FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Does Ozark Druids have a Celtic focus?
A: Most people who are interested in Druidry are specifically interested in Celtic deities and traditions. That holds true for some of us as well, however a variety of related cultures may have found common ground in the religion of the druids. It stands to reason that due to the historical druids’ widespread renown and respect, if history had played out differently, they may have emerged as a spiritual authority in many cultures in addition to the Celtic ones. As followers of modern Druidry and seekers of wisdom, we do not limit ourselves to the study of one culture or set of ideas. Our focus is on spirituality and serving the community with open and inclusive rituals.
Q: What are your rituals like?
A: Members take turns at ritual facilitation, so each ritual may differ in style a little, but our article “What to Expect at an Ozark Druids Ritual” may give you a general idea.
Q: Are children welcome at events?
A: Children are welcome to our public events when accompanied by a parent or guardian. However, you know the temperament of your child best. If you think that your child will dishevel the altar, stick a hand in the fire before you can stop her/him, or otherwise become disruptive or unsafe, then your child may not be ready for a ritual setting. You are responsible for your child at all times.
Q: Can I bring my pet?
A: When we meet at a public park, you may bring your pet if it is well-behaved, people-friendly, and remains on a leash.
Q: How should I dress to attend a ritual?A: We have no dress code. Generally speaking, most of us dress casual for rituals. Some of us like to wear colors associated with the holiday we are celebrating, or wear a bit of druid white or green. We do not do “skyclad” (nude) rituals.
Rituals are at the heart of what we do. Over the years, we've gotten better at it, but any given ritual's success depends not only on the facilitator's skills, but on the manner in which all the participants conduct themselves.
•Make a commitment to being there.
Our preferred RSVP is simply a click on the “going” button on the facebook invitation.
•Learn what you need to know for the ritual ahead of time.
There will often be posts on the invite about what to expect at the ritual. If you have questions, ask them well in advance. In the hours or minutes leading up to ritual, the facilitator may be offline and unaware of your posts or emails, and quite busy preparing for the ritual.
•Be on time.
Plan ahead to figure out how long it will take to get ready and to get to the ritual site. If you have a specific role in the ritual, or will be be bringing ritual supplies, be early.
•Silence your cell phone, and put it away.
If you must take a phone call, leave the ritual area before answering.
•Choose your guests wisely.
As stated in the FAQ, children and pets are welcome if it suits their temperament, sensibilities, and behavior. The same goes for any other guests. If they are going to disrespect or disrupt proceedings or otherwise be an unpleasant addition to our circle, best leave them at home. Likewise, don’t drag anyone along who doesn’t want to be here.
•Give the ritual your attention.
It’s okay to make a quick comment to the person next to you, but don’t engage in a side conversation during ritual.
•Be a participant.
If it is your first time at a ritual, we understand if you want to just mostly observe. However, there are many small ways to participate, and you will get much more out of it if you are fully present and willing to interact. It is our custom to echo back phrases like “hail and welcome,” “so be it,” and “blessed be”. Participate in our ritual phrases and chants. They are short, easy to learn, and we use mostly the same ones for every ritual (look for a post on the facebook invitation with a link to lyrics). Also, we have a "group offering time" in which folks can come to the sacred fire (or offering bowl) and give personal prayers and/or offerings. This can be done silently, or aloud. Offerings can also be poetry or song. So there is ample opportunity to get what you want out of each ritual, and what you get may be greatly enhanced by what you put in. Ritual isn’t the time to be closed off and inhibited, it is a time to celebrate together.
The dictionary defines a Druid as “a priest, magician, or soothsayer in the ancient Celtic religion”. However, Wikipedia states more accurately that “a Druid was a member of the educated, professional class among the Celtic peoples of Gaul, the British isles, and possibly elsewhere during the Iron Age”. The Wikipedia article on the subject is a good brief overview of historical Druidry. For further information, we recommend The Druids by Peter Berresford Ellis.
There are many forms of modern Druidry, each with their own histories, structures, beliefs, and ritual styles. See the article A Druid Group Comparison Table for a summary and comparison of some of the larger Druid groups in North America. With such variation in forms of Druidry, it can be difficult to recommend a manual on the subject. Our grove's ritual style and philosophy are heavily influenced by OBOD, yet ADF also remains an influence. To learn about Druidry from an OBOD perspective, we recommend Principles of Druidry by Emma Restall Orr. For a well rounded introduction to various Druid traditions (but with a bit more emphasis on ADF), we recommend Bonewits's Essential Guide to Druidism.
While some view Druidry more as a philosophy or way of life, more often it is viewed as a Pagan movement. For a thorough explanation of the meaning of the word pagan, we recommend the article Defining Paganism: Paleo-, Meso-, and Neo- by Isaac Bonewits. Also, Wikipedia's article on Modern Paganism gives a good general overview of the movement as a whole. For an in-depth exploration of Paganism, we recommend Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by River and Joyce Higginbotham.
In the realm of belief, there are many types of theism to explore. We do not dictate any specific belief for our members, but we do appreciate guests being informed of the various definitions, for it is a frequent topic of discussion. The Theism Wikipedia article gives a good overview of the various types. Modern Pagans have come up with another subcategory of polytheism not listed there. “Squishy” polytheism (also known as “medium” or “fluid” polytheism) is a middle ground between soft and hard polytheism. Squishy polytheism is the belief that some (but not all) deities are aspects or variations of one another, or the same deity in a different form or name. Waincraft is an example of a spiritual tradition inspired by the concept of squishy polytheism. To understand the logic behind a belief in polytheism, read A World Full of Gods by John Michael Greer.
The first steps in the process to becoming a member of Ozark Druids involves the seeker and the group getting to know each other. After attending a minimum of two meetings and one ritual, interested individuals may request "Friend of the Grove" status. Friends of the Grove receive a link to the membership handbook, participate in the group a little more fully, and can be considered provisional members eligible for full membership after a six month period of study and attendance. Find more details in the Ozark Druids Bylaws.