Druidry and healing

This week I’ve been talking to some lovely people who run a healing space, and they had questions about healing within the druid tradition. Now, I know there are strands in the druid weave where healing is very much the focus, particularly on the ovate side, and that there are druids who work as healers. I also think that in New Age practice, there is a huge emphasis on healing work, and I wonder about this. Partly because healing is what you do after damage. Druidry, for me, is more about the day to day living, and not getting to a place of damage should be part of that.

Relationship within druidry includes relationship with self. We can’t be in good relationship with the rest of the planet if we abuse, neglect and mistreat our own minds and bodies. Lack of care for self opens the way to illness and ongoing damage while care taken will work to minimize risk, and also helps us cope with anything we couldn’t dodge. I’ve been on the wrong side of this, unable to look after my own most basic needs and conscious of the wounding that caused. Good health, bodily, mentally and spiritually, depends on self care. In order to take care of the self, you have to think that’s worth doing, you need self esteem, self respect, a sense of usefulness, some reason to value your own condition.

Druidry is also very much about creativity and inspiration, and I think this is a huge wellbeing consideration too. There’s nothing like being trapped in a situation to push you towards distress and sickness. Inspiration is the tool for escape, for re-writing the rules, reinventing the job, the relationship, the lifestyle, so that wellness can follow.

In terms of mental health, community and a sense of belonging can make a lot of difference. Emotional support and recognition can keep a marginal person sane. Being heard helps to ward off depression. The work we do in ritual, hearing and supporting each other, holding circles of community, helps to keep us well, and upholds the self esteem essential for self-care.

There’s plenty of mainstream science that says being outside is good for you. A little walk relieves stress, and is good exercise. Time in green spaces is good for mental health. A little dancing, meditating, or drumming is good for the body as well. Many of the things that we do as part of our druidry, has beneficial effects in terms of health.

I think when we make healing into an event, focusing on the action of a few hours or days, we do ourselves a disservice. Wellness is not a thing to tag on as an afterthought. It’s not something to do once a week for half an hour. A good life has wellness at its heart. Granted, there are illnesses and setbacks that won’t be triumphed over just by application of regular druidry, but there is no ailment out there that isn’t alleviated to some degree by living well. So for me, druidry is less about healing work, more about not being so vulnerable to sickness in the first place. No amount of magical or new age healing work will save a person who will not change their life. I was unwell for years because my diet was wrong, I was sleep deprived, living with things that made me anxious, and things that caused me misery. No amount of healing intervention would have done more than paper over the cracks. Only a lifestyle change, and a recognition of the need to take myself seriously could get a healing process under way, and take me into a new phase of life where I am not continually being damaged.

I think the move to seek healing can be a way of starting that process, the recognition of problems, and the recognition of self as someone who merits being cared for. But ultimately, being well is a full time job, and the implications of going after it can be enormous.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. 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

3 responses to “Druidry and healing

  • helgaleena

    This essay theme really jumped out at me because my Grove has an adjunct ministry I call the Healing Line. (608) 255-0504 USA is where I offer healing advice. I also consider my editing work a healing of lines, and ever since I gave up ceramics and express myself mainly through computer graphics and fiction, that too is a healing via lines.

    The ties of community and communication are indeed fundamental to healing on so many different levels. The greatest step forward in my personal journey of healing is learning how to live my daily life in a healthy and life-embracing way. That includes self-care in its proper place as foundation. Amazing when one realizes how even the most basic means of existing in this physical realm can be misunderstood for a lifetime!

    Also amazing is how lessons can be imparted without word or thought, merely by coexistence with another being, when one regards that being as teacher. Thank you, my allies the trees.

  • Tina Munch

    It’s a bit ‘funny’ to read about this subject. It seems to me, you’re defining ‘Healing’ as ONE particular thing. But just like you’ve mentioned in earlier posts, that there are more than one definition to ‘Druidry’, there’s bound to be more than one definition to ‘healing’.
    Being aware enough to avoid a life harming your body – that’s also a form of healing, mind you. 😉
    The young woman I know as being a healer is not giving me any ‘treatments’ once a week, but is continuously reminding me of self-harming behavior, whenever I ask for advice (or whine).
    So … I LOVE when a subject is lead off with a short outline of which definitions we’re moving within. Otherwise you’re talking in East and heard in West (and replies comes from outer space).
    I’m just at the beginning to the subject “Druidry” to find out what it is, and your blog is for now my entry to this corner of the world.

    • Nimue Brown

      Very good point, I have over simplified. Notions of healing defined by the symptom-response mindset of western medicine are not the only ways of thinking about it. Part of the problem with a blog is that in trying to get something meaningful down in a manageable number of words, somthing always gets skimmed over. But I will come back to this, its an important topic. Thanks for the input!

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