Listening to The Druid Podcast last month, and a very interesting interview with T. Thorn Coyle, she stated that anyone wishing to take their spirituality forward should focus on daily practice. What does this mean? Druidry as shared in ritual at focal festivals through the year is one thing, but we can hardly take the fanfare and faff of ritual into every day, can we? Or can we?
When we gather to celebrate the 8 festivals through the year, we’re focusing on the cycle of the seasons and a set of Celtic-derived dates with their ancestral associations. If you poke about online, you can find a pagan festival for most days in the year. Celebrating all of them would be a full time job, not to mention a disorientating process of hopping from one culture to another. We may find more festivals we want to honour through the year, but as a daily thing, it would be too much for most of us.
We can look at small private rituals honouring the day, the season, the rise of sun and moon, the wheeling of the stars. The passage of seasons is a subtle process that goes one day to the next, so we can make it part of our daily practice to explore what ‘now’ means and respond to it in a spiritual way. That doesn’t have to mean formal ritual. Contemplation, experience, celebration and creative response are also very much part of the Druid path.
Daily practice could mean taking the time to meditate. It might also be about dedicating time in service, to our gods, ancestors, land and communities. We might focus our daily practice on specific skills – herbalism, healing, studying the stars, learning animal lore, gardening, music, poetry, performance art… The Druids of history were not just religious figures, but arbiters of justice, keepers of histories and genealogies, and many more things. Exploring these aspects of the path opens up yet more scope for daily activities.
When it comes down to it, what makes an action ‘druidic’ is primarily that the person undertaking it, sees it that way. A person who goes for a run with their ipod piping music into their ears, and no thought for the land they run on, is not being a Druid. Someone who sets out in full consciousness, to run with the energy of the land and the wind, could well be undertaking their Druidic practice.
In making something an expression of Druidry, we bring our spiritual insights and ethics to it. We imbue the activity with soul and we understand it as meaningful because we have made it an expression of Druidry. Undertaking anything with consciousness of spirit within it, sensitive to the implications of what we do, the relationships intertwined with the action, the flows of inspiration… anything we do in that way can become Druidry. How we cook, how we dance our way across the surface of the earth. How we dream.
Daily practice doesn’t have to mean a formal ritual, or getting the incense out. We might improvise an altar on the side of a road, or pull litter from the hedge. We might walk and listen to the wind, sit with our ancestors in the graveyard, or share inspiration. What matters in the intent and the awareness we hold. Which begs the question, if we can make anything an expression of Druidry, can we push on from there, seeking to make everything we do a conscious expression of Druidry?
And that doesn’t mean stepping entirely out of ‘regular’ life, it means bringing our Druidry to all the facets of our lives and trying to see where it fits, and figure out what to do if it doesn’t. That’s not something that can happen overnight. I’ve been pushing at the boundaries of my own experience for years. Where can I be more present, more conscious? Where am I not living in a way that expresses my Druidry? I have a suspicion there is always more to do, further to go, there is no point of arrival, no moment of ‘and now I am as druid as it is possible to be.’ Which is part of the joy of it really.