The Origins of the Henge of Keltria

(Version 1.1)

(An Interview with Tony Taylor)

Copyright © 1997, 2005 c.e. by Ellen Evert Hopman

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book of interviews, Druids Today by Ellen Evert Hopman. It has permission for posting on the internet by the author and Tony Taylor (the interviewee, shown in the photo below).

“At the Pagan Spirit Gathering in 1986, five people, Tony Taylor, Pat Taylor, Ellen Evert Hopman, Michael, and Beth, after careful consideration created a list of concerns regarding Ár nDraíocht Féin. That list was taped on Isaac Bonewits’ van door. It was meant to be humorous in a way, mimicking Martin Luther and the Ninety-Five Theses that he nailed to the Wittenberg church door. At the same time there was a serious side. It outlined thirteen concerns, numbered “1-12...95,” which we felt were important enough to be addressed by Isaac and the ADF leadership. In our estimation a number of these issues warranted immediate attention. During the course of the following year, none of the identified concerns were adequately addressed, so Pat and I decided to leave ADF and found The Henge of Keltria.”

Photo of Tony Taylor“Our studies convinced us that Druidism was a Celtic phenomenon while ADF embraced Druidism encompassing the entire Indo-European world. Though other Indo-Europeans performed similar practices, they didn’t have an organized priest class referred to as Druids. Therefore, Keltria would be specifically Celtic in its focus. To be a grove associated with Ár nDraíocht Féin required conducting public rituals. Rituals held in city parks and other public spaces were compulsory. We believed that spiritual attainment and religious activity should be a private affair. Casual gawkers and people not participating are distracting and inappropriate, therefore, Keltrian rituals would be invitational and take place in someone’s home or a private space outdoors.”

“Ár nDraíocht Féin had no magic rites at that time; there were no mysteries. The scholarship of ADF was stimulating and a wonderful thing to be a part of, but mysticism, which is an important part of religion, was nonexistent in their practice. A magickal rite reserved for trained initiates needed to be created addressing the mystical needs of the participants. Through a combination of research and inspiration, certain Celtic myths were selected and adapted for ritual performance. That was the birth of Keltria’s initiation, elevations and Vervain Rite.”

A Note by Isaac

I seem to recall a few of the details being somewhat different <G> but certainly there were multiple communication problems within ADF at the time Keltria started. Keltria was neither the first nor the last group to branch off from ADF because they wanted a private, closed group rather than a public, open one (though why they joined ADF in the first place, knowing our intentions, is another question). A few more details about Keltria can be found on my Current Druid Groups & Friends page here on my website, or you can visit the Keltria Website. One thing that I found very amusing, some ten or twelve years after Keltria branched off from ADF, was a conversation I had with Pat Taylor in which she said, “You know all those beaureaucratic rules in ADF that we objected to so much in the beginning? We’ve wound up having to institute most of them in Keltria!” Time, tide and the Internal Revenue Service affect all public religious organizations, sooner or later. :)

Copyright © 1997, 2005 c.e., Ellen Evert Hopman. This text file may not be freely distributed on the Net.

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