Druidry and Magic

Recently I encountered a chap who said that the only magic in Druidry is communing with the ancestors. I offered a counter list – communing with the land and the old Gods, the magic of inspiration, or beauty, spirits of place, and so forth. He said that was magical, not magic. I have no problem with disagreeing, but it struck me as curious.

I know there are Druids who go in for spells – Kris Hughes talks about it, inspired by the magician Gwyidion, from the Welsh myths. Druidry is certainly not short of polytheists, and a prayer to a God is most assuredly an act of magical intent. I know for many Druids, magic is less about ‘doing’ and more about connection, about the numinous experience and a sense of wonder created by encountering wild beauty. You don’t have to believe in anything much to be a Druid. Magic can be found in the transformative power of ritual – whether you think that’s woo-woo magic or a simple consequence of showing up and doing the things.

The magic I have most deliberately sought it the magic of inspiration. I know no more powerful or glorious feeling than the moment when it crashes into me.

There are many ways of defining magic. Which is excellent. There are many ways of experiencing magic, feeling something as magical and feeling like a participant in something magical. There is however a world of difference between saying ‘this is what magic means to me’ and insisting that your take on magic is the only one available. Magic is personal, Druids are diverse, Druidry is full of possibilities. There is more wonder and delight to be found by being open to other people’s experiences than by insisting that yours is the only real one.

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

11 responses to “Druidry and Magic

  • DiosRaw

    All paths lead home. ❤

  • Sheila Murrey

    This is certainly a “calling” piece to me! Especially, “There is more wonder and delight to be found by being open to other people’s experiences than by insisting that yours is the only real one.”

  • angharadlois

    I think this is all true, and I also think it can be useful to clarify what we mean when we use certain words so that we can speak across divisions – whether of path or of practice. There are many kinds of magic, as you mention. What distinguishes the active practice of magic, as a craft, from the experience of the magical? I would suggest the distinction is intention.

    Most (but not all) of the druids I have known over the years have emphasised the experience of the magical, seeking it in communion with spirits of land or ancestors or gods; seeking inspiration. I think it is fair to say that, in cases like these, although the path is magical, the practice of magic as an active craft is not part of that path. This is not to suggest that the magic of it is any less real; simply that the engagement with that magic takes a different, more experiential form.

    My own path, which started with this more experiential sense of the magical, has meandered into the active and intentional practice of magic as well. I find it really helpful to be able to look across to fellow travellers on paths that occasionally cross my own and speak to them from a place of shared understanding – which is what prompted me to comment 🙂

  • Ladysag77

    Magic is what is our truth, our personal experience with the purity of love. There is certainly not just one way to achieve this. Many roads lead us to home. Staying curious with that spark of wonder is how we discover magic again and again🎆😊

  • lornasmithers

    As you have noted and Angharad has noticed above there are many definitions of magic. I’ve generally tended to distinguish between ceremonial magic, witchcraft style magic, bardic magic/the magic of inspiration, and spirit-aid magic (mainly for me taking the form of prayer). The latter two I practice often and very occasionally I will dip into the first two and do some practical magic but that is very very rare. Then there’s the pure magic of experience too. It’s a complex topic!

  • Yvonne Aburrow

    I remember very early on in my Wiccan journey that I asked my high priestess about spells and she just sort of looked at me.

    Wicca includes spells and magic but they aren’t its primary purpose. It is more about the magic of connecting to the old gods, the land, and the seasons.

    Polytheism can also include spell-craft type magic but it doesn’t have to.

    (For anyone reading this who doesn’t know: I am a polytheist Wiccan.)

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