‘I came into England with Oak, Ash and Thorn… and when Oak, Ash and Thorn are gone I shall go too.’ – Puck of Pook’s Hill, Rudyard Kipling. * * *
Three gifts from the forests of the Isle of the Mighty: The beauty of birches, the strength of oaks, and the wisdom of yews. * * *
Throughout the Ancient World, trees were held sacred. From the dryad-haunted foothills of Mount Parnassus in Ancient Greece, to the Oak groves of Ynys Mon in North Wales, people revered trees as living beings, animate with raw power and profound wisdom. The word “Druid” echoes down from that time – an old word, that can be traced to the proto-Celtic dru-wid- s. Translated into English, this means “Oak Seer”.
British Druids today draw inspiration from that heritage; still honouring trees and learning the many lessons they have to teach. Trees are, for us, far more than mere resources – they are spirits of the wild, counsellors of the heart, and guardians of ages, worthy of respect and love. Defending Britain’s woodlands and encouraging an ever-closer relationship between people and the forests is for us, therefore, a sacred charge. In this time of declining biodiversity, increasing urbanism, and climate change – this charge is more important than ever.
The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids has taken a number of steps to put this crucial aspect of Druidic philosophy into practice. Woodland lore forms a major part of the training the order provides, covering cultural, botanical, and spiritual themes. For many years the Order has been running the Sacred Grove Project – an initiative to assist members with tree planting – and actively promotes sustainability through our Ecological Campaign. In 2014, the Order celebrated its 50th Anniversary with the planting of 1,000 trees in Glen Moriston, in the Scottish Highlands.
A Charter dedicated to woods, trees and communities is therefore a cause that speaks to the deepest values of our Order, and reflects our existing commitment to safeguarding Britain’s woodlands.