London: Druidry is flourishing more now than at any time since the arrival of Christianity to Britain.
Druidry is to become the first pagan practice to be given official recognition as a religion.
The Charity Commission has accepted that druids' worship of spirits arising from the natural world could be seen as a religious activity. The commission will give the Druid Network charitable status, saying that its work in promoting druidry as a religion is in the public interest, the BBC reports.
The move comes thousands of years after the first druids worshipped in Britain.
Druidry was one the first known spiritual practices in Britain, and druids existed in Celtic societies elsewhere in Europe as well.
Druidry's followers are not restricted to one god or creator, but worship the spirit they believe inhabits the earth and forces of nature such as thunder.
Druids also worship the spirits of places, such as mountains and rivers, with rituals focused particularly on the turning of the seasons.
After a four-year inquiry, the Charity Commission decided that druidry offered coherent practices for the worship of a supreme being, and provided a beneficial moral framework.
The decision to grant the Druid Network charitable status will give druidry valuable tax breaks, as well as the position of a genuine faith.
First Published: Saturday, October 02, 2010, 14:49