If you read through the blog over the last half-year or so, you will find various posts littering the topics with a starting title of ‘Rebuilding My Druidry.” Over that period, I have been taking my Druidry apart – bit by bit – and re-examining what was necessary and what was not. To be frank, it has not been an overly pleasant process, and at times it has not been especially helpful. All of this was done through the prompting of a need to make my Spirituality into something that conforms much closer to who I am. In essence, I was forcing my Spirituality to conform to me rather than the other way around. What I wound up with, initially, was a complete mess. Putting that all back together into something that was a touch more coherent took more time and effort than I had initially wanted to do. The experience: on the other hand, was quite a cathartic one. Some of the more important aspects that I found through the entire process were aspects of ritual, what being a Druid meant to me, how my Pagan and Polytheistic perspectives intersected with all of this.
Ritual. One of my bigger sticking points with Druidry was the way rituals were presented as being set in stone. No deviation was expected. Impromptu workings were frowned upon. Moving away from aspects of the Wheel of the Year were looked as “not normal.” All of that rubbed me the wrong way. Every time I heard or read something akin to that perspective, my mind would hear this lyric:
Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sunManfred Mann’s Earth Band, “Blinded by the Light”
But mama, that’s where the fun is
About mid-way through my entire so-called “Rebuild”, I realized that ritual with others was different than rituals on my own. I am not part of a Grove. So, the only times I get into ritual with others are where groups of folks gather to do exactly that, such as OBOD’s Gulf Coast Gathering. Within a large group of people, my style of impromptu ritual would little significance (if any) with others. Thus, there was a need for cohesive ritual elements in such a setting. However, what I did on my own was truly my own business. Sort of like being a guitarist in a band versus noodling around on the guitar on your own. One needs a more formalized set of rules to make it work for everyone…the other is for your own reasons.
Intersection of Paganism and Polytheism
There will be folks who are not going to see or feel a need to explore the idea of their personal Spirituality intersecting Paganism or Polytheism. For them, there is a natural synthesis of these for their own needs. For me, on the other hand, I needed to find the congruence of the three, and explore it a bit more. For me, my Spirituality is more deeply rooted in how I work through my daily Path. The way the ground feels beneath my feet. The warmth of the sun on my face on a morning like this one. Or the dampness of the rain falling from the sky, as the meteorologists are promising for later in this week.
My Paganism and Polytheism are reaching out beyond those perspectives. The Gods, as I have come to believe Them to be, are separate entities that can be experienced and communicated with. Certainly, it takes a little effort to do so, and sometimes the Gods you are trying to work with won’t talk back, but They are there regardless. I have three that I work with, but rarely do I hear from Them all the time.
Add to this, I have no desire to change anyone’s mind if they believe to the contrary. I am not on my Path to convince one single fucking individual that what I believe is correct. I have no desire to debate things like theology and religion with a single soul. Mine is not the path of a Shepherd or a Gatherer of Souls. My Path is to be there to discuss with others. Need someone to talk with about stuff? I’m your guy. Let’s sit out by a fire late at night and discuss whatever it is – under the stars.
Being a Druid
One of the most important things that came from the process was wrangling through the idea of what being a Druid means to me. Being a Druid, to me, means being open to the idea of discussions that travel from one subject to another. Our discussion isn’t going to solve the world. Our discussion isn’t going to make major changes in the way any of us relates to the world around us. Only we, as individuals, can do that for ourselves. However, our discussions can lead us to a momentary point of enlightenment. Maybe not for all of us. Maybe for only one of us. Perhaps, we can solve the Gordian Knot that is present in the moment. Not a debate, but a discussion. In a debate, there is an implied winner and loser. In a discussion, an exchange of viewpoints is made. No winners. No losers. Perspectives get exchanged. Some can be accepted. Some can be rejected.
For me, being a Druid is more like being an available counselor. Being available when someone needs to bend my ear (or eye in the case of electronic text messages). I might not be able to solve your problem. I might not be the appropriate starting point for your needs. But I can get you somewhere that might be.
Forget the terms such as “Priest” or “Elder”. I have been on my Pagan Path for thirty-plus years. Big whoop. I have experience, thanks to a lot of years on my Path. That does not make me any better than an individual that is six days on theirs. The only difference is that I have walked this Path long enough to have to stop from time to time to wipe the dog shit off my shoes. Thirty-plus years on my Path doesn’t make me amazing. All it means is that I am stubborn enough to be persistent.
So, my rebuild of my Druidry is finished. In the past, I compared this to rebuilding an engine. The reality is that this was more like buying a new set of tires for your car. While I worked on getting a new set of tires on to my Druidry, I also took the time to remove all the accumulated trash from inside the vehicle. All of that, plus the new air freshener hanging from my rear-view mirror, provides me with new steps towards where I am going. Yes, I managed to remove some pieces that really didn’t fit in, such as my overly romantic view of being a Druid meant that I needed to solve other people’s problems. Other people need to solve their problems on their own. I can listen, provide opinions, supply my own perspective – but in the end, they must do the work themselves. Speaking of work, its long past time that I got back on to my Ovate grade materials.
Just one perspective.