What is Druidry to Me?
Author: Ashley Rose
I started down the Druid path a few years ago. Since then I have spent most of my free time reading through articles, websites, and books. I have also spent lots of time out in nature, or my outdoor sanctuary. I took a lot of time to figure out who I was and just how I was going to wonder down the Druid path.
I had started a binder of interesting things I found and of things I wrote. I started to split them up into sections. There is a Druid/Christianity section that has helped me out a lot to defend my religion against my evil step-mom and my father. I put in here anything that I could find about Christo-Druidry or stuff that used bible verses to help prove my points. There is also a HUGE section on the history of Druidry and breakdowns of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.
Over the past few years I have been working on reports for each of the eight Sabbats; they have their own divider. Along with these are sections on: sacred sites, pantheons, and other interesting articles. There are also two other ‘volumes’ that I have made.
My first binder (listed above) has a lot of 101/history/‘what is Druidry’ things in it. I decided that I needed to know the basics and really find out if this was the path that I wanted to go down. Then my second binder has a little harder/more complex things in it. Some of these are like: astrology, mythical creatures, tarot, runes, and other types of divination.
Then there comes my last binder. I do not know if I will even use some of this information; but it is there if I need it. Here you can find: spell work, herbology, and articles on magical healing. All of these come together to form the coarse work that I thought would help me out on my path the most.
I have now come to believe that some of these sections are coming to a close. I have lots of information to help me on my path or to reference things if I need to. So, I have set a goal that on Samhain this year (2009) I will dedicate myself to the Lord and Lady. And yes, I will be doing it in my own way. The way that feels right to me.
Now that I am ending my first phase of my studies, I wanted to put into my own words just what Druidry is to me. I have had lots of people ask me, “What is Druidry?” Sadly, I could never really put into words just what this religion is. It is more than a religion; it is a way of life for me. I could tell them just how much I was at peace and this is where I belonged. I also knew that I loved the freedom and diversity of the religion.
Druidry does not have a solid set of rules that one has to follow ‘or else they are going to hell’. I can practice the way I feel is right for me. It is also a religion that promotes creativity, allows divination, and encourages people to learn about their ancestors. Some of these things I have been doing and not even realizing that they fall into a religion that I would later follow.
I was raised catholic and never really felt like I fit in. Many Christians are taught to fear the Druid way of life. This is funny considering that their religion was formed from ours. Also, they are the ones who created the devil and sin, not Druids. The Christians tend to bash people because of their beliefs. They think that everyone should follow their religion or go to hell. Centuries ago Christians converted people over to their religion out of fear. The especially pried on the fear of things that people did not know. Christians box themselves into buildings when worshiping their divine. We seek ours outside in nature. Why not go out to what the divine has created instead of a manmade creation?
One of the biggest things in Druidry is the worship of nature. All Druids see nature as divine and something that is sacred (along with animals) . Many feel at home when in nature or even an oneness with it. Druids thrive to live with nature and not just on it. We are not superior to this planet; we are a part of it. Druidry encourages people to go out in nature and observe all that the divine has made.
Druids honor those who came before them. Life does continue after a person leaves this world. A strong understanding of each stage of life is common in this religion. This is important to me because my family has always been one to share stories of those who have come before. It is something I enjoy.
There are a few major things that Druids believe in. One of the biggest things is that all things are one and was created by a divine being. They also believe in other worlds, planes of life, and realms. The concept of reincarnation, and immortality of a soul, is a huge part of what Druids believe of the afterlife. Along with this comes karma. One thing that Druids do not believe in is sacrifices. One will not find a Druid standing over a virgin waiting to offer it to the gods. Druids are people of wisdom, creativity, and love.
The path of enlightenment is another strong focus. Druidry allows people to have free thought and to seek their own personal goals. This is a path that may change from person to person. One must also experience the nature of this religion first hand. It cannot be found in a book. Many use meditation to help them find this enlightenment. Druidry can be a path of self-transformation. It is one that encourages people to see the truth. Druidry works more on focusing internally and finding out who you are.
Another reason why I enjoy Druidry is because there is a “holiday” about every six weeks. This helps me to keep my life in check. Every six weeks I reflect on what has happened since the last Sabbat. I take time to contemplate what this Sabbat means to me, how the season has changed, and make plans/goals for the next six weeks. These practices help keep me whole. It is something I need for my soul.
In the practice of Druidry (as stated above) there are three different grades: Bards, Ovates, and Druids. These grades also go along with my studies. A person can receive help walking the path of these grades. However, it is something that one must experience for themselves. The practice of Druidry is not just something you can learn in a book. One must live it. These three grades help one accomplish this.
The first level is that of a bard. A bard is someone who studies literature; they are the storytellers of Druidry. We have learned a lot about ancient Druidry from what the bards learned and passed on. They learn songs, stories, and traditions of their people. This includes the bloodline of a tribe. Knowing about the gods, sacred lands, and our ancestors is another aspect of this grade. Bards are trained to use words as magick. Bards are encouraged to be creative and learn through some form of art. This can be through music, poetry, or even in an everyday aspect like raising a family. The use of elements (earth, air, fire, and water) is focused on by Bards. They use these to try and find enlightenment on a physical plane.
Next comes the Ovate grade. The Ovates are the prophets, seers, and healers of Druidry. They learn to work with the past, present, and future. They focus more on an unseen plane; not the physical one like a Bard. An Ovate will use the elements for: healing, divination, and tree lore. They also learn about different creatures such as: familiars, fairies, and totem animals. Along with this an Ovate may learn herbology, tree Ogham, an understanding of reincarnation, and how to walk between the worlds. They focus a lot on meditation to help accomplish these tasks. They also use what they learned as a bard to help heal people and to be councilors. Ovates help people keep their heart, mind, and body in tune with nature.
The last grade is that of a Druid. Druids are sometimes seen as a wise one. This could be due to the fact that it takes a long time to walk the path of a Bard and an Ovate. A Druid is known to possess great wisdom and to be a peace bringer. They are spiritual advisors, teachers, and judges. A Druid understands the gift of walking between worlds, shape shifting, and manipulating reality. They are well versed in: astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and the power of the gods. A Druid should have a broad understanding of all aspects of this religion.
One of the last things I would like to say that even though I do practice some forms of Witchcraft along with Druidry, I do not call myself a witch. I am a Druid. One walking the path of enlightenment.
In conclusion I would like to sum up what Druidry is to me in just one hundred words. Druidry is more than just a religion; it is a way of life. One that allows people to practice the way that feels right to them alone. We worship this planet and try to live with nature, not just on it. Druids do not believe in the devil. We celebrate a holiday about every six weeks. These help us to observe the changes of the seasons and reflect back on our lives. It is also a religion that promotes creativity, allows divination, and encourages people to learn about their ancestors. We believe in reincarnation. And many druids seek enlightenment through meditation. This is how I see Druidry.