A druidic return to Portugal

Well, technically it may be a first, as little if anything at all that indicates the existence of druids in pre-Roman western Iberia. And they’re not the first Pagan group in Portugal, given that there’s a section of the Pagan Federation in Portugal for several years now (even if their website was last updated in 2007).

Regardless, the word is out! Yesterday’s online edition of the newspaper i had a report on the official establishment of the OBOD in Portugal (available here). Their headquarters is in the House of the Faun, in the heart of Sintra, a town located several miles west of Lisbon, near the westernmost point of Europe, and in an mountainous area that has been associated with everything religious for thousands of years, from the cult of the sun and moon, to Arab and Christian mystics and more modern esoteric groups.

There have been members of the Order of the Bards, Ovates, and Druids in Portugal since the 1980s, but only now has their presence been formalized and the existence of a Portuguese section of the Order officially established, after a ceremony was conducted at Sintra on May 1st (photos here). According to what a member said to the newspaper, it was a Summer ritual to Belenus, which also included a presentation of the theorical essentials of modern druidism and a harp concert. This was also the only semi-public ceremony, being their first: the next ones, it seems, will be secret.

In light of the recent discussion on Pagan and polytheist, which has already developed into a full debate at Patheos, I think it goes without saying that I don’t identify myself with the pagan label used by the OBOD and would point out the differences between what little is know of the historical druids and modern groups derived from ceremonial and esoteric traditions with little Celtic connections. However, and as Jason Pitzl-Waters recently said at the Wild Hunt, that shouldn’t prevent a common front when it comes to attaining legal recognition and rights and, in that sense, the OBOD has just made a contribution in Portugal, where religious dialogue is almost always dominated by the Abrahamic three.

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