This week’s instalment of Theo Wildcroft’s Sacred Body series contains my favourite bit – the idea of Bubbling Up https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/sacred-body-part-2-bubbling/. I’ve been studying Druidry for some time now, I’ve read Blood and Mistletoe, I’m conscious of the flaws in writing about Druids from the time and the likely weaknesses of mediaeval texts as source material. For some, that pretty much makes impossible the idea of authentic modern Druidry. However, the one idea I keep coming back to, is that the ancient Celts got their Druidry from somewhere. Not in the sense of revelation, monotheistic style (I assume). My belief is that ancient Celts got their Druidry from the land, the rivers and trees, the mountains, the cranes, aurochs, badgers, buzzards, mice and so forth. Most of that is still here.
Like Theo, I am conscious of how many artificial structures surround our daily lives. Sat here in my metal boat, with this box of plastic wizardry on my knees, typing words that will be read by people I’ve never met… we’ve created a rather fantastical and unreal sort of world. And yet… every few seconds I inhale. Air, one of the elements, with me moment to moment. Real. My boat depends on a stove for heating, I cook on gas. There’s fire in my life, every day, another element, another realness. Water, hopefully on the outside of the boat. The earth is right next to the canal, I tread on it regularly. The sky is above me every day. My food came from plants that lived, grew in soil, experienced light. If I raise my head I can see the willows, thinking about leafing, tentatively getting busy out there. Even in my constructed, human environment, nature is present. I also notice that the moss growing on my boat’s fenders do not see human construct, just a place to call home. Birds shit on the roof just as they would on the ground. I may see a human construct, but to the rest of nature, it shows every sign of just being more environment. Maybe a bit sterile and drab, but the spiders do their best to correct this.
It’s terribly easy to go ‘ooh, nature is my sacred text’ and then not really do anything with that. What can you do? It’s out there, we’re in here… and as long as we see the divide, holding ourselves as separate, we are separate.
For the ancient Celts, survival meant understanding the natural world. This soil. That tree. Those weather conditions. All of it immediate, some of it longer term – when to plant, when to harvest, what to kill and what to leave. I don’t claim to know what the ancient Druids got up to, but understanding nature must have been in the mix. That doesn’t have to mean placing ourselves on the outside with a clipboard. You can stand on the shore and watch the sea, or you can get in it and learn how to rise and fall with the waves. Or you can drown.
Druidry, for me, is increasingly about participating. Not standing back as an intellectual observer, but being in the scene, in the moment, acting and reacting, and paying attention. This land, that tree, another seagull crapping on my boat…