Every now and then I get a message from someone who wants to become a Druid, and feels the need for input. I’ve also noticed that search terms around getting into Druidry bring a lot of people to this blog, so clearly it’s a question plenty of people are asking. Although I think there are two distinct things going on.
One is the practical side. People hear something about Druidry, it interests them and they want to know more. What do we do? How does it work? The question of how to get started is part and parcel of that enquiry. It’s not the easiest thing to answer because where you need to start depends on who you are, where you are and what you want. If there’s a group meeting near you then going along and meeting some actual Druids and doing a bit of ritual may be a good way in. Perhaps you’re academically orientated and need a study course – OBOD at http://www.druidry.org would be my first suggestion, but ADF and Henge of Keltria also inform, and there are plenty of smaller groups and informal teaching materials out there. Budget, desire to join, relationship with authority – these also inform where you might want to go to start off. Are you an urban proto-Druid working with culture or social justice? Are you a rural proto-Druid out planting trees? The answer may not be simply about where you live.
Working out what kind of person you are and what kind of Druidry you want to do is really important when looking for courses, mentors etc. Of course until you have some exposure it’s not always obvious what it was that you needed to be looking for. Druidry is a broad, diverse tradition, so poke around, explore, experiment, ask questions and see what feels right. There’s no point doing things that feel weird, silly or wrong. If there’s no resonance in your heart, the practice is not for you, try some other group, or teacher, or Order or aspect.
No sane person will expect you to be able to dive right in and Be A Druid from the start. You aren’t supposed to magically and intuitively know how to do it all. You will find there are things that you do magically and intuitively know, though, and these are the ones to run with. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, take wrong turnings, change your mind and then get out there and see what happens. Don’t expect perfection from yourself, or from anyone else. Teachers are also human, Orders are made by humans, it’s all a work in progress and some of it is going to be flawed. This is not something to get cross about, just something to deal with as you learn to flex and find your own way.
Alongside the practical information search there is an issue of permission. This has been visible in a lot of the queries I’ve had. People tell me about who they are, what they do, what they know, and sound me out to see if I think they’ve got the makings of being a Druid. I’ve never said ‘no’. As I see it, it’s not about whether a person is qualified to be a Druid, but whether they want to be a Druid. If you want it enough, you will put in the work that will take you forward to the point where you feel entitled to call yourself a Druid, and to a place where other Druids will recognise you as being one. No one can give you that, or do it for you.
We have a culture where qualifications and certificates are the norm, where vetting and examining are a given. If you want to be almost anything in this life, you can expect to be scrutinised, judged, assessed, and you may be found lacking. You may not know enough or have the right bit of paper. Doors will shut for you.
Druidry can be academic and intellectual, and it can be highly skills based. However, there s no one with the power to say that you are, or are not a Druid. This is a spiritual path, and really what happens on it is between you and whatever you engage with. I can’t make you into a Druid. I can’t give you Druidry like a diploma. But I can say this. You are a human being and therefore you have all the necessary qualifications to study Druidry. You are drawn to Druidry and therefore you have the potential to become a Druid. You have every right to explore as you wish.
Now you need to give yourself permission, and take your own steps down your own path.