Duty and Service: The Life of a Druid

triskele-2For me, Druidry is about living a life in service. Many people confuse the word service with subservient: being beneath someone else in a lower position, lowering yourself for others. Service has nothing to do with this, and everything to do with using your skills, wit and intelligence to benefit the world around you. Relationship is at the heart of Druidry, and service to Druidry requires good relationship. There is equality, a give and take, in order to maintain a sustainable relationship. We work to serve the whole: the ecosystem, our community, our families, our ancestors, our gods, our planet. Our work in Druidry is not just for ourselves.

To work in service requires an open heart, a sense of duty and discipline. Too often, when things are rough, people can lay aside their spiritual practice feeling that they need to just in order to survive, or that they simply can’t be bothered. When we do so, we are stating that the theory and foundation of our religion or spirituality is just that: a theory. It’s not something that needs to manifest. When something just remains a thought, a theory, then it is completely intangible, and unable to create change in the world. At these points in time, when we are stretched to our limits, when we are in pain, when the world seems to be crumbling around us, this is when we need our Druidry the most. We make not feel like doing ritual, but this may be exactly what we need. We may not want to meditate, but again, that may be just what clears up our thoughts in order to proceed, to find the way forward. This is where discipline kicks in, as well a duty. When we just don’t feel like it, we can remember our ancestors, remember their struggles, their fears, their failings, and know that we can do better, we can give back for all that we have received. With relationship at the heart of Druidry, we must learn what we owe to the world, and not forget this very important concept. Only then will we truly understand the concept of duty, and manifest it in the world, living a life in service.

I am blessed in so many aspects of my life. That is not to say that my lady Brighid does not throw me onto her anvil every now and then, and pound the heck out of me, stretching me and re-forging me anew. But in service to Her, I work with the gifts that she provides me, with the challenges that lie before me, and see them as opportunities to re-forge relationships, or to understand why they don’t work and walk away. I learn where I can be of service, where my skills and talents lie, and then use them to the best of my ability, living my truth. Above all else, Brighid keeps reminding me to live my truth.

In the midst of despair, when all seems dark, I stop and take a look around. I see the blackbird, singing in my garden at sunset, listening to his call that takes me beyond this world and into the Otherworld. I see the deer eating the birdseed that falls from my feeder. I watch the clouds turn from white to gold and then deepest pinks and orange, a wash of colour that delights the eye and feeds the soul. I remember to look for and see the beauty in the world, in the small things and the large. I remember that I am part of an ecosystem, and that I have duty to give back. This gives my life meaning, and is also the meaning of life.

As a Druid, I walk a life of service. This service provides my life with meaning. I owe it to the land that nourishes me to protect it, to give back for my many blessings. I owe it to my ancestors, without whom I would not be here today. I owe it to my gods, who provide me with such deep inspiration that words cannot even come close to projecting my relationship with them. Knowing what I owe, I walk the path of service in perfect freedom, for freedom is found when we release our self-centred perspective, and take the whole of nature into our hearts and souls. We are nature.

It’s not just for ourselves. It’s for all existence.

9 thoughts on “Duty and Service: The Life of a Druid

  1. Once again a lovely piece of writing. I find this attitude growing among my “extended family ” of Druids and Spiritual people in general, here in Ma. USA. I am very much examining my Spiritual Practices and attitudes toward such with some anxiety , tho not overly nervous just wary of the commitment that entails. But once the Fog of Societal “norms ” has been lifted from ones psyche/ soul it is very hard to continue or return to soulless ways.At least from my perspective I find this true ,as do those people who have embarked on a journey of discovery and renaissance of said psyche/soul and Heart that I have met,
    Anyhoo, Thanks for your continued reflections, they are appreciated.

    The Quest is the Quest

    • Thanks Daniel! I think we have to think very much on the commitment we’re making, and it should make us nervous. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t be something that had deep meaning for us, something with such great and deep potential that it changes our lives forever. x

  2. Thanks Jo….yes, I remember in my former Christian tradition being taught that prayer is, relatively speaking, easy when times are kind to us; however, the real test of the depth of our spiritual roots does come in the more difficult times when, to quote St John of the Cross, we face that “dark night of the soul”. However, as druids we learn that the “dark night” is not necessarily a negative place, rather one in which a refining process occurs, or, to change the metaphor, a place where seeds germinate. I have found over the years, both in my years as a Christian minister and since I embraced druidry, that having the determination to spend the time in prayer, meditation, ritual or whatever is our habitual practice can be the very thing that carries us through and allows the light to re-emerge. Sometimes this can be prolonged and painful at many levels….but looking back we will be able to trace the path and see what we have gained, even if that is simply having found a wellspring of courage. Bleesings as Imolc approaches. John

  3. It very much depends if you have health issues, to do this, some days I cannot get out of bed, even with the best will in the world!

    • Indeed, yes, our health is a big factor. However, I would posit that even despite ill health, we can still live a life in service. We may still spend days, weeks, months in bed, but if we are true to our path, and honouring our ancestors, the spirits of place, and choosing to really *live*, then we are still giving back, finding what we owe, in however large or small a way we can. Someone who has always inspired me with her words of service are Emma Restall Orr, who has suffered and still suffers from many effects of ill health throughout her life. x

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