I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be interesting to lay out what it is that makes me feel entitled to use a hefty word like ‘Druid’ in public places. When I started out as a student, I definitely did not feel able to claim druidhood, it took years of learning, regular ritual attendance and interacting with people who definitely were Druids to get me to that point. The key transition points for me were, completing the three levels of the OBOD course, and being involved in running a group. I’d now add to that the occasional celebrant work, teaching, book writing and blogging. If it quacks like a Druid and waddles like a Druid, it may of course be an outsized duck in a robe…
Well, I don’t have any robes, I have no beard, no staff, no wands, no sword, not even a cloak at present… very little surface detail that screams ‘Druid’ apart from a Victorian style army jacket with the words ‘Secret Order of Steampunk druids’ embroidered on the back but I rather imagine most people would read that and assume I was joking. I’ve never believed that the aesthetic makes the Druid, because anyone can latch onto a look. It’s what we know, what we do, how we think that really defines who we are.
The bard path has always been central to what I do, even back when I didn’t know that was the word for it. I’m not doing public performance in the way I was a few years ago, nor am I holding spaces to support other people to the same degree, but that remains part of my consciousness, and the creativity is a daily feature.
Service is important to me. Currently that manifests as informal teaching, and volunteer work at my son’s school. There have been occasions of tree planting, again not as much as there used to be. Arguably reviewing other people’s books counts as service too, I think.
Honourable behaviour, upholding justice, seeking for balance, green living – there are many concerns that derive from the idea of honourable relationship and shape how I live from day to day. From the outside those aren’t discernibly ‘Druid’ but from the inside I know that’s what powers my whole approach to living and being.
Where there’s been an increase in my Druid work in recent years, it’s been in prayer, meditation and communion. I’ve been a bit of a hermit and living very close to nature. I have close encounters with the natural world many times through the course of a day, and many opportunities to contemplate and experience. At the moment this is the heart of my practice. I’ve been pushing at the edges of what I understand and can do, with both meditation and prayer, and have the first murmurings of a rethink about my whole understanding of what magic is and means. I’m increasingly feeling that experimental Druidry and research through doing will be the mainstays of what I’m about as I move forward.
The names in which I do things, the whispered prayers and specific encounters I increasingly feel are personal. I’d much rather define my Druidry in terms of what I do, than get into issues of belief. No one else really needs to know what I truly believe in my heart of hearts. I rather think that, no matter how devoted I might, or might not be, for everyone else that’s pretty irrelevant. It’s what I do that counts, assuming that has any particular use in it for anyone else. I think being an experimental Druid has possibility on that score. Whether or not anyone else sees me as a Druid has become increasingly irrelevant. When I started, I really cared about that and wanted recognition, I think that’s normal, but over the years I’ve come to realise that the only person who can really judge me is myself, or whatever I choose to stand before. It matters that I do the job of the Druid, not whether anyone notices and ascribes it to Druidry.