These days among earth spiritualists we have Neo-Pagan, Neo-Shamanic, and even Neo-Druidic pathways. These living traditions are, in their own way re-defining the way they express the roots of their faith. There is some looking through the mists into the distant past involved in these neo-creations (or, re-creations)but rather than a wistful gazing into history, or a better time, they are focused instead on becoming living, breathing, and pertinent spiritual paths for the 21st century.
Today on Wheel of Wonder the focus is on Neo-Druidism, often referred to as simply "Druidry"
One of the common origins for most modern Druidry, is the romanticist era of culture and arts (circa 1800 to about 1850). As Wikipedia puts it:
"Defining the nature of Romanticism may be approached from the starting point of the primary importance of the free expression of the feelings of the artist. The importance the Romantics placed on emotion is summed up in the remark of the German painter Caspar David Friedrich that "the artist's feeling is his law". To William Wordsworth, poetry should begin as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings," which the poet then "recollect[s] in tranquility," evoking a new but corresponding emotion the poet can then mould into art. In order to express these feelings, it was considered that the content of the art needed to come from the imagination of the artist, with as little interference as possible from "artificial" rules dictating what a work should consist of. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and others believed there were natural laws which the imagination, at least of a good creative artist, would unconsciously follow through artistic inspiration if left alone to do so. As well as rules, the influence of models from other works was considered to impede the creator's own imagination, so that originality was essential. The concept of the genius, or artist who was able to produce his own original work through this process of "creation from nothingness", is key to Romanticism."
Finding out about these Romanticist origins that make up part of the modern movement is very interesting. In the later 20th century however, this movement began placing a much greater focus on Celt Pagan belief systems, animism and what historical accuracy can be gleaned from the work of modern day archaeologists it has been a very interesting journey I invite you to investigate yourself. I covered some of this on Wheel of Wonder today.
Next week I'll be on the road though, so I've suggested to Miss Melissa (host of Cottleston Pie on KAOS) that she may want to look at the romantic movement of the early 19th century and explore the origins of its art and poetry and the impact these have had on our modern culture. Other voices and ideas will follow her for the next few weeks. I expect to be back on Wheel of Wonder near Lughnasadh. Summer blessings to you all!
For the images above, I photographed the mask in the garden, The Bards of Caer Pugetia logo belongs to a Seattle, WA. based group of Bards, and the "Ancient Druid" was designed by S.R. Meyrick and C.H. Smith in 1815.