When we’re all Being Druids, it’s very easy to identify us as a Druid community. In rituals and at camps, armed with books on Druidry, bardic poetry, songs about the land and the Gods, we are clearly ‘Druid’. Many of us then go home, to day jobs that are not purely Druidic. In my case… I don’t just write about Druidry, I’m a fiction author, editor, reviewer, and I’ve done all sorts of other things along the way, too – tutoring, gigging, and the more mundane. We take off the Druid hat and step into physical neighbourhoods where we aren’t surrounded by other Druids, and most of us have family that is outside the Druid tribe too.
In this, we are a long way from our Celtic ancestors. Until Christianity came along, if you were a Celt you were going to be in the same world, the same spirituality as the other Celts around you. Community was not defined purely by spirituality, but by history, artisan skills, laws, families, shared relationship to the land. Everything, in fact, would have interconnected.
Our modern Druid community is spread out. In the UK, we’re like a big village that has been sprinkled liberally across the entire country. We depend a lot on the internet as a consequence.
One of the ways we might move towards being more like a real community and less like a bunch of people connected by some shared ideas, is to share more than just the Druidry. If you only see people eight times a year for rituals, are they really your tribe? If we only pay attention to each other’s work when that work comes in a package with ‘Druidic’ stamped on it, how much are we missing? If we’re real in our Druidry, then it permeates all aspects of what we do, and any sharing of anything is relevant.
What brought this to mind, was the novel Stealing into Winter, by Graeme K Talboys. I read it this week, and if I hadn’t known Graeme first as an author of Druid books, I wouldn’t have guessed. This is a fantasy novel. It’s beautifully written, and utterly gripping. I am now as much a fan of his fiction, as I am of his Druid books. I want to review it for The Druid Network, because I think books by Druids ought to be of just as much interest to Druids, as books about Druids. But there is a leap to make there. It’s a shift from a tendency to define our Druidness through overt manifestations of Druidry, towards going, ‘we are Druids and here is some stuff we have been doing’. Can a person be a Druid author and not write a Druidic book, even if there’s no surface resemblance? What does it mean, really, to be a Druid? Is it what we do, or is it who we are?
The more we connect with each other when we’re not Being Druids, the more like a real community we become. There is more to life than ritual and serious books on serious topics. To make spirituality intrinsic to life, it is necessary to also make life intrinsic to spirituality. All of it.