We were recently interviewed by The Times newspaper! The article can be seen here
This was a big thing for us, though as usual the article featured the male voices more than the female, so here is more from Amanda :
From the article –
Membership of the British Druid Order (BDO) — one of the leading denominations of the religion — has jumped from 3,000 to 7,000 in ten years, Amanda Hart, 48, an elder and a chemotherapy nurse in Devon, said. A few years ago we were concerned about the lack of young people but that is no longer the case.
“Particularly among people in their mid-twenties, the numbers are really picking up. Druidry draws its spiritual philosophy from an observation of the trees, plants and wildlife, which resonates with the younger generation.”
Some of the techniques that we use within the BDO are now becoming more widely used within our communities, particularly within the NHS – for example eco-therapy, environmental therapy, and the visualisation work that we use in chemotherapy to help patients with the stress and trauma of diagnosis and treatment.
Young people today are really engaging with the environment and abrupt climate disruption and are getting involved in doing something about this global crisis, and the BDO gives them a grounded and spiritual connection with their environment.
I think a large number of our younger membership is coming from an activist mentality, of wanting to have a say in their own future and the world they are living in. I think in some ways its the older generations, including my own, that have made things difficult for them and now seems to be a time when younger people really should have a say in what is going to happen in their future lives.
Many of us within the BDO have experience of being active within social justice, environmental and wildlife campaigns. ‘Activist’ isn’t really a term we tend to use, it can sometimes create a barrier or make people seem like they are somehow separate from the rest of society. Most of us simply see ourselves as ‘good citizens’ who have got involved with things because they need doing, because we care about the communities we are part of.
Recently I was at the South West Extinction Rebellion rally in Devon, and I was really heartened to see how our native tradition, our festivals and what we do as druids, fit in with the regeneration process. The gathering was very multi generational and a lot of younger people there were looking for an indigenous tradition that connected them with nature in a spiritual way. A lot of the regeneration talks were by co-incidence already rooted in a lot what of what we do as druids. I went there as a member of the public wanting to get more involved with Extinction Rebellion and I was surprised about about how much BDO druidry and XR culture were already intertwined.
This makes me feel very hopeful for the future as a whole, that we are collectively growing a spiritual connection to nature that will in turn mean that people have more impact on what is happening in regards to looking after our environment.
The culture that the BDO has been building is already there within XR and other communities. Years ago druidry was very much a niche interest but over time, since the beginning of the BDO really*, we have been actively shifting druidic culture and it seems that a fair amount of mainstream culture has started to move towards our direction, and we are both meeting in the real world.
Once, druidry lacked any real diversity, but things have changed over the past few decades and are still changing, for the better. We are inclusive of all nationalities, genders and identities. Gradually our vision for the BDO is converging with other networks within the real world, completely by accident. It is as if this is meant to be.
* A podcast interview with our founder, Philip Shallcrass, can be listened to here, detailing the history of the BDO.