Druidry and service

I first started studying Druidry about 18 years ago. Back then, I was hungry for knowledge, and hopeful about developing wisdom. I wanted something that gave my life coherence, and Druidry brought together all the things I was interested in, giving shape to my life in a way I was excited about. I joined a Grove, went to open rituals, studied with OBOD. When I started, this is something I was doing for me.

Not very far in, the idea of service as the heart of Druidry happened to me, and I volunteered for The Druid Network. For some years, it was all about how much I could give and as a person who already wasn’t good at self-care, this didn’t entirely work for me. Most of my Druidry came to be about what I did for other people – in ritual, in teaching (I’d grown up Pagan, so when I got to Druidry I actually knew quite a lot already).

I don’t really know how to do ritual for myself. It was always something I did as an act of service. I only dress the part if I’m working for someone who I think needs me to dress the part. I don’t go to events unless someone wants me to do a talk. It struck me this week that my whole approach to Druidry has been shaped, if not distorted by this sense that service is what matters most.

Most people who take up a spiritual path do so because they want to grow. They want to enrich themselves, and for Pagans, opening the door to wonder and the numinous is usually part of the mix. When I started out, that was what I wanted. I have a lot of underlying issues around not feeling like I deserve nice things, and this has no doubt played its part. So, I’m looking at my assumptions.

I don’t really ‘do’ deity and that’s in no small part because I can’t see why any deity would want to bother with me so there’s not much point asking. For years now, I’ve only held sacred space and time for other people’s benefit. I don’t dress up, because I’m not glamorous and I don’t really feel entitled to present that way – I intend to challenge this. I don’t do much pagan bling, or interior decoration because I’ve persuaded myself it’s superficial. But it’s also joyful, and I’ve not made much space for personal joy in my path, and I think I need to.

What if my Druidry was fun?

What if the study and embodying of Druidic philosophy was something I consciously did for my own benefit first and foremost?

What if I made more deliberate space for beauty and joy? What if I allowed myself to play with this and take more delight in it?

What if I stopped trying to justify my use of time in terms of how I benefit other people?

 

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

8 responses to “Druidry and service

  • Blodeuwedd

    So much this!!! Being surrounded by beautiful things (which for various reasons it not always possible for me) makes me feel not only joyful but also calmer and more able to cope…likewise with dress, jewellery and so on. Its not an either or thing for me, Being joyful allows be to be of service better.
    There is a very interesting concept in Hinduism that I have been looking into recently, called svadharma. This can mean ‘self- dharma’ or ‘self-nature’ Like all dharma is is linked to ‘rightness’ and so to service, but also to the idea that you must act in accordance with your own nature to do this and so doing will make you joyful. I like that idea.

  • Tommy Elf

    “I don’t really ‘do’ deity and that’s in no small part because I can’t see why any deity would want to bother with me so there’s not much point asking.”

    Way back in my early days on my Pagan Path, I said the same thing. I never really “asked” for either of the Tricksters to come into my life. They sort of just showed up – though to be honest, it was Coyote that led me to Crow. But I can completely grok what you are saying here…I had those same feelings at one time. Just wanted to toss my two quid into the pot. 🙂

  • Yvonne Aburrow

    You are just as worthy of joy and sacred connection and fun as anyone else. Heck, probably more so, considering the amount of work you put in.

    What’s that saying? – “take the time to smell the flowers along the way.”

  • Michael

    This sounds so much like what I think every now and then. We need spirituality to be ‘fun’ and creative and wholesome for ourselves, first and foremost!

  • Elizabeth Silver

    That really spoke to me. As a Carer to a disabled child it seems like it’s always about others. Even Imbolc was ‘how can I make it so she can see the candles’
    I feel flat and burnt out and need to find the fun again at 50.

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