There are a lot of topics that occupy my thoughts, but the two that keep coming back more often than others are the most difficult ones to manage. Specifically, these two questions are “What kind of Druid do you want to be?” and “What kind of Priest are you?” I have struggled with both, for a lot of reasons. With my change in my approach towards Druidry within my life, I realized that it would be a good time to revisit these two questions again.
I have made very little secret that I have sought out professional help in working through my depression. Much has been accomplished in those sessions. There is much more to complete. In a recent session, a particular touchstone was uncovered, which has helped me towards answering the two questions at hand. If there is a single word to describe who or what I am, it is “non-conformist.” Going back into my sophomore and junior years of high school, I have always been determined to do things my own way. Even in a rigid frame of structure as the United States Air Force, I have always managed to carve my own Path towards whatever needed to be accomplished. I found ways of staying within the framework of what was asked, while putting my own personal stamp on how it got accomplished. Even to this day, I constantly find myself seeking my own way through an issue, rather than taking the footsteps of those before me.
Even within Druidry, I choose to do things differently. I have mentioned this before – I hate white robes. Here in the American South, white robes bring up a certain imagery that equates with a racial past that is entangled with the Ku Klux Klan. Plus, I think white is a horrible color on me. 😊 My preference is jeans and a t-shirt, along with my green cloak and tennis shoes. I have never been very partial to the idea of “dress-up” when it comes to my approach to my Spirituality. From what I have seen of various OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids) and ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin) gatherings – I’m very much in the minority on that perspective. I am however, quite “ok” with that. I have never been into the idea of finding out whether I am “Pagan enough” for others.
So, what kind of Druid do I want to be? Well, that’s an easy answer. I want to be the kind of Druid that I am right now. Handling my own Spirituality on my own terms, and always there to help others the best that I can. I would guess that the best term for this is that of the role of a mentor, but that is also not completely me. As the line from the Tommy Shaw song goes: “I don’t want to grow up to be a preacher. I don’t want your soul in my hands.” I have nearly zero ambition or desire to create/run my own Grove. A study group? Sure. So long as I am not the one in complete control.
What kind of Priest do I want to be? Well, I’ll defer this back to the “Druid” question. I have always been reluctant to completely embrace the “Priest” concept. Too much of a Catholic upbringing in all of that I guess. However, if we can somewhat equate Druid with that of a Priest, we begin to step into the ground I am more comfortable with.
Why that of a mentor? People will investigate my military background and assume that a role more akin to that of a warrior would be more appropriate. I’m more comfortable with being a teacher. I enjoy showing others some of the mysteries that are right in front of their eyes, and then watching as they move further along to investigate areas and concepts that catch their own interests. I get more joy out of watching others grow in their knowledge and understanding than I do in lecturing to them. Or trying to have them memorize material. I love to facilitate the directions that others can find for themselves. I didn’t teach anything to them – I merely opened the window and let the outside in.
In the past, I have always harbored this idea that Druids are Peacemakers. That the duty of every Druid is to step into conflict and help resolve issues towards peace. There are certainly Druids that do exactly that. I’m not one of those. I am not here to be an arbiter. I have no ultimate authority over any group of people, save for myself. I have enough trouble trying to decide what I want to have for lunch. No settling disagreements is not the place for me, unless I am invited in. And even then, I am reluctant to do just that.
Druidry means a great many different things to a great many people. Each of those people have their own individual way of seeing things – even they are looking directly at the same thing, from the same physical vantage point. We see things, we experience things, and we process that input (and so many more). Our minds sift through all that sensory information, and we utilize our experiences and our knowledge to come to a conclusion. Each of those conclusions are shaped by so many different perspectives, experiences, and understanding that nearly all will be different in one degree or another. We are unique beings with unique perspectives. You might read through all of this and come to a far different conclusion about what Druidry is or is not. That’s wonderful! Because you will see things differently as I have. Those differing perspectives will be everything going forward. These will provide a basis of better understanding one another. Those differing perspectives will also show us how the world around us is perceived differently by others. That will open a whole new perspective to us, a whole new way of looking at things. That, my friends, is the essence of Druidry (in my opinion). Being able to open one’s eyes to other perspectives.
What kind of Druid am I? I still fall back to what I have said before. I’m me. Nobody special, but somebody unique.