So, you’re a Druid. You perform blood sacrifices in the woods?
You’re becoming some kind of Priest, right?
Why don’t you just declare yourself as a Jedi in training and ditch the mystical religious stuff. Its all play-acting, right?
Nearly every time I even slightly mention my religious beliefs and am asked for an adjective, I’ll supply two: “Pagan”, and “Druid” — in that order. Most people bypass the first one, because it seems too alien to deal with – and latch on to the second. And from that second descriptive — its usually how modern-day consumer-oriented culture has shaped their understanding of that word that provides the next steps of our linguistic dance.
The rarest of the perspectives is one that I grew up with: Asterix the Gaul. In this comic series, there’s a single Druid that services the hold-out village in France during Roman occupation. In most English narratives, he’s named as Getafix (get it?). When I was growing up, I read these from the French version, and his name is Panoramix there (wide view – seeing all). I usually get the comment of being a “scholarly” type. Always with my head stuck in books, learning more than I could ever have a need for. And in a manner of speaking, this is correct. Its not everything that my Druidry is about, but reading is generally the first steps in any endeavor for me.
The next two narratives are the more typical. Me becoming some type of Priest, or finding a better descriptive facing towards emulating the Jedi order in George Lucas’ Star Wars’ films. The easier one to deal with is the jedi aspect. Typically, I laugh. While Lucas has created a fantasy order of fighting monks that work towards being the troubleshooters and peacemakers of the known galaxy, I know its fantasy stuff. Very attractive in its positioning and perspective, but fantasy nonetheless. Besides, if I had to go the fantasy route, I’d honestly rather be in the order that Gandalf belongs to in the Hobbits and Trilogy of the Ring movies. At least there I get a chance to meet Tauriel, and try to find out why her character wasn’t in the books. ::wink:: As for the Priest part of these types of questions….I tend to waver between the idea of being a Priest to a congregation of one, and not even desiring the idea of such a title in the first place. The reality of it all, is that I am not on my path of Spiritual Belief to become a Priest of anything. I am trying to discover and nurture my connections to the world around me. If it turns out that it makes me a Priest of anything…so be it. But its certainly not any focus of my own.
The last one is where I have the hardest time even conversing over the topic with an individual that asks it. The idea that I do blood sacrifices. Well, that’s just crazy stuff. I get it though. There’s a part of written history that details such things happening. How accurate are those writings? I have no idea. Nor does it really bother me one way or another. As a student of History, I know that one of the spoils that the victor gets to enjoy is that of writing the History. And typically, the loser is painted in a very dark light – after all, when the accolades of why we fought this war or conquered these people is told to future generations – there’s a desire and need to paint it in a manner that makes the victors into heroes. Over time, that glossy shine will be all that is ever known… My usual response to queries like this is that I practice my Druidry as it focuses on today and tomorrow. What has already happened, particularly so far into the Past that it is easily distorted through the viewing lens, needs to remain firmly in the Past. I’m not here to “re-construct” anything.
In the end, the conversations turn one of two ways. The first, more desirable way, is that the individual(s) and I step away and go home – both knowing that our interaction has allowed us to understand one another. Plus, we have been able to grow not only that understand, but a mutual respect for our different approaches to the world around us. The second, and unfortunately more common way, is that we walk away from one another, confused, anger, hurt, and feeling misunderstood. Usually, that’s because of bad communication on both our parts, or a stubbornness born out of accepting no other way of seeing and interacting with the world than our own. I’m not going to sit here and blow sunshine up your skirts. There are times that I can be stubborn and unwilling to hear another side. I’m a freaking human being…I have feelings that can be trampled on and hurt…I react just like any other person might. …and…well, I’m not a jedi-knight yet….