Challenges for new Druids

Go back twenty years and more, and the challenges for new Pagans and Druids were very different. There weren’t many books about Paganism, and if you didn’t know titles and authors, you’d have trouble tracking them down. Your local library wouldn’t carry them, most likely. Pagans of decades past were more cautious by far – there were no laws to protect us and a Pagan could lose their job for their faith. Back before the internet, your local moot, grove or coven would be considerably harder to locate. Finding other Pagans took time and patience, and you had to jump through a lot of hoops before anyone would spot you and take you seriously.

Today’s challenges are perhaps not so obvious. Five minutes with a search engine will give you information that would once have required years of patient hunting, asking and waiting. Most Pagans are ‘out’ and you can find their webpages. However, you may decide that social media is enough, and not make it to a physical moot. Useful if you live miles away from others, but potentially also a trap, because you may not get round to in-person Paganism, and that’s a loss.

The internet is a big place full of a lot of information, much of it contradictory. Druidry is wide, and deeper in some places than others. The people who get online and shout the most often know the least. As an example, there was a person who rolled in here and on message boards, with the email address of ‘seniordruid@’ and started making a lot of noise – much of it rude and self important. It took five minutes to discover that said person had no knowledge base – perhaps in world of warcraft they were a senior Druid, but not out here in the real world. I confess I was neither kind nor gentle – overconfident pedlars of misinformation are too much of a liability to leave unchecked. But there’s a lot of them out there.

Would-be Druids of the 20th century largely had to contend with shortages of information and slow starts. 21st century would-be Druids have the opposite problem – too much information, too many options and possibilities. The challenge for the modern seeker, is to work through the mounds of information and the vast amount of noise to try and figure out what makes sense to them. You start knowing little or nothing, guided by a gut feeling or a yearning. Telling what is worth your while, and what has no value to you, is not easy. The old rites of passage were simpler, in that you knew when you’d found your way in. These days, ‘in’ is quick, but often devoid of meaning. Finding the needles of what you need to know in the great internet haystack is a sizeable challenge.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember, and the thought most easily lost in the noise, is this: The internet is not your Druidry. You can learn here and you can connect with people – and that’s all to the good, but this is not where Druidry lives. Druidry is about the earth you stand on and the air you breathe, it is tribe and wilderness meeting. You might be able to talk and learn about it here, but you can’t do it here. However valuable the things you learn online, you have to take them out into your life and apply them in some way.

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

11 responses to “Challenges for new Druids

  • Léithin Cluan

    Reblogged this on Treasure in Barren Places and commented:
    A fantastic post by Nimue Brown. ‘Nuff said!

  • greycatsidhe

    “The internet is not your Druidry.” So true.

  • Aurora J Stone

    This is so true. The book you are reading is not your Druidry either. One can be led to believe that valuable information and intellectual understanding of and engagement with the vast array of material available now are Druidry, but they are not. It is quite easy to be guided into thinking this way thinking. Druidry is an experienced belief. Druidry is a lived set of values. Druidry leads you into the landscape, to stand on the earth and in solidarity with its creatures and its energies, with the echoes of the ancestors songs, musics and words, with the gods who inhabit the places that become sacred to you as an individual or the group of Druids with whom you gather. I learned these things only when I came to live where I could feel the land, engage the gods and ancestors. Where I could begin to live what I knew and love where I was. Only then did I really become a Druid.

    Thank you for your words of caution and encouragement.

  • Terry

    So true…I’m a newbie trying to find my way through to some real solid lessons but I also know I’m not going to connect the way I desire unless I learn by living it…I’ve read some books ex…Nimues book on ancestry and Joanna van Der Hoeven book Awen Alone and I’m now reading Cat Treadwells book A Druids Tale but these won’t make me a Druid, only practice and living it will help me achieve my true nature.
    I’ve tried locating some local groves but no luck as of yet in my area, so I’m setting up for some distant training to help me along on my path.
    I know I belong in this circle as I’ve always been guided and led somehow to this path and I believe in this path. I’ve had some education and experiences in my past but no real practices, education or really living it. I feel as if by some small magic I’ve come to find certain people who have in their sharing; helped me find others whom I can trust, and know they are speaking honestly and openly. I’m friends with a woman I work with who is a Wiccan but she’s very private in her faith. So I don’t want to be overly inquisitive. 🙂
    I’m very excited to learn and live my path to the fullest I can and that the spirits continue to guide and lead me.

    • Nimue Brown

      All groves exist because at some point, someone said ‘ok, I will start one and see who comes’…. often it’s the only way forward, and often when one person steps forward to say ‘there could be a grove here’ other people start to show up 🙂 best of luck with it all.

  • dkhyde2014

    Radio 4 made me a Druid – well sort of. A ‘Point of View’ podcast by Tom Shakespeare mentioned the old pagan festivals, and a link from that podcast webpage led to the BBC page on Pagans, which had a link to the OBOD website, which was fascinating, and led me to take the OBOD Bardic course. So it is a great enabler, but I am probably a case in point since I haven’t met face to face with anyone because of it. A challenge for 2015 then!

  • elfkat

    Reblogged this on Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess and commented:
    I would never have known how to find any pagans if my friend Kathy hadn’t dragged me to my first meeting with the local coven and I sorely needed the help at the time. Thanks to her and Merrie and Sherlyn of Lorraine Covenant back in 1984.

  • lornasmithers

    Aye, you can only learn so much from books… you have to go out and DO it! That’s when the *fun* (and hardships) begin…

  • Ryan

    Thank you for the reminder. I tend to be solitary, so the internet is the only way I connect with other druids and read about druidry, but I can get bogged down in discussion and debate. It is so important to get out there and feel the wind, hear the birds and immerse oneself in nature. That is druidry.

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