Reality is how we make it, and that’s never more obvious than when a group of people undertake to make a new one for a little while. I’ve done pagan events, folk festivals, re-enactment, and now steampunk. With enough people, a good setting and a little time, it is startlingly easy to break out of normal, consensus reality, and be something else. It rather flags up how delicate the conventions of the consensus really are.
Coming back down after an event is something I’ve always found hard. The bumpy return to normality, putting away the costumes, remembering not to act like I’m still inside the reality bubble. Every time I go through it, I’m aware of how much I don’t want to make the journey back. I want to spend my whole life being a steampunk-folk-pagan-druid-author-etc. I don’t want to live in the ‘real’ world, it’s far too drab and depressing. The flip side is that I need to eat, and I don’t actually have the nerve to wander the supermarkets in any kind of regalia, and I certainly couldn’t cycle in it.
It’s an ongoing issue for Druidry that, without the context of Celtic society, there’s only so much we can revive. This weekend got me thinking about the first lot of revivalists, the sheer creative craziness of Iolo Morganwg and his contemporaries. As far as I know no one is currently doing Steampunk Druids. I ran into the 3rd Foot and Mouth Battalion, the Tea Army, airship pirates, all kinds of lovely, crazy folk. And then at his gig on the Sunday night, Professor Elemental announced a desire to become Lord Summerisle.
What would it be like to have a wider social context for Druidry? There’s no scope for recreating Celtic society, but… Steampunk is very much a heroic culture, so that’s a start. It values creativity, this is no bad thing. It does have a kind of warrior class. Some of the core components are there.
What would it be like to revive the revivalists, to play shamelessly with all that is silly about the history of modern Druidry and at the same time, to be entirely serious about the Druidry?
I have absolutely no idea how this would work or whether there would be enough interest to do anything entertaining. However, there’s three of us here, including the boy, and Lord Summerisle, and by historical standards that certainly is enough to found an order. We need an ancient history, the more ridiculous the better, and the more random famous people we can attach to it, the more accurate a revival-revival it would be. We also need a pretentious and inaccurate name, and once we’ve been going about a week, someone needs to hive off, claim even more ancient and prestigious origins and found a new one.
I also propose that only people who know nothing at all about actual Druidry should be given big and shiny titles. This would be funny, for one thing, and might appeal to folk like me who deeply resent structure, hierarchy and whatnot where it exists to fuel self importance rather than to get a job done.
If anyone would like to join me in making a little bit of crazy reality bubble, do say. We can have competitions for the best beard, and everything!