The desire for working groups often exceeds the availability. One of the reasons for this is that all too often people who have not been in a Grove, much less run one, have unrealistic expectations about what that should mean and do not realise they could just dive in and make something happen, or there is a Grove and it doesn’t live up to expectations and that causes discomfort. Today we will be taking pot shots at straw men…
“You need two Druid-Grade Druids to start a Grove.” You don’t. This is an OBOD concept that has accidently been allowed to escape into the wild. To run an OBOD Grove, you need two OBOD Druid grade folk, otherwise you have to call it a seed group, but it still does all the core things a Grove would do. Other Orders have different requirements – you usually need a few Order members to count as a Grove of a given Order and there will be things to uphold. Otherwise, some Druids or proto-Druids who want a Grove, is the only necessity.
“Groves celebrate the wheel of the year.” They can, they don’t have to. They might celebrate lunar cycles, meet on the second Tuesday of the month, or be entirely about study. Unless you’re an ADF Grove – where celebrating the wheel of the year in a publically accessible way is, to the best of my knowledge, a requirement.
“You can learn Druidry by joining a Grove.” A given Grove might or might not offer formal teaching. If you are paying attention, you’ll learn something, but depending on how idiosyncratic the Grove is, and what strikes you as important, that may vary. You don’t need to be able to teach to start one.
“A Grove is the best place to find wise and learned Druids resplendent with knowledge and insight.” It probably isn’t. On the whole a Gove is a good place to find enthusiastic people who are keen to learn, share and get together. This is the social end of Druidry. Longstanding Druids immersed in their paths can sometimes become much more solitary, and are not necessarily attracted to Groves.
“A Grove is a place of peace, love and safety.” It should be, but basically a Grove is a gathering of people and is therefore subject to all the things that can happen when you put groups of people together.
“I can’t set up a Grove because I am not an experienced Druid.” Yes you can, so long as you do not pretend to be other than you are. A Grove can happily be a place of aspiration, learning and sharing, you do not need an ‘expert’ to make it work.
“We must meet in the woods in the dead of night.” Well, you can, but lunchtime is equally fine and if the weather is awful you can meet in your living room, or a cafe. Getting outside is good, breaking your ankle isn’t, and Druid wisdom is all about balance, not masochism.
In short, yes you can and it does not have to be perfect to be worth doing.
June 6th, 2014 at 3:26 pm
All excellent points. I’ve also noticed a bit of a misconception in some circles that you *have* to be in a Grove or Order or something-or-other to be a really real druid. Some of us are just introverts who don’t want to do the big group stuff and are a bit intimidated by the idea of joining (not to mention running) a Grove!
June 6th, 2014 at 7:56 pm
or the ‘grove of one’ as I’ve heard it called sometimes. Totally valid to be a solitary Druid.
June 6th, 2014 at 8:14 pm
I think the ‘grove of one’ is a splendid way of referring to a solitary Druid/ry. And, of course, whilst some of us have no embodied presences to be in Grove with, we may have others who are present when we centre with intention for doing ritual and commemorations and celebrations. It can also be the Grove or Nemeton within, which in my case has a name. Thank you Ryan for prompting Nimue’s reply here, and to her for that reply.
June 6th, 2014 at 5:11 pm
Thank you for making these very important points. It is easy to forget that any Grove is going to have dynamics, some are positive and constructive and some are not. So, for that matter, does being a solitary practitioner. It is all in the balance, the flexibility and willingness to be open to what works for those involved.
June 6th, 2014 at 7:24 pm
Very well written and you are totally correct on the points you raised:)
June 6th, 2014 at 10:07 pm
Synchronicity of topic for me, thank you very much for posting!
June 7th, 2014 at 3:23 pm
v interesting post, just saw this via LinkedIn, of all places! Many good points here, its sems. (But in the grove that I attended for several months, I left after one of the ‘leaders’ rather suddenly stopped 2/3rds of the way through what was an absolutely splendid ritual, to grab his mobile phone out of his pocket, saying, ‘oh, excuse me – have to call the pub to see if they’ll still be open to take food orders in time’ after our ritual ended, etc. (as the usual practice was to go to a pub afterwards, et al) Well, needless to say, that ‘killed it’ right then and there, for me, for the most part. I do not take mobile devices into sacred space, nor would I ever dream of ‘interrupting’ other people’s sacred space/experience with something as mundane as that. ‘Nuff said. Haven’t attended a Seed grove, though… but, as as someone who has recenlty completed the Ovate grade (ie. ‘post-Ovate’…!) I have chosen not to continue on to the ‘Druid’ grade at this time, as am a solitary practitioner, but will be visiting various groups/groves in the London area, i.e, as I must also go there re: business and so on, in the future. Here’s to the 50th anniversary of Obod, celebrated today — ‘Awens, all!’ Long may it continue /|\
June 8th, 2014 at 11:03 am
“Getting outside is good, breaking your ankle isn’t, and Druid wisdom is all about balance, not masochism.”
Wonderful! As was the bit about being able to meet at lunchtime if you like 😀
I love the diversity of everything that groves can be.
July 27th, 2014 at 8:01 pm
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