Indoor Druidry

I worry about the kind of Druid work (or similar in other traditions) that revolves primarily around the imagination. I’ve commented before that we may be too quick to assume that the fruits of our own minds are indeed full-on shamanic journeys, and to ascribe external meanings to internal desires. Paganism, in its various forms, is nature based religion. What happens if you explore that by staying in your living room and imagining nature? The odds are you get something safe, romantic and comfortable that conforms to your expectations, and derives solely from what you already know. If you don’t normally get out much, what you already know might not amount to much.

However, the flip side of this is that not everyone is in a position to go out. Not all places provide wild spaces to safely wander in. Not all people are equally capable of being out and about. Any good practice can flex to accommodate pretty much everyone who might want to use it, so an approach to Druidry that demands being under the open skies excludes those who really aren’t able to leave the house, and that doesn’t work.

Nature does not have to be ‘away’. There is a fallacy in viewing nature as something distant, exotic and separate from us. If you have access to natural light, and can see it, or feel it, then you are able to engage directly with nature. If you can hear, then an open window will eventually bring you bird song, in all probability. Even in cities, there is singing, and the sounds of wind and rain. There is something to experience and engage with. I’m lucky in that if I open my bedroom window I can hear running water and at night there are owls, loud enough to be audible even with windows shut in deep winter.

We can bring bits of nature indoors. Flowers, plants, pebbles, fossils, dried leaves, nuts, berries, feathers, bones, and so forth. It is not difficult to get nature into the living room. Once you’ve got it, there is something real to engage with, to study, contemplate and learn from. I took some willow wands from a fallen tree. The fuzzy catkins are opening, and tiny roots are forming at the bases of the stalks. Day by day I’ve watched the small changes, and I know things about this kind of willow that I did not know before. As ever, the sheer tenacity of willow inspires me. They do not quit, no matter what happens to them.

I’ve seen a lot of guides in recent years advocating that we imagine inner worlds of nature. We will only make what we know, and if we are encouraged to make those inner realms pretty, charming, safe and clean, then we will. What we too often build inside our own heads is a sanitised version of nature that has more to do with wishful thinking than the world as it is. Do we want escapist fantasy, or do we want to learn? Are we prepared for the shit, decay, pain, chaos and unfairness of the actual world? Or do we want a painting of a forest full of flawless flowers and eternal maidens where nothing ever takes a dump?

Indoor Druidry does not have to mean disconnection or self indulgence. It is entirely possible to keep it real from inside a secure space, so long as you use your imagination to bring in the real stuff, not to replace it.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. 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

8 responses to “Indoor Druidry

  • locksley2010

    Agreed, although saying that, I won’t start inserting cow pats into my ‘Sacred Grove.’ 😉

  • Karen

    Wonderful post!! Just happened to run across it here on Lindked In this morning. Yes, having had to be ‘confined to the house’ much more than usual in the past couple of months due to an orthopaedic issue, for someone who always did a rather longish morning walk, this time has been a v interesting, if not at times quite frustrating, journey, to continue to include as much of the great outdoors as possible!

    Truly, we often don’t realise how special and sacred our (usual) daily walks were before – until we cannot do them anymore, for a period of time. So, two months on, each day now, thankfully I can now begin to walk a bit more each day, carefully managing my daily energy levels, and so have been doing exactly what you mention here, i.e, pick up bits of the Great Outdoors, wood, stone, and otherwise…to bring back home. I now have a ‘forest’ in the house (!) and have really enjoyed much more stargazing/astronomy again, something I used to do far more often. My dreams have been much clearer and more Joy, too – ‘Green healing’ can, as you imply, work just as well (or more so at times) ‘indoors’ as it always does outdoors.

    So again, thx for this wonderfully insightful post – and hope it also helps others ‘out there’ in cyberspace too, as we all continue to celebrate the coming of spring!

    • Nimue Brown

      Thank you for sharing your experiences. I hope the path to healing continues smooth for you. I know I would go a bit mad if I couldn’t get out over that kind of time frame, even with the other approaches in the mix.

  • David Robertson

    Great blog, I never really learnt much about contemporary paganism, and its something I want to explore as someone whos fascinated in all spiritual traditions.

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