Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Druid by Any Other Name - Would Still Probably Garden

The above picture was taken earlier this year in the alchemical garden. The mild spring produced absolutely LOVELY roses.

As of late there have been some questions about what EXACTLY I mean when I say I am a Druid. Some well meaning questions from friends and some gleaned straight from a Wiki search by anonimous souls... though questions are questions.For the record I will be happy to clarify.

My particular flavor of Druidry ( yes there are MANY MANY MANY flavors) is that of the AODA. Ancient Order of Druids of America. Seriously, anything with ancient and America in the same title MUST have a sense of humor. My particular flavor also offers a bit of sense to the whole process. We know very little of the ancient Celtic Druids. We have hints and accusations but very little in the way of cold hard facts. It is an occupational hazard of an oral tradition. What little we do have is often written from their detractors and so the validity of the process is constantly in question. So as such I do not hold that what I do is even vaguely related to anything that they may or may not have done. Any more than I think that my GD teachings come from the Priest Kings of Ancient Atlantis. I mean lineage was necessary for the Victorians, but not for me.

Speaking of lineage....somewhere after the Industrial Revolution people looked around and realized that maybe, just maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe we should not have just wholesale abandoned the life tending the land for the slave to the factory. Part of the reaction to this was the CREATION of many groups of good God fearing Protestants calling themselves collectively the Druid Revival. Why the Druids? Well I think that the Victorians that started these Revival groups needed that "lineage" to feel legitimate. These folks were common and ordinary folks who just thought that we were moving is COMPLETELY the wrong direction. These folks encouraged camping, gardening and a return to the cycles of life that had served humanity so well for so long. They flourished from about the mid 1870s until the end of World War I.

The 1960s saw a revival of the Revival groups. Once again folks looked around and said "are we SURE we are moving in the right direction?" The AODA, OBOD and ADF of today owe our roots to the revival of these Revival groups. So the AODA in particular is not recreationists or Celtic based. As the name says most of us are Americans and as such have our own land history to explore. Don't get me wrong, you are welcome to explore Gealic if you wish but it is by no means an intrigal part of the practice.

What is an intregal part of the practice is PERSONAL exploration of various spirals of knowledge. Magick is a spiral but many of my fellow Druids are not magickains in ANY sense of the word. The good Protestants that started the Revivals would be mortified by the idea :)

What is also part of the work is the process of change within yourself. Not the Holier Than Thou or Brighter Blessed Than Thee, but subtle sustainable life changes. For me that has taken the form of herbalism and gardening. I came to the process with magick and divination already part of my universe. I have several large garden areas and have more plants that I use magickially and alchemically than I can count. Since I have not installed any form of irrigation - I am the drip irrigation system. It is daily and sometimes more than daily work just to keep the process going. In a valley that gets 115 degrees in the summer, keeping a flowing cottage garden thriving is no small trick.

So when I say I am a Druid this is what I mean. I am a Revival Revival Druid :)

I have a great respect for the folks on the other side of the pond. I just don't think that I am Gaelic. Technically my mothers family is from that area, but I a assure you I am an American. I have travelled enough to know who and what I am :) Don't get me wrong I would love to see it and I love the pictures that Bone Singer posts. It looks incredible and so very very green.

Peace to all!


Susanne Iles said...

...what an awesome post...

"What is an integral part of the practice is PERSONAL exploration of various spirals of knowledge."

Your Druidic work sounds very similar to mine. Nature based spirituality for me generally means working with the spirits in a certain locale. (ie. where I am living at the time)Oh..and gardening, and composting, and don't forget recycling...(responsibilities of a modern Druid?)

As much as I romantically would like to claim some sort of lineage,I can't realistically do so as I wouldn't even know which branch of the tree to climb first.

That being said, if you ever do venture over the Big Pond please know my door is always open to you.

My Gal said...

When I read your post about the Hart right around the solstice, I suspected that we walked VERY similar paths :) It was by the way exquisitely beautiful.

I have become quite the avid composter, recycler and gardener. While not required responsibilities, it definitely feels like cleaning up your own mess. I am a big fan of that one on many many levels. The Good Frater laughs at me because I will bring things home if I am out and know that they will not be recycled properly. He is very long suffering :)