The Roles of Nature, Deities, and Ancestors in Constructing Religious Identity in Contemporary Druidry


  • Michael T. Cooper Trinity International University



Paganism, Druids, Druidry, religious identity


This article will look explicitly at the Druid religious identity as it relates to nature, deities and ancestors. Setting the article in the context of religious identity theory, it proposes that the study of religious identity needs to incorporate three salient features – intellect, experience and behavior. The article suggests a framework for religious identity theory – a theory of religious identity, satisfaction and deprivation – as a manner by which one might understand the ascription and achievement of an identity. Drawing from ethnographic field work, this article utilizes the interviews of contemporary practitioners as a means to understand religious identity construction.


Berger, Peter. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and Politics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.

———. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Anchor, 1969.

Cadge, Wendy, and Lynn Davidman. “Ascription, Choice, and the Construction of Religious Identities in the Contemporary United States.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45, no. 1 (2006): 23-38. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5906.2006.00003.x

Carr-Gomm, Philip. The Druid Mysteries: Ancient Wisdom for the 21st Century. London: Rider, 2003.

———. Druidcraft: The Magic of Wicca and Druidry. London: Thorsons, 2002.

Castells, Manuel. The Power of Identity. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2004.

Chappell, David W. “Religious Identity and Openness in a Pluralistic World.” Buddhist Christian Studies 25 (2005): 9-14. doi:10.1353/bcs.2005.0042

Cooper, Michael T. “Pathways to Druidry: A Case Study of Ár nDraíocht Féin.” Nova Religio 12, no. 3 (2009): 40-59. doi:10.1525/nr.2009.12.3.40

———.“Research Observations: The Meaning of Life in Contemporary Druidry.” Sacred Tribes Journal 3, no. 1 (2008): 35-57.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, translated by Karen E. Fields. New York: Free Press, 1995 [1912].

Goosen, Gideon. “An Empirical Study of Dual Religious Belonging,” Journal of Empirical Theology 20 (2007): 159-178. doi:10.1163/157092507X237327

Green, Miranda J. The World of the Druids. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Harvey, Graham. Contemporary Paganism: Listening People, Speaking Earth. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

Hiebert, Paul G., Tite Tienou, and Daniel Shaw. Understanding Folk Religion. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000.

Hitchens, Christopher. God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. New York: Twelve, 2007.

Hutton, Ronald. Blood and Mistletoe: The History of the Druids in Britain. New Haven: Yale University, 2009.

———. The Druids. London: Hambledon, 2007.

Nichols, Ross. “Festivals of Light.” In In the Grove of the Druids: The Druid Teachings of Ross Nichols, edited by Philip Carr-Gomm, 108-109. London: Watkins, 2002.

Orr, Emma Restall. Principles of Druidry. London: Thorsons, 1998.

Parsons, Talcott. The Social System. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1959.

Peek, Lori. “Becoming Muslim: The Development of Religious Identity.” Sociology of Religion 66, no. 3 (2005): 215-242. doi:10.2307/4153097

Rambo, Lewis R., and Charles E. Farhadian. “Converting: Stages of Religious Change,” in Religious Conversion: Contemporary Practices and Controversies, edited by Christopher Lamb and M. Darrol Bryant, 23-34. London: Cassell, 1999.

Sutton, Maya Magee, and Nicholas R. Mann. Druid Magic: The Practice of Celtic Wisdom. St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn, 2002.



How to Cite

Cooper, M. T. (2009). The Roles of Nature, Deities, and Ancestors in Constructing Religious Identity in Contemporary Druidry. Pomegranate, 11(1), 58–73.