I’m English, genetically (as far as anyone can be) culturally, and geographically. I’ve only spent a few weeks of my 34 years outside the British Isles. As a consequence, there is a bias in both my thinking and writing. I know it’s there, I probably ought to flag it up more, and it raises some interesting questions for me.
Helgaleena pointed this one out in a comment on a previous post (thank you) and I’ve been pondering it a lot since then.
I spent a number of years looking after The Druid Network’s Directory – a big listing of groves, groups and orders worldwide. (I was using a different name back then, in case anyone remembers that work and was wondering…) Anyways, this brought me into contact with a lot of different groups, all of whom were including words about their unique take on Druidry as part of their involvement in the directory.
This contact gave me a superficial impression of what it is that different druid groups focus on and how they see themselves and wish to present their druidry to the world. I learned that druidry is diverse, expressed in many, many ways, with a significant number of groups consciously moving away from European roots to create a druidry of their own that makes sense for their own place and time. And at the same time, I never once saw a statement from a group that didn’t chime with me as druidic.
My druidry is just one facet of the huge crystal that is the druidry of the world. It’s the bit I find it easiest to talk about, but I don’t want to inadvertently sound like I’m trying to be definitive. I also don’t want to caveat the blog to death!
I’m coming to think in a certain way because of this. All religion is human construct. However, what we call druidry exists because we are all, wherever we happen to be in the world, seeing something and responding to it. The core of what we see, is enough the same that most of us, as far as I can tell, are able to recognise each other. The surface of practice can vary a great deal, but there is a heart, an essence to druidry that holds it all together. I don’t believe that druidry itself exists as a thing separate from human thought, available to be tapped into from any place or time. But there is something else that we are responding to that gives us this commonality, and it is not as simple as ‘nature’ because other pagan paths respond to that too and go in different directions from us druidy folk. It’s not ‘celtic’ either because people who are deliberately not celtic are still druidic. My current guess is ‘the land’.
The idea of looking longer and deeper into manifestations of druidry around the world really appeals to me. There is more here to understand, and I’m more fascinated by modern manifestations of druidry than I am by peering into the murky waters of the past. Plus, I’ve done some past-peering, so this has the lure of a new thing. Which raises another interesting question. I cannot be other than who I am, and where I am, so to what extent would it be possible for me to understand druidry as it manifests in another country?