Tag Archives: becoming a druid

A work in progress

I was recently very inspired by Naomi’s post about the ongoing and unending process of Becoming a Druid.

There is no end point of having become a Druid such that you can sit back and not bother any more. There is always more to know, further to reach, more to love and opportunities for being confused, overwhelmed, awed and inspired.

When I started out along this path, I had no sense of that at all. I was a somewhat spiky young human and I had a great deal of need to prove some things. Part of the process of becoming has, for me, involved a process of letting go. When I started, I needed to get to the place (wherever it was) where I would be recognised and taken seriously. I was generally short of feeling recognised, valued or taken seriously and being in my early twenties really didn’t help with that.

I imagined that achieving Druid grade with OBOD would Mean Something. When I got there, I would Be something. By the time I got there I realised I was just beginning, but had also come to feel very cheerful about that prospect.

When I started out, the idea of it taking nine years of study to become a Druid historically, frustrated me. Of course I could do it faster than that! I could work harder, try more, be cleverer than anticipated and shave a few years off. And now, having been doing this for a lot more than nine years, I feel further away from the imagined goalposts than I did when  started, and also entirely at ease with that. It just doesn’t matter anymore.

I am regularly surprised and delighted by how much I do not know, and by how much I have to learn. I am smaller and less able than my younger self could bear to acknowledge. I’ve come to accept that I do not have to know everything, or be brilliant in all ways and that’s incredibly liberating. I am not required to magically have the answers and there are no guarantees yesterday’s answers would hold up today, anyway.

There is nothing to do but show up with an open heart, willing to explore, and to see what happens. Always a work in progress, only finished when dead (assuming we stop then, and I’m not actually sure). Always becoming.

We have such a success and achievement orientated culture. It has taken me a lot of my more than nine years to unpick that a bit, and stop obsessing about being qualified. It is enough that today there is sun, there will be orchids and good company and I have laundry to do. Hello sun. Hello orchids. Hello socks… The mysteries of existence are great, and numerous, and there is no dishonour in being a small thing muddling along in a state of wonderful bemusement.


Responsible Druid

Anyone who read the comments yesterday will see that I’ve been told off by a ‘Senior Druid’. My inclusive, find your own path approach risks leading the unwary into bad practice and improper Druidry, apparently. So, today I’d like to mention a thing that I consider really important.

The first thing that you do when you set out to become a Druid, is to take responsibility for your path.

There are many people who can teach you things about what Druidry might mean. There books aplenty. There are those who will say you have to read certain things, believe certain things, wear the right robes. You may be told to join the right Order, celebrate specific festivals or be encouraged to give yourself an unpronounceable name in a language you don’t speak. There are those who will offer you things that seem so mad, unfounded and impossible that you are left bemused and uncomfortable. There are others who will encourage you to explore widely and draw your own conclusions. I fall firmly into the final group, I think there are very few things you ‘must’ do in order to be a Druid, but one of them, without any doubt, is to take responsibility for your own path, and never abdicate that to someone else, no matter how senior they seem, how many books they’ve written or how many blog follower they have. Being responsible for your own path is your sacred duty as a Druid.

Ancient Druidry cast the participants as the thinking classes of the Celtic peoples. Graeme Talboys has written eloquently on this topic, and if you’d like to look into it, I recommend getting one of his books with ‘Druid’ in the title (he also writes excellent fiction). As I see it, any area of intellectual endeavour is therefore valid work as part of your Druidry. History and philosophy are always popular, but with crisis looming, I think we need more Druid economists, politicians, alternative technology experts and other forward looking academics, too.

Unless you are physically unable to get outside, or are in a place where that’s unsafe, then your Druidry should take you outside. By all means use the computer to do your intellectual learning, but also get out and do something. Explore your land. Druids need soil, and frequently need trees. Druids in landscapes that do not naturally feature trees have to figure out what, in the absence of trees, a Druid in their part of the world should be engaging with. Explore ancestry. Think. Learn. Pay attention to your emotional responses. Create, imagine, follow your inspiration.

I’ve talked about service recently, and the importance of that not being po-faced martyrdom. I’ll say that again. Serve by doing the good stuff.

On the surface that’s all very clear and ‘thou shalt’, but only in broad brush strokes. In practice, there’s such a vast amount to choose from as you find your own path. Your inspiration and your passion should guide those choices. Follow the call of your heart and the cry of your animal self. Listen to the land, and listen to your own wisdom. Of course listen to what other people do and think, because you can steal ideas, draw inspiration, find connections, and spare yourself from re-inventing the wheel all the time.

Every now and then you will run into someone who has given themselves a Senior Druid title and decided that they have the right to dictate how you should go about your Druidry. What you do with that, is your responsibility. All I can say is, the ‘Senior Druid’ title is often self chosen. If someone runs an Order, has a big Grove, teaches and you’ve gone to them seeking advice, then you might want to listen to what they say. No experienced Druid worth their salt throws themselves at other people uninvited to say what should and shouldn’t be happening, unless that person is actively dangerous to themselves or others. Anyone doing this is probably on an ego trip and doesn’t deserve your attention.

You are responsible for your path, and that means you are responsible for deciding whose advice to follow. I do not have all the answers. Most days the best I can manage is to formulate questions. Hang around with me and you are never going to get to call yourself a Senior Druid, and if that bothers you, then you’re in the wrong place! (Unless, as Graeme suggested yesterday, you become the sort of senior Druid who goes into the woods and then forgets what they were doing there… but that’s another story.)


Pampering the Druid

What do you consider to be a luxury? What do you turn to for indulgence and a sense of abundance, to reward yourself, as a pick-me-up or a feel-good thing? Becoming a Druid is very much about re-imagining all aspects of your life, and is also an on-going process. If you want to be a Druid, there is no point at which you cease to do the work of becoming a Druid.

I’m not going to be all ‘hair shirt’ about this one. While I do believe in living lightly and trying not to consume excessively, life without anything that you consider to be a luxury can be bloody depressing. Feeling deprived of the good stuff is not conducive to good self-esteem or a sense of wellbeing. However, it is worth noting that a sense of abundance, luxury and wellbeing does not depend on specific external sources, but on how we think about them. If you’ve pegged your sense of self and your happiness to having very new, very fast and expensive cars, only that thing will do it for you. The marketing world encourages us, on a daily basis, to feel that only their product can deliver us the sense of inner peace and happiness we crave. This is of course, bullshit, but we are subject to rather a lot of it.

More often than not, the wonderproducts do not deliver for us, or have inbuilt obsolescence. Many of them are only luxuries, (in our minds) because of their newness. Once they are older and a bit tatty, those shoes, that gadget, no longer delivers and we ‘need’ another one. We fear being seen as poor, behind the times, out of date, and so we get locked into buying things we don’t really need simply because we are told on a daily basis that without them we cannot be happy or fulfilled.

One of the most reliable places to go for a sense of luxury, abundance and indulgence, is the body. There are balances to strike here because while one cream cake can seem like indulgent delight, a whole packet has implications. There are pleasures to be had in using the body (assuming yours works passably well) movement brings its own rewards. Walking, dancing, singing, working up a sweat, making love… if we have a mindset that recognises these as good things, rather than horrible and unwelcome impositions, they can be delightful. Making love, having the time and space to do that slowly, sensuously and with someone you really want to be with…. That can feel seriously luxurious.

Sleep is another. Early nights and long, languid rest periods, letting the body and mind unwind, relishing the smell of the clean sheets, the softness of the mattress… If you struggle to see how glorious a good bed is, spend some time camping, or sit on a hill all night to get a bit of useful perspective. A hot shower or long bath can feel deeply indulgent, relaxing the body and bringing sensory pleasures.

The company of friends, a few glasses of wine, a good view… feel indulged depends a lot on what you consider indulgent in the first place. That is a choice; one we are often influenced in by people who want to sell us stuff. What really makes you feel good? How can you get to that without it costing the world? The Druid path is not one of abstinence and denial; it is a path of finding your happiness in a way that does not take too much. What underpins this is a perspective. Learning to be genuinely happy, rather than reassured by participating in consumer society, is incredibly liberating.


Finding a teacher

There’s an oft repeated saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Most of us aren’t patient enough to just sit round waiting, and often a part of that readiness is manifested by going out there and seeing who might be able to help.

When we start out learning Druidry, the idea of a teacher-parent-guru who has all the wisdom and who can make encouraging noises about how well you’re doing, is a really alluring idea. Been there, have several badly tattered t-shirts to testify to the experience. So often what we want from a teacher – a simple way forward, affirmation, reassurance – is not what we get. Druidry is not straight forward and much of what makes us Druids is not the doing of specific things, or the learning of certain facts, but a developing of understanding. That takes time, and no one can do it for us.

Not all people who offer to teach Druidry are wise, kindly, insightful people who will help you on the journey. I’ve been stung, twice now, by ‘teachers’ who turned out to be unfair, demanding, fond of humiliating me, and otherwise no kind of good.

So here’s what I’ve learned.

It is not a good idea to place responsibility for your learning into someone else’s hands. For one, it is your path, not theirs. No matter how good a teacher is, they cannot tell you how to be yourself. The ones who wish you to become a version of themselves, are not good news. Relinquishing authority and responsibility into the hands of another is not a very Druidic thing to be doing, and it pays to start this at the learning stage: Hold responsibility for your own path, do not expect anyone else to have all the answers.

Teachers are flawed humans, the same as everyone else. Capable of error, misjudgement, conflict of interest and anything else you might think of. Put too much power over you into another person’s hands, and you can cause them difficulties. Put too much expectation on another person – to have all the answers, to sort your life out – and you can be asking way too much. Good teachers tend to be busy, and much as we might want them to be able to hold our hands and support us on a challenging journey, they won’t always be able to do that. We might ache for craft parents, but that doesn’t oblige or enable anyone to take on that role.

I think it works better to look at teachers in a more temporary way, as people who help with bits of the journey, not people who will define the whole thing. Go to someone to study a course, a concept, an approach – that works fine. Go to lots of different people. Learn from your peers. We all have different experiences and knowledge to bring to the table. Don’t assume, either, that a person needs a formal teaching relationship with you to be a good teacher. I’ve had some of my best experiences of being mentored with people who may not even have considered that was what they were doing.

Life and nature will teach you even if human teachers are not forthcoming. You can seek out knowledge and develop skills without needing someone else to light the way. It is a good thing to own your own journey. That means, if you do find someone along the way who can guide you for a bit of it, there’s no urge to try and drop everything you have ever needed onto them.


Druidry and relationship

Part of the process of becoming a Druid is recognising that we have a relationship with everything. It can be a bit mind boggling to start with; ‘everything’ being difficult to think about. We tend to be conscious of some of our human relationships, but not all of them. Working with the elements is one way of starting to consider what our relationships with the wider world, are. Just recognising relationships takes us forward, and being conscious, we can do a better job of them.

Thinking about the earth, we can consider food and bodily waste, the land we live on, the landscapes we move through. What relationships do we have with those? How could we improve that? What is our relationship with rain, the water we drink, the polluted oceans and endangered sea life? How could we have a better relationship with water? Think about the essential air we breathe, and the pollutants we put into the atmosphere. Again, how can we improve? What about fire? The sun, the energy we consume, how are we doing on that score?

It’s a daunting prospect to rethink your whole life in these terms. Start small. Pick a change you can make. Recycling is easy. A bit more walking, a bit less driving, perhaps. Plant a tree, change your cleaning products. Once you feel confident in those changes, look around for another one that doesn’t seem to tricky, and do that thing. Step by step you change your relationship with the planet, and you become more aware of how your life is part of the same web as all other life. You are part of nature, too.

Human relationships inform a lot of the bad environmental choices we make. Pressures to earn, travel for work, consume, own, demonstrate wealth – in doing these things we perpetuate poor relationship with the planet, and those people around us. How much of what we do comes from unreasonable workplace demands, unsympathetic family, judgemental peers? That need to have status, to impress people, can put us under a lot of pressure. Making a lifestyle change to honour nature can bring human relationships into critical focus. Why am I working all these hours to pay for all these things that are destroying the planet? Could I do something else?

If we are unkind to the humans around us, if we dominate them, push them around, take from them, use them… what kind of relationship can we hope to have with anything else? And if, (as I suspect is more likely for a proto-Druid) we are on the receiving end, trying to do the right thing in face of the unreasonable, how can we make that work? The bullying boss, the demanding family member, the snide remarks from a neighbour, the pressure to give our kid what ‘everyone else’ apparently has… how can we have a good relationship there? In my experience, challenging the unreasonable outright does not tend to resolve much. The demanding and bullying ones do not like being wrong, and will feel threatened, angry and will dig in.

How can I have an honourable relationship with nature, if I cannot honour the nature in myself with a sufficiency of sleep? I should have started asking that one a decade ago.

Good relationship, on the other hand, is a joy. Supportive, nurturing, encouraging connections help us to experiment with life, cheer us on when we try new things, mop us up when we fail. Good human relationships enable us to live lightly. A good friend won’t judge you for not wearing the latest fashions, won’t laugh at you for not wanting a faster car. A good friend accepts you, and may well join you in a quest to do differently. Where there is mockery, discourtesy and unkindness, there is no kind of friendship at all. If stepping onto the Druid path reveals some less than lovely things about the people around you, that can really hurt. It may also be a necessary learning experience. It is better to know. In seeking good relationship, you can and will find good people to relate to, and better, happier, more rewarding ways of being.


One Druiding day at a time

Becoming a Druid is not an event. Granted, rites of initiation can feel like dramatic shifts from one stage to the next, but they are just focal moments in a process. I think western culture tends towards a far too tidy and limited perception of existence, a simpling of experience into small moments of cause and effect. Pass and fail. Pass your driving test once and you are a driver. The modern qualifications system tends us towards a perception of doing some work, cramming some facts into the head, churning them out in an exam and then going forth into the world, rubber stamped as being a thing. Many professions call for ongoing study, but it’s clear by then that you have become the title.

We don’t rubber stamp Druids. You can get certificates for having completed a course, but they convey no authority. There’s no exam for archdruidry, no test to pass before you start a grove. Yet at the same time, set forth to run a grove or be an archdruid, and testing experiences will come your way. Only, there will be no one on the side-lines keeping score. No one will give you marks out of ten, a medal, or a promotion. We get used to systems that grade and evaluate us, pass or fail, that judge us based on the A or D grade achieved in a few hours in a stuffy room, armed only with a pen.

One of the things that exhausts volunteers is that absence of feedback. Similar things happen when you parent; another process which you enter unqualified. No one gives you marks out of ten for parenting. There are courses, but absolutely no promotion option. We’re so used to ‘personal progress’ equating to ratings and pay rises, that living without feedback and the score card is often demoralising. Progress becomes a bank balance, a bigger house, more disposable income. Progress is a promotion, a bigger office, more status. We measure it from the outside, in terms of what other people can see.

When people find they want a spiritual life, or to offer service as a volunteer, or to parent, the baggage from mainstream life can be a real handicap. No end of term report cards here. No grades. Nothing to say ‘this is what I am worth’. No scope for rating your skill as a Druid based on how much you earned doing it this week. Most of us who Druid professionally are not making much money. The absence of external markers, the absence of information about progress and the worth of your work, pushes some people away. Getting over that challenge is hard.

Becoming a Druid is something you will be doing every day for as long as it is your intention to be a Druid. Not to be rubber stamped as worthy, not to pass a test, not even to get a really shiny afterlife. The only reason to try and become a Druid, is that you want, heart and soul, to be a Druid. The only thing you can do with that, is spend each day working with what you have, to be a Druid. It never ends. There is no point of success or making the grade. There is no secret order of hidden masters who will turn up on your doorstep one morning with a golden sickle and a nicely framed certificate.

What this means is that we have to trust ourselves. We have to look at things in terms of real, innate worth, not market value, not buying power or social influence, or any of those other normal ways of assessing what we do. Apply normal values to meditation under a tree, and you’ll get a headache, at best. What is of real value? What really matters? Becoming a Druid is becoming someone who asks a lot of questions, who challenges conventional thinking and experiments with new ways of thinking, seeing, feeling, experiencing. Rejecting the world and embracing it all at once.


Learning to think (again)

Becoming a Druid is in part a process of learning to think like a Druid. I’m still a work in progress on this one, I expect I always will be. There are so many assumptions drilled into us by the mainstream, other religions we may have been exposed to, our friends, families… unlearning and relearning can take a long time.

We are taught to want consumer goods and we are told that we need them. A Druid, becoming increasingly aware of the environmental destruction wrought by humans, soon has to question this. What do we really need? How much energy should we be consuming? How sustainable are we? Faced by a society that assumes you must have a car, a refrigerator and freezer, a flat screen television, mobile phone, games consul etc… simply saying ‘no’ is difficult. People fail to understand how you might not want those things. Of course you HAVE to want it, because not to want all the stuff is to challenge their reality. People who have not chosen alternative ways of being tend not to like having their comfortable certainties shaken by those who have. It can lead to conflict.

We are taught to blame and criticise. Television is full of it. Bullying is widespread. People seem to think they have a right to be offensive, hurtful, derogatory and so forth under the guise of ‘free speech’. As we learn to be more compassionate, hate language becomes more uncomfortable, as does the desire the challenge it by being hateful back. We start to see the fear that underlies bigotry, the moral cowardice implicit in all bullying behaviour. There’s no tidy answer to dealing with this.

We are taught ‘one true way’ be it science or religion. Druidry offers us a multiplicity of ways. There are many paths through the forest, many routes up the mountain, many names for deity and truth is always going to be bigger than us. Learning Druidry, we learn to give up on the self-important delusions that tell us we know it all, and start down the amazing path of beginning to appreciate the enormity of all that we do not know. Life is full of mystery. There are wonders, as soon as we can open our eyes and admit our ignorance so that we can start to see properly. This is a liberating process that will confuse the hell out of any ‘normal’ people who happen to be going past.

We are taught to be afraid. Fear of difference, of each other, of strangers, authority, anarchy, oil prices, job security… your life is loaded with messages about scarcity and how afraid you should be. Oh, and you can buy this insurance product and that object to help you feel better about these things… Resisting fear, is something I find tricky. I am also aware that fear is deliberately encouraged and fed to serve the needs of politics and big business. Resistance is essential. While we are locked down in fear of each other, we are not cooperating to make things better. We need to cooperate to overcome the genuine challenges and shatter the illusions of the manufactured ones.

We are taught that we are irrelevant, small, and powerless. We are taught to be cogs in other people’s machines, to be nice and inoffensive, passive acceptors of what is handed down to us. To become a Druid is to become your own authority, to embrace you strengths, whatever they are, and to empower others. We each have our own lives to lead. We all matter. None of us have to be cogs. Druidry is a subversive sort of business. It’s as well our processes are quiet and understated, or we might find a lot more resistance to us in the wider world.

Learning to think differently takes time. It’s so easy to fall back into the old habits. Much of your life will do its best to hang on to you and force you to stay where you were: tame, frightened, easily controlled, biddable, nice… Once you start to replace ‘nice’ with ‘compassionate’ and ‘tame’ with ‘responsible’ everything starts to change.


Novice Again

I’m very much a lifelong learning person. Learning new things, new ideas and new skills is a source of joy to me and I can’t imagine ever wanting to stop. Unshockingly, given the whole Druid thing, I find it a cyclical process. I discover something, I study, explore, practice, I get better at it. I start to feel that I can do the thing passably well. Then I see something else that makes me realise how little I know, and I find myself feeling that I am starting at the beginning again. Occasionally this is frustrating and depression, but most often it’s an exciting experience.

I’ve gone back and relearned how to breathe, repeatedly. Learning to breathe underpins all kinds of voice work, meditation, physical activities. Each time I learn, I go somewhere new, I make a kind of progress around my spirals. I go through it with music too, pausing to break down my techniques as I try to tighten up on some aspect of how I play. Working with voice and bouzouki, I had to go back and learn how to breathe again. Circles within circles. I never did get the hang of breathing, singing and drumming all at the same time, though.

When I started out learning Druidry, I studied correspondences, ideas about circles and elements and pretty much anything anyone pointed me at. I worked very hard to learn. Then somewhere along the way I grasped that Druidry is not wholly an intellectual thing you can get out of books, and that I needed to change my doing. I was outside a lot, but I had to do a relearn to bring Druid ideas to my time amongst trees, and then further relearning as I started to question and challenge the book learning. Particularly, having studied the wheel of the year, I then totally questioned the whole thing and wanted to move away from year narratives. Now I’m feeling a desire to look at that again, to go back to the fundamental cycling of moons and seasons, and think about my own year shapes.

I’m currently reading Dorothy Abrams’ Identity and the Quartered Circle. This is a book about fundamentals, and its making me go over my own practice and beliefs again, thinking about what I do, and how, and why. It’s a witchcraft book, and I’ve never seen myself as that kind of magical practitioner, but there are things that could stand a rethink. It may be time to go back to the beginning again and re-walk the spiral paths of Druidry.

I also find myself a novice in being a person. I don’t know who I am. That’s actually exciting, because it allows so much room for change and growth. I’m recognising things that have been put on me from outside, and shaking them off, but I don’t know who I am without them. Who would I be if I did not start from the assumption that I’m undeserving and useless? How would I behave? What would I be able to do that is currently unavailable? How would I feel? A fledgling in old skin, trying to work out if these are wings, or flippers or what, and flapping, and wondering if I belong in air, or water, of where… metaphorically speaking.

With anything, at any time, it is possible to rededicate, go back to the beginning and try to relearn. Obviously the things we have already learned go with us, either helping us to learn more deeply, or in the form of things we must first unlearn. We can always make the conscious decision to be a novice again, to reject what we thought we knew, or to reinvent it. There’s a letting go of self importance around choosing to be a novice. Sometimes I find it hard to admit that I do not know, or that what I have learned is wrong. Attitudes to myself and my body, I am having to relearn. Attitudes to how to interact peaceably, what to tolerate, what to resist – a work in progress. Admitting you don’t know is a tremendously liberating experience. It opens the door to learning.
Every morning is an opportunity to go out there and become something new. Again.


Proto Druids

It’s been my privilege on a number of occasions now to see people discovering that they want to walk the Druid path. Frequently there’s an attendant process of working out that lots of the apparently disparate strands of their lives are in fact all things that will become part of their Druidry. I went through this one myself, and it was rather a surprising process. The Bardic grade of OBOD consisted a lot of going ‘bloody hell that as well eh?’ which was a good sort of experience.
So, I thought I’d put together a list of things that tend to already be in the lives of proto-Druids, for people who were wondering if the might be. If you spot one I’ve missed, add it in the comments please! If you’ve got an interest in, or are actively undertaking a number of these, you may be a proto Druid!

Environmental issues and green living, alternative living choices, compassionate living.
Philosophy
Trees
Herbs
Folk music, myths, story telling
Divination
Harps
Celts – ancient or modern.
Archaeology
Astronomy
An enthusiasm for being out of doors.
A call to service, volunteering work.
A need to do creative things – craft, arts, performance, or being the sort of person for whom cooking or making a garden for example, is an art form.
A passion for language, possibly manifesting in poetry, or other forms of writing, or the enjoyment thereof.
Social justice
Feeling a bit out of kilter with modern society
Peace work
Animal welfare
Healing – bodies, minds, humans, nonhumans, places, communities
Teaching
Meditation, or contemplating things a lot
If you feel a pull towards making, holding and facilitating real communities
Ancient sites
Liminal places (in fact if you already know what liminal means, give yourself extra proto-druid points)
A hunger for the numinous and for inspiration.


What makes me a Druid?

I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be interesting to lay out what it is that makes me feel entitled to use a hefty word like ‘Druid’ in public places. When I started out as a student, I definitely did not feel able to claim druidhood, it took years of learning, regular ritual attendance and interacting with people who definitely were Druids to get me to that point. The key transition points for me were, completing the three levels of the OBOD course, and being involved in running a group. I’d now add to that the occasional celebrant work, teaching, book writing and blogging. If it quacks like a Druid and waddles like a Druid, it may of course be an outsized duck in a robe…

Well, I don’t have any robes, I have no beard, no staff, no wands, no sword, not even a cloak at present… very little surface detail that screams ‘Druid’ apart from a Victorian style army jacket with the words ‘Secret Order of Steampunk druids’ embroidered on the back but I rather imagine most people would read that and assume I was joking. I’ve never believed that the aesthetic makes the Druid, because anyone can latch onto a look. It’s what we know, what we do, how we think that really defines who we are.

The bard path has always been central to what I do, even back when I didn’t know that was the word for it. I’m not doing public performance in the way I was a few years ago, nor am I holding spaces to support other people to the same degree, but that remains part of my consciousness, and the creativity is a daily feature.

Service is important to me. Currently that manifests as informal teaching, and volunteer work at my son’s school. There have been occasions of tree planting, again not as much as there used to be. Arguably reviewing other people’s books counts as service too, I think.
Honourable behaviour, upholding justice, seeking for balance, green living – there are many concerns that derive from the idea of honourable relationship and shape how I live from day to day. From the outside those aren’t discernibly ‘Druid’ but from the inside I know that’s what powers my whole approach to living and being.

Where there’s been an increase in my Druid work in recent years, it’s been in prayer, meditation and communion. I’ve been a bit of a hermit and living very close to nature. I have close encounters with the natural world many times through the course of a day, and many opportunities to contemplate and experience. At the moment this is the heart of my practice. I’ve been pushing at the edges of what I understand and can do, with both meditation and prayer, and have the first murmurings of a rethink about my whole understanding of what magic is and means. I’m increasingly feeling that experimental Druidry and research through doing will be the mainstays of what I’m about as I move forward.

The names in which I do things, the whispered prayers and specific encounters I increasingly feel are personal. I’d much rather define my Druidry in terms of what I do, than get into issues of belief. No one else really needs to know what I truly believe in my heart of hearts. I rather think that, no matter how devoted I might, or might not be, for everyone else that’s pretty irrelevant. It’s what I do that counts, assuming that has any particular use in it for anyone else. I think being an experimental Druid has possibility on that score. Whether or not anyone else sees me as a Druid has become increasingly irrelevant. When I started, I really cared about that and wanted recognition, I think that’s normal, but over the years I’ve come to realise that the only person who can really judge me is myself, or whatever I choose to stand before. It matters that I do the job of the Druid, not whether anyone notices and ascribes it to Druidry.