Thursday, April 15, 2010

Druidry: An Introduction

I became interested in Druidry several years ago and have found it to be a wonderful complement to Christianity. The Druidry materials I have worked with come from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. This is their website:

Druidry as taught by the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) can be practiced as one's sole or primary spiritual path, or it can be combined with another spiritual path or belief system, such as Christianity or Buddhism.

Below I will discuss what I find beneficial in Druidry, based on OBOD's introductory materials. All of these points are compatible with, and some even parallel, Christian teachings.

RE-CONNECTING. Druidry is a way of re-establishing lost connections in three areas. In each area, we first re-establish a connection, then we spend time inter-relating, and finally we enter and enjoy a deeper communion.

  • With Nature. Druidry focuses on the rhythms of the seasons, on spending time outdoors, on the four directions, on knowledge and love of animals and plants, especially trees. The preferred place for a Druid ritual is a grove. This is an important antidote to the personal tendency to spend time in sedentary indoor pursuits at work and at home (certainly true of me) and to the wider tendency to pollute our world to the extent where it may well become unlivable.
  • With the Divine Source. Druidry honors the Divine Source - God - and offers rituals and practices that make God's presence real for us. I would say that Druidry does not ask us to believe in God but to experience God. For me, this experience is not spectacular but very quiet and subtle. Druidry also leaves open how we envision God. Most Druid rituals honor God as both male and female, though an individual Druid is welcome to honor God as exclusively male, as exclusively female, as a being who is neither, as multiple deities, or as an impersonal force. For me, envisioning God as female as well as male is extremely important.
  • With one's own Soul. I very much resonate to the concept of a Superficial Self who can be blown about by external events and inner emotions and of a Deep Self, or Soul, who carries my wisdom and who simply is. At any given moment, I can act from my Superficial Self or from my Deep Self. But I can only act from my Deep Self if I am connected with my Soul. Druidry offers ways to make and strengthen that connection and strongly emphasizes personal responsibility for choices.

SEVEN GIFTS. Druidry offers seven gifts.

  • Philosophy. Druidry is a philosophy that sees our world as sacred and all reality as one. The spiritual and the physical are not separate, but form one whole. Our physical bodies are sacred, as is life in all its forms. (Druids leave it up to the individual whether or not to eat meat, though a Druid would oppose the inhumane practices of factory-farms. Most Druids also would not hesitate to swat a mosquito.)
  • Nature. Druid rituals and celebrations revolve around the cycles of Nature and are most often held outdoors.
  • Healing. Druidry emphasizes healthy living practices, which lead to healing. I have recently changed my eating habits to center around lots of fruits and vegetables, along with some whole grains and such proteins as lean meat, fish, lowfat cheese, lowfat yogurt, and nuts - and I certainly feel much better.
  • Life Journey. Oh, I find this so important. Druidry offers rituals to celebrate important life passages, even the ones our society often ignores, such as entrance into puberty.
  • Other Realities. Other realities are other ways of seeing, beyond our ordinary everyday mentality. Our ordinary everyday reality and these other realities actually form one overall reality, but since we don't usually function in these other ways, they seem to us to be other realities. Druidry honors these other ways of seeing as well as our ordinary everyday way. A simple example from another reality is auras. Most of us don't see people's auras, but some individuals do see them. I myself don't see auras, but I have a few friends who do.
  • Creativity. Druidry celebrates the arts and encourages creativity in all areas of life and work.
  • Magic. I am not yet sure what this means within Druidry, as I haven't seen anything specifically about magic in the materials I've read thus far. I do know that magic is often misunderstood by people of mainstream religious faiths. As I understand it, magic is directing natural but little understood energies to manifest a desired result. I think that people can tap into those energies unawares when they desire something deeply, turn their own energy whole-heartedly toward fulfilling that desire, and find that circumstance after circumstance starts lining up in their life in fulfillment of what they desire. Those who practice magic have developed very conscious and specific ways to do this.

I will also mention that OBOD recognizes three grades: Bard, Ovate, and Druid. Traditionally, Bards are singers and poets, Ovates are healers and prophets, and Druids are philosophers and teachers. The OBOD materials I have worked with are for the Bardic Grade, where the focus is on self-knowledge, personal growth, and creativity.

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