CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

CESNUR 2006 International Conference
July 13-16, 2006
San Diego State University, San Diego, California
Religion, Globalization, and Conflict: International Perspectives

Pathways To Druidry: A Case Study of Ár nDraíocht Féin

by Michael T. COOPER, Ph.D. (Trinity International University, Deerfield Illinois, USA)

A paper presented at the CESNUR 2006 International Conference. Please do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author


With the relatively recent understanding that the cultural context of contemporary Western society is not as secular as once believed, a re-enchantment is being identified.  One expression of this re-enchantment is exemplified in the revival of pre-Christian European native religions, more commonly referred to as Paganism or Neopaganism.  Neopaganism has risen in a post-Christian context from old European traditions.  In its varied expressions, it has raised the question of whether the West was ever disenchanted.  After a millennia and a half of suppression, Paganism, along with its ideals of egalitarianism, pantheism and environmental responsibility, criticizes Western Christian hegemony for its oppressive nature.  This paper will look explicitly at Druidry as one recent expression, or reconstruction, of the newer face of Paganism.  One religious insider articulates this expression simply, “Far from Weber’s ‘disenchantment’ of the world, [Druidry’s] worldview involves exactly the opposite: a radical ‘re-enchantment.’”[i]

After defining and situating Druidry in the context of Pagan religions, this essay will examine the emergence of one particular movement in North America, Ár nDraíocht Féin (arn ree-ocht fane [ADF]) also know as A Druid Fellowship or literally as Our Druid Fellowship.  The essay will suggest that North Americans continue to be very religious and some forms of this religiosity are congruent with the spirituality of contemporary Druids.  The paper discusses themes that make up pathways to ADF, such as religious identity and legitimacy of multiple faith expressions, which have contributed to the resurgence of Druidry in Western society.  Finally, the paper discusses conversion theory, utilizing the Lofland-Stark model, in light of the testimonies of adherents.

Research Description

Data collection on Paganism has been well established as difficult, but not unfeasible.  Due in part to the secretive nature of religious rituals, participant observation can be challenging.  Access to such events is generally limited to adherents.[ii]  The data for this paper is part of a larger research project attempting to understand the religious beliefs of contemporary Druids.  It has progressed for five years and, along with participant observations of religious rituals, has culminated to date in nearly 70 ethnographic interviews mainly with the use of the Internet and electronic mail.[iii]  The research project is attempting to outline Druid beliefs and compare them to the Western religious landscape.  The majority of respondents represent two of the world’s largest Druid organizations: the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and ADF.  The ethnographic data for this essay comes from interviews with 26 members of ADF.  Data has also been gathered from 30 autobiographical sketches of leaders of ADF posted on the ADF website (www.adf.org).

The use of the Internet in research has recently attracted the attention of the academic community.[iv]  Although traditional ethnography has depended upon the physical displacement of the researcher into a community that is geographically located, sociologists have a growing interest and acceptance of “virtual ethnography” in virtual communities that are located on the Internet.[v]  Similarly, anthropology, even though a relatively recent interest, is increasingly open to academic enquiry on the Internet.[vi]  While there is interest in this type of research, there are also issues yet to be resolved.

One issue confronting research framed in the context of the Internet is that of community.  One informant was aware of the effect of being a participant in a “cyber-community,”

Although the ADF organization really resonates with me, my experience with it up until this point has been through email lists rather than meeting anyone in person which may limit my interaction or impressions of others’ full personalities, practices, or beliefs, so my views of Druidry may or may not accord with the views of others.[vii]

While outside the focus of the study, the research suggests that technology has little effect on the views of members.  Samuel Wilson and Leighton Peterson suggest that “the distinction of real and imagined or virtual communities is not a useful one, and that an anthropological approach is well suited to investigate the continuum of communities, identities, and networks that exist . . . regardless of the ways in which community members interact.”[viii]  Margot Adler notes that Pagans are generally optimistic about the use of technology.[ix]  For many, according to Adler’s research, the computer is the best way to communicate with other Pagans.[x]  According to Robert Kraut, et al. interpersonal communication is the primary use of the Internet.[xi]

Still another issue is that of access or what has been termed the “cyberspace divide.”[xii]  In the United States only fifty percent of households own personal computers and only fifty percent of these are connected to the Internet.[xiii]  The worldwide estimate of on-line use is approximately 0.01 percent.[xiv]  Interestingly, however, Alder estimated that 21 percent of Pagans work in the computer technology field and many Pagans believe that 80 percent of the community actively uses computers.[xv]

New ethical issues also arise in conducting Internet interviews.  For example, the use of e-mail and discussion groups does not necessarily secure the anonymity of the user.  On the other hand, chat rooms and discussion forums, while permitting anonymity, do not assure the researcher that the participant’s identity on-line is the same as the identity in public social discourse.[xvi]  Wilson and Peterson suggest that although the American Anthropological Association Code of Ethics does not explicitly deal with virtual research it should nonetheless apply to online as it does to face-to-face research.[xvii]

The benefits of Internet usage for interviews and surveys are great.  The Internet opens up opportunities to interview individuals from different continents simultaneously while potentially maintaining daily contact with participants.[xviii]  In this, participants, such as Druids who might be otherwise socially marginalized, can participate from the safety of their environment.  Studies have shown that email surveys are returned at a greater rate than surveys returned via post.  Similarly, web page based surveys can speed up the data collection process and have been demonstrated to generate many responses in a short period of time.[xix]

Defining Druidry

In her study of Celticity on the Internet, Monica Emerich identified two types of movements with Celtic origins.  First, a revivalist movement is understood to utilize history simply as a starting point for the development of religious practices.  Thus, revivalist movements incorporate traditions and practices of other Pagan religions since many Celtic practices are unrecoverable.  Revivalist movements are typically labeled neo-Pagan since they are adding something new to their historical understanding.  Second, a reconstructionist movement places greater import on history and believes that ancient practices can be discovered and reconstructed by studying archaeology, epigraphs, historical records, folk traditions and the insular literature of the United Kingdom.[xx]

Admittedly, just as there is confusion regarding the definition of Paganism, there is also confusion over the understanding of Druidry as a revivalist or reconstructionist religion.  Michael York’s threefold taxonomy for Paganism is instructive: geopaganism, neopaganism and recopaganism.  He suggests that geopaganism’s core expression of religiosity is found in the veneration of nature.  It is typically a folk religion by nature.  Neopaganism is understood as religions that have created historically unidentifiable practices such as the Wheel of the Year.  While Druidry does follow this cyclical calendar based on nature, it best fits with what York calls recopaganism, “Recopaganisms are the various attempts at reconstructing or reviving particular pagan traditions of the past.”[xxi]   Thus, for the purpose of this essay the definition of Druidry as a reconstructionist religion is preferable.  One informant trying to explain ADF Druidry stated:

ADF Druidry is a reconstruction religion.  We do this by researching history, archaeology and the way humans lived and their belief systems and their migrations.[xxii]

Since this study is focused on one Druid organization and its members, it is important to understand how they self-identify.  ADF describes Druidry in the following manner:

NeoPagan Druidry is a group of religions, philosophies and ways of life, rooted in ancient soil yet reaching for the stars.  We are part of the larger NeoPagan movement, one of the world’s most vital and creative new religious awakenings.  Like much of that movement we are polytheistic nature worshippers, working with the best aspects of the Pagan religions of our predecessors within a modern scientific, artistic, ecological and wholistic context using a nondogmatic and pluralistic approach.[xxiii]

One informant responding to my initial contact described ADF as follows:

There are other Druid churches just as there are Christian churches other than the EFCA [Evangelical Free Church of America].  And just as your beliefs may differ from those of, say, the Byzantine Catholic Church of Slovakia, so may ours differ from other Druid churches.  In fact, since ADF is pan Indo-European in nature, our beliefs may differ from Grove to Grove, i.e. one Grove may have a Celtic focus while another may have a Slavic focus.  In this way we are similar to the EFCA, or at least my understanding of the EFCA, which is, I believe, an association of independent congregations with a central mission but no central dogma.[xxiv]

Isaac Bonewits, founder and first Archdruid of ADF, defined Druidry in light of its relationship with the pre-Christian expression.  As such, Druidry is a Neo-Pagan religion.  By this Bonewits meant that ADF would be a new expression of an ancient religion or what he termed paleo-Paganism.  Those religious group that incorporate elements of Christianity or other religious elements were thought of as meso-Paganism.  These distinctions do not seem to be of necessary importance for adherents.  Some insight is gained from one informant’s comment on the subject:

As for myself, I respond with a shameless yes to both terms.  I am a Pagan and a Neo-Pagan.  I find, however, as time goes on, that I call myself Pagan more and more, rather than Neo-Pagan.  Probably because I’ve been a Pagan for ten and a half years now.  I’m not exactly new to it anymore.[xxv]

Nonetheless, ADF is a revivalist movement of Paganism with an explicit attempt to tie into ancient pre-Christian Druidic beliefs. 

Brief History of North American Druidry

North American Druidry began as a result of protests against compulsory chapel at Carleton College in Minnesota.  The Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) dates its founding in 1963.  The founders never intended to form a religion and did not expect that it would continue after their departure from college.  RDNA did not draw from any historical sources to form its identity.  As such, Bonewits would refer to it as meso-Paganism.  Many who participated in the movement ultimately returned to their previous faith.  Some have suggested that RDNA did have similarities with the United Ancient Order of Druids (a split from Henry Hurle’s the Ancient Order of Druids) as well as with other fraternal orders along the lines of freemasonry.[xxvi]

ADF began as a split from RDNA.  In 1968 Robert Larson, archdruid and cofounder of RDNA, left Carleton ungraduated and formed a Druid grove in Berkeley, California.  Fascinated with pre-Christian Paganism, he found a following in “Hippie-dom” where ultimately his most notable disciple, Isaac Bonewits, would begin ADF.[xxvii]  Bonewits, having become a priest in 1969, would attempt to move RDNA from its meso-Pagan[xxviii] origins into neo-Paganism, however, without success. 

I’ve studied, practiced and written about many different forms of magic and religion over the years, yet always I find myself going back to Druidism. Many people have written to me to tell of similar spiritual histories, of their knowledge that they are meant to walk the Druid Path. Yet what can we, who wish to worship and to grow as Neopagan Druids, do for fellowship? The Masonic Druids have much to teach us, yet they are not Neopagan. The “Druidic” traditions of Wicca are interesting, but they’re not really very Druidic. The members of the RDNA have no interest at all in being organized by anyone, nor in recruiting and training would-be Neopagan Druids. There doesn’t seem to be any organized group of people trying to reconstruct what the Paleopagan Druids actually believed and did, nor trying to apply such knowledge to creating a Neopagan religion fit for the Space Age.[xxix]

In 1984 Bonewits laid out his vision for a Neopagan Druidry that would ultimately result in the formation of ADF:

The purpose of this letter is an announcement of, and an invitation for your participation in, the creation of a new Neopagan religion: Ár nDraíocht Féin. The Irish words [pronounced “arn ree-ocht fane”] mean “Our own Druidism,” and that’s what I have in mind — a brand new form of Druidism, not just Pan-Celtic, but Pan-European. [By this latter term, I mean to include all of the European branches of the Indo-European culture and language tree — Celtic, Germanic, Slavic, Baltic, even the pre-Classical Greek & Roman.] Paradoxically, this would resemble the original Paleopagan Druidism far more than any efforts of the last thousand years. It would be based on the best scholarly research available, combined with what has been learned [about art, psychology, small group politics and economics] through the theory and practice of modern Neopaganism, and my own knowledge of [the polytheological and practical details] magical and religious phenomena.[xxx]

However, on 1 January 1996 the founding Archdruid resigned declaring, along with personal health issues,

It is also true that I am tired of fighting to maintain our standards in training and liturgy, of the constant backbiting and gossip that has replaced actual work for many of our members and some officers, of egalitarian campaigns to cripple my office, and of sanctimonious efforts to silence me from expressing controversial opinions. All of these are, of course, common human behaviors for members of all religions. I just don’t have the physical and mental stamina to handle them anymore.[xxxi]

Bonewits comments that the transition went smoothly and he remains Archdruid Emeritus of the order.  It would be presumptuous to suggest that the two years of negative growth (see Table 1) provoked the resignation, but it is nevertheless a possible correlation that should be explored.  Whatever the case, ADF grew rather significantly after Bonewits’ resignation (100 plus new members by November 1996).  The growth of ADF has remained relatively sporadic over the years, perhaps in part due to leadership changes.  Since 1984, ADF has had three archdruids beginning with Bonewits (1984-1996), Fox (1996-2001) and finally Skip Ellison (2001-present).  Ellison indicates that as of March 2005 ADF has 49 groves with a membership of 957.  Presently, ADF claims 58 groves.[xxxii]

ADF Growth Since 1984



% Growth



































































Table 1: Growth of ADF since 1984

Overall, the growth of Druidry is difficult to estimate due to a lack of data.  Based on more than 50,000 phone interviews, the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) suggests that there are 33,000 self-identified Druids in the United States.  Compared to Wicca, Druids number almost 100,000 adherents less.  However, if the growth rate of Wicca were at all an indicator of the potential growth rate of Druidry it would be among the fastest growing religions in the United States.

Growth Rates Comparison of Selected Pagan Religions in the United States[xxxiii]



Total Adherents

Annual Growth Rate





















New Age




Table 2: Growth Rates Comparison of Selected Pagan Religions

Pathways to Ár nDraíocht Féin

There are many reasons why people choose to affiliate with a religious movement.  In discussing this issue, it is important to hear from those who profess an affiliation with a religious movement.  While some might object to the terminology of affiliation and prefer conversion as the optimal word, ADF adherents would not talk of themselves as converts.  Nevertheless, Rodney Stark and Roger Finke have defined conversion succinctly as “shifts across religious traditions.”[xxxvi]  As will be seen, in most cases “conversion” as taken place.  In some cases, the affiliation with ADF was in line with what Stark and Finke define as reaffiliation, “shifts within religious traditions,”[xxxvii] if one understands Paganism or Wicca as a religious tradition.

Best describes your journey to ADF


Was Christian


Was other Pagan


No Indication


Was Wiccan


Was other non-Christian Religion


Was agnostic


Was atheist


Table 3: Journey to ADF

There are at least three recurring themes that practitioners have indicated as having contributed to their affiliation with ADF (other themes that might be explored at some point in another study are the role of Isaac Bonewits, religious switching between Pagan groups or the contribution of printed material and friends).  These themes, or pathways if you will, while significant, have worked in most instances concomitantly and have opened the door to further exploration of religious affiliation.  While there are identifiable organizational/structural components to ADF’s growth, they fall outside of the scope of this essay.  The focus here will be on practitioners self-understanding as they walked down the various paths to Druidry.  One informant summed up her journey succinctly and it is representative of many who are on a similar journey, “My interest in earth based religion, my own Celtic ancestry, past life memories of being a Druid, experiences with geographically specific energies/entities, a love of scholarly pursuits, history, social anthropology all this created my following the path.”[xxxviii]

Disillusion with Western Christianity

One common recurring theme was adherents’ disillusionment with Christianity.  Western Christianity, in spite of its religious dominance in North America, is increasingly considered as unable to answer the questions of the post-Christian West.  Druids look at the Christian era as one of destruction and futility.  To them, Christianity has been an oppressive force that has stifled the position of women and disregarded the environment.  Druids have characterized Western Christianity as having an emphasis on the primacy of the male as normative for humanity, not to mention its disregard for nature in the name of progress.[xxxix]  Similarly, it is characterized by its emphasis on reason at the expense of the imagination.  Its reliance on rationalism resulted in the demythologization of the universe.  The spiritual and intellectual link in Christianity has not permitted the mysteries tolerated by other religions.[xl]

Rodney Stark remarks, “That elements of paganism survive is one of the remarkable omissions of contemporary perceptions of religion in Europe.”[xli]  Similarly, Hutton concludes, “So the Church in many ways lost the battle with magic in the course of the Middle Ages.  Its councils continued from time to time to forbid lists of occults practices, but failed to root them out, even from its own clergy.”[xlii]  On the one hand the nature of Christianity in Western society is somewhat syncretistic, but simultaneously it is also superficial.  Both aspects of Christianity will be discussed later.  In the meantime, it is no surprise that many practitioners of Druidry have come from church backgrounds.  Thirty-seven percent of ADF interviewees were once a part of some Christian denomination. 

Philip Carr-Gomm suggests that the resurgence of Druidry is due to the failing of “established” religions to meet the spiritual needs of people as well as the environmental crisis brought on by the dualism and authoritarianism of these religions.[xliii]  It critiques monotheism as unfavorable to pluralism since it posits one God who imposes one truth on the entire human race.[xliv]  With this in mind, several interviewees expressed their disillusionment with Christianity.  For example, one informant commented,

Christianity today: I think much of it is NOT Christ like. I truly think Jesus would be very ashamed of what “his” people have been doing in his name over the centuries. This is not to say that “every Christian” is like this. I know there are TRUE Christians and they have my utmost respect.

Another informant said, “Since I was raised as a ‘Christian,’ I can say with certainty that Christianity as a ‘Formal Religion’ is the most perverted, corrupt, despicable excuse for a religion I have ever heard of.”

  After an experience with the death of a pet, Bryan Perrin decided to leave the Christian faith of his parents.  He writes, “It was then that I was told that the Bible teaches that animals have no souls, no heaven and no savior.  I thought: if God’s heaven didn’t allow animals then I didn’t want any part of it!  If the Bible teaches that humans are the only form of life with spirit, then the Bible is wrong.  It was then that I tossed the book aside and went to the source – the Earth, the Mother of All Life.”[xlv]

On occasion, this disillusionment with Christianity led to exploring new faiths and ultimately to Druidry.  The current Archdruid of ADF came out of a Baptist church having had a “born again” experience.  He states, “the more reading I did, the more I realized it just wasn’t true. There were more things out there than what they were telling people.”  When asked what he thought was out there that the Baptists were not telling him he responded,

I disliked the idea that I had to believe everything that was written in one book when there were more manuscripts available from that time period that disproved it, or talked about other things that weren’t even in the book. The more reading I did in history, and on archaeological research that was being done, the more I resented that I wasn’t being told the entire story by the Baptists. I started getting books and reading them. I belonged to the Psychic Book Club. This was in the 1960s and I found that was more in line with what I was looking for. But I’ve always been interested in nature and the woods and hunting.

And to have a religion that accepts all of that, that embraces nature and makes your lifestyle part of your religious experience–I don’t think that most monotheistic religions do that.

No, very few of them do. There’s starting to be a few ecological Christian groups coming up now, but they’re really heretical in what they’re saying within the Church.[xlvi]

The notion that Christianity was somehow misguiding people was common.  For example,

Let me give a bit of my history. I grew up in the Church of God and Assembly of God. I went to 3 years of AG summer camp (where, one year I was one of 8 nominees for “Camper of the Week”), belonged to the youth group and started a Bible study class my junior year of high school, which met in the library every morning before class. My senior year, at a new high school I started a lunch time fellowship group.

I was baptized...twice. The first time was when I was 7 years old. I chose to do this again at 17, because I didn't feel, as a child, I really understood the serious nature of baptism.  I say all this to let you know that I “lived” the life...I didn’t just go through the motions.

However, I questioned and questioned.  I could NOT understand how God could allow good people to go to hell, just because they believed differently. People who were TRULY GOOD...would have to suffer.  I also couldn't understand how He could allow people to suffer who had never heard of Him before. I asked my youth leader once “What about the people in the African jungles who've never heard of God?” The response I got was “Everyone will have a chance to turn to God.”

Anyway, the older I got, the more things just didn't sit well with me.  THEN, I met my husband who was Catholic.  According to the way I grew up that was a “no no.”  Catholics would also be going to hell. This also did not make sense to me. My dear husband’s family were some of the sweetest, most wonderful people I'd ever met.

For years after we were married, I still held on to these beliefs...but felt torn. My standard answer to questions asked from others or those I asked myself...”Because the Bible says it is so.” But I still felt torn. It didn't feel “right.”

Then 8 years ago, I took a comparative religions class. This started the ball rolling. I later started to read a bit of the Tao-de-Ching. WOW! So many cultures had teachings very similar to Jesus. Yet many of these were BEFORE his time. And, gee, look at all these different “creation” myths!!!

Anyway, one thing led to another...and I found my home here. I do not place the label “druid” on myself. I became part of ADF and RavenWood to learn and to be with others who honor ALL life as sacred.[xlvii]

Religious Identity

A second common theme is the desire for religious identity.  For centuries Christianity offered the West a religious identity, but in recent years the rejection of Christianity has suggested that the West continues to search.  With the void that has been left by Christianity’s inability to relate to the issues confronting people, Westerners are increasingly looking for ways to fill it.  Due in part to globalization, Eastern philosophies have legitimized mysteries that were once thought of as superstitious and this has precipitated an exploration of pre-Christian religions.  Ellison’s comments (above) allude to the interest in the mystery that was not entertained by a disenchanted Christianity.  His, as well as many others, openness to explore new faiths or beliefs is indicative of the religious pluralism of a globalized world, but it also creates a crisis in religious identity. 

Several expressed an interest in other religions as a factor in their journey to Druidry.  However, not only an interest in religion, but also an interest in mystery, especially as it relates to nature and the divine, which drew them to the path of Druidry.  It is a path connected with the beliefs of pre-Christian Druids.  This sense of historical identity or connection is very important to ADF as it strives to bring the past into the present (discussed below).

Far from Sarah Pike’s assertion that Neopaganism has grown out of religious traditions connected to 18-19th century spirituality, practitioners of Druidry have sensed more of a connection with nature or ancestry than to Theosophy or Asian religions.[xlviii]  These two connections have led many on the path to ADF.  For example, one insider states, “My feelings about Druidry is that it offers one of the most direct ways of connecting with those God/Goddess manifestations and through its reverence to Nature offers mankind a stabilizing reconnection with who we really are.  This is something that Western civilization is desperately in need of.”[xlix]  Some simply feel a connection to the earth, “I also seemed to have a ‘connection’ to the Earth that seemed, to me, akin to magic.”[l]

For some, the connection between nature and ancestry are combined.  One ADF leader, explaining reasons for being involved with ADF, states, “Like so many others, I craved a connection to our Mother Earth and my European ancestors.”[li]  An informant comments, “I have some Irish ancestry, and felt drawn to there, so ended up making a kind of meandering beeline to Ireland.  It was while wandering the countryside around Sligo, and specifically at Queen Maeb’s tomb, that I felt awakened to something different.  For the first time, I felt that the land ‘spoke’ to me and that discrete, sentient intelligences were speaking.”[lii]

Thus, according to Jones and Pennick’s assertion, the impetus for the resurgence of Paganism has been a response to the desire to put humanity back in a particular context.  That context is one that is physical and chronological: physical in the sense that the natural world is an indispensable part of life and chronological in the sense of continuity with ancient philosophies.[liii]  It offers a “possible religious philosophy for a pluralistic, multicultural society.”[liv]

Religious Legitimacy: Scholarship and Antiquity

Finally, religious legitimacy based upon scholarship and antiquity provides the third pathway.  The influence of scholarly pursuits of religious expression is especially seen when considering Druidry’s 18th century revival.  The fascination with pre-Christian religious identity exemplified in the antiquarians was brought on in part by the encounter with native peoples of North America.  Combined with the translation of ancient texts into English, a renewed awareness of European pre-Christian identity was born.  This might be considered a precursor to a free market religious society and opened the door to the legitimization of multiple worldviews.  Peter Beyer suggests that this legitimization of worldviews constitutes a worldwide culture of pluralism.[lv] 

However, historical data regarding the pre-Christian Druids is obscure since theirs was an oral tradition.  It appears that a generalized knowledge of the Celtic religious leaders existed among the Greeks and Romans.  The Druids were wandering spiritual leaders who traveled around passing on their teaching to whoever would receive it.[lvi]  They taught that the soul was immortal and a part of the deity.  Instead of being extinguished at death, the soul passed on to another body perhaps in several stages until it reached its original state of perfection.[lvii]  They had a strong belief in the after-life and this gave credence to accounts of their lack of fear of death.[lviii]

Claims to a unified religious belief among the Celts are unsubstantiated.  Barry Cunliffe states, “The immensely rich vernacular literature of the Insular Celts must be approached in the awareness that Celtic religion was not necessarily consistent across Europe, nor was it unchanging.”[lix]  The Celtic scholar, Nora Chadwick, stated, “It would be unreasonable to seek within the whole corpus of early Irish literature a coherent summary of the beliefs of the Celts as such.”[lx]  Christiana Oakley asserts that there is no evidence to suggest a unified pre-Christian religion in Europe.  Consequently, she asserts that it is incorrect for contemporary Pagans, whether Wiccan or Druid, to claim a single surviving ancient European religious history.  Instead, it is more accurate to speak of ancient systems of varying beliefs that survived in the subconscious of their adherents who called themselves Christians.[lxi]

Those special people who believed in their local spirits, who cultivated psychic or magic powers, who told and retold their ancient myths, who cast spells and performed divinations, who dressed in animal skins – almost all considered themselves Christian once Christianity had arrived and established itself, although in rural areas this may have amounted to no more than a nominal Christianity.[lxii]

Accordingly, Pagan religions in contemporary Western society are struggling to find historically verifiable continuity with ancient practices.  Nonetheless, attempts are made to help Pagans with a sense of identity as they transmit an awareness of traditions that have an uncertain continuity with the ancestors.  Michael Raoult, Chosen Chief of the Breton Druid group, traces an organizational continuity of contemporary Druidry to an underground Celtic religious remnant.[lxiii]  However, there is no extant literary or archeological evidence that testifies to a continued Druidic religious practice after the fourth century.  This might be due to the systematic destruction of temples and the institution of policies that deprived Paganism of its right after the missionary efforts of Christianity.  Chadwick concludes, “Deprived of sanctuaries and resources, and finally of its clergy, it gradually gave way to Christianity.”[lxiv]

Traditions and legends, on the other hand, abound in Druidry and contemporary Druids utilize them for a sense of connectedness to their ancient past.  In spite of the lack of evidence or mention of Druidry until the Renaissance, Raoult insists that the Arthurian medieval legend of Merlin the Magician, the traditions of Atlantis and Hyperborea act as a bridge between “pre-history and the Age of Aquarius.”[lxv]  Oakley suggests that it is more accurate to posit a Druid/Christian synthesis rather than a surviving remnant.  She asserts that Druidry in its contemporary expression is a new phenomenon.[lxvi]

A historical continuity, however, is not essential in Druidry’s contemporary expression.  It is enough to suggest a connection and due to the oral nature of the pre-Christian practices there is considerable room for interpretation.  This is not to suggest that contemporary practitioners disregard their ancestors or history as much as it is to suggest their creative ability in bringing what was once considered an irrelevant and superstitious practice into mainstream Western spirituality.

 There is a perception that the contemporary practices of ADF adherents is based upon scholarly research.  Consider for example the goal of research in ADF as articulated by Fox, a former Archdruid of ADF,

ADF is working to combine in-depth scholarship with the inspiration of artistry and spiritual practice to create a powerful modern Paganism. We’re researching and interpreting sound modern scholarship (rather than romantic fantasies) about the ancient Indo-European Pagans - the Celts, Norse, Slavs, Balts, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Vedics, and others. Upon these cultural foundations we are working to build a religion that these ancient people would appreciate and understand yet one which has depth and power for modern people. We’re working to develop genuine skills in composition and presentation in the musical, dramatic, graphic, textile and other arts. We’re bringing together people trained in ritual, psychic skills and applied mythology to bring the remnants of the old ways to life. We’re creating a nonsexist, non-racist, organic, flexible and publicly available religion to practice as a way of life and to hand on to future generations.[lxvii]

This is not to suggest that ADF is actually accomplishing this goal.  However, there is an apparent desire for scholarship.

Many were drawn to ADF because of its commitment to scholarship.  For example, in responding to the question, “Why did I join ADF?” Sharon Smith replied, “Because it was exactly what I was looking for- solid scholarship coupled with a very workable approach to modern Druidic practice.”[lxviii]  Similarly, Jenni Hunt states, “Here was a religion that balanced intellectualism and spirituality; books and intuition; study and ritual; solemnity and fun.”[lxix]  Still another writes, “It allows room for a deep spirituality, while staying true to scholarship and our ancestors.”[lxx]  The Senior Druid of Red Oak Grove in New Jeresy is no different.  He writes, “And I love the vision of ADF: to be dedicated to the achievement of excellence in every area, and to recreate a living, dynamic religion for today, inspired by serious research into the actual practices of the ancient Druids.”[lxxi]

Most of ADF’s scholarly work is accessible from their website.  In fact, the web has also legitimized ADF’s presence as well as the presence of many religious groups.  Wade Roof Clark states,

The very fact that Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft can just as easily have web pages on the Internet as the Roman Catholic Church means that religions once considered esoteric, if not blasphemous, now gain legitimacy and acceptance, and thus increasingly take their place in this country’s evolving religious pluralism.[lxxii] 

He adds, “The Pope and leaders of a pagan community become equals in the cyberspace staging of religious possibilities.”[lxxiii]  Aesa, a Lynchberg, Virginia resident, found safety in ADF’s web presence, “I found the website and found people mingling scholarship with faith – great googly moogly!  I spent several entire days cruising the ADF website, reading every article on it, reading every word I could find.  It was a safe thing to do – join an organization without actually having to meet other pagans.”[lxxiv]  Another ADF leader writes, “I found ADF on the web, lurked for six months and joined in 1999.”[lxxv]

Discussion of Pathways

According to the Lofland-Stark model of conversion,[lxxvi] people tend to affiliate with religious movements for two reasons.  First, people who affiliate do so because of three predisposing conditions.  Stark and Lofland understand predisposing conditions as including three factors.  First, pre-converts sense a tension between a perceived ideal and the current situation.  Second, pre-converts have the perspective that unconventional religion might solve their problem.  Finally, the pre-convert seeks to resolve the problem by seeking a system of religious meaning that would resolve the tension. 

Stark and Lofland assert that the second reason for the desire to affiliate with a religious movement is situational contingencies understood as, “conditions that lead to the successful recruitment of persons predisposed.”[lxxvii]  As such, they outline four salient characteristics of these contingencies.  First, a pre-convert has reached a turning point by the time of contact with the religious movement.  Second, an “affective bond” is created between the pre-convert and a member of the religious movement.  Third, other social bonds are reduced or eliminated.  The finally characteristic is exposure to “intensive interaction” with other recent converts.

 While the Lofland-Stark theory has been tested repeatedly over the years,[lxxviii] Lorne Dawson has reviewed the model in terms of the degree in which the seven assertions are empirically supported.[lxxix]   Admittedly, Dawson states, “the degree to which any or all of these factors are involved in recruitment to any NRM is subject to variation.”[lxxx]  In turn, it could be any combination of these factors that move a person to convert or reaffiliate.  In relationship to ADF, it seems clear that individuals experienced what Lofland and Stark described as predisposing conditions.  There was a certain degree of unresolved religious tension before affiliating with the movement.  The tension was often exemplified in the adherents disillusionment with Christianity in addition to the realization that Christianity could not meet their spiritual needs.  This precipitated their seeking of another religious expression.

There is, however, a discrepancy between the Lofland-Stark theory and actual conversion of ADF adherents.  There does seem to be a decisive turning point, but that turning point was more often expressed in terms of a sense of connection with nature and the divine.  Rarely did an adherent suggest that a connection with another member of ADF was instrumental in their affiliation.  While an affective bond with other members was not apparent, there does seem to be a bond via the Internet.  It is still unclear as to whether the Internet connection was simply with the ADF pages or with individuals on the discussion forum.  It could very likely be that an affective bond was created through electronic means rather than face-to-face.  Finally, at this junction, there is little indication that bonds outside ADF were reduced or that there was intensive interaction with recent converts.

Congruency of Western Religious Belief and Druidry

The various pathways to ADF should be set in the context of Western religious belief.  According to Stark, a new religious movement’s (NRM) success is, to a certain degree, based on the extent to which it retains cultural continuity or what he calls “cultural capital.”  Cultural capital, according to Stark, results from an individual’s socialization and education (capital) in a particular culture.[lxxxi]  Stark states, “religious movements will spread more readily to the extent that they build upon the familiar.”[lxxxii]  In other words, they grow to the extent that they utilize acceptable cultural boundaries thus preventing a complete discontinuity between the culture of the movement and that of the potential adherent.

Church Membership Compared To Church Attendance


%Who Attend Church Weekly or More

%Who Consider Themselves Members of a Christian Church

United States






Table 4: Church Membership Compared to Church Attendance

Stark suggests an environment that is religiously unregulated, comprised of weakened conventional faiths and gives the perception of success to the first generation adherents are important factors in a favorable ecology in which a NRM can grow.[lxxxiii]  He suggests that individuals who are no longer active in a religious body will fill the ranks of NRMs more so than those who are active.  Thus, where participation by members and attendees of religious groups is low there will be a high incidence of NRMs.[lxxxiv] 

Traditional Christian Beliefs in North America[lxxxv]


%Believe in God

%Believe in Heaven

%Believe in Hell

%Who Believe Bible is “Inspired by God”

%God Concerns Himself with Human Beings











United States






















Table 5: Traditional Christian Beliefs in North America

The 1998 International Social Survey Programme on religion (ISSP Religion II)[lxxxvi] interviewed 1284 people in the United States and 974 in Canada.  Eighty percent of US participants indicated that they were members of a Christian church.  However, only thirty percent actually attend services weekly or more.  The data is similar in Canada (see above).  Data like this leads to the assertion that NRMs will grow at a faster rate due to the lack of participations of religious people.  This does not necessarily suggest that Druidry will be successful in the Western spiritual landscape.  However, it does point to the potential for success.  There are a significant percentage of Christian adherents who are available to be recruited to other religions.  The American Religious Identification Survey confirms the finding of Religion II.  The ARIS suggests that those who self-identify as Christian has declined from 86.5 percent in 1990 to 76.5 percent in 2001.  At the same time, other religious groups have modestly grown from 3.3 percent in 1990 to 3.7 percent in 2001 while non-religious groups have grown from 8.2 to 14.1 percent.[lxxxvii]


%Believe Astrology – the study of star signs – has some scientific truth[lxxxviii]


Definitely True

Probably True

United States






Table 6: Belief in Astrology in North America

Western religious beliefs, however, give further indication to the potential for growth in Pagan religions.  Particularly in the United States, beliefs that have been traditionally thought of as foundational to Christian belief are in decline (Table 3).  The belief that astrology expresses scientific truth as well as the belief in horoscopes, fortunetellers and good luck charms are congruent with the beliefs of contemporary Druidry as well as other nature venerating religious expressions (Tables 4 and 5).  With this in mind, the growing numbers of those that would be considered “nature worshippers” should not be a surprise.  A number of individuals in both the United States (26%) and Canada (33%) view nature as sacred in and of itself.  In general, the data demonstrate that traditional Christian beliefs have declined while non-traditional beliefs have risen.  These nontraditional beliefs are congruent with contemporary Druidry and provide a bridge for potential movement of Christian adherents to Druidry (or perhaps some other form of Pagan religion).  As William Sims Bainbridge recognized, “In some ways, traditional religion may have prepared the ground for novel para-religion, even though they will compete with each other.”[lxxxix]


%Believe Nature is spiritual or sacred in itself[xc]

%Believe Nature is sacred because it is created by God






United States










Table 7: Belief in the Sacredness of Nature in North America

This data might explain congruency with New Age, but it could equally indicate congruency with Paganism.  Considering that fewer people are self-identifying with New Age in spite of a growth in beliefs associated with it suggests that these beliefs are in fact indicative of Paganism.  While the belief in magic as exemplified in the ISSP variables dealing with fortunetellers, astrology and good luck charms measures New Age attitudes, it is more likely that this continued fascination with what was once considered superstition is a result of the tenacity of pre-Christian popular religion.[xci]

Most certainly there are competing explanations for the data.  Nevertheless, the North American religious environment is one in which, given the decline of church attendance, traditional beliefs and self-identification as Christian, Druidry can fill the continued spiritual interests of religious seekers.  In light of the tension that practitioners have felt with Christianity as well as the congruency of beliefs in society, the transition from one belief to another is not costly.

Non-Traditional Beliefs in North America[xcii]


%Belief in Higher Power other than God

%Really in Touch with Dead at least Once

%Believe Good Luck Charms Work

%Believe Fortune Tellers see the Future

%Believe Horoscope Can Affect Future












United States






















Table 8: Non-traditional Beliefs in North America


This paper has attempted to outline three themes predominate in decisions to affiliate with ADF.  These are personal stories and journeys only occasionally influenced by other people.  Often, the journeys have been traveled on the web, but occasionally in nature itself.  The pathways to Druidry reflect the deep desire for a connection to something that is beyond the self, a sort of metaphysical journey.  Feelings and senses are supported by a type of scholarship that legitimizes the personal experience.  All of these pathways have led to a sense of “this is where I am meant to be.”  Further study will be conducted on the issue of verbal and total converts as well as on other themes that emerged (the role of Isaac Bonewits, religious switching between Pagan groups and the contribution of printed material and friends).  This paper suggests that Druidry will be a viable competitor in the religious marketplace only to the degree in which it is congruent with the culture.  Current data suggests that Druid beliefs are consistent with the beliefs of a number of North Americans.  This leads to the suggestion that Druidry will grow.


[i]18.04.04 A

[ii]See for example Michael York, The Emerging Network: A Sociology of the New Age and Neo-pagan Movements (London: Rowman and Littlefield, 1995), 224; Lorettta Orion, “Revival of Western Paganism and Witchcraft in the Contemporary United States” (Ph.D. diss., State University, 1990); Tanya Luhrmann, Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft: Ritual Magic in Contemporary England (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989); Helen Berger, A Community of Witches: Contemporary Neo-Paganism and Witchcraft in the United States (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1997); For a critique of Luhrmann’s research see Jo Pearson, “Going Native in Reverse: The Insider as Researcher in British Wicca,” Nova Religio 5, 1 (2000): 52-63.

[iii]See www.researchndruidry.org

[iv]Chris Mann and Fiona Stewart, “Internet Interviewing,” in Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method, ed. Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2002), 611.  See also R. Coomber, “Using the Internet for Survey Research,” Sociological Research Online 2 no. 2 (1997).  Accessed 16 October 2002 from www.socresonling.org.uk/socresonline/2/2/2.html.

[v]Kate Eichhorn, “Sites Unseen: Ethnographic Research in a Textual Community,” Qualitative Studies in Education 14, no. 4 (2001): 567.

[vi]Samuel M. Wilson and Leighton C. Peterson, “The Anthropology of Online Communities,” Annual Review of Anthropology 31 (2002): 450.


[viii]Wilson and Peterson, “The Anthropology of Online Communities,” 456-457.

[ix]Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers and Other Pagans in America Today (New York: Penguin, 1986), 392.

[x]Ibid., 448.

[xi]Robert Kraut, et al., “Internet Paradox: A Social Technology that Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being?” American Psychologist 53, no. 9 (1998) accessed on 16 October 2002 from www.apa.org/journals/amp/amp5391017.html.

[xii]Brian D. Loader, Cyberspace Divide: Equality, Agency and Policy in the Information Society (London: Routledge, 1998).

[xiii]Andrea Fontana, “Postmodern Trends in Interviewing,” in Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method, eds. Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2002), 169.

[xiv]Chris Mann and Fiona Stewart, “Internet Interviewing,” in Handbook of Interview Research: Context and Method, ed. Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein (Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2002), 605.

[xv]Alder, Drawing Down the Moon, 447.  See also Erik Davis, “Technopagans: May the Astral Plane Be Reborn in Cyberspace,” Wired Magazine 3, no. 7 (1995), accessed 15 October 2002 at www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.07/technopagans_pr.html.

[xvi]Fontana, “Postmodern Trends in Interviewing,” 169.

[xvii]Wilson and Peterson, “The Anthropology of Online Communities,” 461.  See Carol V. McKinney, Globe-Trotting in Sandals: A Field Guide to Cultural Research (Dallas: SIL, 2000), 10-20 for a summary of AAA Code of Ethics.  The June 1998 Code of Ethics of the American Anthropological Association can be found at http://www.aaanet.org/committees/ethics/ethcode.htm

[xviii]Mann and Stewart, “Internet Interviewing,” 605.

[xix]Ibid., 608.

[xx]Monica Emerich, “Constructing ‘Celticity:’ How Pagans Define Celtic Spirituality Through Popular Discourse on the World Wide Web,” paper presented at the 2002 Annual Meeting of SSSR/RRA.  Cf. Marion Bowman, “Cardiac Celts: Images of the Celts in Paganism,” in Pagan Pathways: A Guide to the Ancient Earth Traditions, ed. Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman (London: Thorsons, 1996), 244.

[xxi]Michael York, Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Theology (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 61.

[xxii]11.03.03 A

[xxiii]Information from http://www.adf.org/identity/npd-today.html.  Accessed 10 March 2003.

[xxiv]14.09.02 A

[xxv]13.04.03 A

[xxvi]Michael Scharding, “A General History of Reformed Druidism of America,” available from http://orgs.carleton.edu/Druids/ARDA/ARDA-08.pdf, accessed 6 August 2003.

[xxvii]Cf. Margot Alder, Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess Worshippers and other Pagans in America Today (New York: Penguin, 1979), 325-328 for an early discussion of the start of ADF.

[xxviii]Bonewits defines meso-Pagans as that group who has Christian roots and paleo-Pagans as having pre-Christian roots.

[xxix]Information from Isaac Bonewits, available from http://www.neopagan.net/OriginsADF.html, accessed 5 August 2003.


[xxxi]Information from http://www.neopagan.net/ArchdruidicResignation.html, accessed 7 August 2003.

[xxxii]Information from http://www.adf.org/groups/groves.  Accessed 18 July 2006.

[xxxiii]Data for “Druidry,” “Wicca,” “Pagan” and “New Age” from NSRI and/or ARIS and represent an eleven year period from 1990 to 2001.  Adapted from Barry Kosim, Egon Mayer and Ariela Keysar, “American Religious Identification Survey” (The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2001), 13.  The survey was conducted by random sample telephone interviews with 50,312 respondents. 

[xxxiv]OBOD is based in England and is used here simply for comparative purposes.  Data represents a 19-year period and was obtained from the chosen chief of OBOD.  The number 9,000 represents those who have enrolled in their training course by summer 2004 and may not represent actual membership.  Since the training course is Internet based participants come from all over the world.

[xxxv]Data provided by Skip Ellison.  ADF began in 1984 with 7 adherents celebrating Samhain.  The number 957 represents current members as of 14 March 2005.

[xxxvi]Rodney Stark and Roger Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 114.



[xxxix]Oliver Davies, “An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality” in Celtic Spirituality, ed. Oliver Davies (New York: Paulist Press, 1999), 24.

[xl] Thomas Molnar, “From Christianity to Paganism,” Epiphany Journal 8 (Summer 1988): 20.

[xli]Rodney Stark, “Efforts to Christianize Europe, 400-2000,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 16, no. 1 (2001): 115.

[xlii]Ronald Hutton, The Pagan Religion of the Ancient British Isle: Their Nature and Legacy (London: Blackwell, 1991), 291.

[xliii] Philip Carr-Gomm, “The Door” in The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today, ed. Philip Carr-Gomm (London: Thorsons, 1996), 4.

[xliv] Andre Dumas, “The New Attraction of Neo-Paganism: A Political, Cultural and Spiritual Phenomenon or Epiphenomenon” in Monotheism, ed. Claude Geffre and Jean-Pierre Jossua (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1985), 83.

[xlv]Bryan Perrin, “A Beginning from an End,” Druid’s Progress 1 (information from http://www.adf.org/articles/identity/begfrend.html.  Accessed 28 June 2006).

[xlvi]Interview with Skip Ellison accessed 5 August 2003 from the ADF website (http://www.adf.org/about/bios/skip-ellison/).


[xlviii]See Sarah M. Pike, New Age and Neopagan Religions in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004).

[xlix]16.07.03 B

[l]13.06.06 A

[li]Leader Bio: Aigeann.  Information from http://www.adf.org/about/bios/aigeann/ accessed 28 June 2006.

[lii] 12.06.06A

[liii]Jones and Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe, 3.

[liv]Ibid., 220.

[lv] Peter Beyer, “Globalisation and the Religion of Nature,” in Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World ed. Joanne Pearson, Richard H. Roberts and Geoffrey Samuel (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 1998), 14.

[lvi]Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick, A History of Pagan Europe (London: Routledge, 1995), 85.

[lvii]M. Forthomme Nicholson, “Celtic Theology: Pelagius” in An Introduction to Celtic Christianity, ed. James P. Mackey (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1995), 402.

[lviii]Chadwick, The Celts, 154.

[lix]Barry Cunliffe, The Ancient Celts (London: Penguin, 1997), 183.

[lx]Chadwick, The Celts, 183.

[lxi]Oakley, “Druids and Witches,” 278.


[lxiii]Michael Raoult, “The Druid Revival in Brittany, France and Europe,” in The Druid Renaissance: The Voice of Druidry Today, ed. Philip Carr-Gomm (London: Thorsons, 1996), 100-122.

[lxiv]Chadwick, The Celts, 194.

[lxv]Raoult, “The Druid Revival,” 104.

[lxvi]Oakley, “Druids and Witches,” 260-261.

[lxvii]Information from http://www.adf.org/about/npd-today.html, accessed 28 July 2003

[lxviii]Leader Bio: Sharon Smith.  Information from http://www.adf.org/about/bios/Sharon-smith/ accessed 28 June 2006.

[lxix]Leader Bio: Jenni Hunt.  Information from http://www.adf.org/about/bios/jenni-hunt/ accessed 28 June 2006.

[lxx]Leader Bio: Epona/Carlynne Deaver.  Information from http://www.adf.org/about/bios/carlynne-deaver/ accessed 28 June 2006.

[lxxi]Leader Bio: Bardd Dafydd.  Information from http://www.adf.org/about/bios/bardd-dafydd/ accessed 28 June 2006

[lxxii]Wade Roof Clark, Spiritual Marketplace: Baby Boomers and the Remaking of American Religion (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University, 1999), 71.


[lxxiv]Leader Bio: Aesa. 

[lxxv]Francesca Hedrick, http://www.adf.org/about/bios/francesa Hedrick.  Accessed 28 June 2006.

[lxxvi]John Lofland and Rodney Stark, “Becoming a World-Saver: A Theory of Conversion to Deviant Perspective,” American Sociological Review 30, no. 6 (1965): 863-874.

[lxxvii]John Lofland and Rodney Stark, “Becoming a World-Saver: A Theory of Conversion to a Deviant Perspective,” American Sociological Review 30, no. 6 (1965): 864.

[lxxviii]See for example: Willem Kox, Wim Meeus and Harm’t Hart, “Religious Conversion of Adolescents: Testing the Lofland and Stark Model of Religious Conversion,” Sociological Analysis 52, no. 3 (1991): 227-240; James V. Downton, Jr., “An Evolutionary Theory of Spiritual Conversion and Commitment: The Case of Divine Light Mission,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 19, no. 4 (1980): 381-396; John Seggar and Phillip Kunz, “Conversion: Evaluation of a Step-Like Process for Problem-Solving,” Review of Religious Research 13, no. 3 (1972): 178-184.

[lxxix]Lorne L. Dawson, “Who Joins New Religious Movements and Why: Twenty Years of Research and What Have We Learned?,” Studies in Religion 25, no. 2 (1996): 141-161.

[lxxx]Ibid., 151.

[lxxxi]Rodney Stark, “Why Religious Movements Succeed or Fail: A Revised General Model,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 11, no. 2 (1996): 135.

[lxxxii]Rodney Stark, “How New Religious Movements Succeed: A Theoretical Model,” in The Future of New Religious Movements, eds. David G. Bromley and Phillip Hammond (Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1987), 13.

[lxxxiii]Ibid., 19.

[lxxxiv]Stark, “Why Religious Movements Succeed or Fail,” 141.

[lxxxv]Data from variables 38, 40, 43, 44 respectively.  Religion II, International Social Survey Programme, (Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv Fuer Empirische Sozialforschung, 1998), 54, 57, 63-66.  Sample sizes distributed as follows: United States – 1284; Canada – 974.  Religion I sample size for the United States was 1359.  Canada did not participate in Religion I.

[lxxxvi]The data utilized in this paper were documented and made available by the ZENTRALARCHIV FUER EMPIRISCHE SOZIALFORSCHUNG, KOELN.  The data for the ISSP were collected by independent institutions in each country.  Neither the original collectors nor the ZENTRALARCHIV bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretation presented here.

[lxxxvii] Kosim, Mayer and Keysar, “American Religious Identification Survey,” 12-13.

[lxxxviii]Data from variable 31 Environment I, International Social Survey Programme, (Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv Fuer Empirische Sozialforschung, 2000).  Sample size for Environment I distributed as follows:  United States – 1557; Canada - 2018.

[lxxxix]William Sims Bainbridge, “After the New Age,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 43, 3 (2004): 382.

[xc]Data from variable 18 Environment II and variable 23 Environment I, International Social Survey Programme, (Cologne, Germany: Zentralarchiv Fuer Empirische Sozialforschung, 2000).  Sample size for Environment I distributed as follows: United States – 1557, Canada – 2018.  Sample size for Environment II distributed as follows: United States – 1276, Canada – 1115.

[xci]In a personal communication with me, Greeley agrees with this suggestion stating “I agree that your explanation is more likely.”  See J. Gordon Melton, “The Future of the New Age Movement,” in New Religions and New Religiosity, ed. Eileen Barker and Margit Warburg (Aarhus-London: Aarhus University Press, 1998), 133-149 and David Spangler and William Irwin Thompson, Reimagination of the World: A Critic of the New Age, Science, and Popular Culture (Santa Fe, N.M.: Bear & Company, 1991) for discussions on the decline of New Age.

[xcii]Sample sizes distributed as follows: United States – 1284; Canada – 974.  Religion I sample size for the United States was 1359.  Canada did not participate in Religion I.