I have often been asked what Druidry is about whilst at conferences, camps etc. I think “definitions” of practice are all well and good, and there are plenty out there, but it is in distinctive features of practice that we might get a sense of things. So, for me, in my practice of Druidry…….
Druidry offers a framework for practice of my paganism and my own Craft. To this end it does not give a prescribed list of gods and goddesses I am expected to venerate, nor a list of ritual and celebrations that are “core” to my identification with Druidry. It’s a bit like Buddhism, in that it offers an approach. So – I’ll briefly divert here to reference a common misunderstanding of the OBOD system of Druidry (albeit with a note that I don’t speak for the Order in any way). The development materials used by the Order offer us, among other things, a common language across the membership. When we gather (which we do, regularly and frequently) we share some common prayer and practice that helps us join together in our physical and spiritual worlds. The course material is not dogma, it’s a reference point we can use to whatever degree we feel suits.
Key features of my experience of Druidic practice include:
* Each ritual / rite includes a call for peace in each quarter and across the world: We really like peace. In the finding of peace we explore justices and try to connect people with people. In living peace we find space for kindness and creativity. Peace rocks.
* The love of justice is core to our philosophy: Meditating upon justice, what it means where and when to whom…. how it might be achieved and how we might contribute is a key druid thing. Justice is at the heart of peace – and like peace it is really very hard to find.
* Recognition and engagement with the Awen: There’s a whole essay to be written about this – but put simply our willingness and ability to engage with creative processes, and to recognise these, links us to a spiritual dynamic that is amongst the very essence of ourselves as humans. Some of us feel that creativity and the pursuit of it is a rite that connects us to whatever the devine is. This isn’t just about mainstream art (music, drawing, poetry), it is as likely to be found in cooking, childcare, motorbike riding….
* Honouring of Ancestors: Often a tricky one – respect for our ancestors, through blood and through mud, connects us to history and its actors on a personal level.
* Honouring Spirit of Place: Wherever we are, particularly when engaging in ritual, we recognise that the landscape has a Spirit of Place associated with it. It’s best not to get too caught up in the thinking and logic as the experience of connecting with the Spirit of Place is often a great barometer of how things are going to work out in that space. I have a couple of relevant stories should you be interested, drop me a line or buy me a beer…
* Trees: Tree’s are great. We tend to have an affinity to them. I can imagine a Druidic practice that has a relationship with rocks, or one that is focused on clouds. There is something about a “totemic” connection to a representation of nature that is integral to much Druidry. However, on the whole, trees are the thing.
On top of all this is the concept of “service”. Certainly in OBOD, those engaged or having completed their Druid studies are encouraged to find ways to offer service to their communities. This REALLY doesn’t have to be about being a PAGAN volunteering because you are a PAGAN and everyone needs to know its about being a PAGAN!!! It’s about our roles as people who have reflected deeply upon our spirituality finding a way to use our time and personal resources to support others. As little ego as possible is best.
There are a lot of druids and druid types out there, and they might offer some different views on things I’ve suggested…. but that’s kind of the way these things go.
Paul Mitchell is a musician who enjoys a low level of notoriety on the UK Pagan scene. He also offers talks on some stuff. Check out his Facebook page, or even his music