Modern Druidry is incredibly diverse when it comes to beliefs. How can I write about it with any real integrity? I also don’t like the word beliefs. I heard Raven Grimassi talking on the Down at the Crossroads podcast a couple of months ago and he summed up my feelings exactly. He said that using the word believe, as in ‘I believe x’ makes him wonder if it’s a trick. The example he gave was if I was to show you a mobile phone and say, “Is this a mobile phone?” you’d probably answer “yes”. But if I was to say “Do you believe this is a mobile phone?” You might wonder why I added that word. Is it really a mobile phone, or are you tricking me? That’s how I see the word too. It’s problematic.
Having said that I also understand that what I think to be How Things Are(tm) might not be true. I like to embrace the principle of uncertainty and if we don’t do that we can end up acting like evangelists preaching the One True Way. That just doesn’t fit with Paganism at all. So if I’m asked what I believe I say, “Well, this is how I see things” or something like that. It fixes it as something I live my life by, yet remains open to the possibilities that there can also be other ways.
So. You may have tried the senses mediation, you are connecting to the Natural World, have created a small home altar, and started your magical journal. Lovely. But what do Druids believe? Philip Carr-Gomm wrote an excellent little book on this and it’s much to broad a topic to cover in a blog post but there are some questions you can ask yourself to enable some direction in this.
When you are next out walking in your favourite place, a place that makes you feel connected, alive, a place outside, somewhere away from the hustle and bustle of human existence, a place where you feel closer to the Great Big Whatever It Is (or They Are). Next time you are there make some time to do the senses meditation, and Just Be.
Be open to the place and your feelings. Be open to spirits of nature, of place, and of your ancestors. Allow yourself to be free, to let go and be open.
Ask yourself these questions:
What am I sensing being closer to?
How does it make me feel?
Can I communicate with it? Does it have a name? What is its nature?
(Close your eyes. Does that feeling become a vision? Do you see a representation within your imagination? What does it look like?)
How can I continue to hold this feeling once I walk away, and go home?
Don’t rush any of this. If it’s too much for one day, just do it over the course of how ever many days it takes. Go back and revisit the place and enjoy the journey. If nothing comes at first, don’t worry, just enjoy the presence of being there, remain open, and allow things to form as they will.
The way you see the Spiritual World is very personal. There are many words like animist, polytheist, monotheist, atheist etc but I would suggest not worrying about labels and definitions just yet. See what emerges from these personal encounters before you do lots of book research. If the Gods really exist (and they do to me) then they exist independently of books and history etc. If we are open to exploring this side of nature, a side that is only really explored by the mystic or the magician, then the pages within ourselves begin to turn, as our Journey continues onward, through the Forest of Druidry.