A Beginner’s Guide to Druidry and Becoming a Druid

Seemingly more now than ever before, people are seeking ways to reconnect with the living earth, with their creative gifts, and with their ancient ancestors. They are looking to deepen their understanding of themselves and the world around them.  Through these practices, they hope to develop a more holistic and integrated life. People are witnessing ecological changes, seeing the lack of balance in our lives, and are thus, looking to return to the earth’s embrace for healing, nourishment, and change. While there has always been an interest in the druid tradition, we’ve seen enormous growth in the tradition in 2020 and beyond–and today, druidry is alive, and vibrant, and continues to attract many new people  As the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, the numbers are telling: we’ve almost doubled our number of members in three years and show now signs of slowing down. There’s so much interest that I am getting multiple inquiries each week on how to start down the druid path. People are intrigued by the idea, but there’s a plethora of different materials and paths out there. So in today’s post, I wanted to compile a beginner’s guide to druidry, organized like a FAQ. The goal of this guide is to provide some insights for people who want to get started in druidry to understand some core information about druidry, how to be a druid, and some steps to get started.  I will continue to update this guide as people ask me new questions and as new information develops.

Thus, this guide offers insights on the following questions:

  • What is the druid tradition and where did it come from?
  • What different divisions or philosophies exist in modern druidry?
  • What do druids believe?
  • Can I combine druidry with other traditions?
  • What are the basic paths of druidry?
  • What are some practices for me to get started?
  • What are the major holidays in the tradition?
  • Should I join a druid order?
  • Can I call myself a druid?
  • How do I find and join communities of druids?
  • Will I be accepted and welcomed in the druid community?
  • What are pitfalls or things I should avoid?
  • What if I want to be solitary?
  • What books and resources do you recommend?

I am compiling this guide with my own experiences in being in this tradition for 18+ years, including in being in a leadership capacity for 10+ years, my experiences in helping and mentoring many new druids on their path, being involved in a variety of in-person and online-communities, being part of and leading druid groves, and in teaching and writing about this tradition. Thus, I will share this guide with a caveat: modern druids value each individual’s path and respect the right and privilege of each person to find their own path within this tradition. Thus, as the saying goes, if you ask 5 different druids about druidry, you will get 10 different answers (which can be very confusing to new people). There is no one right way to practice–individuals and their own choices are honored and this diversity is celebrated. Thus, there are no true authorities on druidry or the druid path, and I would be very skeptical of someone who claimed to be speaking in a way that claims such authority.  To make my own position clear: I’m the head of a druid order, the Ancient Order of Druids in America.  I hold this role because I am an advanced practitioner in that tradition and I’ve been practicing AODA druidry for almost half of my life.  Even so, allows me only to speak about how the AODA teaches druidry. I can speak for what I’ve observed and for my own practices, but this role does not give me (or anyone else) the right to speak for all druids.  I want to stress this because this respect for personal beliefs, forging of a personal path, and individualized experience is at the heart of the druid tradition.  So with those caveats, let’s get started!

Foundations of the Tradition: History, Different Philosophies, and Beliefs

I want to start with the foundations of the tradition and some core philosophies. If you want to jump right into how to practice as a druid, skip this section and move right into the practices of druidry.

What is the druid tradition and where did it come from?

The Awen, representing among many things in the druid tradition, the three paths of the tradition
The Awen, representing among many things in the druid tradition, the three paths of the tradition

Druidry today has both ancient and modern roots. Understanding where druidry comes from helps a new person navigate the complexities of the tradition. The modern druid tradition is inspired by the Ancient Druids, wise sages who kept history, and traditions, and guided the spiritual life of their people. The ancient Druids had three branches of study: the bard (a keeper of history, stories, and songs), the ovate (a sage of nature or shaman), and the druid (the keeper of the traditions, leader of spiritual practices, and keeper of the law).  The Ancient Druids were found throughout what is now the modern British Isles and Western Europe, specifically the areas of Ireland, Scotland, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and also parts of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Northern Italy.  The druid tradition is a colonized tradition that was fully eradicated by the Romans and later, Christianization.  Most of Western Europe’s druids were destroyed under the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius in 42BCE – 37CE. Druids lasted longer in the British Isles, but were eventually subsumed by Christianity. Much of what we know about the Ancient Druids today comes through their surviving legends, stories, mythology, and the writings of Roman authors: the druids themselves had a prohibition against writing anything down that was sacred, and so, we have only fragments.

The centuries passed and the Ancient Druids became but a memory, one of many ancient pagan peoples destroyed and suppressed. But the spirit of the ancients could not be suppressed forever. In the period between 1700 and 1800, radical changes were happening in the British Isles, in the US, and across much of the Western world. The rise of industrialization shifted many relationships between humans and the land. Farmers and peasants who had lived, sustained, and tended the land for countless generations were driven from their homes to work in factories. The spiritual ancestors of the modern druid movement, those associated with what we now call the “Druid Revival” watched this scene unfolding: the land stripped of her resources for industrialization and progress; the growing emphasis on produced goods over communities; the rampant pollution and exploitation industrialization was creating; the relegating of humans, animals, and the land to a resource for extraction, a machine. The ideas of infinite growth and the myth of progress were quickly replacing older beliefs spanning into antiquity about the importance of balance and nurturing the land. It was during this time that those who founded the druid tradition reached deeply–and creatively–into their history of the ancient druids, to a time when humans and nature were more connected.  And thus, the seeds of the modern druid tradition were planted.

Industrialization has always come at a higher cost than benefit–it continues to cause considerable pain to our earth and our human communities—and certainly, each community and person experiences this in extreme ways. It is in this seeking of reconnection to nature that we can see how for two and a half centuries, modern druidry is a human spiritual response to the larger wheels of industrialization that have been thrust upon us in the Western world. The ecological crisis is a spiritual crisis as much as it is a crisis of culture. Druidry is us finding our way “home”; back into a deep connection with the living earth.  Many people today are drawn to the druid tradition there is “something” missing for them and it is that connection to nature.

What different divisions or philosophies exist in modern druidry?

Understanding this history is important to navigate the different philosophies and groups of the modern druid tradition. One of the things that modern druids often do not “get” is that different druids and different orders value different things.  Understanding the root of those values–which is rooted in the history I shared above–helps you get a sense of the options within the tradition.  Often, these divisions are something that are not immediately obvious, and a new practitioner may end up joining a druid order or reading a book that is not compatible with who they are.  Thus, today’s druids can be separated largely into two groups or denominations:

  • The Druid Revival: These are modern druid groups and philosophies that are still inspired by the druid revival and the seeds planted by the modern druids in the 1700-1900’s.  Many modern druid orders and practices have sprung from this wellspring of the tradition, fully acknowledging that our practices are inspired by the ancient druids but may not be fully accurate to them.  Because of this, one of the benefits of this path is that we are really in the process of creating a 21st-century druidry that is unique and inspired by our modern and ancient ancestors. Generally, druid practices and orders in the Druid Revival are a lot less dogmatic and more open to evolving druidries, and you will find a tremendous diversity in these traditions as well as blending with existing other faiths. Druid orders in this lineage include the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and the Reformed Druids of North America.  The term “druidry” is mostly used by this tradition.
  • Celtic Reconstructionism:  Much of what was written and practiced in the early forms of the Druid Revival turned out to be not historically accurate.  In the 1970’s, some druid groups and individuals took great interest in reconstructing the ancient belief systems of the druids and seeing if they could create a more accurate religious tradition. Thus, individuals and orders in this vein of druidry are focused much more on recreating ancient belief practices and thus, most are polytheists, have much more set rituals and beliefs, and are concerned with historical accuracy.  Ancestor and deity worship are cornerstones of this approach, so it is required that you be a polytheist to practice this path.  Druid orders in this lineage include Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) and the Green Mountain Druid Order. The term “druidism” is mostly used by this tradition, although there is some variation.

The questions that a new druid may want to ask about these approaches are: A) What do I value; B) What do I believe? and C) What set of practices do I want to have in my druidry? I want to start by saying this is not an either-or thing.  You can blend aspects of both of these traditions.  However, if you want to practice a tradition that roots itself deeply in the wisdom of the ancients, you are or want to be a polytheist and work with deities, and you want to learn how to connect with deities and spirits the way ancient ancestors in Western Europe and the British Isles did, then it is likely that Celtic Reconstructivism may be appealing to you.  If you want a more fluid, free approach that allows you to design your own druidry, explore the creative inspiration of awen, combine different approaches, explore a variety of metaphysical and nature-based practices, and–most especially–deeply work with your own personal gnosis, then practices within the druid revival may be more appealing.

In the end, many druids may lean in one direction or another, but many of us do find value in both approaches.  I do think there was a time when there was a lot of tension between these two approaches (especially with older generations of druids). I would say in the last 10 or so years, a lot of bridges have been being built between the different groups and I don’t see these issues as pressing as they used to be. We are a small community and there is great value in both perspectives.

What do druids believe?

AODA Principles – the Values of the AODA emphasizing personal spiritual expression at the center of our work.

This is a core question that many people ask–in fact, it is often the first question people ask me when they find out I’m a druid.  I always have to laugh, because, to me, this isn’t the most important question–the most important question is what do druids do? There is a preoccupation in modern religions about beliefs.  It is less useful in druidry than you might think reasons that will become apparent in other parts of this guide, but I’ll still answer the question.

As I said above, most druids value the diversity of beliefs and honor the many different belief systems that may be present in our tradition. There are no set beliefs for things like a deity, the afterlife, or other questions that most religions preoccupy themselves with–rather, this is up to individual druids. You will find people who have any of the following beliefs: animist druids (like myself) who focus on our interaction with the spirits of nature; polytheist druids who focus on working closely with one or more deities, often in a pantheon; monotheist druids who blend traditions with other belief systems like Christianity; atheist or agnostic druids who emphasize druidry as a life path and focus on connecting with nature; pantheists or gnostics who recognize that all are one and everything is connected; people who aren’t sure or are questioning; and everything in between.  Belief is not something that unifies druidry and we respect the diversity of people’s beliefs.

With all of this said, there are certainly some beliefs shared by the majority of druids.  The most important belief is this: Nature is good.  Nature is sacred and should be revered, honored, protected, and connected with.  The majority of druids, in line with this belief, would also agree that shifting from an anthropocentric to a biocentric view of the world is a good thing and that we should treat nature with respect and reverence. Many druids may also express animist leanings about the world (in the sense that the world is enchanted and full of spirits). Beyond that, it depends on the individual, the order, and the group.  I’ve outlined many of my core philosophies about druidry on this blog, including the emphasis on connection, and the need for reverence, respect, and the need to respect the sovereignty of all beings.

Can I combine druidry with other traditions?

In the druid revival side of things, absolutely. There’s a bit less room for that if you are on the Celtic Reconstructivism side of things, depending on the specific set of practices or what you believe as these are generally rooted in polytheism (e.g. you won’t find atheist druids in CR but you will find them in the Druid Revival strands).   So it is very common in the druid revival strands to find people combining traditions: perhaps you have a birth religion or a set of existing practices and want to use druidry to add an element related to nature and the sacredness of nature.  Or you want to use druidry to add a nature-based focus or fill in beliefs that have been lost in your tradition (a number of people who practice indigenous traditions have used druidry in this way).

Practices of Modern Druidry

So now that we have the history, divisions, and beliefs covered, we can get into the heart of the druid tradition–what we do, what we practice, and how that connects to our everyday life as druids–how we live druidry every day. These are some of the most common practices and questions that people have, and so I’ll do my best to answer these here.

What are the basic paths of druidry?

One of the most helpful ways to think about druidry is to understand it is a three-fold path, and many things evolve from the connection, intersection, and exploration of practices within the realm of the Bard, the Ovate, and the Druid. This is one of the core aspects that have survived from the Ancient Druids, and these practices play a major role in the modern tradition.  Like anything else in druidry, there are different interpretations of the three paths, but as a general principle, here are the areas that are covered:

  • Path of the Ovate: The path of the Ovate focuses on building connections, knowledge, and interactions with the living earth and all the natural world.  The details may differ based on order or individual, but these practices and knowledge can include: learning about nature through the study of mycology, botany, astronomy, geology, and so forth. This path also often includes human uses and interaction with nature such as wild food foraging, herbalism, bushcraft, or ancestral/earth skills.  This path also includes humans’ interaction with and regeneration of the living earth, such as through land healing, gardening, rewilding, and permaculture. Finally, the interaction with the spirits of nature or metaphysical aspects of nature may also be included in this path, such as plant spirit communication, magical herbalism, or nature-focused rituals (intersecting with the path of the druid).
  • Path of the Druid: The second path of druidry is that of the druid, which includes all things metaphysical and focused on bridging the inner and outer worlds and the mysteries of the spirit.  This may include rituals and various kinds of magical work or energy work. It almost always includes a commitment to both daily practices and daily meditation.  It may also include studies of the great questions in the universe, and various occult disciplines like astrology, divination, ceremonial magic, magical tool creation, and much more. Finally, leaning into the ancient druid’s role in society, it may also include things like peacemaking and leadership.
  • Path of the Bard:  The final path is that of the bard, the ancient storytellers, historians, and entertainers.  We draw upon these ancient inspirations to situate the bardic arts as those tied to all creative practices: performance (dance, singing, music), literary (poetry, fiction writing, non-fiction); craft (blacksmithing, leatherwork, woodwork), and visual (drawing, painting, sculpture, etc.)  Central to this path is the emphasis on channeling the Awen, or divine inspiration, a Welsh term that means “divine” or “flowing inspiration” or connecting to the sacred flow of creativity.

Some new druids are very excited to jump into all three of these paths, while others find themselves immediately drawn to only one path.  Like anything else, this is your choice.  These three paths give you so many avenues to explore that it can often be overwhelming for someone new to the path.  Part of the reason that I advocate joining a druid order (see below, under “communities”) is that orders can provide structure, mentoring, and sophisticated ways of engaging in all three paths over time.  I will also be providing two upcoming in-depth posts on the basic divisions in the druid tradition, so stay tuned.

What are some practices for me to get started?

How do you start walking the path of druidry? As you might have guessed, there are a million ways to get started, but here are some recommendations:

Get outside in nature, a lot. When someone asks me how to be a druid, the first thing I tell them is to go outside. A  lot. The best way to be a druid is to simply have as much time as possible in nature. Druidry is first and foremost a path of nature spirituality and the Ovate path is one that we all share as druids. If you spend enough time in nature, in a way that allows you to work directly with the living earth (and say, not with a phone in your hand or earbuds drowning out the living earth), you will be a druid. I would also say that there are different ways we get outside, and one of the best ways is to create quiet time in nature.  If you are always outside trying to hike 30 miles with a group of 10 friends, you aren’t going to be open to the kinds of messages and experiences you might be when all you’ve decided to do is sit on a rock for 30 min and take in the world around you.  Find your connection to nature in your everyday life, even if it is just the dandelion growing up through the sidewalk in your city. Remember, nature is good.

Establish a regular spiritual practice: Work to establish some regular practice to start to create a foundation for your druid practices.  This is where being in a druid order helps–we have various practices (daily, weekly) that can help root you into your own explorations of druidry.  At a minimum, this could include some daily protective work, regular time in nature, regular space for meditation, and regular explorations of your own creative practices.  See this post for much more about how to establish daily rituals, a regular gratitude practice, and daily personal spiritual practices.

Practice meditation, including meditation in nature. Working your way up to a regular meditation practice is the foundation of many other practices on all three of the paths of druidry.  It is critical for modern people living in the 21st century, who are bombarded with sounds, ideas, and voices from screens constantly and have been socialized to have very short attention spans. A combination of different meditation techniques can be very helpful when you are starting. You can practice walking meditation, engage in various meditations that involve movement like even weeding your garden, or also more empty mind or focus meditations.  They don’t have to be stuffy and they don’t have to look like you think or what you’ve seen on TV. This is druidry, and the practices are adaptable to your needs and who you are.  Here are a few ideas to get started with druid-style meditations: Druid’s meditation primer and the Druid’s Anchor spot.

One interpretation of the wheel of the year
One interpretation of the Wheel of the Year shows the changes in the landscape and activities in a temperate ecosystem

Create time to explore the path. An unstructured approach can be very helpful to simply explore being a druid.  Make time to read books, visit druid groups, and maybe even attend a ritual or gathering.  Make time to explore your own creative path and take up a bardic art.  Make time to simply be present with yourself and develop an inner life.  Make time to be outside and see how the land changes from day to day.

Focus on living an earth-honoring life. This is a big one, and something that all druids strive to do to avoid what I call the druid’s paradox.  As you get deeper into being connected with nature, you quickly realize what a difficult thing it is to live human civilization that is destroying the planet–quickly–and involuntarily depend on that system for your needs and be trapped in that system, while also honoring and working with the living earth. Thus, most druids make it a point to live as earth-centered as possible and reduce our footprint and negative impact on the world.  A lot of my writing and publishing has focused on addressing this issue–you can see my book Sacred Actions for many ways to get started :).

Write things down. Document your experiences in your new path–what are you learning? how are you growing?  You can take up a journaling practice as part of this work and continue to document what you are learning.  This is a powerful tool to help you deepen your understanding and also see your change over time.

What are the major holidays in the tradition?

Nearly all of us recognize, at minimum, the winter and summer solstice and fall and sprint equinox as core druid holidays.  The majority of druids also practice the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, which includes an eight-fold set of holidays, and of course, we have our own names for those eight-fold holidays and our own unique ways of celebrating them. Thus, a great way to get started is to see what the upcoming holiday is, read a bit about it, and do something to celebrate it.  You can also see if you can find anyone local to celebrate it. Starting to celebrate the turning wheel of the seasons is a great way to start to dip your toe into the ocean of druidry. Here is a basic introduction to the druid wheel of the year; I’ve also been working on interpreting this wheel of the year into a more 21st-century set of themes that can help us with climate change.

Communities of Modern Druidry

While each of us walks an individual path, it is also very useful when you are starting out to connect with like-minded others.  This is really important because you are likely to have a range of questions to ask and experiences to process and being with others can really help.  However, I will start by saying that many druids start out alone on their path, and they may be the only druids they know.  If you live in an urban area or in certain parts of the world (like the UK) there may be many druids around.  But if you live in a rural area or in certain other areas in the world, you might be the only druid for 100 miles.  Thus, it is important to know what kinds of communities exist that can support you–both in person and online.

Should I join a druid order?

Druid orders are how many of us connect and get to know each other.  Druid orders are typically organized groups of people who offer community spaces, events, clergy training programs, and a structured curriculum that can help people progress on the path of druidry. I highly recommend that you join a druid order as orders can provide a solid structure and foundation for you to begin, mentoring, community, and a safe space for you to learn and grow.  Most druid orders have been around for decades, and they have figured out how to teach people about druidry in structured ways more so than you would get by being on your own.  When I got started in druidry, I spent about a year by myself and then joined AODA (and a few years later, OBOD). Joining these two orders was one of the best decisions I could have made and allowed me to explore the tradition and probably grow much more than I could have on my own.  I actually joined four druid orders, but remainder a member only of two of them after realizing that some of the practices of the other two orders did not fit my own philosophy and worldview.

So before you jump into joining a druid order, I suggest you take a look at some of the most prevalent druid orders–I have a list of some of them below.  Read their websites, look at their curriculum, and see how they talk about druidry and the things they value.  See how they are structured (e.g. are they non-profit, etc).  Different druid orders give some pretty radically different experiences and will emphasize different things.  In time, many of those who are very committed to druidry end up in multiple druid orders because we see the value in studying multiple traditions.  There is no problem with this–many of the orders’ practices blend beautifully together.   I don’t suggest you start with multiple orders–just find one that speaks to you join that order and work with their teachings and practices for a while.

Most of us end up finding a set of core practices that evolve over time.  Some of those may be deeply rooted in an order but for many of us, the order gives us a foundation of practices that we can build from.  Even if you end up moving away at some point from the practices of a specific order, that order’s teachings may help you along your path.  You may join a druid order and then decide you prefer to not be in a druid order.  Your path is yours alone.

One of the questions I often get about druid orders surrounds birth religion trauma: some are very wary of organized religion and may have issues with authority (I hear you, I feel this way too). Most druid orders, particularly those in the druid revival vein like AODA, OBOD, and RDNA are nothing like other organized religions you may have previous experience with.  You can take a look at AODA’s philosophy and values (a graphic of which I posted above)–we are very committed to helping each person find their own path. These modern druid orders are, in many ways, the antithesis of organized religion–hence my statements at the beginning saying that nobody has authority over the druid tradition and that these are just my thoughts–and I’m the head of a druid order saying this :).  But again, check it out for yourself.

Here is a list of some of the modern druid orders that have been around for a while and have reputable study programs:
Ancient Order of Druids in America; Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids; Ár nDraíocht Féin; British Druid Order; Green Mountain Druid Order; and The New Order of Druids.

Can I call myself a druid even if I’m new or don’t belong to a druid order?

Sure.  You can call yourself a druid or anything else you want. This is not a term that is regulated by anything but your feelings and identities.  As I said, druidry does not have a central governing body.  For some, the druid is a life path, for others a religion, and still others an identity.  You don’t have to belong to a druid order or anything else to call yourself a druid.  Call yourself what you like.

Massive ground mandala for ritual work at MAGUS 2018 (yellow and white cornmeal)
Massive ground mandala for ritual work at MAGUS 2018 (yellow and white cornmeal)

How do I find and join communities of druids?

Joining a druid order and seeing what local groups (which we often call groves) or local members is a great way to get to know people.  You can also go to other local events to meet like-minded people who may have an interest in druidry or nature spirituality.  I’ll note that I’ve met more druid-leaning people at ancestral skills, natural building, and herbalism workshops and gatherings than I have at Pagan Pride days or larger neopagan events, so keep that in mind.  There’s a lot of us out there if you start looking around–but you want to go to things druids would be attracted to, which often involves plants, earth, and nature.

Druid gatherings are another great way to meet people.  Where I’m at, we have multiple gatherings on the US East Coast, including the BAM Druid Gather and MAGUS Druid Gathering (I always go to MAGUS every year).  These are awesome ways to meet people and deepen your path.

Will I be accepted and welcomed in the druid community?

One of the things that I am particularly proud of in the druid community (at least the communities to which I am connected) is how we work to create a diverse, welcoming space for all people who choose to pick up a druid path. This is not lip service. Most of us in the druid community have multiple, intersectional identities, none of which are valued or supported in mainstream culture. We are used to suppressing ourselves and putting on one mask or another. When we come together, we embrace that diversity in each of us. We have a very large group of people who identify as LGBTQUA+, who may be of minority or mixed heritage, who may have a physical or learning disability, who may be from different places in the world or any number of other diverse perspectives and paths. Most druid orders, gatherings, and groves are very proactive in these areas (see their bylaws, FAQs, ethics, etc to get a better sense of this).

What are pitfalls or things I should avoid?

I would be wary of large open, social media groups about druidry that you can find on Facebook, Discord, and other places. They often provide bad information from people who may or may not even practice druidry. (I will note that this is not just true of druid groups, it is true of all large social media groups–see mushroom foraging groups as another prime example).  Many people who troll these groups have weird ideas and chips on their shoulders.  Many of us who are doing good work in the tradition avoid these groups online as we see them as a waste of time and don’t want to argue with idiots.

I would recommend, instead, getting to know local druids and finding in-person communities.  I also recommend joining some of the online activities connected with druid orders (even if you aren’t a member), as these orders often have a much better handle on how to create a good community both online and offline.  AODA for example has a set of Forums, a Discord server, and open workshops, all of which have open areas for non-members.  OBOD also has very useful forums and online events.

A final thing to be aware of is that, like any other tradition, there are bad resources and fraudulent things out there.  For example, some modern books on druidry are not good and are well known to be problematic (see this analysis of the Monroe book that is too frequently the only book available).

A final thing to be aware of, which is particularly awful, is that hate groups exist everywhere and in every religious tradition, and some of them can be found in broader neopagan movements.  Thankfully, so far, this doesn’t seem to exist in the druid tradition, but it is present in some related traditions, such as heathenry. Thus, a good resource to learn more about this situation in paganism and how many of us are fighting it is Heathens Against Hate.

What if I want to be solitary?

Many druids choose a solitary path, meaning that they choose to practice and celebrate on their own. Some people choose this path due to personal reasons, while others are not solitary by choice.  Some people choose to be solitary because they have had challenges in groups or organized religions, while others just want to maintain privacy in their practices.  This is, again, up to the individual druid. Even for solitary druids, I do recommend finding some people (even if it is online) that you can connect with.  I also have some suggestions for how to work solitary and go it alone.

What books do you recommend?

Books on druidry are another great place to start and many people get started with the help of one or more books.  Here are some of my personal recommendations:

The Druidry Handbook by John Micheal Greer. This is where I started and where many people start who are interested in taking up a path of druidry–it offers a range of practices such as meditation, ritual, holidays, background, concepts, and much more.

What do Druids Believe? by Philip Carr Gomm.  This is a nice, compact book that helps set the stage for modern druidry.  It is a useful place ot start, and also a good book to share with others as they are trying to learn more about this path. I’ve given this to family members to help them understand my path more–but it also serves as a good compact introduction.

Paths of Druidry by Penny Billington.  This is one of my favorite books on druidry, and Penny Billington is a wonderful writer and teacher of the tradition.  She organizes this book around mythology from the druid tradition.

The Book of Hedge Druidry by Joanna van der Hoeven.  This is is a good resource for beginners, especially those who find themselves more drawn to solitary practices and paths.

Closing Thoughts

I hope that this introduction to the druid tradition has been useful to those who are new to the path.  If you have questions I haven’t addressed, please feel free.  If other druids on the path have advice or ideas that I haven’t shared, please share them in the comments.  I’ll continue to update this resource as a guide for new druids.

Dana O'Driscoll

Dana O’Driscoll has been an animist druid for almost 20 years, and currently serves as Grand Archdruid in the Ancient Order of Druids in America. She is a druid-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and is the OBOD’s 2018 Mount Haemus Scholar. She is the author of Sacred Actions: Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Spiritual Practice (REDFeather, 2021), the Sacred Actions Journal (REDFeather, 2022), and Land Healing: Physical, Metaphysical, and Ritual Approaches for Healing the Earth (REDFeather, 2024). She is also the author/illustrator of the Tarot of Trees, Plant Spirit Oracle, and Treelore Oracle. Dana is an herbalist, certified permaculture designer, and permaculture teacher who teaches about reconnection, regeneration, and land healing through herbalism, wild food foraging, and sustainable living. Dana lives at a 5-acre homestead in rural western Pennsylvania with her partner and a host of feathered and furred friends. She writes at the Druids Garden blog and is on Instagram as @druidsgardenart. She also regularly writes for Plant Healer Quarterly and Spirituality and Health magazine.

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  1. Thank you Dana! I love reading your weekly newsletter blog!! You have such great knowledge and insights that are so helpful to me. I realize I am not alone in my beliefs and practices. In fact, I am very much aligned with Druid traditions in my daily practices and I didn’t even realize it. Keep up this great important work!!!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thanks for your comment and reading! You are certainly not alone–there are so many of us out there these days :).

  2. I like what you write and am a solo type Druid living in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney New South Wales Australia,We are surrounded by National Parks.I enjoy your posts and have learnt alot with thanks,Philip Shearer,

    1. Hi Philip, thanks for your feedback and for reading. Blessings to you–sounds like you live in a great place on this beautiful planet.

  3. I joined AODA in 2022 after eight years of solitary Druidry, because I listened to a podcast called Druid Wisdom. I resonated with the members’ stories, including your own. I’m still on my candidate’s year, but that is mostly me wildcrafting my own Druidry. Had I listened to the podcast Three Witches and A Druid first, I might have joined a different Order. The thing I love about Druidry is that being solitary or a member of an Order is acceptable, and being part of multiple Orders is acceptable. This is very much in contrast to my religious upbringing within Christianity. A member of one Christian denomination is not usually encouraged to join another denomination. For example, a Catholic does not attend a Pentecostal church, and vice versa.

    Your episode on Druid Wisdom, which talks about the interactions between Druidry and Permaculture, was what “sold” me on AODA.

    1. Hi Dughlas,
      I’m really happy to hear that our Druid Wisdom podcast brought you into AODA druidry! That’s really exciting to hear. Have you seen my many writings permaculture and druidry on this blog? I’ve written probably 30 posts on the subject! :). Glad to have you here and in AODA!

  4. Thank you again for taking the time to craft such an insightful post. Appreciate all the resources referenced also. I recently picked up a book on Herbiary and joke that while I have a black thumb, I do feel rare peace in nature. I’m going to dig into several of these groups you listed.to see.if there are any events near me. I’d love to learn more.

    1. HI Gypsypritzeh,
      Thanks for commenting and reading! If you are interested in nature and nature spirituality, its not just about green things–many druids work with different earth energies, animals, celestial bodies, bodies of water, stones, etc. So even if you aren’t feeling the connection to the green realm as strongly, there are many other natural beings out there to connect with :).

  5. I would be interested in the AODA, but I’ve found the Sphere of Protection totally incompatible with my physical and subtle bodies. Give us the option of the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and Middle Pillar exercises and I would join.

    1. Hi Vala, Thanks for your comment. The SOP forms the energetic basis of AODA’s practices and is adaptable. Sometimes it evolves for people, and that’s fine too. And I would say that for some people, it takes time to learn it or to find out how it “clicks” for you. With that said, I’m sorry it doesn’t work for you.

  6. While I certainly see nothing wrong with people choosing solitary and going-it-alone if they can get ahold of reputable learning resources…. I’ve seen huge benefits to belonging to an Order and as a result our local grove (I’m an OBOD Druid) and have known some long time solitaries who have joined Orders, (Usually OBOD, BDO, or AODA) and find themselves so glad they did and they say they grew in ways they didn’t know possible. So thank you for outlining the major reputable teaching orders so that those who are interested and read this can find resources. While I’m certainly able and happy to answer questions when people ask me about Druidry, I’ve already sent a few people towards this article as an assist. It’s so well laid out and outlines the resources I’d recommend. And you’re certainly right about the generalized all call “Druidry” groups on social media that can sometimes feature the voices of really vocal disgruntled personalities or false information. The more focused groups associated with organizations are for more helpful and friendly.

    1. Thanks Blake! Glad to hear your experiences with druid orders (and the big social media groups) are similar. Thanks for sharing the article!

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