Just a little about myself to being with. I work as a librarian at the University of Bath. Iím a linguist, and author, a folklorist, a family historian, a Pagan Ė and a Druid.
I found my way into Paganism back in 1999, and very quickly identified Druidry as my pagan path. I was drawn to it because it focuses on the land, the sacred land. Not the Earth, but the land on which we walk. Itís a local path for local people Ė at least it is for me. Iíve walked that path now for eight years, and although Iíve questioned it many times already and will again, no doubt, it never ceases to feel right.
Every Druid is different from every other Druid, and my Druidry is different from any other Druidís, and different from how yours would be if you were Druid. We each shape our path as we walk it. I wouldnít call Druidry a religion, or even a faith, because it is about knowing and experiencing all aspects of life rather than believing in anything or being bound to any particular form of practice. I do occasionally call it a spirituality, but for me it is primarily a way of living. All that I do is Druidry, and what I do is coloured and directed by my Druid path.
|What is Druidry?|
|The sacred land|
|Rituals for solo druids|
|At the Sign of the Black Cat|
Iím a solitary Druid Ė a 'hedge druid' - so I donít belong to any Grove or work ritual with any particular group of people. That suits my personality Ė Iím independent and like to do things my own way. But like many druids, I do belong to Druid orders and organisations Ė this keeps me in touch with other druids and aware of what is happening in Druidry in general.
So Iím a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids (OBOD) and the British Druid Order, the Druid Network and the Hedge Druid network. They publish journals and run events, so I have plenty of opportunity to meet other Druids. Iím also a member of the OBOD discussion board on the Internet, a useful way to stay in touch with other Druids who may be scattered over a wide geographical area.
I spent nearly seven years working through the OBOD course of study. I took a year to complete the Bardic grade, then three years for the Ovate grade, and two-and-a-half years in the Druid grade. Working through the grades is not a quick process and takes a lot of commitment. But it was quite a journey, illuminating and inspiring, but by no means always comfortable. But Iíve no regrets about sacrificing the time and effort Ė it has helped me so much in many areas of my life.
So what do I do exactly, as a Druid? Well, my Druidry arises from my sense of the sacred land, and reverence for the spirit of place.
In daily life, I do things like buy green electricity and energy-saving goods and organic meat, fruit and veg, recycle, invest ethically, support fair trade, and try not to acquire things unless I really need them. I support conservation charities like Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Friends of the Earth. I garden as greenly as I can, organically whenever possible. Iíve planted a native tree, and am planning a wildlife pond. Of course, I donít need to be a Druid to do any or all of these things, but in my case, I do them because I am Druid. This is part of my Druidry, the exoteric part.
The esoteric part of my Druidry takes the form of meditation and ritual. Like most Druids, I have an inner space, an inner grove in which I work. I generally do ritual in my living room Ė thereís just enough space for a small circle, and itís private and safe Ė but I access my inner grove too and in a sense the two places become one. So while I am standing on my carpet indoors, I am at the same time within a ring of oak trees planted on an earthen circle on a plain, with standing stones within the circle, a round-house a few hundred yards to the east, and in the north across the river the forest stretches away for miles. This is my ritual space, and I can call it to me anywhere, although itís easier if I have my feet physically on the ground.
Here in this space I can do ritual to celebrate the eight festivals, or to focus on an event or a change I need to make. I create my own rituals, within the standard shape that we are taught in OBOD. I also meditate in this space, this inner grove. I try to meditate every day, but every 2-3 days is more usual, life being the busy thing it is. Sometimes I do fairly simple stilling meditation, waking the body of light, watching my breathing and calming my mind. Sometimes I talk to the people who visit my grove Ė there are seven people, my Ďcouncil of sevení, who pass through regularly. Sometimes I go for journeys through the landscape around my grove, visiting the forest, following the river to the sea, flying over the mountains. All these ways of meditating are taught by OBOD, and are fairly standard in modern Paganism. They always begin and end in the safe space of the grove.
Thereís one more way of working which is very important to me Ė walking. I donít mean just getting out into the countryside and going for a walk, but walking with awareness, with wonder, watching and listening to what is going on around, blending with it. Thereís some woodland I visit regularly, and Iím getting to know it through the changing seasons. The spirit of place is very strong here Ė I think of it as made up of the life of all the beings in the wood, plant and tree, insect and reptile, bird and beast Ė and I try to become part of this while I am there, walking lightly. This is a form of spiritual practice that means a great deal to me, it connects me with the land. Again, you donít need to be Druid to do this, but for me it arises from my Druidry.
So thatís a small snapshot of what Druidry is for me, what the important things are. Youíll have noticed, perhaps, that I donít talk about gods, legendary beings, mythology, divination or spellworking. Some or all of these are vital for many druids, but they arenít important for me. For me it is the land, and the journeys that I make in it (in the outer and inner worlds) that are the focus and the driving force of my Druidry.
by Black Cat Folklore
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