Druid Community

When we’re all Being Druids, it’s very easy to identify us as a Druid community. In rituals and at camps, armed with books on Druidry, bardic poetry, songs about the land and the Gods, we are clearly ‘Druid’. Many of us then go home, to day jobs that are not purely Druidic. In my case… I don’t just write about Druidry, I’m a fiction author, editor, reviewer, and I’ve done all sorts of other things along the way, too – tutoring, gigging, and the more mundane. We take off the Druid hat and step into physical neighbourhoods where we aren’t surrounded by other Druids, and most of us have family that is outside the Druid tribe too.

In this, we are a long way from our Celtic ancestors. Until Christianity came along, if you were a Celt you were going to be in the same world, the same spirituality as the other Celts around you. Community was not defined purely by spirituality, but by history, artisan skills, laws, families, shared relationship to the land. Everything, in fact, would have interconnected.

Our modern Druid community is spread out. In the UK, we’re like a big village that has been sprinkled liberally across the entire country. We depend a lot on the internet as a consequence.

One of the ways we might move towards being more like a real community and less like a bunch of people connected by some shared ideas, is to share more than just the Druidry. If you only see people eight times a year for rituals, are they really your tribe? If we only pay attention to each other’s work when that work comes in a package with ‘Druidic’ stamped on it, how much are we missing? If we’re real in our Druidry, then it permeates all aspects of what we do, and any sharing of anything is relevant.

What brought this to mind, was the novel Stealing into Winter, by Graeme K Talboys. I read it this week, and if I hadn’t known Graeme first as an author of Druid books, I wouldn’t have guessed. This is a fantasy novel. It’s beautifully written, and utterly gripping. I am now as much a fan of his fiction, as I am of his Druid books. I want to review it for The Druid Network, because I think books by Druids ought to be of just as much interest to Druids, as books about Druids. But there is a leap to make there. It’s a shift from a tendency to define our Druidness through overt manifestations of Druidry, towards going, ‘we are Druids and here is some stuff we have been doing’. Can a person be a Druid author and not write a Druidic book, even if there’s no surface resemblance? What does it mean, really, to be a Druid? Is it what we do, or is it who we are?

The more we connect with each other when we’re not Being Druids, the more like a real community we become. There is more to life than ritual and serious books on serious topics. To make spirituality intrinsic to life, it is necessary to also make life intrinsic to spirituality. All of it.

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

10 responses to “Druid Community

  • bish

    Most of the time, I am not Being A Druid… although I would like to think my life is lived sufficiently aware of its connections with the ‘verse to fit comfortably with consensus Druidry. Hmm, consensus Druidry… I might have to think about that new terminology… here, let me stamp a TM on that. 🙂

  • Marie Wolf

    I have been asking myself the same question. What is it that make us Druids when we are in a “non-druidic” world?
    Someone, to whom I’d just said I am a Druid (in training) asked “What do Druids do? Like, jobs I mean?” … The same things as non-Druids was my reply. she wanted to know if it was like being a therapist, if you could go around and offer “Druidic stuff” to people. (I know one can, although in the south of France I’m not sure I’d have much success)
    Connecting more often with people I consider my tribe has been a recurrent question – to which I have yet to find an answer – as my close friends live 2 hours away and the friends I do the seasonal celebrations with are busy – and initially friends of my parents.
    The joy and sadness both of internet is that you can connect with great people, all over the world…

    • Graeme K Talboys

      I think the more we are steeped in being Druid and giving thought to it, the more it affects us a deep level such that our every action is guided. Even to ordinary things like shopping, helping a neighbour. It all stems from what we are.

  • Graeme K Talboys

    This is a subject that has long fascinated me. For me, being Druid is about what I do in the everyday. My spirituality is rooted in the material. I honour the Land by living a life that minimises the depth of my footprint and I choose to express that through the medium of Celtic myth, legend, and philosophy. Part of my everyday life involves writing. Some of that is overtly Druid in that it explores what it is that defines a particular spiritual path. Other parts of it are not overt, but they lie within the tradition of being Druid. My non-fiction derives from a tradition of teaching (I qualified in ’75 and taught Drama, English, and Humanities in schools before moving into museum education). Teaching is not just about the subject; it is equally about the person being taught and their relationship with the world (there speaks a Drama teacher). Very often this can be done through a specific medium and I would argue a subject is best taught with this in mind. My fiction derives from a desire to explore notions of Truth, something which is at the very heart of being Druid. I tell stories because story telling is fun, it is part of a long Bardic tradition (although that didn’t enter my head when I was seven and started writing out my own stories). I also tell stories because that is a way of exploring notions of Truth and how the real world tests our ideas of that every second of the day. And these stories do not have to be about Druids (although it would be good to see some real Druids in modern fiction as oppossed to those strange hybrids that, more often than not, turn up in murder mysteries and make me cringe). A good novel, be it literary or genre, will have believable characters at their heart facing the dilemmas we all face and exploring approaches to facing them. If, as a Druid, I limit my creative work to a narrow view of the world, I believe I am doing a dis-service to my gifts and to the things I believe. Even those books of mine that seem furthest from the Druid world are informed by my metaphysical approach. The same is true of musicians and artists. A Druid songwriter or musician does not have to have a repertoire of songs that are exclusively about Celtic deities and standing under the greenwood tree. A Druid artists does not have to confine themselves to pictures of standing stones, trees, and Celtic deities. Work that addresses, for example, the destructive and dispiriting nature of urban poverty is every bit as Druidic as a fantasy about tree spirits. I would go as far as to argue that just as there Marxist, feminist, modernist, post modernist, etc approaches to literature and other creative arts, we can just as readily have a pagan or Druidic interpretation. It is how I approach books and other works of art, and those which best chime with my own view of the world and my particular tastes are the ones that I list amongst my favourites. That is why I have, on my shelves, the mixture of books that I do (very little of which is fantasy). That is why I listen to the music I do (very little of which is Celtic oriented folk). There is much here to be expanded on and given deeper consideration. Perhaps this could be the start of a debate?

  • Buzzard

    Hello Nimue,

    I have been giving this some thought lately. I love the tribe connection and Awen at camp, at ritual and when visiting our Sacred spaces.
    I step back into the working world and carry with me my Druid Aura therefore, I probably do not take off my Druid hat. My work place is as Druid as I make it but, on so many levels goes against the grain.
    I don’t go bare foot, cloaked or in a state of grounded bliss due to the obvious implecations and steel toe caps are required!
    I am not surrounded by many Druids on a daily basis that I know of.
    The other week whilst on my allotment, my awen tattoo was recognised and I was asked if I was an Obodie by another Obodie.
    I have had this mark for 6 years and never before has this happened. This was delightful to have had a “tribe” connection out of the blue and a developing friendship.
    I believe that in the future the community will grow and chance connections will be a lot more common.
    Being Druid is what I do for I have never traced my ancestory. Maybe one day I shall do my DNA trace and maybe it is actually who I am as well.

    Buzzard

  • Roselle Angwin

    Hear hear to all the above. Thoughtful blog and comments – thank you, tribe! As a poet and author myself – and a human making my way in the world – it’s been important to me that my spiritual values shape everything I do, and certainly anyone who knows what to look for will see that in my work. I guess any spiritual path – and I’d say mine blends druidry with Zen and ecopsychology – requires that we work towards being congruent, doesn’t it? It’s part of the path. Thank you for pointing me towards Graeme’s work, Nimue. And thanks once again for your commitment to your blog.

  • Roselle Angwin

    I meant to say too how much of Grame’s long comment, above, resonated with me. Thank you, Graeme.

  • Alex Jones

    I figure that any spiritual path should be a way of life, so you sleep, eat, live it in every action of each moment of each day. What then joins Druids in mutual accord is the active doing of Druid principles in all aspects of living a life. If a path is merely intellectualisation, books and attending events then it is worthless.

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