About the Ancient Order of Druids in America
Founded in 1912 as the American branch of the Ancient and Archaeological Order of Druids, AODA is a traditional Druid order rooted in the Druid Revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, offering an opportunity for modern people to experience the teachings and practices of Druidry in today’s world. We don’t claim direct descent from the original Druids—the priestly caste of ancient Britain, Ireland, and Gaul, which went extinct around 1,200 years ago—and to be honest, we’re skeptical of any group that does make that claim. Instead, like other modern Druid groups, the AODA evolved out of a 300-year-old movement, the Druid Revival, that found the fragmentary legacy of the ancient Druids a powerful source of inspiration and insight and drew on a wide range of sources in shaping a nature spirituality to meet the challenges of today.
AODA offers an initial ceremony of reception into the Order, followed by three degrees of initiation – Apprentice, Companion, and Adept – which are conferred upon completion of a graded study program. The focus of AODA is on the spiritual development of the individual, not on group work, and most of our members are solitary. Qualified members may request charters to form home circles,study groups and groves, which exist to further the work of the order.
The Gnostic Celtic Church, an independent church affiliated with AODA, offers a program of study and training for deacons, priest and priestesses, and bishops. AODA’s Grand Grove oversees the Order, charters study groups and Groves, manages the curriculum, and preserves the teachings and traditions of the order.
In keeping with the traditions of Revival Druidry, the AODA encourages its members to pursue their own spiritual directions within a broad common framework, and its approach to spirituality is personal and experiential rather than dogmatic. Membership is open to men and women of all religious, cultural, national, and ethnic backgrounds. The initiation rituals and study program are prescribed, and AODA members are expected to keep four traditional Druid holy days, the solstices and equinoxes. Creativity and the quest for personal Awen – the inner light of inspiration – are among the AODA’s central values.
Some of What It Means to be AODA
Here are some images of works, projects, and interests of our members.