When I was a teenager, Paganism seemed very attractive in no small part because it was almost taboo. It wasn’t illegal – I’m not quite that old and I live in the UK! But, being identified could cost you your job. I was in my twenties when changes to European law provided protection from discrimination, to Pagans.
Then of course there were all the books and articles about how to change your life. You too can have magical power, inner peace, a sexy dress and a gorgeous goddess shrine in your garden. I didn’t go very far down the path before it became obvious to me that anyone offering easy enlightenment in five basic steps, or anything of that ilk, was talking out of their arse. I didn’t need to go much further down the path to discover that the people saying the esoteric arts were super difficult and only available to a tiny few and that signing in blood would be required… were also talking out of their arse.
I think it’s natural for the younger humans to seek out more dramatic, more intense, more challenging experiences. I feel very old and tired now and I don’t have the stamina for anything much. I don’t have much ambition, and I certainly no longer see my spiritual path as anything to be ambitious about. I’m not going to do anything especially important as a Druid. Deities do not talk to me or have work for me to do. I am not even slightly motivated to do any more formal teaching, I am not going to set up an order or organise rituals for large groups of people. I write because I like writing and because I find it helps me process my own experiences. I also like feeling useful, and sharing notes on whatever I’m poking about in tends to give me that.
I’m not looking for revelation. I’m not looking for a purpose or a mission. Things that used to seem important to me as a younger Druid just don’t have the same impact now. I spent my time at the wheel there – I taught, I ran rituals, I helped organise community stuff. It’s hard work, and I just don’t have the energy anymore. I’ve become increasingly awkward as I’ve aged, I’m less cooperative than I was and considerably less generous with my time – I have so much less energy now. Service is hard work, if you are the sort of person who shows up and does the work. My tolerance for people who want to ponce about looking important while getting other people to do all the work is not what it used to be.
At this stage in my life, what my Druidry looks like is small and not glamorous. There’s very little drama and not much to report on. I’m focused on living my values as best I can, and doing what good I can but I often feel I can do more good when I’m not overtly wearing the Druid hat. People who already identify as Druids do not need me rocking up to tell them how to Druid better! It’s a laughable idea. People who are not Druids might have considerably more use for me turning up with ideas, songs, creative opportunities and good stories in a way that doesn’t announce itself as ‘spiritual’.
I’m interested in doing what I can to help and support people, quietly, day by day. If that reveals bigger pictures to me then I think it’s useful to talk about it. The Druids of old were, in theory, advisors to Kings and were themselves visible and powerful. I don’t feel that this is the right trajectory for me as an old, and modern Druid.