The Forest of Druidry

Black_Forest-_path_(10562040746)Some years ago I remember the Druid community going through a phase where, the moment anyone made the suggestion that they were a Druid, someone was pretty much guaranteed to either a) ask them to prove it, or b) justify why they should be considered one. Sometimes those questions were polite, and at other times they were downright aggressive.

Looking back it was as if modern Druidry had become a stroppy teenager, trying to push the boundaries, and either demand that everyone fit in with a very narrow definition, or refuse to be defined at all. Some people left the community feeling it was so diverse it could have no substance. Some of those went on to form new more rigid paths that tried to adhere to a required dogma.

It was all a bit weird to be honest, but maybe it was a necessary process.

Thankfully this is rare now and it feels like modern Druidry is happy in its own skin.

There are those who follow a re-constructionist approach, others who bring the love of nature into their faith and successfully blend them as Christian Druids, there are Animist Druids, Polytheistic Druids, Monotheistic and Duotheistic Druids. There are Earth Warrior Druids, vegan Druids, meat-eating Druids, Druids who could recite the Mabinogion from memory, and those who have never read it, there are contemplative Druids and Shamanistic drum-banging ecstatic howling-at-the-moon Druids. There are forest Druids and urban Druids. Religious Druids and Atheistic Druids.

And guess what.

There is room for all of that.

I’ve recently heard the term Big Tent used to describe this open approach. I’m not sure that entirely works for me. I still like to see it as a Big Forest full of Groves, each Grove is a different approach, each one has a camp fire burning, and each Grove is connected by well-worn tracks created as people visit each other to learn and deepen their understanding of the Forest of Druidry. Some camps are well contained, others are peaceful, some are full of voices and sound, some have one altar, some two, others have many.

But the forest safely holds them all.

Sure, people still disagree, but thankfully I see far fewer trying to simply prove they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

It feels to me like the trees that were planted many years ago, the trees that went on to become the Forest of Druidry, are now showing fruit, and that fruit is ripening, and tastes really good.

By | 2016-10-14T11:00:40+00:00 January 6th, 2015|Categories: druidry|Tags: , , , , , , |16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Samantha Dearman January 6, 2015 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful way to explain modern Druidry? Like most things, it must adapt to change to remain part of all of us. Life itself changes with Time, and Time like the Seasons never stops or becomes stagnant, so must we all go with it and stay part of it to remain whole.

  2. Lughán Réalta January 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    This is wonderful and needed, thank you very much, Damh! I often recommend people your music and thoughts, because I believe you are very well attuned to the ancient spirit of druidry. May tolerance, courage, innocence, purity and the Truth always win. 😉

  3. Jason January 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I love the idea that when we meet in a grove we are connected to the rest of druidry in the forest. Outside the circle of the firelight are countless other groves meeting and praying and rejoicing in their own way. Beautiful

  4. Alec Chambers January 6, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    A lovely idea Damh! Like all forest dwellers, we will all do better when we cooperate rather than compete.

  5. Kathy Zimmerman January 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Well put! I guess since I have been a solitary for many years with no Groves with which to associate, I have made my own path. It suits my desire to honor the earth and all living things in a way that resonates with my soul. And this is the very part of my spirituality that helps me be non judgemental of another’s path.

  6. Joy purcell January 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    An answer to a quest by my grove mate, thankyou. We are on the otherside of the pond, working in a different land yet our connections are there. The forest is a big place and the hearth fires are many. The grid is there for all of us to drink and be in Cerridwens cauldron. Thank you for words simply put. Love and light.

  7. Ryan January 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    A beautiful statement of inclusivity, Damh, and a welcome oasis from some of the intolerance and fundamentalism that still rears its head all too often in some corners of the online pagan world. Thanks especially for the mention of “Atheistic druids”, I often feel left out in the cold for not having theistic beliefs, so it means a lot to be included. Cheers, and a happy new year to you and yours!

  8. Jayne January 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Very well written & good points made!

  9. Carrie Viscome Skinner January 6, 2015 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Yes, definitely a Big Forest full of groves! I love this idea! I see us all walking around visiting one another in the Big Forest then retiring to our respective groves to do ritual and celebrate in our own way being ever mindful that ours is not the only way but a small part of the whole way. Thanks for the lovely vision, Damh.

  10. Tatyana January 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    It’s very nice to hear those words. All of us who are pagan feel a deep connection to groves & animals, I also agree that we are all part of the whole! I love to hear about others traditions & beliefs. & it’s nice to feel a connection within the whole druid community, no matter what way we worship our old gods @ least we do so together. It’s nice to follow a grove path & talk & share things with others then return to our own paths.
    Blessed be to you damh & all who adore you.

  11. Cloudberry January 6, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    That is a really good way of putting it and sums it up perfectly! 🙂

  12. Louise January 6, 2015 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    Nicely put! I think good things take time 🙂 The lack of dogma was one of the things that drew me to Druidry, the respect offered that each one of us is different and has our own spiritual ideas and path. Another analogy of the forest might be that we are the trees within it and no two are the same 🙂 xx

  13. Susanne January 7, 2015 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Well said!

  14. Saige Sweetwater January 9, 2015 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    That’s a fantastic way of looking at it. I love the mental image that description of modern druidry paints… and I am pleased to be a part of that vision.

  15. Jeffry Stilson January 11, 2015 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My wife and I have been battling the “hardliners” of our own Pagan community for years here in the States. Bottom line…your path is YOUR path. We are all from the same forest and we need to learn to share it. We all have a common goal here and as soon as we start splitting hairs as it were as to who is right, blah, blah, blah, we will be doing nothing but splitting our own very loving and very special community. No one is right and no one is wrong, it’s all down to what is right each and every one of us individually.

  16. Woodland Bard January 18, 2015 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Lovely imagery there Damh and beautifully shared. When reading, what is possible, on Brehon laws it comes out something like this, that our families, our villages are part of a tree an differences are part of the richness. In Brehon Law times the focus was not on ownership as that concept had not taken hold yet … but on being part of all that was going on, different but connected.

    With the Forest imagery of connection, this must surely spread into the idea of us being part of forests too? So we learn again how to be part of forest culture again, learn from each other about what we call permaculture now and forest food cultivation, forest bathing, forest sustainability.

    Damh, Dave, David, Derawydd, Daramhid – sharer of visions through the sacred wood, sometimes a harpist. 🙂

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