Defining Druidry

As far as I can make out most religions are defined by their central deities, the core text and the main rules. Druidry doesn’t exactly have any of these. With animist, polytheist, atheist and Christian druids in the mix, no fixed rules and nature being the only ‘book’ we don’t entirely fit the mould for regular religion. And yet for many modern druids, it is very much a faith. Many of us have the sense that the external trappings of a religion are not what matters most.

 

Religion is about what you do, how you feel and understand the world. The essence of any faith is the way in which it inspires you to live your life from one day to the next.  However, when it comes to talking to other people, it helps to be able to pin that down.

 

I gather that at the very beginning of The Druid Network’s application for charitable status as a religion, they set about finding a definition druids could broadly agree on. It was fairly long, and people were able to agree on it. But unless you are particularly good at memorising, it’s not the kind of thing you can whip out in public when explanations are called for.

 

Druidry. It isn’t exclusively pagan, or theist in any way, it’s not focused on a book, or a place or on a specific way of doing things. It’s intuitive, international, highly diverse. And yet, as a druid when I meet other druids I usually find that sense of resonance and commonality. A feeling that for all the differences, there is something intrinsic that is shared. It’s not at all the same as encountering like minded folk from other faith backgrounds, even pagans from other paths. I could say that I know what druidry smells like, but how to get that into words?

 

This is an opening gambit, to see how people react. I’m trying to express to myself, as much as anything, what the essence of druidry is, and to get that down in a small expression, for portability and ease of remembering. I want a self contained reference that does not point people at any other time, place, text, activity etc because I’m certain that rules too many other people out. I’m increasingly of the opinion that the all embracing quality of druidry is not to be worried about, ignored, or ‘fixed’ it’s part of who we are as a modern and evolving tradition, but at the same time there is an essence, a shared something. And I think it goes like this…

 

Druidry is the spiritual quest to understand our unique, personal relationship with everything.

 

I shall sit back and wait for you all to pile in. I don’t always respond directly to comments, but I do always read them and hugely appreciate them. Thank you, all of you who take the time to feed back, to share insight and make observations.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

12 responses to “Defining Druidry

  • druidcat

    Know the problem well. I often say ‘Priest of the Land’, as this kind of sings to most of what Druidry is for me… and then go from there!

  • Argenta

    I am not sure if I’m into broad definitions of druidry… they usually come out either too vague or too specific. That’s why I stick to defining only “my own” druidry, and viewing druidry in general as the overlap of several personal definitions, including mine. I think that, perhaps, this is why people with such diverse ideas can find commonalities under the name of druidry — there is always enough overlap to feel a sort of togetherness, while allowing for enough freedom so that personal preferences can also be included.

    My own druidry is the path which combines my passion for spiritual exploration with love for storytelling and moderates them with appreciation of nature. Slowly, this original definition is starting to include the wisdom of my ancestors, strength from my femininity & interest in tarot and dream interpretation, though these are less important, I guess.

  • bish

    What a druid smells like… now if that isn’t the opening for a new post I don’t know what is! lol. But yes. Today I smell mostly of frantic telephone calls and too many miles… how about you? 😉

    In fairness to TDN, the kernel of the Constitution might be one line “. In its personal expression, modern Druidry is the spiritual interaction between an individual and the spirits of nature…” It’s personal, and hence unique to each person, and it utilises a broad-brush term ‘spirits of nature’ that can be what you bid it be.

    It is hard, to explain druids and druidry, without putting an exclusive case that fits the speaker and yet fails utterly to cater for a thousand other druids. I’ve just written a micro-article for Imbolc, for a local newspaper you might read (or wrap fishbones in), and I referenced Brighid for ease of identification. And yet for so many druids she would not be a spirit or aspect they would reverence, including me. But one has to hang ones coat on what everyone identifies as a coat hook…

    If TDN had to speak so generally before it could find a core that all the major druid orders, groups and individuals could asset to, how hard is it to define what druidry in fact is, or what druids do, in a way that selects all of druidry and druids and deselects other paths. If it is not possible, is it a path, or is it a self-claimed amalgum title of dubious vintage? And if we can’t explain it to ourselves, how are we to explain it to our neighbours, our employers, our families?

    It’s a fun old road, isn’t it. Love and hugs from bish “a druid… for a given value of druid”

  • Neal

    I agree on the being part of everything, we are all connected, spirit to spirit. I regard My Druidic path as a search for ways to become part of everything and for everything to become part of me. Druidry inspires me to try to be the best I can be whatever i am doing.

  • Phil Ryder

    Having argued this ad nauseum my own position is that Druidry is far easier to define than most paths. Try defining Christianity in a paragraph that all Christians would agree upon.

    Religion is simply a practice that binds you to the sacred and religions identifiable ways of doing that.

    Druids seek sacred relationship and understanding with Nature and Nature is the wholeness of all that is.

    That is it in a nutshell for me and close to that which Bryn has placed.

    Ok, we could then throw in that Nature is unconditionally sacred, it is the essence of life itself. Based on this reverence for life and the practice of seeking to form honourable reationship with all, Druidry guides us to live with an acceptance of personal responsbility for our actions and fosters a love of truth and justice. We could then get into explaining deeper personal practice and the part that culture and heritage plays, why the ancestors are important, why understanding of deity can only be found through personal practice. But then you do get into a much broader definition – and it would be personal.

    • Nimue Brown

      I think the trick for a lot of them is to say ‘this book, that founder, those rules’ you can get down the semblance of a definition really briefly – and give the kind of thing people epct, but I agree you don’t get the essence that way.

  • ccwise

    I like the word “ecomysticism”, personally. From some book I randomly picked up at a university library in town.

  • Iolair

    I do really like that definition. It resonates really well with the concepts that bounce around in my head that I have only recently started calling druidry. I am not a fan of defining things in simple terms, but i think that this one works well. Thank you very much.

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