We will be postponing our next Year 1 session in Essex, as we have something very exciting brewing in the cauldron of inspiration! Starting in January 2019, we will be preparing our new online correspondence course, a full Year 1 programme, which will consist of online meetings, pre-recorded video and audio lectures, booklets to download and more. We have had so many people get in touch wanting to know if we could offer a correspondence course, as they were physically unable to attend our in-house sessions. And so, we aim to provide this for 2020, alongside our next Year 1 in-house programme. Stay tuned for more updates and info!
Friend and fellow colleague, Kevin Emmons, once described the sacred as “A simple thought that isn’t so simple. What we see and experience as sacred is what allows us to glimpse the eternal through cracks in consciousness caught in the field of time.” I love it when people say things that really make you think. You can find links to other inspiring writers on my personal blog at Down the Forest Path.
As a Druid and animist, to me everything is sacred. Everything is sacred, and yet everything is also mundane. As author and Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck once said “Nothing is special. And when nothing is special, everything is”. She wrote an entire book, called Nothing Special. I highly recommend it.
Kevin’s words are beautiful, evoking an image of eternity in which we can only catch glimpses. My Zen Buddhist tendencies lead me to question whether anything is eternal, as the main tenet of Buddhism is the impermanence of everything, and yet there is a certain paradox in that the energy of life is never-changing: it only changes in the forms that it takes. Energy manifests itself as different forms of matter dependent on circumstances such as environment, genetics, etc. So yes, the energy is eternal, but the manifestation is not.
Catching glimpses of this energy, of the sacred through cracks in consciousness is an absolutely delicious concept. It reminds me of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, when she speaks of nature as in XCII:
To my quick ear the leaves conferred;
The bushes they were bells;
I could not find a privacy
From Nature’s sentinels.
In cave if I presumed to hide,
The walls began to tell;
Creation seemed a mighty crack
To make me visible.
We cannot escape life. It is always there, always around us, and we are always a part of its flow. There is no separation, only integration. We live with each other; we live because of each other in a beautiful dance throughout the ages. These cracks in our consciousness allow us to break through our perceived reality, and move beyond perceptions, beyond subjectivity into the entirety of being.
Our senses are so beneficial to us, and yet they also are the cause of our subjectivity. We see the world through our own eyes, feel through our own fingers, listen with our own ears. Everyone is different, yet everyone has a shared experience. When the species is the same, there is a deeper shared experience, an understanding and knowing where the Other is not so “other”. Transcendence is moving beyond the senses, moving beyond the boundaries and definitions into pure understanding, pure experience. Then there is no “I” or “Me”, there is no “You” or “Them” – just life, glorious life.
Our consciousness is a blessing, a gift. It is also the greatest hurdle to overcome, for it shouts aloud and above the songs of the earth, drowning out the consciousness of other beings in our own minds. Cracking open our consciousness we allow those other songs to come through, to inspire us, to nourish us, to blend with our song in a wonderful symphony of energy manifesting, over and over again.
These cracks of consciousness are caught in the field of time (however you may view time, whether it be linear, circular, etc.). Energy manifests, for a time, and then changes its form. Time is what creates the impermanence that is so vital to life. Without time, there would be no conception, no materialisation, no death and no decay. Within the moveable boundaries of time we see a progression of the eternal processes of birth and decay. Time is a gentle sanctuary, an indiscriminate boundary that allows these processes to occur.
And so, the sacred is that which allows us to glimpse the eternal. The sacred is anything and everything, if only we open up our senses and move beyond our perceptions. Through the cracks of consciousness within the fields of time we perceive this sacredness, flowing and changing, manifesting and decaying, a boundless stream of energy moving through the cosmos.
May you see through the cracks to glimpse the sacred.
After months of planning and preparation, Druid College UK is born! Working with our sister college in Maine USA, the Druid College is dedicated to Earth-centered spirituality, to the integrity of our natural home, and to the crafting of sacred relationship. In short, The Druid College devotes its presence—and it is its sole intent—to prepare priests of Nature.
Foundations for this life-long journey are established by a three-year, intensive study. Unlike contemporary universities, Druid studies are furthered not only by personal reflection but primarily by ongoing personal connection and spiritual guidance of (i.e., apprenticeship to) a Druid Priest. In the UK as of 2015, those people are Joanna van der Hoeven and Robin Herne.
Being a priest of nature does not mean being an intermediary, but instead living a life in service, crafting a sacred relationship with the land, the ancestors and the gods. It requires service to the community as well as the land, wherein the priest acts as guide, witness or celebrant to a journey or journeys of crafting sacred relationship.
There are many Druid Orders and other pagan and earth-based organizations that offer solid training within their respective traditions. The Druid College is for those who wish to journey further. We wish to work with those who want to be ‘carriers’ of Nature-based spirituality – as compared to ‘followers’. We saw a need for a programme for people who desire to go deeper, for those who wish to be in service, to fill the role of priest for their community and the land they dwell in.
The College accepts as first-year apprentices people of all walks and intent. The focus for the first year is on the fundamentals of Druidry and reweaving our personal connection to Earth and to our ancestors and heritage. Commitment to the full programme is not required in order to join in the first year of training.
Our second year training is reserved for those who desire to continue their journey into the priesthood, to step into the role of priests of Nature, to serve the land and its people. Our programme is one of preparing people to be in service, such as prison ministry, working with the dying, or being a priest of the land, offering healing where there is desecration.
The nature of year three is that of being in the role as priests. We envision this year as one of walking the path and sharing those activities with the staff and other apprentices, learning from each other, acknowledging the work, declaring your “Chair” and manifesting it locally.
The Druid College is not an accredited college and offers no degree programme.
For full information, see the Druid College website HERE.
Year One of the Apprenticeship
“Reweaving the Broken Connection to the Land”
Year one studies include:
Core principles and teachings of Druidry, Living with Honour, Grounding, Working with the Ancestors, Animism and the Spirits of Place, Listening and Druid meditation, Awen and the cycle of creativity, Working with the Nemeton, Developing Authentic Relationship, Inspiration and the Poetic arts, Storytelling and cultural heritage, The Cycle of Life and the “Wheel of the Year”, Working with the Gods/Deity, Anarchism and the end of Submission, Emotions and “riding the energies”
Year Two of the Apprenticeship
“Training in the Crafts of Shapeshifting, Healing, and in the Arts of Transformation”
Year two studies include:
The Awakened Life; Ritual Trance Induction, Crafting Sacred Ritual; Healing; Prophecy and the Seer; Defining what is meant by Applied Inspiration in Service; Ethical Leadership; Bridge-building as Peacework; Justice and Permaculture; Philosophy; Nature and Relationship to Consumption; Preparations for Declaring your “Chair”
Year Three: Practicum
Declaring your “Chair” and manifesting it locally
Purposeful Sharing in Community
Applied Trancing as Priestly Evolution
Training to Lead Ecstatic Ritual
Two large gatherings of the entire College
Possible ritual of Ordination