Reformed Druids of North America
The Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) was a group formed in the spring 1963 by Robert Larson '65, David Fisher '65, and other Carleton students.
Services of the Reformed Druids served as a protest against the religion requirement. At that time, students were required to attend religious services seven weeks out of ten each term and submit evidence of attendance to the dean's office. Signed slips of paper attesting to attendance were collected at the Carleton Chapel and at other religious services held in Northfield. These attendance slips were gathered by student workers from the dean's office, who also maintained attendance records. Students who did not meet the requirement were subject to suspension.
Reformed Druids held services on Saturday night at the Hill of Three Oaks. Varieties of sacramental distilled spirits were consumed during services honoring the spirits of all life. A theology based on Druidic traditions from northern Europe and Great Britain was developed for the new sect. Attendance records were submitted to the dean's office.
The dilemma created for college officials was whether to recognize or challenge the Druids as a legitimate religious group. If religious credit were granted, the religious requirement would be seen as a joke. If, on the other hand, credit were denied, the college could be charged with bigotry. The initial attitude of the college was, "If we ignore them, they'll go away." But the RDNA not only refused to go away, it grew, acquiring an advisor, and becoming a registered college organization.
A year later the religion requirement was eliminated.
The druid organization continues at Carleton in 2005. What had begun as a protest of coerced religious worship had become an important spiritual aspect of some people's lives. Founder Robert Larson took the lead in spreading RDNA when he became Archdruid of a grove of RDNA in Berkeley where he attended graduate school.
Extremely brief overview of Druid history
- 1963-65: Druids founded, major miracles occur, altars are built.
- 1966-71: Druidism expands across the United States. Carleton graduates found groves in Berkeley, South Dakota, etc. High turnover at Carleton proves unwieldy as a method of running a nationwide "druid council", but nobody minds.
- 1972-76: Isaac Bonewits '76 attempts to reform the Reformed Druids into a serious neo-pagan organization. This causes the Great Schism.
- c. 1985: RDNA Carleton dissolves.
- 1990: RDNA Carleton revival as a generic New Age group.
- c. 2004: RDNA Carleton gets back to its roots.