I was browsing through YouTube a few days ago, and stumbled across a video by Scarlet Ravenswood titled “7 Things I wish I Knew Before Becoming Pagan.” I found the video fun to watch, even though it is aimed directly at the Pagan newbie. Some of her points were pretty much spot on for me, and I’ll even duplicate a few of them in my own list. Yes, I thought this was enough fun to give it a try myself – except that I am not aiming too far down my own Pagan path. I just want to approach the aspects related to my own Druidry. So, here we go.
Druidry Is Not a Single Process
What I am getting at here is that Druidry is not meant to force you down a single tube towards a particular way of thinking. Material is presented to you, and you are given the freedom to explore in any direction you feel the need to go. Yes, there are some lessons embedded in the materials you are provided, but there is a lot of freedom to explore (and even expand) on what you envision in the world around you. When I first started down my own Path in Druidry, I tried to stay on what I perceived was the “straight and narrow” for Druidry. However, the further I walked along my Path, the more I noticed that a directed Path would be nearly non-existent, forcing me to look in other directions (or all around) to figure out which foot-falls I really needed to take – not for my Druidry, but for myself. In the end, I started to realize that personal Spirituality was not about walking along any singular Path, but about finding connectivity with the world all around you.
Learning Is Not Just the Order’s Lessons
I work within the structure of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD). Currently, I am working through my Ovate grade materials, and have been for a while. When I first started on my Bardic grade, I had a typical newbie belief that once I made it through the three grades of the Order, all learning would end. When I started to (finally!) come to the end of my Bardic grade, I soon realized that I would always be learning lessons from the Bardic grade for the rest of my life. Plus, it would be the same for the Ovate and Druid grade lessons. However, that learning would be more than what was in the lessons provided by the Order. Learning would be a lifetime experience, as each lesson would build on previous lessons, opening a whole new perspective of the world around me. This will continue to the day that I pass beyond the veil…and likely even once I slip past the veil. What I am learning in my Druidry lessons is just a door opening into a wider understanding that I will experience.
Elder and Priest Are Just Labels
I have railed against the descriptive aspects of what a Priest and an Elder are for quite some time. I am fond of neither term. There are few more descriptive terms that I don’t really care for. However, in the end – these are just labels. I make the kind of Pagan or Druid that I am through my own actions. I don’t need a title or a label to make me into who I am. Yes, it has taken quite a lot of time, a lot of navel-gazing, and a lot of brow-furrowing for me to come to this point. I am the Pagan and Druid that I am from my actions – not from reaching some aspect of training in the Order or some length of time in identifying myself as a Pagan. To be honest, I have lost a lot of time and energy struggling and wrestling with all of that – only to find that it was not necessary. I’m just me. Nobody extra-ordinary. Nobody special. Just someone who has persisted in my studies and my own personal Spirituality for as long as I have.
All the Research and Reading Involved in This
One thing I will say about being a Pagan, it has taught me a lot about researching things that I am trying to understand. I look at my bookshelves and see all the book titles that I have read, which have helped me to better understand my own Path. Each one has provided a small part of my understanding but taken together – they are all a part of my daily, personal Spirituality. When I was in high school, I was not the most studious individual. My research and reading skills were non-existent, as evidenced by my 1.76 Grade Point Average (GPA) upon graduating. Becoming a pagan, I was shown the power of reading, understanding the material, and even extrapolating on what I had read to create my own spin on my daily, personal Spirituality. But I will admit…if I had known how much reading and research would have been involved in this Spiritual Path, I might have run screaming in the other direction. 😉
I started down my Pagan Path sometime in 1986. This year will be my thirty-fifth as a Pagan. To be blunt, it doesn’t feel that way. I have a few Pagan friends that were there at the beginning, and I am confident that they would say that I have changed quite a lot as a Pagan. It sure does not feel that way, at least to me. I still learn, every single day. I make mistakes all the time, even on the simplest of things. Each morning always feels like a new chance to try again, to explore somewhere I had never thought of going before, or to step back into an older part of the Path that I don’t recall as clearly as I thought I did. I wish I had known these things before I started because I feel I would have been a better Pagan, a better student for those who have mentored me on my Path. However, I do wonder how different a Pagan I would be today if I had known. It’s a nice exercise in “What-If”, but the answer to it I can never know. After all, my footfalls brought me here. I think it is very important that I acknowledge that over a dreamy thought of what might have been….if.