Some years ago, I joined a facebook group, themed around Contemplative Druidry. From there I was invited to join a local group, and became part of a mailing list. A day of contemplation was planned, and I said I might go, and then chickened out. I had a family court hearing too close to the date to be equal to any kind of calm. I didn’t know anyone else, I would have been travelling alone. Not far, but far enough to worry me. It was simply too much. I was very fragile back in those days, and largely in a state of retreat from the world, hiding in my narrowboat and trying to heal.
Last summer I moved to Stroud – where the group is based. I’d come out of hiding a bit, all the court nightmares were behind me and I felt bit more able to engage, so when the next contemplation day came along, I went. It was daunting, and taking a whole day off work was intimidating in its own ways. By then however, I knew some people – I’d wrangled Tom in, my good friend Mr Bish was involved and I knew another participant just a little from Druid camp. OBOD supports its mentors by pairing new ones with more experienced folk who can offer advice, and my mentoring mentor was also part of the circle. (Stroud is a hotbed of OBOD activity, there are lots of us!) It became rapidly evident that I was in a good place, with people who were safe to be around, inclined to be gentle with me, and where very little was asked or expected.
Over this last year, I’ve gone to monthly meet ups and a second whole day, the third is coming round fast and the group has become an important part of the rhythm of my life.
Over the summer, James Nichol (who holds the space and set it in motion) collected experiences from participants, in order to reflect on the whole process. These have been assembled into a book. It’s not a how-to, but an insight into a tide in Druidry over a few years of its development, as seen from the perspectives of various people who have been involved. I am one of the voices in the mix, and it’s been wonderful thing to take part in. It’s a real community project, capturing some of the diversity within Druidry, and also giving insight into how the contemplative aspect of Druidry works for some of us doing it. Beyond this, there is an invitation to open up contemplation. We tend, as a path, to focus more on the dramatic ritual side of things, but we need to balance that with the slower and more introspective work.