Get on facebook, or into any online, public Druid space and you will find people who want to determine who is, and is not a ‘proper’ Druid, who is a ‘better’ Druid than whom, and who is therefore the most important. It doesn’t take many over-loud voices to create an impression that Druidry is a judgemental space, as hierarchical and dogmatic, full of rules as any other religion. You must do this, a proper Druid wears, says, owns, celebrates…
(Actually, to clarify, a proper Druid does not necessarily own, wear, say or celebrate bollocks, but they remain an option).
Why are we pouring so much time into telling other people what they ought to be doing? What does it matter? I don’t think it matters at all. If you aren’t behaving antisocially, if you aren’t hurting or harming anyone else, why should I care in the slightest why it is that you call yourself a Druid? Why should I mind if your Druidry looks different to mine? If I trust the value and integrity of my own work, why would I need the affirmation of yours looking really similar?
Sharing what we do, for the purposes of mutual inspiration and to enable exploration, is a wonderful thing. Coming back with the results of experimental Druidry and taking about it, is brilliant. Let’s do that. I want to hear about the things you’ve tried and the inspiration you’ve been blessed with.
The fear of course is of dumbing down and falling standards. If we do not hold the boundaries and control who can be a Druid, then those other people will get in. The ones who do it wrong. The silly ones. The other sort. They are easily identified because they are not like us. We, on the other hand, are fine and reasonable, our Druidry underpinned by solid things, properly studied, thoroughly justified, and it is outrageous that anyone should suggest otherwise. And you know, maybe we need to do this a bit less. Maybe it is born of insecurity and a need to prove how good and special we are, and not a consequence of anything useful or spiritual at all.
You might want to consider not participating in those conversations. There is one thing that I am certain of, and it is this: The truly wise and for-reals modern Druids are not on facebook for hours at a time dispensing judgements on the quality of other people’s Druidry. They’re out in the woods, or working the soil, or practicing their craft. The really serious Druids (whoever they are… I may have been lucky enough to meet some) are not manifesting their religion on facebook. Anyone who shows up there touting their superiority has, as far as I can see, already invalidated their stance by wasting their time and energy bickering on social media. Anyone who seeks their Druidry on facebook probably deserves what they get. Pointers and inspiration are one thing, facebook Druidry quite another.
And yes, I say this very aware that I’m writing a blog that will share automatically to facebook, but I’ve never told anyone they can’t be a Druid, and I don’t mean to start now. I’m not an authority. I’m not so hard core and for reals that I have the right to trample other people. Do I have the right to grumble about the folk who get on facebook and pick holes in what other people do? To turn to those who say ‘this is not Druid enough’ and say ‘actually, this facebook nit-picking is not Druid enough’? No idea! But I’m doing it anyway.
I’m working on getting off the computer, spending more time on real things, and not getting sucked into endless, circular online debates that achieve nothing. As a consequence I find I am a good deal happier and I get a lot more done. I offer that by way of possibility. In the meantime, if someone online questions your right to be a Druid, don’t get stroppy with them directly, it just feeds the beast. Ask yourself if there is some other place you could be and some more rewarding thing you could be doing… because that’s where the real Druid action will be.