Why Do You Want To Be A Druid?
Author: Sencha the Druid
When I stepped into the Sacred Circle thirty years ago and dedicated myself to a lifetime of the study of Druidry, one of the first questions I was asked was, “Why do you want to be a Druid?”
Every year since that day, I have asked myself the same question. It has been interesting to watch how those answers have changed over the years.
Back then, I didn’t feel quite at home with my Christian upbringing. I was more comfortable with nature than I was with church. I grew up on a farm in rural South Carolina, and nature surrounded me. Most of my playmates were animals, not humans. I saw then that everything was connected, and that everything depends on everything else for survival. So my answer then was that I wanted to learn more about nature, and how to reconnect myself with it.
I still feel that way, but I would add more to it if I were asked the same question today. I would add what I have learned after fifty years of journeying on this planet.
What I have learned is that a lot of us have disconnected from nature. We go to work in shiny metal boxes, and sit in shiny metal cubicles without windows, and punch buttons on other shiny metal boxes. We eat our chemically-processed lunches from more shiny metal boxes, and eventually, if we live long enough, we go off to spend our last days in a box called a ‘Retirement Home.’ Then at the end of our lives, we get stuck in a shiny metal box and put in the ground to wait for eternity.
We take vacations and spend one or two weeks visiting places in shiny metal tubes. Some of us go to amusement parks where we spend our days riding in shiny metal boxes for recreation. Some of us might actually go out into the woods on camping or hiking trips during vacations, but our lives are still dictated by a tiny shiny metal box called a ‘clock.’ We have to be home on schedule, after all.
To me, Druidry is an escape from shiny metal things.
It’s easy to see that we have so far removed ourselves from nature that we forget that it is the source of all life. We forget that we didn’t create the web of life…we’re just strands in it. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. When we take ourselves out of nature, we remove ourselves from the source that gave us birth.
That isolation from nature has become ingrained in our culture. Material goods have become the things that matter in life. We have gotten to the place now that we define ourselves more by what we own than by who we are. Our mainstream religious institutions seem to support those who are hell-bent on destroying the planet, as do our governments and our corporate culture. In other words, even our mainstream religious institutions serve to disconnect us from Mother Earth, our source, our spirit and our home.
So how do we solve this problem?
Many would say that the way to solve it would be to enact legislation that protects the environment. I believe that there may be a place for such legislation, but I have rarely seen change come willingly from a top-down mandate. I believe instead that the most effective way to foster change is for it to take place in a grassroots sense, from the bottom up.
Lao Tsu suggested that if you really want to change a society, you start with the family unit, and not with the Emperor. This is especially true in a democracy, where the will of the people rules…or should, anyway, in theory. If enough of the people become interested in taking care of the planet, then governments, corporations and religious institutions will have no choice but to accommodate us…especially if they hope to be re-elected under a majority-rules democracy.
I live in suburban South Carolina, a very conservative place. In my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I work a lot with teens and their families.
I have discovered that even here in the Bible Belt, the coming generation realizes that many of our institutions have lost their way. These youth are hungering for something more meaningful. The traditional “me first” conservative values of the present American way of life are not their values. Many of them have an intense interest in Pagan belief systems and Earth-centered spiritualities. They are also intensely interested in environmental activism and in equal justice for all. I think this is a good sign for the future…in spite of the fact that many of them ask me not to tell their fundamentalist Christian parents about their beliefs.
There’s an old story about the Goose who laid the Golden Egg. In this fairy tale, the goose gives a farmer one golden egg per day. But one day the farmer, in his greed, decides that he wants all the golden eggs at once. So the farmer kills the goose and cuts it open in order to get to all the eggs. But when he cuts open the goose, he finds nothing. So not only does he not have a huge pile of golden eggs, he has also killed the source of what golden eggs he could have gotten if he had been more patient and less greedy.
In our constant hunger for more and more material possessions, are we, in fact, killing the goose? How much longer can our planet provide for us if we continue to fail to live in a sustainable way?
That is why I want to be a Druid. That is why I continue to choose Druidry as my path and as my way of being in the world. Druidry teaches us that we are not separate from nature; that what we do to nature, we do to ourselves as well. As our traditional mainstream religious paths become increasingly anti-nature, followers of these religions will continue to fall away. I believe that deep down, at an almost instinctual level, we realize what we’re doing to our planet.
Many of the followers of mainstream religions will be seeking a spiritual path that allows them to honor both nature and the natural world. I believe that Druidry is one of those spiritual paths. I believe that Earth-friendly spiritual paths are the way of the future, if we are to have a future at all.