Hi all – just to let you know that I’ve got a new YouTube series, where I talk about the “witchier” side of my spirituality, what I do as a Witch and how I work with the forces of nature 🙂 Something similar, yet different, from my Druid work!
Recently I wrote a blog post about self-governance, and mentioned that another word that we need to reclaim in Druidry and Paganism in general is “duty”.
The concept of duty can go against the grain of some the Pagans and Druids out there who feel that it compromises their expressions of freedom. Duty seems to allude to the fact that we MUST do something, and being told to do anything can make many a pagan balk. However, duty is central to my Druidry, and there are many things that I must do to maintain my focus on a path and journey of honourable relationship and discovery.
As a Pagan and Druid who seeks a deep, sustainable, meaningful and honourable relationship with the land and the world around me, the concept of giving back for all that I have received is key. That giving back is my duty, my obligation to see that sustainability is kept, otherwise the whole thing might fall apart. I see it as my duty to recycle, to reduce my consumption of material goods, to be vegan, to organise litter clear-ups, to promote environmental activism, equality and rights for both human and non-human animals. I see it as my duty to act as priest for my community, to serve them in the best way that I can, whether that is as ritualist or celebrant, author or dance director, eternal student of nature and life. All of these I see as part of my dedication to my community, my gods and my ancestors. But it goes deeper than that. That is simply the work and the life path’s that I have chosen to embark on to live in a more meaningful, inspired and honourable way.
There aren’t really words to describe the depth of my duty towards my Druidry. It is something that is lived, is felt deep within the heart and deep within the gut. It is expressed dancing in the wind and collecting wild mushrooms. It is writing letters to the local council against the proposed housing development that will eradicate delicate and endangered species. It is a dedication to learning all about where I live, from where my water comes from to how I generate my own electricity. It is about learning to run with the deer on the heath and sing with the bees in the thick clumps of heather. It is about not settling for “good enough” or resting on your laurels. It is about constantly learning, experiencing and awakening.
Duty is tied with responsibility – the ability to respond. In keeping with the previous blog’s message of self-governance, we can use this to help us respond to situations better, more efficiently and with more compassion.
Duty is described in the dictionary as something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation. Indeed, my morality dictates my duty, however, the legality side is guided by my morals (and not the other way around). It is my civic duty to report abuse, or stop when I witness a car crash, yet I would do this regardless of whether there was legal obligation. Often duty is considered as something we are “forced” to do, yet I can think of no other way to be in the world. I am not being forced by anyone do live the way I do. I choose to live my life in service and in constant awe of the power of nature.
The nature and etymology of word duty is long and complicated. From Anglo-French deute and Old French deu, it means what is owed, due, proper and just. Go back further to the Latin, and we have debitus, the past participle of debere, which means debt, or to owe something. This ties in nicely with what I stated earlier, in the giving back for all that I have received in my life. I cannot simply take and take without giving anything back. Look at what that has already done to the world.
And so, duty is not a bad word in my vocabulary. It fits in my world view of being of service. It is about sustainable and honourable relationship within the cycles of life. We are never distanced from nature or life, but ever dancing within the wheels of time and the tides of life and death, entwined in each other’s arms and lives like Celtic knotwork. There is no separation, no Other. When we realise that, we realise our duty.
This is a reblog from my channel at Moon Books:
Spring has sprung, and everything, myself included, seems to be go going throttle. My garden is awash in a sea of yellow daffodils and forsythia, contrasted by the purples and pinks of grape hyacinths, hellebore and crocuses. The birds are singing their heart out, the owls are very active at night and the air is tingling with the anticipation of warm summer days to come.
And yet I must remind myself to slow down, to savour the moment, to remember my intention for this year; to take a step back and focus on studying, learning and personal development. Speaking engagements and workshops are kept to a minimum, and I’ve learned to say “no” in order to keep to my resolution. My third book for Moon Books, a guide for solitary Druid, is in its proofing stages, and after that is done I shall be able to work on a long neglected fourth project; a pagan fiction centred around Avalon. My focus is set, my path is determined.
As I walked a turf labyrinth with three lovely sister souls before the spring equinox this year, three words kept thrumming through my veins and in my head as I made my way to the centre. Dedication. Devotion. Duty. I felt them vibrate in my very soul, the words reminding me of what it means to be a Druid, even when you’re a Druid that’s taking a year off from ceremonial work and other engagements.
These three things are central to my personal Druidry. Without them, I cannot rightly call myself a Druid.
Dedication – this word has so many slightly varying meanings and applications. I am dedicated to my gods, to my path, to the land where I live, to my family and to my community. The word, dedicate comes from the latin dedicare – to declare, to devote, to indicate and consecrate. I declare to all my spiritual path in the usage of the word Druid. I indicate my intentions to follow that path through my words and, more importantly, my actions. The world to me is consecrate – there is no unsacred place. Through how I live my life; I demonstrate my dedication to being a Druid. Everything that I do reflects my Druid worldview. I am utterly dedicated to this life path, feeling it stir my passion and fill me with awen.
In our society today, dedication can seem a bit off-putting. If someone is dedicated to a cause, they may sometimes appear a bit too outside of the status quo. It can have connotations of fanaticism (another word that’s meaning has changed since its original latin origin). If I tell someone that I am dedicated to my gods, whether they are pagan or not, I can get some pretty odd looks. A lot of people may think that when I say this, I am giving over my entire life to another. This is not the case – this is using the inspiration from the gods, from the land, from the land, sea and sky to guide me to living a harmonious, more holistic life utterly attuned with nature. If I gave my life over to my gods I would not be able to function. I have free will. I am dedicated to them and their teachings through the natural cycles, but dedication does not equal submission…
Read the full article HERE