Works of art are never finished, only abandoned. This is on my mind rather, going through edits for the current book, getting the urge to re-write vast swathes and knowing I must not. Stopping is the hardest thing. You can re-write and re-write, or re-draw, or re-record forever, striving after perfection. The result of that approach is that your work never gets out into the world and you never find out what anyone else thinks of it. At some point, you have to abandon it and let it go. A work that never reaches anyone else, is not a success.
Rituals have tidy end points, after which we go home, or to the pub. Courses and workshops have end points. Much of human life is orientated towards getting things finished. But so much of what we do can only ever be a work in progress. Yes, this book is in edits, but this is not the end of my writing about Druidry, this is a stage in the process. Now what I have to do is write another, much better and more useful sort of book.
Dissatisfaction is absolutely essential to good art, and perplexes people who aren’t living and working that way. “Why aren’t you satisfied with what you’ve done?” I’ve been asked. “Why can’t you sit back and enjoy it rather than rushing on to the next thing?” The answer? Because getting to the end of a project, I know things I didn’t know at the beginning. I can already see how to do more, go further, be better, and I want to put that knowledge into action. Those who are satisfied, and stop, do not progress. I want to be the best that I possibly can be. I recognise this means I will never be truly satisfied by anything I do, or, if I get to that point, it marks the end of me as a viable creative person.
I feel much the same about Druidry. This ritual may be finished, but I’m studying it to see what worked and what didn’t. I’m listening to the feedback. I’m already germinating ideas for the next one. The same is true of workshops, and of blogs, of meditation sessions and anything else I turn my hands to. How can I learn from this? What can I do better next time? And so rather than seeing isolated events that come to an end, I live in a state of continual flow and change. Sometimes also a state of progress, but there are times when I get sidetracked, backslide, mess up and do all that is normal and human in that regard. I learn from that, too. Eventually.
Will I ever get to the point of saying ‘I have learned enough Druidry now, I do not need to study any more books.’? That will be a ‘when I am dead’ scenario. Will I ever feel that I have so perfected my ritual skills that I can rest on my laurels (unCeltic as that would be) and be pleased with myself? Not a chance. Will I ever have done enough by way of service to say ‘I’ve got that one covered, I can retire now.’? I don’t think so.
Good Druidry is never finished. Like art, episodes of Druidic work have to be let go of, closed, abandoned. But like artists, we’re always moving on to the next moment, the next act of inspiration, the next taste of magic. It’s good, and necessary, to find joy in what you do, but that germ of dissatisfaction is one of the most precious things you can posses, to my mind.