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What is Druidry?

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An analysis and interpretation of the nine strands.

Nowadays, in post-Christian society, we have mixed ideas about the real meaning of Druidry. We obviously can not follow the lost models of the past, not just because of the elements we have lost, but also because of how much our society has changed. It would be unreasonable to create an entire subculture with jobs and homes, where the Druids teach the young children the way of Druidry; we must recreate these ideas, incorporating these ideas into modern society in a reasonable way. Being a part of any religion implies a certain idea. Druidry is often defined as a oneness with nature or understanding of the relationship between man and nature; however, this is nothing like a "bible" or "rede" like the Christians or Wiccans have. The idea behind the nine strands is to create a definition of this relationship between man and nature that applies to a modern society. These are not to be taken as dogma, but rather a foundation for a group or individual to build their own dogma that still "agrees" with the concept of Druidry. Druidry, rather than just a spirituality or  a religion, is often described as a "way," in that religious leaders or peers do not interpret it for us. 

 

...it can, at times, be difficult to know what ground we are standing on, or whether we even have solidity beneath our feet. In Druidism, it is really that ground which defines what the path is; that foundation. Everything above the foundation hinges on our own subjective experiences, but the foundation itself, the roots and structure, are what gives us our cultural and spiritual identity. 

-Jason Kirkey

The first strand is the tribal dimension, our cultural identity as Celts, or as a Druid. Almost everyone with European ancestry can be somehow traced back to the Celts, so we all are actually Celtic. Since we don't actually know much about Celtic society, it is open to interpretation what this really means. I like to think it means the cultural connection between man and nature.

The second strand is art. According to Kirkey, "art mirrors the metaphysics of the people, providing a clear link between the spiritual and the physical and how they react;" art, in a sense, is a gateway between our world and the Otherworld. People often describe becoming "lost" in music or in a painting; I believe this is an example of this link. Kirkey also says, "Art is simply creative expression, and when we seek to cultivate creative expression and inspiration we enrich our lives and each moment is an act of creation. Through living life this way we cultivate the flow of what the Welsh called awen; divine inspiration."

The next strand, the third, is healing. Druids in the ancient times kept balance between the physical world and the less physical world; now, while the same societal structure no longer applies, it is still important to keep this balance in line, restoring Earth and her people to health. 

One of the most important strands is the metaphysical dimension, for it is our gateway to understanding that which can not be scientifically explained. While Druidry does have clear ideas about the metaphysical, it is still very subjective; each person experiences the cosmos differently. The Celts saw land, sea, and sky as the three aspects of the Otherworld, through contact with which we gain knowledge about the universe, as well as a better understanding of these three things themself.

Seership, the next strand, does not necessarily have to do with divination, but has to do with the idea of Celtic "shamanism," the practice of trance work, likely in the realms of the Otherworld.

The sixth strand is ritual, a word that means "to flow." Through ritual, we allow ourselves to become shaped, and in turn to shape. 

The next strand is natural philosophy. Druidry not only focuses on the metaphysical world, but also the physical one. In "The Flaming Door" by Eleanor Merry, she writes, “but we shall never understand Druidism, unless we grasp the fact that it was recognized that all knowledge must be sought in two directions: one, by searching the outer world - science; and two, by searching the depths of the human soul and secrets of the human body - art.” This strand emphasises a relationship with the physical world, not necessarily over-spiritualizing it. 

The eighth strand is teaching, the role of the Druids. Teaching is fundamental to keep not only the Druid path, but also any knowledge alive. By teaching, the teacher inspires the student to become more interested in gaining their own knowledge, thus inspiring exploration and further knowledge to be passed on. 

Service, the ninth strand, serves the purpose of encouraging people to help others by teaching, lending a hand, or healing. Through service, the world can become more balanced, so that no one has more opportunities than another.

This view of Druidry is very subjective, and not necesarily the views of all people who follow a Druidic spirituality. 

This article was contributed by Spell Casters.
Read their Book of Rituals.
Read their Book of Spells.

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