An email from a Druid

9:45 pm | NeoPaganism

The following is an email I recieved recently from a druid-pagan:


I have been reading some of the articles posted on your site, and I see a common thread that I would like to clear up. I am a pagan, of the druid variety, and while you seem to have an accepting social veiw of most pagans, I do not harbor any illusion you will compleltely accept my beliefs, as I cannot completelt accept your christain beliefs, for the sake of clarification, I hope we can get past that to discuss the issue I have found. I am a very open minded person, and I have had many good conversations with christians in the past.

The articles seem to focus on mostly wiccan pagans, which I feel have many flaws in their theology, but I must speak up when it seems that the authors of the articles group all paganism into the same mold as wicca. The most common thread I have the authors to state is that wiccans (and most pagans) have no sense of sin, and feel that they are not held accountable for their actions. Michael, this is simply not true. It’s not just a matter of ‘esoteric karma; in my belief structure, I am absolutly accountable for any action I made, whether it’s as minor as teeling a seemingly harmless lie, more destructive such as cheating on my husband, or grave such as commiting murder. Now, I do know that the ‘trendy’ wiccans have a veiw that they can do ‘what thou will, so long as it harms none’, but what may seem harmless to one, is certainly harmful to another. Most non-wiccan pagans I associate with live very moral lives. It seems to be the opinion, and perhaps in the wiccan community it is fact, of the christian authors that pagans not only fling all thought of morality and responsibility to the wind, but that we revel in a dionysis type of lifestyle. Perhaps this is true for some, although I think those people who do so whether they were pagan or not.

another common thread I find is that many of the authors, probably through personal experience with the sort of pagans I do not respect myself, believe we ‘revel in power over nature and man’. I personally have never cast a single spell in my life, and never plan to. Nor do I power as a lure for my belief. I do know some pagans like this, and I find them very distasteful. In fact, I have lost some friendships because these women were so power hungry, they would try to dominate me. Many pagans simply find that the interpretation of God and/or the Goddess makes more sense to them in a structure based on the principles of natures, the harvest cycles, and humankind’s own interpretation of faith. What I mean by our own interpretation of faith, is we feel that our relationship with the divine, in whatever form, is better left to our own experience with It, then dictated through a clergy or written word. furthermore, you will find that outside of the wiccan belief, most pagans (mostly of the druid and odinist variey) feel it is in fact an affront to our dieties to presume we can have any control over nature, and therefor you will never find us performing spells to better our love, possesions, wealth, or lifestyle. These are areas of life which are the result of hard work, preserverance, and perhaps fate. As you would say, these are the things that are ‘as God wills’. the pagan faith is not something to like a prize, it is simply a way of interpreting the divine.

One more thing….I do understand and have experienced the wiccan way of ignoring, if not denying, the history of pre-christian and pre-roman ways of sacrifice. In the days of the druids of europe and britian, there was a practice of sacrificing a ‘year king’, a male who was revered for an entire year as ‘king’, and then sacrificed to the Gods to promote the health of that year’s harvest. In those days, people actually believed the dieties demaned human life for the crops, although now we know it is determined by more scientific factors, such as climate, precipitation, ect. Most wiccans would deny this because they want to believe that not only is their religion the ‘first’ religion, (which you and I know is just not close to truth), but that the pagan peoples in those days were as ‘positive energy and white magic inclined’ as wiccans are today. Now, I am sure you are aware of past christian atrocities such as the crusades and the spanish inquisition, and we both know that today christians would not even consider such an act. I think to focus on these issues as ‘pagans blinding themselves to their true past’ is innacurate. most (again, non wiccan) pagans are fully aware of what our ancient ancestors believed to be ‘normal practice’, and both paganism and christianity have moved past those darker days in our faiths, and are now focusing on trying to bring about a sense of, if not untiy, peace among all people on the planet.

If your interaction with pagans is mostly of the wiccans, then I would encourage you educate yourself about the modern druid and odinist movements, and I think you will find an entirely different brand of paganism altogether. To give you an idea of my lifestyle, I have been a druid-pagan since I was 15, and I am now almost 29. I am happily married, and devoutly faithful to my husband. My concerns in life are preserving the enviroment, and preventing cruelty to animals. I thank you for taking the time to read my mail, and while you and I are on two completely different paths, I am hopefull for the future that all of us can co-exist on this planet resepctfully, and each secure in our own faiths.

Many blessing to you and yours.

My response:

Hello there,

It is good to hear from you :) Really, it is. The past two weeks of my life have been hectic, and all I did was take a short vacation and attend a Christian music festival! I’m sure you aren’t interested in the complexities and squabbles within the Evangelical Christian community - but it is worth noting that even people who have a lot in common still find much to disagree about.

There are legitimate reasons to disagree, of course. It would be foolish to think that the important things in life are not important enough to stand up for, because they are. Tolerance presupposes, for instance, that parties do not agree, but that all sides have a right to speak even when others may believe them to be wrong. Sadly, all people are given to the danger of exaggerating the wrongness of people we disagree with, even seeing them as enemies, as evil people, and even as incorrigible. People begin to see speech itself as intolerant, as people go from being able to listen to each other as civilized people should, to shouting each other down as barbarians. Polarization, division, demonizing, and much greater evil tend to be the result. Trying to break through the walls and barriers people put up is not easy, but it is necessary for people who will live as peacemakers.

As far as the articles I have referenced, it is painfully obvious that they aren’t perfect. At best they are only sketches that can’t possibly hope to capture the diversity of practice by modern pagans. To date I have found nothing by Christians documenting the practice of modern druids, for instance, and though most of the Christians working in this area are aware of it, there is very little on various pagan reconstructionist movements beyond a few blog entries here and there. The only way to know it in many cases is to interact with those who practice it. In the past, I’ve been active on The Fluid Druid’s Project X-13 forum where I was welcome as a guest. I also read Isaac Bonewits’ blog regularly and have read many of the articles on his website. In fact, just today I received a signed copy of his latest book, Bonewits’s Essential Guide to Druidism. So, I guess to answer your concern, I am aware that many pagans believe in certain varieties of karma, are not necessarily practitioners for the power over nature or man, and that many pagans have come to accept that history is not as cut and dry as we would like it to be.

Likewise, while there are pagans who are licentious (’do what thou wilt’) by no means do I believe that this characterizes all pagans. Some pagan practitioners are on power trips, to be sure, and for folks who have been on the brunt end of abusive religious practices I do not want to deny them their experience and their need to heal from that. But again, it would be unfair to characterize the whole by the abuses of some.

I think for pagans, the work of Christian apologists will be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it will help clear up many of the stereotypes and misunderstandings that exist within the Christian community about pagans. As more material is disseminated, Christians will get out of the mindset that pagans are Satanists, or are evil. I also hope that Christians in general will have a better understanding of esoterism so that they won’t be so easily spooked when they encounter things outside of their normal experience. On the other hand, pagans could find themselves challenged with more difficult and compelling reasons for Christianity than they have been accustomed to in the past. I do not make any apology for the fact that I believe Christianity to be exclusively true, and that my heart longs to see pagans come to a full knowledge of Jesus Christ. I know many pagans have had less than favorable experiences with Christians, but being Christian my whole life, I have had many less than favorable experiences with Christians as well. Christians aren’t perfect, and too often we are willing to settle for a form of Christianity that is so much less than what it is meant to be. I am working within my own church to change this.

You should also know that the work of Christian apologists is directed towards more than concerns just paganism. One of the ongoing tasks we have is to confront and expose those who abuse people and soil the reputation of Christ for their own ends. I am sure that you are aware, for instance, of the many televangelists who, in the name of Jesus Christ, con many tens of thousands of people into sending them their money every year. Ministries such as the Trinity Foundation in Dallas sacrificially give countless untold hours to the difficult task of investigating these charlatans and exposing the damage they do. Christian apologists such as myself also work actively to warn people about the danger of spiritually abusive churches - churches where an undue and un-Christian amount of control is exercised upon the congregation, and where questioning leadership can put your eternal future in jeopardy. This does not make us popular people, as I’m sure you can imagine. But for me there is an unparalleled joy in helping someone escape, recover, and heal from spiritually traumatic experiences. I would not trade that for the world.

So, please understand that people like me do not do the work that we do simply to be spiritual bullies that push everyone else around, but because we genuinely are working toward a greater good on this earth and in this life, not just in the one to come. We don’t do it just because our clergy says so or because it is written in a sacred book somewhere, but because we know that Jesus Christ crossed through space and time and broke into our reality, risking everything and even giving His life to thoroughly transform this world. It is not some dusty old book that I serve, but a living God… sometimes I wish more pagans could see that. sigh… I hope you understand what I’m trying say… I’m not trying to preach to you here; I have more respect for you than to assume that you need preaching to.

In any case, I’m looking forward to hearing from you again soon :)



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Evangelical Resources » A Question from a Druid about Christians and the Environment

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[…] I recently received this follow-up email, as the druid I have been dialoguing with expressed her concerns about Christians’ views on the environment: Hello! […]


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