Druidry: a personal journey
Many people when they hear the term Druid tend to think of two types of image: one image is of old men with long beards, wearing white robes and carrying a staff, the other is of individuals, also usually robed in white, at Stonehenge at the Summer Solstice. Both are stereotypes, and neither is complete. The image of old men with beards and carrying staffs became popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries at the time of what is now called the druid revival period. The Stonehenge image is also rooted in that period, but modified by news reports that often appear around the summer solstice. In modern druidry there are just as many women as there are men and many of us, if we wear robes at all, prefer more practical colours than white.
I am often asked what made me choose Druidry. It's both a complicated and a simple answer. Like many who walk this path it is one where I feel a sense of belonging, it feels right for me. I came to the realisation that I was Pagan slowly and in the process I read around the subject a great deal. It was in fact a book that first made me realise that Paganism was the path for me, but it wasn't a book on Druidry. While reading it I realised that this was what I wanted, this was where I wanted to go. During the following year I continued to read up on the various Pagan paths and I practised as a solitary Pagan writing and performing my own seasonal festivals using things from the internet and books to inspire me.
Towards the end of that first year I realised that I wanted something that would help me learn more, that would help me deepen my relationships with the world around me. Of all the paths that I had read about Druidry seemed to appeal the most and to be honest I think for me it was because of the association of Druids and Trees. I still wasn't quite sure if it was the path for me when I went to a PF conference in London and heard Emma Restall Orr and Philip Shallcrass doing a talk titled 'Who's got the Druidry?' During their talk they spoke about the many different types of Druid you might come across in a light hearted manner, often poking fun at themselves as well as others. That talk changed my life because I came out of it knowing that this was the path for me. I got a copy of the British Druid Order's Druid Directory and spent a few weeks reading up on the various Orders and investigating what they had in the way of teaching materials that I could take advantage of living as I did in Glasgow. I chose the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids because of the distance teaching courses they produce. I have never regretted that choice.
So what exactly is Druidry? Strangely enough I find that it's not a question that has a simple answer. Like most Pagan paths Druidry is a nature based path. OBOD says 'Druidry encourages us to love widely and deeply', while the Druids of Albion say:
'Druidry is the song of the Divine Spirit that flows eternally through the fabric of the Island of Britain. It exists of itself. It was here before humankind first set foot on these shores and will remain long after humanity has left this Earth to dwell amongst the stars.'
And the BDO says among other things that:
'One of the strongest trends in Druidry today is the growth of ecological awareness and activism. Such concerns come naturally to a philosophy that has always regarded trees, stones, springs, rivers, lakes, hills and mountains as sacred and imbued with spirit.'
What none of the quotes above say is that Druidry also draws heavily on Celtic tradition and myth and the Celtic metaphysic (for further information on the Celtic metaphysic I suggest reading The Voice within the Wind by Greywind). In The Path through the Forest, Graeme Talboys says:'What makes the Druid Way unique is that it is rooted in a particular place and a particular culture.' That place and culture is the ancient Celtic world.
As others more experienced than I have said, Druidry is a personal journey. It is about developing your relationship with the Land, the Ancestors, the Gods and other beings. It is about finding, accepting and working with your connections to the World. It is about inspiration and creativity. It is about Truth, Justice and Love. Druidry is a path that encourages you to learn, to experience things, to develop as an individual. I think it is also a path that encourages you to be rooted in the world we live in, to be aware of it, to work to improve it in whatever way you can.
If you think Druidry might be for you then read up on it and talk to any Druids you know. If it is the right choice for you then like most others I know you will feel it in your heart, you will know it is right for you. It might not be and if it isn't then keep looking for the place where you feel you have come home and when you find it you will know why I am a Druid.
Blessings of Earth, Sky and Sea,
- The Druid Network
- Druids Of Albion
- Conradh Draoithe na h-Ã?ireann / Convocation of Druids in Ireland
- TALBOYS, Graeme
- - The Path through the Forest
- - Ayrshire 2002; Grey House in the Woods: ISBN 0-9540531-1-7
- - The Voice within the Wind
- - Ayrshire 2001; Grey House in the Woods: ISBN 0-9540531-0-9
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