Druidry and time

Mindfulness as the idea of a state of living in the moment has become popular in Druidry as in most places. The idea that we should live in the present appeals to many people, but is one I remain uneasy about. It also seems to me to be at odds with much that is in the Druid tradition. We know the ancient Druids were keepers of history. Bards are tellers of stories. Ovates practice divination and look to the future. So while there are times when we might want to be focused on the present, Druidry exists in relationship with past, present and future.

It doesn’t help that the ‘mindfulness’ we get in the west is increasingly a practice stripped from its origins and packaged for us to consume. It is an increasingly unrooted concept and treated as a cure-all and there are a lot of reasons to be wary about embracing it with no context in this way. I don’t think that what passes for ‘mindfulness’ out of context has much to do with the original practice or anyone involved with it as part of their path.

Looking ahead is essential if you intend to lead or teach – and leadership, and teaching are both part of the Druid tradition.

Looking ahead is vital if you mean to create anything. Creativity that happens only in the moment tends to be self indulgent. If we want to use inspiration to meaningfully engage with someone else we need our roots in the past and an eye to the future.

It’s good to be present and alert to what’s going on. Life doesn’t give you much if you pay it no attention. But at the same time, the context for the present moment is held by where we have come from and where we might be going. Our brains have a capacity for holding a lot within the present moment, we’ve evolved to understand things in context, and if we want to relate to our natural selves, I see no point in trying to strip that away. Nature doesn’t live in the moment either. The cat poised to pounce is in some degree living in the future, so is the bird building a nest and the insects laying up a store for the winter. Trees begin making their leaf buds in winter and carry inside them the growth ring memory of previous years.

To properly understand the present moment, we need the context for it. To live responsibly, we most certainly need to be aware of the future and the implications of our actions. To be a Druid is to be in relationship with time. Choosing to step out of time for specific purposes may make sense, but overall Druidry calls us to be in relationship with time.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. 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

5 responses to “Druidry and time

  • potiapitchford

    I think you’ve just nailed down one of the things that has been subconsciously bugging me about mindfulness. Thank you.

  • Druidry and time, continued | Druid Life

    […] This is my second blog post contemplating a druidic relationship with time. The first one is here – druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/06/19/druidry-and-time/ […]

  • garycohenblog

    Hello. I commented on this a couple of days ago but it doesn’t appear to be here so I will comment again. Not sure what happened.
    Much of the message of Mindfulness has been repackaged to suit a western health market. However if we explore it further we will find that while Mindfulness is about present moment awareness it is more than simply just focusing on your current actions. If we look with Mindfulness we will be aware that everything is related and is dependent on other conditions for it to manifest. The Apple you eat is here due to the conditions that grew it; Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It is in your hand because someone picked it, drove it to a warehouse where it was distributed to a shop etc etc. The person who picked it would not exist if it wasn’t for a multi amount of conditions and their ancestors. The vehicle they used to drive the apples to the shop would not exist if it wasn’t for multiple conditions etc etc. Even the tools used in collecting the Apple; the ladder, the basket etc only exist because of other things. The picker is here because their parents were here. They are here because of their ancestors. None of them would exist without the conditions the Earth supplies. The whole universe has come to together to put the Apple in your hand.
    If we look deeply we can see we are here as a result of our ancestors. We are a continuation of the past. We are the ancestors of the future. Therefore the past, present and future are all here in this moment. They are all inter related. What we do now affects what happens next. These three aspects of time are not really separate. If we are aware of ‘the present’ we are aware we are a continuation of our ancestors and a multitude of inter related conditions and people who are in turn made up of a multitude of ‘Non human’ parts.
    My children are my continuation into the future. As are my actions. As is my body when it will return to the Earth and change form and be part of future existences. If we look deeply; Mindful of how this very moment has come to be, then we can see Mindfulness as a philosophy is very much aware of our ancestors and time.

  • ingvenning

    Reading this, I suddenly recalled an encounter I had many years ago, with a spirit guide called Amerach whom I’ve never seen before or since. I could find almost no information about her; I’m not even sure if I still have the book where I found a couple of footnotes, but I seem to recall her having something to do with aspects of time. I feel compelled to seek her again, in meditation. Thank you so much!

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