Druidry is all things to many people! I would not even want to try a give a definition, however here I can tell you what it means to me, and you may agree or disagree, but it will give you a feel for the Druidry I practice.
Firstly, I see all spiritualties having a silver thread run through them, how we express this spirituality upon that thread determines the tradition. Emma Restall-Orr is quoted as saying “It’s like a language” and this really resonates with me. For if, the tradition of Druidry is an expression of this silver thread, and then the tradition is the shared language. Its gives the expression shape and form, and others using the similar language can understand you; can come together within the tradition.
Druidry therefore is the creative expression through which I express my spirituality. For me Druidry is the indigenous pre-Christian spirituality of this land, the isle of Britain. It evolved from the very land and bedrock of this island on the northwestern edge of Europe. I have no romantic notion of trying to recreate or arching back to a time of Iron-Age Druidry, but I am inspired by it. I am inspired by the spiritual development and expression of our most early ancestors thousands of years ago. However, I am a modern day Druid! Yes, I journey to meet the spirits of trees, place, animals and plants. Yes, I speak to and honour the dead; I am an animist, yet I very much live in the world of today, however hard and difficult that can be sometimes. I honour the changing seasonal tides of the earth and of my life upon the earth; I place nature at the centre of my tradition, my muse, teacher and guide.
Traditionally there are three paths within Druidry. That of Bard, Ovate and Druid, wandering and exploring them in succession helps you to develop and grow and deeper understating of the mysteries of the world and indeed yourself.
The Bard – For some the first step in the forest grove, wide-eyed and curious. Exploring the foundations and rootedness of the tradition, taking stock and listening to the still power of the word, and then animating it creatively, sharing all that has been experienced.
The Ovate – The deepening of this journey continues with an increase connection to spirit; spirit of all things, time, place, plants and animals. It’s looking at humanities soul, bringing healing, knowing the cycles of death and re-birth, looking for the patterns that may in some little way shed light on a current course of action or query through divination. The Shaman who can bend time and space and journey to other realms for the sake of their tribe and community.
The Druid – The culmination and the start of the journey! The Ritualist and director of energy, the teacher and guide. The keeper of tribal memory to be shared and holder of the mysteries of their own soul journey beautifully intertwined with the gods, the inner guides and nature herself. Many Druids then may focus particularly more on the Bardic or Ovatic arts, or a blend of both. The mystic who can be found deep in the heart of the forest, teaching a group of seekers or shopping in local supermarket consciously selecting their low environmental impact shopping list.
I do not see these paths as a hierarchical progression; I have not met many druids that do. However, I see them as a series of experiences within a framework of techniques and guidance that steadily grows, like the many layers of an onion unravelling layer and at time, finding the sole naked truth of your own soul and that of nature around you.
I journeyed through these three paths or groves, as they are sometimes known, within the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druid. This established a wondrous foundation to my Druidry and providing a framework to my personal and spiritual development. I completed the course in 2003; a total of 8 years in all. Today as a Druid member of the Order, I practice both the bardic and ovatic arts in my work as teacher, healer, storyteller, animist, folk-herbalist and bone singer!
Rob Wilson 2019