As from today, the state – or to be more precise the Charity Commission – has officially recognised being a druid as a religion.
In a statement today the commission said that the Druid Network, the largest representative body of British Druids, does promote a faith whose objectives are in the public interest – and so can have charitable status.
That means the taxpayer will effectively subsidise them.
Very little is known about druids in ancient times. They were priests who organised pagan worship in northern Europe, before the arrival of Christianity.
Modern druids like these ones at Stonehenge claim to hold spiritual beliefs in the tradition, they say, of their ancient forebears.
Nature is beautiful and brutal. If you learn how to live with it, you learn how to live well.Emma Restall-Orr
Emma Restall-Orr, of the Druid Network, told Channel 4 News her organisation had informed the Charity Commission that druidism was a religion.
Explaining what druidry involved, she said: “We have nature. It’s as simple as that and as broad as that.”
She continued: “Nature is sacred. Actually creating a sustainable relationship with nature.
“There is nothing sinister about nature. It’s beautiful. It’s brutal as well. If you learn how to live with it, you learn how to live well.”