I started teaching Druidry many years ago – mostly because I was asked to. The more time I spend doing it, the more I find myself wanting to do as little as possible. The teaching of practical things makes a lot of sense – the nuts and bolts of regular ritual, being an obvious one. There are technical things around meditation that I can teach, nature identification, relevant local stories… but I’m increasingly aware that the things I find most important are not directly teachable.
What I’m increasingly inclined to do is take people into spaces – physical places, creative situations, even social situations that have the potential to teach something, or make something apparent or just have an impact. Holding a space in which people can just show up and do things, or not do things. Offering a frame and possibilities, I offer no authority, no certainty, now ‘how to’ most of the time. It requires me to suppress a good 90% of any urge to be in charge, such as that is. Druidry is all about relationship. I can no more teach that kind of relationship than I can teach any other.
If someone gets into a space and, by my understanding is ‘doing it all wrong’ it is not easy to leave that alone, but I’m increasingly convinced it is essential. If I direct them, they may just end up doing what I’ve told them to do. The person who comes to their own understanding of a place or opportunity – whatever that understanding is – has total ownership of their path. They know what they are doing, and why, and are being moved and led by experience, not by me letting them think that one way of being is somehow more Druidic than another.
It is so easy to accidentally diminish a person with too much enthusiastic teaching. We can give out the message that what they know isn’t as good as what we know. We can accidentally create dogma. My path is not your path. If I teach you my path, I may rob you of your own. I will create a dynamic that says ‘I am the teacher, you are the student’ and that’s a power imbalance, and an assumption of authority and not always a good thing.
In my writing and in more personal interactions, I’ve become ever more inclined to try not to teach people in any direct way. I make what I do as available as I can, but mostly prefer to leave people to do with that as they will. If someone asks me to teach them about a specific thing – that’s absolutely fine and I’ll do the best I can. I regularly reach out to other people for insight and learning opportunities in that way, sometimes asking, sometimes just hanging around to quietly soak stuff up. I’ve learned a great deal from other people who were willing to just quietly share what they were doing.
If I don’t try to teach you how to do it my way, there’s every chance I can learn something about what it means to do it your way, and from my perspective, that’s a far more interesting outcome.