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.