Beloved Druid Prayer Calls for Social Justice
Updated: Jan 25
My friends over at Sylvan Celtic Fellowship posted this commentary on a Druid prayer that has special resonance at this time of social unrest and calls for justice within the black community. I love it and am sharing it here in its entirety.
"In Druidry, we use a prayer that we often recite together when standing in a great circle at Stonehenge or on Glastonbury Tor. Called the Druid’s Prayer, it was written by Welshman Iolo Morganwg just over 200 hundred years ago. The version we use in the Order of Bards Ovates & Druids goes like this:
"Grant, O God/Goddess/Gods/Great Spirit thy protection, And in protection, strength, And in strength, understanding, And in understanding, knowledge, And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice, And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it, And in the love of it, the love of all existences, And in the love of all existences, the love of God/Goddess/Gods/Great Spirit (or: the Earth our Mother) and all goodness.
"When you hear it recited in a big group, it turns into a shambles right at the beginning. Some say, 'Grant, O God,' others, 'Grant, O Goddess,' others say, 'God & Goddess,' others, 'O Gods,' others, 'O Great Spirit.' This chaos is a good thing. There is no dogma in Druidry, no mandated theological stance. We celebrate this diversity. Unanimity is soon restored in the lines that follow, and the chaos only returns at the end, when Deity is invoked once more.
"Some people balk when they hear the term "justice" being used in this prayer. It conjures up images of authoritarianism--of aggressive policing. But they’ve misunderstood, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than if we look at what happened in Minneapolis a few days ago when a policeman murdered a man brazenly in the street undeterred by the knowledge he was being filmed and that people were calling out for him to stop.
"Justice is what every human being requires as a fundamental right, and that is why the fury has broken out in reaction to that apalling act. Racial justice, climate justice, social justice. The modern Druid movement stands for these values, and I am proud that one of our founding figures, Iolo Morganwg, wrote those lines of the Druid Prayer. I'm proud, too, to know that outside a shop Morganwg ran in Cowbridge, in the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales, was a sign saying that the sugar he sold was from plantations that employed no slaves. He also refused a legacy from his brothers, whose plantations in Jamaica used slave labour.
"Druids pray for the 'knowledge of justice and the love of it.' They pray for peace, too, and after sending peace to each of the 4 directions in a Druid ritual, everyone in the circle--every colour, gender, race and age who is gathered there--says: 'May there be peace throughout the whole world.'"