It is my honour to share the news of the recent recognition of the Celtic Druid Temple by the Irish Government as a religion with Nature as the Supreme Being. Achieving the status of a 'Celtic Pagan religion' in Ireland was not easy but after two and a half years of negotiations our application has met with full success. This has enormous implications for the free expression of Nature based spirituality in Ireland with a knock on effect overseas. The following 'press release' contains the details of this recognition which secured the 'charity status number 20684 for the advancement of religion'.
The Celtic Druid Temple is now recognised by the Revenue Commissioner as Ireland’s indigenous religious tradition with Nature as the Supreme Being. Nature based spirituality has once again achieved full recognition in Ireland after a lapse of many centuries. Men and women, young and old seeking to express their Celtic Spirit can openly declare their own direct link to Nature as Supreme Being and seek guidance from the Spirits of the Ancestors. Ritual ceremonies are being held at the ancient temples on the Full Moon and for the Eightfolds of the Sun year across Ireland. This tradition of ceremony at our sacred sites helps us all to re-connect to the cycles of Nature and to our Celtic Spirit so that each of us can make and develop our own unique direct connection to the Gods and Goddesses.
The Celtic Druid Temple is a full member of the World Druid Order and now has legal and formal recognition in Ireland as a religious charity from the Revenue Commissioner with a CHY number 20684 issued by the Dept of Finance. Our Druí have jury service exemption status from the Dept. of Justice and An Garda Siochana have on four occasions provided protection for our public ritual ceremonies at Tara and at Newgrange. BUNREACHT NA hÉIREANN secures our freedom to practice our religion, the HSE also recognises Druidry as a religion and recent European legislation further protects the rights of Druids and Pagans. The European Convention on Human Rights provides a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to manifest a religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance. The Irish Educational System recognised Ard Druí Con Connor hosting a spiritual Imbolg ceremony at Tara in their 2004 school book “Religion: The Irish Experience”. Many thousands of people have joined in and contributed at the Celtic Druid Temple’s public ritual Sun and Moon ceremonies since 2003. Celtic Pagans from Ireland and overseas have availed of our private Rites of Passage ceremonies at Temple Crom and at their own chosen locations all over Ireland.
All Irish men, women and children can now choose to openly practice the indigenous spiritual traditions of this island - ‘You can now openly show reverence to Nature as the Supreme Being and acknowledge the Spirit of our Celtic Ancestors without fear of censure. The dignity and inherent divinity of all men and all women can be honored and nurtured to its fullest expression.’ said Ard Druí Con Connor.
People wishing to join in a ceremony at Temple Crom or at Tara can just turn up before 8pm on the night of the Full Moon. There are no special training or requirements to join us in ceremony, children are welcome with adult supervision and we recommend you arrive early, dress in layers and bring an open heart and a smile.
More information on the process / application for charitable status with the Revenue Commissioner-
A series of what was initially considered as blocking questions from the Charities Section of the Revenue Commissioners (CSRC) outside of the standard application form required detailed considered replies. The difficulty for us revolved around firstly the extended delays in getting responses due to backlogs and secondly - the 'techspeak' of the CSRC which confused at first but then with advice from BCK (our auditors) we could understand what was being said and appropriate replies could be given. There is no 'advice booklet' on how to become recognised as a religion in Ireland. In all fairness our application must have created some difficulties for the CSRC as perhaps they never had or expected an application for 'charitable status for the advancement of religion' from Celtic Druí that honour Nature as Supreme Being.
The CSRC said that the Celtic Druid Temple was not a recognised religion with a supreme being. Because there is no standard agreed international definition of what constitutes 'religion', the Celtic Druid Temple inquired as to who determines within the CSRC what is or is not a religion, what qualifications were required and what certification was held to make such a determination. The Celtic Druid Temple repeated the assertion that for us as Druí we see Nature as the Supreme Being and that this is the indigenous spiritual tradition of this island and that any one seeking to be above Nature would actually be 'supernatural' in our opinion. The Celtic Druid Temple had to push a bit as the CSRC had serious reservations that caused them to seek reasons not to award charity status to the Celtic Druid Temple. Our sincerity, integrity and clarity around who we are and what we do and have been doing publicly since the Spring Equinox 2003 with open and free Full Moon ceremonies on Tara and here at Temple Crom in north Roscommon since Autumn 2008 was eventually acknowledged.
When the CSRC informed the Celtic Druid Temple of our being awarded charitable status they also provided a list of legal requirements and audit conditions and stressed the seriousness of holding charitable status.
We would prefer to be seen as a spiritual tradition that connects us all to Nature and to the Ancestors as we are non hierarchical and do not have a book of rules, but the government in Ireland seems unable to officially recognise 'spirituality'. We will continue to walk our talk and to live life as we have done in the past, but we will live in the now and have an eye to the future too.
We, as a group feel we have achieved much but realise too that this is simply another step...
Grá, Solas agus Gáire (Love, Light and Laughter)
Celtic Druid Temple - CHY number 20684. Contact Details - Celtic Druid Temple, Rathniamh, Candlefield, Trien, Castlerea, Co Roscommon. firstname.lastname@example.org Please note - the Celtic Druid Temple is not a neo-druid group, we are not wiccan either - we are Celtic Pagan Druí honouring the Ancestors of this land at the sacred temples of this land and as such we are the modern expression of the indigenous spiritual tradition of Ireland. Further information on our activities, services and courses can be found online at celticdruidtemple.com druidschool.com and on Facebook at 'Celtic Druid Temple - Ireland's Druidschool'.