What Druidry Is Not…

abbeyFor me, Druidry is not a white-robed affair. Crawling under low scrub pines and getting inside secret places of gorse bushes where only the deer trod, or standing on the seashore in the howling rain, or in the heart of the forest with the badgers and mosquitos – it just doesn’t work.

Druidry is not clean. It’s not an exercise only for the mind. It requires experience to turn what you have learned into real wisdom. It’s not just book-learning. Until you get out there and commune with the landscape, it’s not felt in the soul. It cannot live in the head. It will get you dirty, wet, hot, sweating, cold, scratched, bitten. It is dirty fingernails and peering under bushes. It is a return to the curiosity and wonder of the child, yet it is not child-like. It is deep learning, deep experience.

Druidry is not a male-centred religion or spirituality, nor is it female-centric. It is about equality and egality, anarchic and subject first and foremost to the teachings of nature.

It not just about standing in stone circles waving swords and reading off of sheets of paper with a group of other people, the media and tourists alike taking photographs. It is doing work in the heart of where you live, often without thanks or regard of any kind. It is giving back to the land, honouring the cycles and working for the community – and by community, I mean each and every living thing in that area wherein you live and call home, not just human. It is not about power and ego, but about communion and deep relationship. It is about dropping ideas of the self to better fit in the landscape.

It is not about writing loads of books and offering courses, achieving kudos through output, students and media. It is about the sharing of inspiration, acknowledging the inspiration of others and allowing the awen the flow through you in whatever way you see fit. One may be a teacher, or an author, or someone with whom the media interact – but they are not a spokesperson for all Druidry, nor a guru of any sort, and have no monopoly on wisdom. There is little room in deep Druidry for ego.

There are no titles, save those bestowed either by a person on him or herself, or by a group of people following a shared path and learning. These titles are not relevant to all Druids – just to the person or the group. Claiming to be an arch-druid of so and so has no bearing on those who are outside of the group. There is no central authority in Druidry.

Druidry is not about having things – it is about doing things. It is being utterly mindful of personal and global consumerism. It is about looking at everything that you do, everything that you have, everything that you take and everything that you give back. It is not about doing the bare minimum. It is about sacrifice, of time and ignorance, of ego and of desire. It is about constant re-evaluation of ethics, values and honour. It is about constant learning.

Druidry is not about attaining levels of initiation or ordination within learning, however. Courses and instruction may guide us, may open our minds and shatter pre-conceived notions, expanding awareness – but they are not there to gratify the ego through the bestowing of grade or rank. Druidry is also not about a specific point in time, where to call oneself a Druid means to have studied for twenty-some years, learned the genealogies of kings, etc. The Druidry of the past is not the Druidry of today. The Druidry of a small frame in time within the past and from a small, specific region is most certainly not the Druidry of today. Its wisdom can guide us, but it is just one window in a mansion of many halls. The Classical Druids were the Classical Druids – we are not, nor can ever be, Classical Druids.

Druidry is not just an exploration of the self. It goes beyond the self, to a life lived in service to others.

These are just a few things of what Druidy is not.

So what is Druidry?

It is allowing the wisdom of the oak to guide you in all that you do.

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25 thoughts on “What Druidry Is Not…

  1. Wow!! Again powerful words, and sometimes defining by the what is not makes a clearer point. And also allows one to see where on might be stuck or stumbling. Thank you.

    There is, you are so right, a huge difference between Druidry of the head and Druidry of the soul, affirmed for me from my experiences. It does take having and making the time to commune with the landscape, and some landscapes really don’t want you communing with them. It’s patience then, if somewhere rejects you our right or remains indifferent. Gentle perseverance will lead to finding the place/s that do resonate with you and will open to you. I have taken courses and done grades, but it did not feel real. As you say I am not a Druid because someone else has said so, I am because the gods, ancestors and spirits of this land respond to me and relate to me and welcomed me as one they ‘recognise’ is open to them and seeks to understand the old ways in new contexts, and context is crucial because we can’t be as they were. It’s not about glamour and pretense and ego, absolutely. It is about humility, it is incredibly humbling when the gods and ancestors and spirits of the land greet you and enfold you within their energy and presence, claiming you. It is also about dealing with the awen when it arrives in the ferocity of intuition and inspiration, especially when it’s something you really don’t want to know because it feels too hard, too hot to handle. And all that leads to service. To reaching out a thought, and intention, a helping hand, a willing heart and wounded soul if that is what the other, whomever one is in service to/with, needs, or that is all you can do. And so often it just never seems enough, and dealing with the not enoughness is part of what the wisdom of the Oak teaches, or keeps trying to teach, me. But that is not the point either, the point is service is what Druidy calls us to do and how it calls us to be in the world, and all those with whom we share it. Service shapes our Druidry and Druidry shapes our service. And with time both in concert may change the world, or perhaps the little part of it where we live and move and have our temporal being.

  2. Thank you for writing this! My Celtic ancestors were the ones that first showed me to Druidry, though my path has moved elsewhere, mostly because of my Nordic ancestors. They also led me to animism/shamanism, and lately I’ve been revisiting Druidry with a new lens.

    I find that your words resonate with where I am right now. So thanks again!

  3. So concise and perfectly expressed. My druid partner and I have been giving guest lectures at the local university for an anthropology instructor for the past few years, and we finally realized the best beginning was to explain what druidry was NOT. We try to explain to the students in much less spiritual terms what you state here.

    But for the more advanced spiritual minds, I could not have stated it better. I too will direct others to this post. It is a beautiful expression of the true nature of my own druid path.

  4. I’m a seeker and I have seen several books on the subject of Druidry. Can you recommend an author that is considered reliable in your community? I have seen some people with self proclaimed titles and I have seen mixed reviews on their writing. I have looked into witchcraft as well, but I have yet to find a path that I feel most comfortable with. So far I like green witchcraft and cottage witchcraft. I don’t want to hurt anybody I just want to learn something that I have been looking for, for a long period of time. I know the path of the Druid is far different from many paths out there. I know that there are three parts to the religion, parts that may have taken 20 or more years to learn. Those parts are the bards, ovates and Druids. All of them sound very interesting to say the least. Can you provide me with more information? If so I will really appreciate it. Thank you and enjoy your Samhain.

    sincerely,

    John

    • Hi John,

      Some very good authors, from my point of view, are:

      Emma Restall Orr (all her books, but I would start with Spirits of the Sacred Grove, Living Druidry and Ritual first)
      Graeme K Talboys – Way of the Druid
      Robin Herne – Old Gods, New Druids
      Nimue Brown – Druidry and the Ancestors
      Cat Treadwell – A Druid’s Tale
      Penny Billington – The Path of Druidry

      All of these are really good starting points for anyone on a pagan path. Autumn blessings to you! x

  5. Just came across ur site, wen lookin @ making Apple cider vinegar! (Wat about the vinegar fly!!?) It’s only taken 60 odd yrs to get here! But I hav been folowin a similar path quite naturally… Life gets in the way, tho & puts us on difrent paths, to soak up & form our charactr… Is this me? or anothr path!!? I’ll let it absorb! Mayo x

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