A History of Neo-Paganism and Druidry: 11 – Describe the groups that have split off from ADF, their history and work.

6 08 2017

Describe the groups that have split off from ADF, their history and work. (minimum 600 words)

During the 34 years of ADF’s history, there have been various groups that have split off from Ar nDraoicht Fein to form their own groups. They were often unhappy at something ADF was doing, and ADF refused to change it. I will explain the story behind two of these groups – the Celtic Traditional Order of Druids and The Henge of Keltria.

The first of these groups was the Celtic Traditional Order of Druids. They are “dedicated to the preservation and rebirth of the worship of the ancient Gods and Goddesses, primarily those of the Celtic nations….as well as other related lands and peoples.” The order began in 1986, but due to fast growth and a successful large public ritual, there was a power struggle and the group fell apart. One of the founders joined ADF and rose to the position of Vice Arch-Druid, thanks to Isaac Bonewits urging. However, the remaining members of the old Celtic Traditional Order of Druids eventually asked her to come back and get things started again. She left Ar nDraiocht Fein and restarted the Celtic Traditional Order of Druids again. This time it has survived and thrived. Like ADF, it now has a study course based around nine modules – health, hearth, history, creativity, compassion, communication, magic, muse-craft and management.

The second organisation is the Henge of Keltria. Again, in 1986, at the Pagan Spirit Gathering, five of the ADF members were getting concerned about the direction Ar nDraiocht Fein was going in and created a list of thirteen concerns. Following the example of Martin Luther in Germany during the Protestant Reformation, they taped the list to Isaac Bonewits door. They wanted their concerns to be addressed immediately but they claim that nothing happened, and so the following year, in 1987, two of the five, Pat and Tony Taylor, left ADF and formed their own organisation, the Henge of Keltria. It was similar to Ar nDraiocht Fein in some ways, but there were big differences too, that were designed to address their concerns. They gave it a Celtic only focus in contrast to ADF’s Pan-Europeanism. They wanted the rituals to be held in private rather than public as they felt that the possibility of people walking by during rituals was distracting. They also wanted more of a focus on mysticism and magic than ADF was providing at the time. ADF has since built a lot more magic and mysticism into its practices, particularly with the Initiate Program. The Henge of Keltria differs in some of its rites too, for example they hold a Vervain rite. Isaac Bonewits argues that some of these details are different to what he remembers, but he does acknowledge that there were communication problems in ADF at the time the Henge of Keltria was formed.

The Henge of Keltria states that it is “a form of modern Druidry, a spiritual path dedicated to revering the Nature Spirits, honouring the Ancestors, and celebrating the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Gaelic pantheon once worshiped throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Mann.” It is one of the first American Druid Orders explicitly having a Celtic only focus. It has produced a variety of books, including a ritual book called The Henge of Keltria book of Ritual, and has an official newsletter called Henge Happenings.

Both groups continue to exist and are successful in what they are trying to achieve, however neither compare to the development of Ar nDraiocht Fein which is now the largest and most successful Druid group in America, with groves across the country as well as members in Canada, Europe and beyond.



Ellis, Peter B. The Druids. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Pub Co, 1998. Print.

Adler, Margot. Drawing down the moon witches, Druids, goddess-worshippers, and other pagans in America today. New York, N.Y: Penguin/Arkana, 2006. Print.

Hutton, Ronald. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Print.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Defining Paganism: Paleo-, Meso-, and Neo-.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “Frequently Asked Questions about Neopagan Druidism.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Origins of Ár nDraíocht Féin.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “What Neopagans Believe.” Web.

Bonewits, Isaac. “The Reformed Druids of North America and their Offshoots.” Web.

Hopman, Ellen Evert. “The Origins of the Henge of Keltria.” Web.

Meith, Vickie, and Howard Meith. “The Origins of the Celtic Traditionalist Order of Druids.” Web.

Thuin, Dylan Ap. “The Origins of the Insular Order of Druids.” Web














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