When I put out the question to readers of the blog what would be the topics you would like me to write about it became obvious that this one was extremely popular.
How you fit Druidic practices into daily life.
This is a very important question and as ever I find my thoughts leading me to answer it in a very roundabout way. Maybe our ideal view of a Druidic practice would be similar to the photograph in this blog. Sitting on a high mountain, arms raised high to the rising sun, singing the Awen and feeling the blessings of life. I can absolutely attest that this is a wonderful thing to do, but these are often peak experiences and moments that come through pilgrimage and travel, and aren’t always things that you can do every day.
When I first stepped upon the Druid path I experienced that sense of coming home that so many people feel. I had always been a different child with very different interests to many of my friends. In fact I remember being at a Chris Wood concert once, a wonderful guitarist and folk singer who, during his set spoke a line that I also think can refer to many who walk a Druid path. As he looked out at the audience he said, “Ah. So this is where all of the kids who didn’t quite fit in at school ended up.” Of course it’s not a prerequisite, but from my conversations with many Pagans and Druids I’ve heard these very same words.
But I digress…
For me everything changed when I joined the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids and began to follow their course. Up until that point my path had felt complicated, confused, without focus. It was like scrambling through a forest of Blackthorn. Every voice would tell me something, every piece of advice another, every book telling me something different. There was obviously a lot of information available, but piecing it together into any coherent path was really tough (it must be even harder now with the internet!). When I started the OBOD Bardic course I finally had a path to follow, one that had been walked by many before. I found my focus, and I took the time to walk the path consciously. Of course I was still completely free to explore all of the tributary paths that led into other areas, but I always had this main forest path to return to and keep that connection going.
That feeling of coming home was something I don’t think I had ever felt so strongly before. A sense of belonging. And with that the way I’d always seen the world was now being held in a tradition, a spiritual path, upon which thousands had walked before me. I began to meet others and the conversations we had were deep, powerful, and life-changing. The result of this is that a) my view of what accounted for the real world expanded, and b) that expansion influenced my behaviour, interactions with others, my consumer choices, essentially the way I lived my life.
So this then leads me back to the question.
For me I didn’t really fit Druidic practices into my life, it was more my life changed and, along with those changes came my Druid practices.
Now I’m sure that’s not how it works for everyone. And I have to say that those life changes were a gradual process that took years and, in truth, are a journey that continues to this day, many years after I had completed my journey through the OBOD Gwersi. I also realise that what I’ve just written is quite abstract so let’s spend some time teasing out what some of those changes were.
Every age seems to think it knows the Truth. Secular views have deepened over the course of my life, but I simply don’t believe that we are biological robots existing in a meaningless Universe. Some of you reading this may well believe that, and that’s fine, but it’s never been my way. To me the Universe holds within it a deep magic, a myriad of unseen forces that guide and inspire. Those forces have been felt by many over the years, life-force, the Awen, Magic. Since before I took that step on the Druid path and joined the Order I had always felt those powers all around me, I just didn’t have names for them. To many they are simply imagination. But there we are again. Degrading something so powerful but something science, as yet, simply cannot explain, by prefixing it with words like ‘simply’ or ‘just’. The imagination is where thought meets consciousness, and in that place miracles happen.
Life is not always as it seems.
Many years ago when I entered the Circle and travelled through my Bardic initiation something changed. Well, maybe it didn’t change, maybe something that was always within me was set free. I still remember that moment, and the drive home, the night’s sleep, and the dreams. I think what I’m trying to say, in a very long roundabout way, is that possibly the very act of being a Druid, influences what you do as a Druid. And it’s probably quite important that the Path develops in this way – rather than trying to shoehorn practices into a life, let the Path develop. Quite possibly if you truly look at your life and ask those questions you will see that there are already a lot of Druidic practices in your life that you didn’t consciously begin, yet are there everyday – in the choices you make, how you respond to politics, how you feel when you take a walk in Nature, even the way you cook, or do the washing up – our Druidic journey influences our lives in so many ways.
However I realise there are also other levels to this question. Eventually those ways of being become so much a part of who we are that maybe we begin to take them for granted, or no longer see them as a part of our spiritual path. If that happens there can be a sense of separation, and with that sense of separation can come a feeling that we aren’t doing enough ‘Druid-practices’, that life has once more become mundane, and we want to reach out for the feeling we had right at the beginning. What can we do about that?
A Daily Druidic Practice
Maybe the thing that you feel is that there is just not enough time for your spiritual path. I refer you to the paragraphs above and point out that if that path is now a part of your life, of how you view the world, then you are practicing your Druidry every day. But of course if that is no longer a conscious act, a feeling of separation can occur. The secret is to claim back some time for yourself. You are important. Your wellbeing is important. If life has become a conveyer belt, or rollercoaster ride, and you feel out of control the first thing to do would be to acknowledge that, and then to also acknowledge that this isn’t good for you, and to do something about it.
Probably the easiest and most effective way to help regain that sense of connection, and to include a Druidic practice in your everyday life is to begin a short daily practice, either in the morning, the evening, or both, where you take just five minutes to connect to your spiritual path, and your Self. I started this some time ago and wrote about what I do here. It needn’t be complicated, or long, but if you really focus your intent on this act every day, it will do wonders for your life, your happiness, your connection to the Earth, the Natural World, and those around you.
You could also take the path many, including me, have taken before and join the OBOD and begin the adventure of their courses. Either way I hope this little stream or consciousness has been of some help!
Peace, and blessed be.