ADF's Involvement in the

The Druid's Awen Quest


A History of Actions

NOTE: This page is under construction and will be updated as further information is scanned in.

We start this history in early 2004. Ellen Hopman and Craig Melia,co-leaders of the Order of the Whiteoak, started the quest to add the Awen symbol for Druid groups to the list of acceptable symbols for VA Headstones.

Here is part of her story in Ellen's own words:

"June 25, 2007

In 2004, I took it upon myself to begin the process of getting a symbol for Druid vets headstones. The Pentagram symbol was being lobbied for by Pagans, and Wiccans and Druids were helping in that effort. But the Pentagram is not an appropriate symbol for Druid vets. I, Craig Melia and members of the Order of the Whiteoak (Ord na Darach Gile), came up with a number of potential symbols including variations such as oak leaf clusters, oak leaves and acorns, oak leaves and a torque and two versions of the Awen symbol, one with just three lines and one with three lines and three dots. Craig Melia, the current Co-Chief of Whiteoak, did the graphics.

We sent the symbols out to all major Druid Orders in the US for a vote and eventually after many months; the verdict came in for the simple three-line Awen symbol. I began the process of asking the heads of the various Orders to provide letters of support for the chosen symbol so that we could petition the VA. (Every time I wrote to the VA, I was told their rules were in the process of revision and later they said that until we had a deceased Druid vet who was requesting the symbol, nothing more could be done).

I created a packet for Druids in the military to use so that they would have all the requested information for the VA readily available, in the event there was a need for a Druid vet's headstone. The packets were mailed out to the heads of all major US Druid Orders.

With the recent victory regarding the Pentagram symbol for Wiccan vets, I hope we will soon see the day when Druid vets will be similarly honored for service to their country.

Ellen Evert Hopman (Saille)
Co-Chief Order of the Whiteoak - World Druid Council (Ord na Darach Gile)"

As soon as ADF learned about this quest, we added our voice to the process and sent the first letter below under ADF, on 11/17/04. Unfortunately, this letter, along with those sent by other Druid organizations, didn't generate much of a response. Although it appeared that the quest was at a standstill, all of the organizations were heartened by the progress being made in the Pentacle quest by Selena Fox and the Lady Liberty League.

All of the Druid organizations continued to send out letters, and as Ellen said in her letter above, she began to gather a packet of information that was sent out to organizations helping in the quest. Much of the information below comes from that packet that ADF received.

In April of 2007, we received the very welcome news that the Pentacle had finally won approval. Now we could concentrate our attention on the Awen symbol!

On July 4, 2007, a large group of Pagans gathered in Washington at Lafayette Square Park, directly across from the White House, to rally for our religious rights. See for more information. Several people talked about their involvement and the progress that had been made with the various quests to get symbols approved, and then we took part in a wonderful ritual led by Diana Paxson. A copy of the speech that I gave at that rally is linked in the table below.

This ritual called upon the founding fathers to help speed up the process, so we would be given recognition for our symbols. As well as being well attended, with a crowd estimated at 225 people, parts of it were filmed for a BBC documentary. Overall, I think it went very well. A few pictures from that rally can be found here - rally pictures.

We are still held up in gaining recognition for the Awen symbol because of the VA's rule that a symbol won't be approved until there is an "immediate need" for it. In other words, a Druid veteran must die before they will give it out! I find that logic completely irrational, and will continue the work to get it changed.

Information relevant to the quest.

The PDF files below are mainly local links but you may require  PDF conversion to another file type if you are more comfortable with Word for instance. We  hope you use these to gather information as more Pagan rights rallies are planned thorough the country.

Organization/Other Category

In Alphabetical Order

Local link

Outside link

Opens in new window

Ancient Order of Druids in America ( AODA)
AODA letter to the VA on 10/18/04
PDF file 258K  
AODA letter to the VA on 12/4/05
PDF file 721K  
Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF)

ADF letter to the VA on 11/17/04

PDF file 248K  
ADF letter to the VA on 1/9/06
PDF file 772K  
Henge of Keltria (HoK)
HoK letter to the VA on 10/15/04
PDF file 834K  
HoK letter to the VA on 4/10/06
PDF file 227K  
Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA)   Website
RDNA letter to the VA on 1/25/05
PDF file 565K  
RDNA letter to the VA on 11/28/05
PDF file 1.74M  
The Order of Whiteoak - Ord na Darach Gile (OoWO)   Website
OoWO internal letter (copy sent to the VA) - 11/25/04
PDF file 307K  
OoWO letter to the VA - 12/27/04
PDF file 670K  
OoWO letter to the VA - 2/2/05
PDF file 257K  
VA response to OoWO - 3/25/05
PDF file 233K  
OoWO letter to the VA - 6/1/05
PDF file 203K  
VA response to OoWO - 10/4/05
PDF file 373K  
VA response to OoWO - 11/1/05
PDF file 296K  
OoWO letter to the VA - 11/28/05
PDF file 523K  
OoWO letter to the VA - 8/11/06
PDF file 569K  
Letters from Individuals    
Jim Harris - 5/21/07
PDF file 26K  
Brock Silverhand - 5/28/05
PDF file 318K  
Donald Taylor - 11/7/04
PDF file 213K  
Pagan Religious Rights Rally   Website
Skip's Speech
PDF file 15K  
Related Articles    
Witchvox article by Ellen Hopman - "What is a Druid?"
PDF file 230K Website
VA documents    
Headstone Application packet
PDF file 1.8M Website
Changes to the procedures