Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA)

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The Reformed Druids of North America (and their myriad offshoots) are an oddity amongst the modern Druid movement, which it founded in the United States in 1963.

The RDNA began as a protest against mandatory regular chapel attendance at Carleton College in Minnesota. There was a loophole allowing students to attend services in their own religion. Some members decided to hold their own religious services, in a religion of their own independent creation, drawing from available published Celtic studies. If their activities were accepted, they would mock the requirement; if denied, they would claim discrimination. Within a year, the requirement was dropped, the Druids claimed victory and strangely chose not to disband, but continue to seek for Awareness together.

Their focus was primarily on Nature for inspiration, but they eclectically drew from a vast array of cultures around the world. With a rotating student body, the Carleton Grove is currently led by the 41st and 42nd co-Arch-Druids; while some graduating members go off to form new groves throughout the country.

Only 10% of 3000 known RDNA members choose to function in active groves, often preferring participation in main-stream faiths, or following solitary paths. In 2004, there are about 40 groves and protogroves in a loose confederacy, with no central grove; although Carleton remains an honored location.

Each authochthonos grove decides the make-up of their own constitution and theme of focus, and thus, their actions have no bearing on other groves. Most priests of the third order belong to the national Council of Dalon Ap Landu, which set up unanimous non-discriminatory rules and strong limits on the practicable powers of their own priesthood, before becoming functionally unwieldy and inactive in the 1970s. As a result, there is no ability to coordinate Druidism on an inter-grove level, except in small voluntary alliances.

The RDNA has steadily produced many magazines since the 1970s, established a massive international archives of materials from other groups, published several thousand pages of free anthologies of their own non-dogmatic (& often humorous) material; of which "A Reformed Druid Anthology" is the largest incarnation.

The most famous person to join the scattered groves of the RDNA was Isaac Bonewits at the Berkeley Grove in 1968, who quickly became a prominent member of the Neo-pagan fluorescence of the 1970s.

Unable to convince other groves to accept firmer practical organizational structures along a neo-pagan theme, Isaac Bonewits went off to found the large and influential Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) in 1982/3 in an attempt to create legally recognized Druidic churches, which narrowly focused on rebuilding an Indo-European range of ancient religions.

The Henge of Keltria soon broke off from ADF in 1986/7 to focus on a Celtic range of cultures. Dozens of other splinter groups from RDNA, ADF & HK have existed on an off through the years. Most still use the Druid Sigil of the RDNA (a circle with 2 lines) as a unifying symbol of the family tree of Druidism in America. Naturally, this is but one view of our history, yea, one view among many.


A Druid Missal-Any seasonal magazine editor:

Largest website:

Online discussion group: RDNAtalk on the website.

From: Michael Scharding. Used with permission.