When I first started to explore Druidry in a deliberate way, my path for the first few years was dominated by learning about what modern Druids do. I learned the wheel of the year and the conventions of ritual, explored some of the philosophy and spent a fair amount of time working out how what I already knew fitted in with that.
For a while my main focus became service – volunteering for several organisations, reviewing books, writing website articles, organising things. As circumstances changed, I found myself running rituals and teaching meditation. For some years the essence of my Druidry was helping other people along their path and most things I did were with an eye to how they might be helpful, not how they could deepen my practice or carry me forwards. But of course nonetheless, this did deepen my practice and carry me forwards.
I had a few years as a hermit – unplanned but necessary. With no community on hand that needed me, I started writing books and blogs. I went on an intense journey that changed my relationship with owning stuff and using resources. My Druidry became about this world and learning to live as lightly as I could. I started exploring prayer, developing a much richer and very private personal practice, totally different from anything I’d done before.
Returning to dry land, I’ve been exploring community again – not just Druid spaces. Finding places to be and struggling a bit with how and where I might fit. I’ve dedicated time in service to OBOD, which I’m really enjoying. A deepening relationship with my ancestors – which focused on ancestors of blood when it started nearly 4 years ago, has become a deep exploration of ancient ancestry. It involves a lot of physical journeys, walking ancestral ways in the landscape and exploring their places.
This summer I’ll be teaching ritual skills at camp. It’s a bit like going back to the things I was first doing – ritual comes easily and naturally to me, and always did. I come full circle in this one having learned a lot, and changed, and it will be a new journey. I know I learn most when I’m teaching.
At the moment I’m also finding that the call to express my Druidry has become a call to political activism. I see a lot of my friends responding in the same way. How can we talk about tribe, land, nature, relationship, without responding to the destructive political approaches that dominate right now. Badger culls, fracking, climate change and social injustice to name but a few make it difficult to waft about in the robes, ignoring the mainstream. We are needed more than ever, to act, and to speak up. As protestors, as commentators, as potential politicians ourselves, I’m seeing a lot of Druids and fellow travellers gritting their teeth and wading into the unlovely world of politics. Because we must.
My great longing at the moment is that the tide will turn. Hope will triumph over hate. Reason will triumph over delusion. The lying, cheating, stealing bastards around the world will be kicked out of positions of power, and a more functional set of people will take over. People with fair and sensible ideas who, for the majority of the time can be left to get on with it. But not all the time, because that makes them complacent. I dream of a future where there is no call to be political, and when the Druid path will bring me to some new place. Community resilience perhaps. Tree planting. Sitting on hills all night. A life where I can sing songs and make up stories, and not worry so much. Perhaps we can get there.