When I started learning about druidry, I was daunted by the enormous void that I could see between studying the subject and being a druid. It didn’t help that the books I was reading didn’t offer much about what it takes to move from reading about druids, to being a druid. So I thought it might not be a bad idea to offer some suggestions about how to start making the transition. It’s got a lot to do with how we see ourselves, that sense of druidness has to be earned in our own eyes before we can claim it to ourselves, much less anyone else. Please do add more in the comments if you feel so moved. What I’ve gone for here are things that can be fitted into any sort of life, that do not take insane amounts of time or resources, but that seed a shift in consciousness.
1) Time outdoors. If possible, be outside every day. Not just in a passing through sense, on route to somewhere else. Take time, just a few minutes is a start, to simply be, outside. Feel the sun, the wind, or the rain on your skin, or look at the night sky. Feel the earth beneath your feet. This will go places all by itself, and when it does, just follow along.
2) Do something creative every day. That doesn’t mean an epic act of artistic endeavour, although it can. Anything you bring your inspiration to, that you tackle creatively, counts. What matters here is the deliberate giving of time and energy to working with inspiration.
3) Undertake an act of service every day. Do something for your environment, your community. From picking up dropped litter to making time for someone else, a small kind word, a little act of generosity – it all counts.
4) Practice appreciation, every day. Take a moment to notice the things in your life that are good, be they ever so small. Do not use this to deny or blot out the bad, but having an awareness of where you find your own joy, and making a habit of looking for it, is really important.
5) Give yourself opportunities to be excellent, every day. Anything can be done well. Anything can be done with spirit, passion, integrity and style. Excellence is a Celtic virtue. When you do something excellent, also allow yourself a little bit of time to enjoy that. Where you can, also recognise the excellence of others.
6) Ask yourself what it is that you want, and what it is that you need. These are very basic questions that open the way to understanding the self. They also tend to lead to other, bigger questions, so when those suggest themselves, ask them too, and see what comes.
7) Listen. Not just to those around you, but to the wind, the bird song, the sounds of your environment. In becoming silent, it also becomes possible to hear your own voice, the one that easily gets lost under the babble of immediate concerns. In listening, it can become possible to hear more than the surface sounds. We talk about the voice of spirit, and how we hear that is worth far more consideration than this blog offers. Listening is the beginning.
8) Practice doubt. This can be applied to every thought and action in every day we live, so for the sake of sanity, only do one at a time! Everything can be viewed differently, imagined differently, recreated. We can only re-imagine if we first doubt that what we are used to, is all there ever could be. Practice scepticism, ask why, and why not, and see where it takes you.
9) Consider that everything you do and say, matters. We disempower ourselves by refusing to take ourselves seriously. Again, one role, one event, one situation at a time keeps this manageable. Start looking for your own importance, influence and power in your life as you live it, and take control of that. Acts of excellence and service will be part of this, as will the listening, creating and appreciating.
These are all ways of opening doors to new kinds of relationships with both the self, and the wider world. Once you start passing through those portals, it becomes very much about finding your own way. Druidry is often likened to a forest. There are well worn paths, there’s also a lot of smaller ones, and much unexplored landscape. How you walk, where you walk, is always going to be down to your own efforts.