This is a complicated question. If you ask four different people who call themselves “Druids” this question, chances are you will receive five different answers! The truth is, while we know a little about the ancient Druids, modern day folks who call themselves Druids or say they practice Druidry are as diverse as all of the flora and fauna you’ll encounter in Nature.
Let me be clear though, about my personal definition. I’m a Druid because I call myself a Druid, and because I have a love of Nature and the natural world. I consider myself a “Living Druid” – as coined by Emma Restall Orr, in her book Living Druidry. I also can trace my ancestry back to Celtic Christian times, when Druidry and Christianity co-existed peacefully. However, I believe this aspect can be completely unnecessary as well. One need not be a Celt or of Celtic descent.
I call my personal Druid practice a “Living Druidry” because I am guided by my own life experience with Nature. I choose to direct my own learning and skill development through my passions, curiosities, interests, and values.
I don’t call upon gods and goddesses with whom I have no connection (I’m a Christian even!). I don’t wear a white robe (or a black or brown robe even – I don’t own a bath robe either), nor do I follow restrictive ritualistic or “religious” dogma. I fully embrace a “rebellious path” and you, dear reader, are thus warned – I have some very strong opinions. Many of them I think and hope are “paradigm shifting” in nature. This is what I believe we are ALL here to do – shift the world forward, shatter paradigms, and discover new truths.
I’ve also sometimes called myself a “Modern Druid”, a “Christian Druid”, or a “Celtic Druid.”
Druidry to me is a craft of lifelong learning and doing. That’s why it’s Druid-RY (like carpentry). It’s an action of shifting our relationship with nature, to co-create the great shift where we fall in love with the Earth (even an Earth created by God, Divinity, Source, etc), and we remember that we are, always were, and always will be of the Earth, and thus Divinity, in mind, body, and spirit. It’s not about ritual, robes or hierarchy, but about a gentle, co-creative coming home to one’s own relationship with the sacredness of all that is. This notion that Druidry is a “path” makes it both compatible with one’s religion, or it can be completely non-religious to a person.
Here are a few of the things I believe in with regard to Druidry:
- Nature is good and Diversity is good!
- Diversity is often necessary for the survival of any species.
- We are all sovereign and Divine beings. The seeds of sacredness are in us, as we are part of a great Creation, however one believes it was formed (or is being formed).
- Through honoring the sovereignty and sacredness of ourselves and all beings, a greater web of authentic interdependence can grow and prosper among the Whole of the Universe.
We should all have the freedom to choose our own teachers, build our own unique set of knowledge and skills, and to protect, self-direct and self-determine our own sovereign embodiment. To be a Druid is to fully explore our own Spiritual Path, and ultimately, to walk that path.
There is no “one way” to be a Druid. There is no singular path. There is only YOUR PATH – the individual path – in my opinion.
Some Druidry organizations and/or “groves” have prescribed curricula, “degrees” and hierarchy systems, specific or even arbitrary rituals and oaths of allegiance. Some traditions feel they are at odds with Christianity, and others fully embrace that Druidry and Christianity can coexist. These things are neither good nor bad – so long as you are consenting to them and believe in them. For me, I’m not one for being told what ancient symbol or color robe I should wear, or when and how I should wear them. I don’t feel the need to be “initiated” into a specific “degree” or hierarchy. I do love learning, so I am open to that. To me, we are all priests and priestesses (or abbots/abbotesses) of our own personal practice. We can all learn from one another, but there’s no need for control structures. Control, really, is an illusion, delusion, or in the most extreme – “mad sorcery.”
Nature, Creation, God/Universe/Source provide all of the initiation that I need! My “initiation” into a Living Druidry comes from the whole of my experience:
- A walk in the woods
- Wishes on the New Moon
- Camping, bicycling, meditation
- Walking a labyrinth
- Studying and practicing Reiki, Acupressure, and Polarity Therapy
- Crafting herbal remedies
- Fermenting food
- Trusting and developing my intuition and my gifts
- Following my “gut feelings”
- Tuning into my own Knowing and to Faith
- Discovering my ancestral links to the Celts and Celtic Christianity
- Practicing urban and wilderness skills
- Following my curiosity, choosing my teachers, and self-directing my own learning
A teacher of mine once told me this with regard to self-directed learning:
“The lid is truly off, and you are free to choose and learn, over and over again, in a never ending spiral of life.”
This is MY approach to Druidry, and I hope that the offerings and ideas I share here can help you to spark your own approach, so that you may walk your own authentic path!
May the Forest be with you!