Overview of Modern Druid Groups: Organizational Structures
2020 note: I wrote this this over 15 years ago. Some information here may be outdated.
Let’s look at the organizational structures for each group. Complexity of organizational structures range from almost none to the highly intricate. I will also discuss what kinds of local branches each group has as well.
OBOD has four officers concerned with spiritual guardianship within the Order: The Chief, the Pendragon, the Scribe and the Modron. Other volunteers run the office, the web site, coordinate 50 volunteer tutors, raise money for special projects, and coordinate camps, assemblies, workshops, and special interest groups. There is little “official” organization. As the FAQ says, “To summarise we could say that the Order works in a way that resembles a network or spiders web that ultimately includes all the membership but which is upheld by about 90 active decision-makers who can be seen as nodes in this five-dimensional network.” (1)
Local Branches —
Seed groups may be formed by any member at any point in his or her study. These are informal groups for study, meditation, celebrating and/or seasonal rituals, etc. Although some seed groups may restrict their meetings to members only, many seed groups permit nonmembers to participate.
A Grove may be formed by two members of the Druid grade. A grove meets regularly, celebrate the eight festivals together, and offer initiations. As with seed groups, some groves restrict participation to members; others do not.
Assemblies and Camps —
The Order holds semi-yearly assemblies and quarterly camps in Britain. These foster inter-branch and branch-solitary member interaction and communication.
The BDO is in the process of re-establishing itself after the departure of one of the Joint Chiefs. The current Chief, Philip Shallcrass (Greywolf) is assisted by Sparrowhawk who is the primary office manager and administrator. The Order also has a Council of Elders, composed of regional leaders and event coordinators who meets four times a year. This acts as a “Board of Directors” to the group. (2) 2020 Note: the BDO is in the process of revising its constitution.
Similar to the camps held by OBOD, the various branches of British Druid Order sponsors open gatherings called gorseddau of Druids and other Pagans.
According to the AODA web site: “The governing body of the Order is the Grand Grove, which consists of four Archdruids — the Archdruid of the East, who is responsible for ritual; the Archdruid of the South, who is responsible for the funds and resources of the Order; the Archdruid of the West, who is responsible for the study program and membership; and the Archdruid of the North or Grand Archdruid, the presiding officer of the Grand Grove, who has ultimate responsibility for all. Archdruids hold office for a life term, unless they retire or leave the Order, and vacancies are filled from the ranks of Third Degree members by unanimous vote of the other members of the Grand Grove.”
Local Branches —
Study groups may be chartered by any Second Degree AODA member and Groves may be chartered by any Third Degree AODA member. AODA members of any grade are encouraged to meet informally, to celebrate holidays together and to help each other with training. (3)
RDNA is a loose collection of individuals and groves. One of the members, Michael Scharding collects information about groves.
Any three people who wish to form a RDNA grove may. Actually, groves many not necessarily consist of humans — some groves are reportedly actual groves of trees. If at least one of the members does a “third order” vigil (see membership and training), the group is a grove; if no one does, then the group is a protogrove. (4)
It is with ADF and the Henge of Keltria that we get come to the more complicated organizational structures. The Mother Grove serves as the Board of Directors for ADF. The Mother Grove includes: The Archdruid (long-term spiritual guidance and leadership; vision); the Vice-Archdruid (designated successor to the Archdruid); the Scribe (secretary); the Preceptor (supervisor of the study programs); the Members’ Advocate (represents individual members and minority factions); the Administrator (general membership services and oversees the financial operation of the organization, supervises the Administration Committee that is staffed with such officers as the Pursewarden, Chronicler, Office Manager, etc.); the Chief of the Council of Senior Druids; Regional Directors and non-officer Directors that are elected by the ADF membership as a whole. The Mother Grove approves new groves, decides on policy and rules for the organization. (5)
There are other committees, boards and special interest groups as well. Some of these are: the Council of Senior Druids, the Administrative Board, and other groups such as the Solitaries Special Interest Group. Guilds are organization-wide groups that focus on study and training in a particular area; many of these groups are involved in creating ADF Study Programs. Some of the Guilds include the Liturgist Guild, the Warriors’ Guild and Scholars’ Guild.
Local Branches —
Protogroves may be formed by one or two voting members in an area who are trying to start a grove. Protogrove status is usually granted as long as there is a publishable name and official mailing address.
Groves may be formed by three voting members in an area. Groves must also meet at least twice a lunar month for study or practice Druidism and must be chartered by the mother grove as a local congregation. Groves must perform eight public High Day rituals at year, perform quarterly community service, and meet other requirements set forth by the Mother Grove.
Henge of Keltria
The Henge of Keltria also has a complex structure. The day-to-day running of the Henge is done by a Board of Trustees, which at this time should be composed of three or more members from the membership of the Henge of Keltria elected for three years terms, and four officers: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. All but the treasurer are elected by the membership at the annual meeting. (6)
Theological direction is provided by a Council of Elders. This council is composed of no more than nine members elected from and by the active members of the Ring of Oak (see membership and training). The Council of Elders can override the Board of Directors and officers in all matters pertaining to the spiritual and philosophical goals of the organization. The spokesperson of the Council of Elders is the Arch-druid, who is elected from the Council of Elders.
Local Branches —
Groves may be created by three active members. Groves must apply to the Board of Trustees for a charter and be approved by the Council of Elders to become a Keltrian grove. A newly formed Grove is designated a “seed-grove” until the Council of Elders chooses to remove that designation after review of grove activities. Groves must meet at least once a month.
If the grove leader is a member of the Ring of Birch (or higher), then the grove may be designated as a “Birch Grove.” If the grove leader is a member of the Ring of Yew and at least two other members of the Grove are members of the Ring of Birch or higher, a grove may be designated as a “Yew Grove.” If a grove leader is a member of the Ring of Oak and at least two other members of the Grove are members of the Ring of Yew or higher, a grove may be designated as an “Oak Grove.”
Keltrian Study Groups are informal groups of people who gather to study Keltrian Druidism and regularly practice Keltrian ritual that may be formed by any member.
2020 note: URLs in the footnotes are from 2004. Those that still go to the same or similar information as before have active links. Whenever possible, I added revised or new links to similar information for each of these organizations at the end of the footnote. The Henge of Keltria has disbanded since I wrote this, but revised information is still available online.
- The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. ”Frequently Asked Questions.” n.d. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.druidry.org/obod/intro/faq.html> 2020: “Who runs the order? How is it structured?” Accessed 29 June 2020.
- The British Druid Order. Web site. Updated June 2004. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.druidorder.demon.co.uk/> 2020: This material is covered in the BDO FAQ. Accessed 29 June 2020.
- The Ancient Order of Druids in America. “Frequently Asked Questions.” n.d. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.aoda.org/FAQ.htm#Doesthe> 2020: The current structure is described in the Grand Grove Bylaws. Accessed 29 June 2020.
- Michael Scharding. “Simple Rules for Founding an RDNA Grove.” n.d. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/newgrove.html>
- Ár nDraíocht Féin. “ADF Organizational Structure.” Published 2003. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.adf.org/about/orgstructure.html> and Ár nDraíocht Féin. “The By-Laws of Ár nDraíocht Féin.” Published June 1, 2004. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.adf.org/about/bylaws.html> 2020: “ADF Organizational Structure” and “ADF Bylaws.”
- The Henge of Keltria. “The Henge of Keltria By-Laws.” Published 2003. Accessed July 16, 2004. <http://www.keltria.org/Acrobat/Bylaws03.pdf> 2020: The most recent by-laws were published in 2016.