By Amelia Meyer
Druidry, recently recognised as an official religion for the first time in England, is generally focussed on the worship and respect of nature and the promotion of harmony within it. It is usually put into the same bracket as Wicca or witchcraft.
It was denied as a formal religion for centuries because some viewed it simply as a spiritual state or attitude that could be adopted by people of any religion. While this remains partly true, it has been ruled that the belief system warrants an official religious status.
Vintage engraving showing the The Massacre of the Druids and the landing of Julis Ceasar (small panel at the bottom of the main picture),engraving from 1854.
This religion originates from tales of the times of the ancient Iron Age Celtic Druids. However, a formal investigation into its background shows that druidism actually displays no traceable link to the ancient Celts. This is a major finding as, for a long time, the entire supposition was that the Celtic culture had given rise to this intriguing belief system.
In the first part of the 1900’s, druidry was based very much on the idea of a brotherhood, and organisations were formed amongst the druids that were considered to be formal fraternities. These groups emulated the Freemasons, and used the age-old romanticised image of English druids and bards as the symbols of what made spirituality truly British.
Some groups remained cultural; a kind of excuse for a structured fraternity. Other groups took the movement more seriously, even joining other major movements of the time, such as naturism. As the years went on, druidry evolved. Each organisation or group adopted slightly varying practices, setting them apart and making this a dynamic, fluid belief system. In the past few decades, efforts have been made to formalise druidic practices and align them more with the ancient paganism from which they come. However, because so little is known about Iron Age druids, this has been challenging.
When studying druidism, various courses are covered. These include:
.The elements (fire, water, air and earth) .The life cycle
.Death .Celtic mythology
Of the 50 million + inhabitants, there is a fairly equal split between males and females, with females numbering slightly higher. The median age of English residents is about 36 or 37 years. Males. life expectancy averages around 77 years of age, while most females will live to be about 81 years old. Regardless of actual nationality, the vast majority (that is, almost 90%) of people in England are white.
England remains fairly Christian, with about 70% of its residents claiming to belong to some Christian church. A large number of people, however, are apathetic or neutral, and approximately 15% of the inhabitants admit to having no religion at all. Other major religions found in England include Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism.
Understanding the demographics of a country provides one with insight into its heritage, culture, customs, goals and priorities. It gives the land a sense of import and significance that may otherwise be missed completely. England is an ancient country that boasts layers and layers of complexity; making it fascinating and intriguing.
For more information, please view: http://www’statistics.gov.uk/hub/index.html