web site, http://www.fodla.org , it appears like the vast majority of their work is extremely similar to that of ADF.  A couple of changes appear to be the emphasis on making rituals easier for the average American to understand, i.e. no extensive use of Gaelic, the lack of a well and tree to recreate the cosmos, and no omens during the ritual.  FoDLA does have a study program.  To enter it you need to be interviewed, apply, be interviewed again, pay a fee, and then begin the study program.  This includes basic Druidic history, liturgical and ritual work, mental health evaluation, recommendations, exit interview and further remedial training.  In the end you go through an ordination.  As this is a very new group, it is tough to say how they will develop, but they do have roots in ADF. (FoDLA: Fellowship of Druidism for the Latter Age)


Another group that has been influenced by ADF is Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids (CTOD).  CTOD was founded in 1986, but after some internal power struggles, their Mother Grove dissolved.  One of the principal founders was then talked into joining ADF by Isaac.  While she liked ADF, there was always that pull to get CTOD functional again.  They do have a study program that promotes a well rounded education in the areas of health, hearth, history, creativity, compassion, communication, magic, musecraft, and management.  Unfortunately, with searching throughout the internet, at this moment I have been unable to find much more information on them than what is on Isaac’s web page. (Bonewits, The Origins of the Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids)


Overall, these groups share many of the same features of ADF.  From all that I can find on them, the ritual structures are similar.  They all promote scholarship to various degrees, and most have a study program of some kind.  In general, the cultural focus is more Celtic centered where as ADF includes many more cultures. 




Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon. New York: Penguin Classics, 1986.

Bonewits, Isaac. A Brief Biography of Isaac Bonewits. <http://www.neopagan.net/IB_Bio.html&gt;.

—. The Origins of Ár nDraíocht Féin. <http://www.neopagan.net/OriginsADF.html&gt;.

—. The Origins of the Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids. <http://www.neopagan.net/OriginsCTOD.html&gt;.

—. The Origins of the Henge of Keltria. <http://www.neopagan.net/OriginsKeltria.html&gt;.

—. Witchcraft: A Concise Guide. Earth Religions Press, 2001.

Dion Fortune. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dion_Fortune&gt;.

Du, Garen. Interview.

Ellis, Peter Berresford. The Druids. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1994.

FoDLA: Fellowship of Druidism for the Latter Age. <http://www.fodla.org/&gt;.

Green, Miranda J. The World of the Druids. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Greer, John Michael. An Introduction to the Corpus Hermeticum. <http://www.hermetic.com/texts/hermetica/h-intro.html&gt;.

Haughton, Brian. Dion Fortune - In the Golden Dawn Tradition. <http://www.mysteriouspeople.com/Dion_Fortune.htm&gt;.

Hermetic Kabbalah. <http://www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/bigpicture/bigpicture.htm >.

Hermetica - a history of the Western Esoteric tradition. <http://www.kheper.net/topics/Hermeticism/&gt;.

Hermeticism. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermeticism >.

Knowles, George. Dion Fortune. <http://www.controverscial.com/Dion%20Fortune.htm&gt;.

Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. <http://www.caw.org/clergy/oberon/&gt;.

Pendderwen Gwydion. <http://psychevanhetfolk.homestead.com/Gwydion.html&gt;.

Piggot, Stuart. The Druids. London: Thames and Hudson, 1975.

Starhawk: Bio and Bibliography. <http://www.starhawk.org/starhawk/bio.html&gt;.

The Golden Bough. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Golden_Bough&gt;.




Garan Du’s short biography that was provided to me:

Michael Lloyd, aka "Garan du" (b. 1958).  A founding member of The Green Faerie Grove of Columbus, Ohio, a 3° High Priest in the Minoan Brotherhood (an initiatory mystery tradition of Witchcraft primarily devoted to serving the needs of gay and bi men) and leader of the Columbus Grove of the Minoan Brotherhood (Temenos Iakkhos). He is a founder and co-facilitator of the Between the Worlds Men's Gathering, and a coordinator of Rainbow Center at Circle Sanctuary's annual Pagan Spirit Gathering.  He is a writer on topics associated with Paganism and queer spirituality.  His work has appeared in Circle Magazine, Outlook Magazine, The Witches Voice, and Lady Rhea's book "Enchanted Formulary"

(Citadel, 2006). He is currently working on the biography of the founder of the Minoan Tradition, and he was interviewed on the subject of queer spirituality in the 2006 revision to Margot Adler's classic book "Drawing Down the Moon."  Mr. Lloyd is a chemical engineer, and in the past has served on the organic certification committee for the state of Ohio, co-produced a GLBT public affairs program on community radio in Cincinnati, served in Columbus city government on an area commission, and sat on the board of a queer youth services group in Columbus.