Saturday, October 2, 2010

Anne Johnson

Hello and Happy Saturday All!

Thank you so much to Noor for sharing her very interesting and unique journey with us! A fascinating read, one you really should check out if you haven't already done so. Thanks for sharing with us Noor!

This week we have a new post so please welcome Anne Johnson.
Anne is a Druid and I know you will enjoy her journey as well.

Here Is Anne's Introduction:

My name is Anne Johnson. Really.
I am a practicing Druid, not officially affiliated with any American or British Druid organization. I came to Druidism slowly over a lifetime of feeling the energy of the land and water in the Appalachian Mountains where I was born and raised. I'm a former professional writer with five published books -- but that was in the 20th century. Now I work as an English teacher at a Vocational School serving students from Camden, New Jersey. Although I no longer live in the mountains, they live in me.

"The Gods Are Bored,"

1) What religion do you practice?
I participate in Druid Rituals but consider myself an "omnitheist." I made up that word! Nice, huh? It means basically that I believe in all Gods and Goddesses of every religion, no matter how great or how small.
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
Prior to converting, I was a Protestant Christian. I gradually moved away from the Christian faith because, over time, it made less and less sense to me. I basically rejected the "one true religion" idea and began to have more respect for all the varied faith paths out there.

What did I need to do to convert to Druidism? I just had to find the right campsite in the park where they met. That was a challenge. It is a big park, and they didn't have a sign. But I found them.

At any rate, it's quite easy these days to find Druids on the Internet. There are no initiation requirements, but Druids are encouraged to read and study any or all aspects of the Craft. Being of a Bardic nature, I have read and memorized ancient Celtic poetry and have read texts on Celtic deities and Faerie. I suggest the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids Web site for anyone interested in knowing more about Celtic Druidism.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
As applies to religion, I consider myself tolerant of all faiths but very wary of any that make exclusionary claims or seek converts by showering other religions with disrespect.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
It's reasonable! Who has the right to go to Congo and tell the people there that their deities aren't as good as other people's? What if the Congolese deity is the One True God? Let's put it this way. Just because Interstate 75 goes fairly straight from Detroit to Tampa, that doesn't mean it's the only way to get from Detroit to Tampa. All paths deserve respect.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
I don't like speaking for other people. That's my whole point.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
In my view, there are numerous heavens in which followers of numerous deities find the satisfaction those deities promised, either in book or oral form. Since I believe in all faiths, I intend to flit from one paradise to another. Any gate that opens, I'll go in.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Not everyone goes to the same heaven/paradise, so I suppose you make your plans according to your particular religion and its requirements.
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
Druidism celebrates the circularity of the seasons and the points of the year in which we sow, tend, harvest, and rest. One needn't be a farmer to appreciate this. It's metaphorical. However, most of my ancestors were farmers, so the seasonal nature of Druidism suits me. It's like walking in the fields of my forebears.

One of the aspects of Druidism I most particularly cherish is the outdoor Ritual. The Gods grant us all the elements -- sunshine, wind, rain, snow. We show our appreciation by honoring the Gods out in these elements. What cathedral choir can compete with the call of the wren?

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
We observe eight Rituals a year, the main ones being Imbolc (February 2), Beltain (May 1), Lughnasadh (August 1), and Samhain (October 31). Others at solstices and equinoxes. I love the fact that Halloween retains many of its ancient rites. Beltain is regaining its May Day flavor too. My Druid Grove (group) holds Ritual in a local park for each holy day, and after our ceremony -- it lasts about 40 minutes -- we celebrate as the weather dictates. Indoors at a cheery pub in the winter, outdoors picnicking or hiking in the summer.
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
If I didn't, I'd be one lonely puppy.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I will gladly and joyfully celebrate anyone else's holy day, so long as I'm not expected to endorse their deity as the One and Only.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Anyone who wants to follow that path should be able to. Anyone who doesn't should not have it forced upon them.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
Any woman who wants to be a religious leader should find a religion that allows her to do so. There are plenty to choose from, none any better than the others.
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
My place of worship does not segregate. It's outdoors. People can bring their pets if they like!
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
I think people have a misconception about paths such as Druidism and Wicca; namely, that we lack a moral compass. My faith is as grounded in morality and decency as any other. If we Druids/Wiccans have any special characteristics, it would have to be our love of, and concern for, our great planet. Therefore I try to make daily decisions based on how they could harm others or Nature.

My religion does not affect my views on abortion or gay marriage. That's politics.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
Given the number of Pagans in America today, I confidently predict that my children will marry outside my faith. I won't care unless I wind up with a bunch of in-laws who tell me I'll be going to Hell.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
They will go to the Heaven or Hell of their religious path.
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
Although some Druids advocate formal training in order to be deemed a clergy person, there's no particular rigorous academics required to speak for Druidism. I think in England there are more outspoken Druids, but I don't disagree with their agenda, which is mostly about preserving ancient sites like Stonehenge and Tara.
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
A largish May Day festival that I attend every year has drawn some vocal protesters from some fringe Christian fundamentalist sect. I feel very sad for those protesters. They don't gain any points for their deity by being so nasty.
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Anyone who feels devalued by their religion should book with another carrier. Shop around! You're sure to find a path where you'll be valued.
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes, but the Gods don't dole it out. I am at least partly responsible for my own peace of mind.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
Personally I struggle with the concept, but it's like the burka -- if you want to believe in it, find a path that endorses it. I like to joke that in my past lives I was a slave who died young, a slave who died young, a slave who died young, and a slave who died young.


  1. Thanks Anne, that was entertaining. I do not practice your religion but I agree with your practice as written here. It reminds me of my own life, prayer, devotion; whatever It is I am doing.

  2. ah, my friend Anne. She follows her own path and is open to all other paths.

  3. I just found this fascinating blog through Anne's blog. What a cool idea! Am subbing.

    I am seminary (one that emphasizes multi-religious education and social justice) and this blog is something I think my fellow students will appreciate. Will share it.

    Lily, aka Witch Mom

  4. Thank you so much Lily!
    I'm honoured you'd share it with your students!

  5. >> I won't care unless I wind up with a bunch of in-laws who tell me I'll be going to Hell.

    If someone tells me that I have to do something religiously or I'm going to Hell then I just dismiss it out of hand.

  6. Hi, found your article pretty interesting. I recently read a little about Druids and this one book explained something about their Trinity. Have you been taught about a Trinity, and is it part of the lore about Druidism? St Patrick supposedly got the idea for a trinity from the Druid lore.