I’m writing this one on request, not as a reflection of how I currently feel. I’ve been there, but in those bouts of feeling at odds with my path and community, I wouldn’t have talked about it. Some things are hard to work with when too raw and immediate, and feeling disconnected from your chosen path and/or the people who do it, is painful enough without exposing the sore bits and risking other people’s reactions. Currently I’m fine, so perhaps I can speak to this.
Some people are shitty. We get them in Druidry, too. The self-important, the dogmatic, the folk who think that knocking people down and picking holes is reliably useful. Sometimes challenge is good, sometimes a bit of tea and sympathy is better. There’s a lot of diversity in Druidry, and we can disagree, and if you get in a space where you make no sense to those around you, it can be alienating. Remembering there probably is a place you fit, and keeping looking for it, is most of the trick to getting through this. Not letting one or two negative voices crush you is easier said than done for some of us, but there will always be negative voices.
Then there are the people who, in the name of Druidry, or wearing their Druid hat do things that sicken and distress us. The ones who talk about honourable relationship while sharpening their knives for a good backstabbing. The ones whose claims and titles embarrass us, or whose version of past and present alike is so wonky as to be alarming. There aren’t many of them, but they make a lot of noise.
It is so important to know who and where your people are, and when you run into the sorts of Druidry that make you uncomfortable – for whatever reason – retreat is good. Go back to the safe spaces and reflect from there. We do not all have to like each other or agree. There is plenty of room for difference, and so long as no one is illegal or genuinely a risk to others, backing off and moving away is often a good response to the level of difficulty that can have us wondering if we really are Druids after all. All it means is we are not that sort of Druid, then, but some other sort.
Falling out of love with a spiritual practice can mean it wasn’t right for us, or we’ve moved past it. What makes sense when you’re first learning may not serve you a few years on. It is ok to do this, to change, to let go, to try something new. It is not a failure of you or the path to find that your life requires something a bit different now. If you are unhappy with what you’re doing, change. There are many different approaches out there, exploring more widely will be educational and no practice has to be forever.
Sometimes we can fall out of love with our gods, lose our sense of connection to spirits of place, to the ancestors, the awen, the land or the tribe. The first thing to look for is whether this indicates depression, exhaustion or other unwellness. Illness and burnout can draw all the colour and energy from our lives, taking all sense of the spiritual as well. It is a harsh loss in the midst of whatever else is going wrong. However, the cure is rest, gentle time, stress reduction. There are herbs, meds and experts who can help.
Disillusionment can be part of the natural cycle. It can be a dying of the old that allows us, after a time, to step forward into something new. Changing your understanding of the world can be a shocking process, and is always dramatic. Sometimes old ideas suffer prolonged deaths as we fight our way towards some new way of being, doing, thinking and feeling. Often this is only apparent after the event, and during the collapsing period, all you can see is the chaos. I’m going to explore this in more detail in the next few days.