I found this over at Alison Leigh Lilly’s blog and thought it would be a fun way to explore the Druish side of my practice. And it’s a nice way to get writing. I’m thinking about a paragraph each topic, my perspective, nothing fancy.
30 Days of Druidry
- Why Druidry?
- Foundations: Cosmology
- Foundations: Nature and Earth
- Foundations: The Three Realms
- Foundations: The Elements
- Foundations: Altar, Grove and Nemeton
- Foundations: Day-to-Day Practice
- Relationships: Gods/Deities and Spirit
- Relationships: The Ancestors
- Relationships: Spirits of the Land
- Relationships: Ritual and Worship
- Relationships: The Fire Festivals
- Relationships: The Solar Festivals
- Relationships: Rites of Passage
- Inspirations: Awen and Creativity
- Inspirations: Prayer and Meditation
- Inspirations: Storytelling and Myth
- Inspirations: Music, Poetry and Aesthetics
- Inspirations: Ethics, Virtues and Values
- Inspirations: Divination and Magic
- Inspirations: Mysticism and Philosophy
- Everyday Life: Druidry and Family Life
- Everyday Life: Druidry and Romance
- Everyday Life: Druidry and Work/Career
- Everyday Life: Conservation and Environmentalism
- Everyday Life: Druidry and Community
- Everyday Life: Peace and Social Justice
- Everyday Life: A Life in the Day of a Druid
- The Future of Druidry
- Advice to the Seeker
- Why Druidry? march 18,2017
Druid is one of those mysterious labels that pagan folks use to define themselves, and it’s not necessarily one that I would use for myself. However it is certainly one that applies to my spiritual sensibilities. Druidry is a mystery; historically it probably meant anything from a learned person to a wizard wild-man to a sensible nature priest presiding over the polytheistic seasonal rites of his village. The importance of Druidry in my mind is that it did not die out, it continued into the modern era with the Druid Revival; and this is its most important accomplishment, it sprung out of the time when the world moved into the industrial era, just when the earth and nature and all the beauty of existence needed a champion and a reminder to the human race that all of those things are vital to man on every level of being. So, why Druidry? Because its only modern tenet is that life is sacred, because it is a mystery, because it evolves and has withstood great historical opposition, because ‘nature is good’ is its mantra, because its pulse is inspiration and its symbols are themselves reflections of the self, because it defies religious dogma, because Druid is a word lost to history but reclaimed by modern mystics – a philosophical title of one who realizes that nature is first, that truth is a revolutionary principle, and that knowledge is the only real wealth.
2. Foundations: Cosmology 3/19/2017
Cosmology is understood as the general understanding of the origin of things and structure of the universe. Well that’s a very complicated thing to lay out in print all at once…especially when asked to do so in a Religious exposition. Being a person with a science background I accept the materialist and evolutionary explanation and proofs that explain our universe. With that said I also hold that life is beyond explanation and is extraordinarily mysterious, mythic, and inexplicable. As a Druish/Heathen I feel that that mystery began in an indescribable way that cannot be summed up by a big bang, and it sometimes needs to be explained through myth and legend. Cosmologically speaking I choose not to define what that explanation is. As a Heathen I look to my ancestors who spent time in the dark, in the silence of the ancient woods, and who were close to the very breath of nature and being…I think perhaps they had a more developed bodily instrument for discerning the wonder and the work of the subtle in nature below and the stars above. Therefore those myths are important to me, and I try to internalize them and attempt to understand a bit of the awe that they must have known toward life.
3.Foundations: Nature and Earth 3/26/2017
I feel as though this has been covered by the last entry, so I won’t delve to deeply into this one. As a child I grew up in a rural environment, I’d spend most of the summer days outside in the woods without asphalt and cement under my feet. Very early on I remember wondering about things like my separateness from the rest of life and feeling calm and at ease being alone in nature, wandering near streams, sitting in alcoves and groves listening to the wind. Druidry is a way, a nameless way, to remember that feeling and honor the foundational and simple aspects of life that exist beyond all of humanities religious, academic, and illogical needs to categorize/file everything into things the human mind can better comprehend. Nature is beyond all expressions of definition, it isn’t here for us to understand, it IS and will continue when the impermanence of our understanding fades. Earth is nature, all is nature, the universe is nature, we are nature – all is connected and all is eternal – without definition. Earth is our sacred link to all of being. We are sheltered and sustained by the Earth and its elements, supported by this globe of dirt and air in the cold death of space; we all need to be more humble in the knowledge of that dependency.
4.Foundations: The Three Realms 3/27/2017
The 3 realms area an important bit of knowledge. Indo-Europeans understood these as Underworld/Midrealm/Upperworld. These are important components in my spirituality> The Underworld is physically the dark of the Earth beneath us and esoterically the chaos of unformed stuff, knowledge without wisdom, action without reason; The Midrealm is the world that we know and is the realm that begins to address the ordering of the universe and the internal ideas of existence, it’s the body of mankind, the bridge that utilizes and comprehends the unknown of existence with the ordered and concrete; The Upperworld is the world of the cosmic order above, the harmony and law of the universal turnings and changes that are the seasons and all that is consistent, immortal and dependable. The Midrealm therefore is the balance between the unformed chaos of the Underworld and order of the Upperworld. Man mitigates these polarities and establishes a conscious existence in accordance with these very ancient principles. These worlds are symbolized by the Well/Tree/Fire, by Helheim/Midgard/Asgard, by Jotuns/Vanir/Aesir, by Sea/Land/Sky, by that which is below/within/above.
5.Foundations: The Elements 3/27/2017
Understanding the four elements, for me, is about understanding that they have been written about and utilized in a religious sense since the first civilized man put pen to paper, or stick to stone. I utilize the 4 element composite of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water in a very limited fashion; only when conducting magik based on Tarot. Even then I don’t invoke these powers in a ceremonial form, but sit with them and internalize them in their tarot aspects of Sword, Wand, Cup, and Disc. Of course a healthy understanding of these tools and the powers behind them (elemental) cannot be ignored, and there are moments when acknowledgement of them is necessary; if one is at all sincerely interested in the development of Western Esoteric thought, the evolution of Western Occutlism or even of modern civilization the 4 elements are important. Mostly my internal and external spiritual practice does not rely on the element concept too much, I think more in terms of threes than fours, but like I said the four do have a place and their place is respected. Just the other night, when engaged in a magikal endeavor, I sang hymns to each of the elements Earth, Air, Fire, and Water acknowledging their essence, power, and beauty – Part of spiritual exploration is the knowledge that we can shatter our own reflections once in awhile, and must in order to grow and stretch our boundaries.
6. Foundations: Altar, Grove and Nemeton 3/28/2017
The altar is an important place in my home. I have a permanent one in my office, in plain site, and not hidden. In fact where it sits, or the office that it’s in, doesn’t even have a door, I’m proud to be someone that doesn’t secret his practice away in some dark cubby hole. If people come over and ask about it, they get an honest answer…if they ask that is. Most people don’t, kids do, but not adults. My altar is where I honor the gods, where I say a prayer to the ancestors, where I honor the land and life around me. It’s a place of joy and contemplation, where I light a candle and silver the well and offer to the tree that unites all worlds. It’s a simple thing really, nothing fancy, not meant to be grand or imposing. A small stool is there to sit on, or kneel on, to be meditative and still; to remember that life is more than the bustle and hurry of material life. In the past I’ve been part of Groves with a few members, but the main work of a spiritual life is done alone, within, and not in the action of ritual drama – it happens with intuition and insight when sitting with a single candle flame, in the light of the sun, the first breath of morning seeping in from an open window…
7.Foundations: Day-to-Day Practice 3/29/2017
My day to day practice consists of many different things that I’ve developed throughout the years. Not everyday is the same and some days nothing is done, but at least 5 days a week I incorporate some type of practice. Meditation is always done, on a daily basis, either 20 minutes in the morning or in the evening or both, everything else listed here is done as I deem necessary but is consistently done every week – Stadhagaldr, Work of the Rays, Altar workings honoring disir/wights/Aesir+Vanir, greeting the dawning sun, carrying prayer beads, rune singing, carrying gratitude stones – these are mostly my daily rituals. You can find many more things under the Practice label of my blog..of course not everything is labeled here correctly.
8.Relationships: Gods/Deities and Spirit 3/31/2017
I chose long ago not to define what the gods are…getting mixed up in if they are archetypes of some human psychology or living beings on some other plane of existence is tiresome. I give them offering and see the benefits of those gifts in my life and in my self that’s enough for me to count it as a valid practice. I’m a polytheist and see them all as unique, they are not omnipotent, they depend on reciprocity to be felt in ones life. In my experience they intrude very little into the events of a human life unless so asked. The Havamal states that the gods do not like to be fawned over, daily gifts are frowned upon, it’s up to man to create his life and dependency upon them leads to weakness. I take that to heart, and I try to remember that being a polytheist Heathen means to be bold and responsible for myself. With that said, sitting in the presence of a god/ess, gifting in humble strength to them, being welcomed by them and thanked for the generosity of a sacrifice is a reminder that that reciprocity needs not be a logical action, but one that speaks to the immortal soul. In fact many times when describing my polytheism to others, I tell them that, even to me it seems an illogical thing – a modern person sacrificing to ancient and forgotten powers – but the benefits to my peace and life are immeasurable. And when you reach out to these powers with simple offerings they surprisingly seem to be gratified by human words and contact…I have no idea why.
9. Relationships: The Ancestors (6/20/2017)
This is an important topic. Modern Pagans tend to forget about Ancestors – except perhaps once a year. We need to remember that our pagan ancestors honored their ancestors on an ongoing basis. My practice has always included Ancestor honorings, and being that I practice a Heathen based faith/religion its a weekly thing. One of my previous posts 1000 Norns speaks more about the importance that I place upon ancestors. But to answer this one directly; Understanding that we are the culmination of the lives of countless people living on this planet before us is important – even more important is offering a mug of beer to those who came before us, who are yet to be, and who have been forgotten. The Disir live with us, exist with us, and bless us according to the Sagas of my ancestors, it’s important that they know they are still vital to us – as well as our Male ancestors.
10.Relationships: Spirits of the Land (6/23/2017)
Recognizing that we are part of an ecosystem is important. Those leaning toward a Druish style religious perspective understand that we cannot close ourselves off from the effects of nature or the underlying ‘things’ that inform nature. What are these ‘things’. I’m not sure I’d call them spirits, as that term is incredibly loaded with all kinds of historical and theological garbage. My own sens is that Nature spirits much like the gods cannot be easily defined in a specific understanding. I will say that I honor nature spirits in a specific way, as Alfar, dwarves, trolls and as beings who inhabit places of beauty and historical reverence. That’s not to say that I think that an Alf will pop out of a stone or come from out of the roots of a twisted old tree to say hello, I think its a bit more subtle than that. But there are, in the Sagas of my ancestors lines that say very deliberately that this is the case and that gifts given at places of beauty invoke a reciprocal relationship with the beings that inhabit them, and once a gift is given a gift or blessing must be returned. I honor the spirit of the land and moreso attempt to commune with the spirit of the land in which I live. Ancient Indo-european practice hinged upon the local relationship with the entities that inhabited the immediate surrounding. Druidry, both modern and ancient, calls asks us to remember this important aspect of human existence.
11. Relationships: Ritual and Worship (6/19/2018)
These are two distinct topics. Ritual can be defined as any act that is habitual, that has a prescribed set of actions and results. Worship can be as simple as breathing quietly with intent, placing a quarter upon an altar for an ancestor or god, or sitting next to a river while giving a song to the beauty of the time and place. Worship gets a bad rap in the post-Xtian world due to that religions need to appropriate it only for monotheistic gods. Worship means to revere something, to see a god or anything as worthy of receiving a gift or honor. In my religious belief that also holds the being worshiped to a act of reciprocal offering in return. I will mention that ritual for me is important – these days I also question if paganism is too focused upon it – devotions, though, for me, are more important than concrete ritual actions and forms.