Oh, so you are studying to be a Druid? When did you decide to join the clergy?
If I had a quid for every single time I have heard this… I’d seriously be a rich man. This after noon, I heard this from an old Air Force roommate that I haven’t spoken to in many moons. So what gives? Where do people get this automatic concept that studying a Path of Druidry is a serious stroll towards the clergy? ::big sigh::
A while back, I discussed my perspective on being a “Priest”. I get the perspective of the title, the role, and all that jazz. But, its not a title I will use, its not a role I wish to be in (aside from myself as the only member of my “congregation”), so how am I being hooked into this concept through a simple casual conversation with someone?
My first thought…its a basic increment from roleplaying games. In Dungeons and Dragons, the Druid is a subset of the Cleric – essentially a pious, religious individual whose church is “nature”. There’s also the perspective of the Druid in the World of Warcraft games, which I am admittedly a lot less familiar with. But essentially the same perspective seems to apply. But, we’re seriously going to draw a conclusion from RPGs on an individual’s Spiritual Path? ::nodding head:: Believe it or not, I can see where that may come from.
My second thought did not stray too far from there. Books, particularly Science Fiction and Fantasy, which pull heavily from the same genre perspective of the roleplaying games. There’s a bit more additional aspects to this – plus we can add in the movie/film culture, as well as some of the cringe-worthy TV imagery that has come about. ::nodding head:: I can see where that may come from.
A few days back, I received the wonderful package from the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids which contained my copy of “The Golden Seed: Celebrating 50 Years of OBOD”. The booklet is incredible, and the material within contains some of the most awe-inspiring perspectives on being a member of OBOD. I have not finished the book yet, but each depiction is just as wonderful, awe-inspiring, and thoughtful as the previous ones. Written by real people who have been on a similar Path as my own (owing that each Path is unique to the individual). And as I read these passages, I can see these people sitting around a table at a pub – drinking a beverage of their choice, laughing, and talking in everyday voices and cadence. No stilted, measured, whispered tones of solemnity – just people enjoying the discussion of a shared experience on a shared Spiritual Path that still carries an aura of individuality within its core.
Folks, this is what drew me to Paganism in the first place. No airy, lofty tones of one being a “minister to the flock”. Just normal people experiencing the connectivity within their environment in an individual manner – and sharing those experiences as one would tell of the time that coming back from the pub was an adventure. People that are just as comfortable experiencing their spirituality in jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes as they are in some form of desired ritual clothing. Yet, there’s this distinction of a Druid being some wild-wo/man thrashing through the brambles in the deeper parts of the forest, ministering to the needs of injured sparrows and what-not. Because of some role-playing table-top game said it was so in the “Player’s Handbook” or in the “Deities and DemiGods” book (yes, I play AD&D too – and I usually play a halfling thief)?
Perhaps I am truly blowing a gasket over a non-issue. That’s quite possibly so. But just once, I would like a non-Pagan – upon discovering that I was a Pagan on a Path of Druidry – to not ask me if I am looking to be a member of the clergy. ::nodding head:: I can see where I might hope for that to come from….