Lately I’ve been thinking about the whole “secrecy” thing that can surround some Druidry. I belong to two different groups, which are of two very different minds on this. I can see both points of view. Please be advised that I do not mean to criticize either group here… just exploring the effects of their different viewpoints. 🙂
OBOD is more secretive (first rule of OBOD is you don’t talk about OBOD), which I understand. They believe that their information in the wrong hands is like “casting pearls before swine”, and the knowledge and teachings lose some of their magic if treated any less than venerably. They are also of the mindset (at least in my opinion) that those who are truly called to be part of their Order will be called regardless of the mystery surrounding them. Possibly, it could even be intriguing. I happened into OBOD by picking up a copy of the Druid Animal Oracle, and was shocked to find out that Druidry was “a thing”. There will be people who read a little and absolutely hunger for more, and there will be those that get a foul smell from the secrecy and be turned off completely. Maybe they’re not ready yet? Maybe OBOD should be a little more forthcoming? I’m not sure.
OBOD does have a less rigid structure than does ADF. For example, a “Chosen Chief” instead of an “Archdruid”. I’ve read that some people prefer this as it does not inspire a sense of autocracy or despotism. I’ve yet to see someone attempt to form the “Druids for Mussolini”, and I think the very heart of Druidry would be very anti-“that”, but I guess you never know.
OBOD also primarily focuses on Celtic culture. While others are definitely discussed, and no interest in other cultures is ever discouraged, they definitely do not offer them as paths within OBOD. If you want to do your own thing, that’s okay, but they’re only interested in all things Celtic. ADF is pretty much an all-you-can-eat buffet of Paganism. You can have a nice slice of Hellenism, a side of Asatru, and some Vedic culture for dessert. It’s all good! OBOD’s focus on Celtic culture works for me primarily because that’s where (and why) I was first drawn to Druidry. Although I’ve now integrated Vedic culture (officially… it’s always had influence on/with me), OBOD doesn’t seek to support that. But I digress. This was supposed to be about secrecy, wasn’t it?
ADF is more interested in transparency. I get the distinct impression that, although it may not be a main goal of their organization, they intend to remove some of the secrecy behind Druidry, which can end up being misconstrued as myriad other, more negative things. Sort of a “Come one, come all! We have nothing to hide!” kind of attitude. I can respect this as well, and I think it is important to be willing to share our spirituality to those who are interested (and at least respectful), to try to dispel myths. I really wish I felt more comfortable in admitting to people that, you know, in MY religion, Hallowe’en is a HOLY day, without being thought a devil-worshipper. ADF will probably be more effectual in making this a possibility in the future than OBOD will. ADF doesn’t proselytize either, by any means, but they probably have a more open vision than does OBOD.
Both groups have their pros and cons concerning this issue, and many others. For me, at least, the meshing of the two groups has helped satisfy two needs: the need for a mentor or teacher in helping to find my path (the more OBOD way), and the need to be able to “make the rules up as I go” (very ADF). I continue to respect the secrecy that OBOD desires, although I do question it. But honestly it wouldn’t matter anyways. I’m not about to go spouting off about any of this to just anyone. It’s similar to Reiki, I guess. Reiki’s unspoken demand is that it not be shared with anyone, specifically the sacred symbols and their mantras. Although I don’t share them with people just for the hell of it, I will certainly not deny anyone who earnestly asks me a response. I guess the same should go for Druidry of any persuasion.