Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My druid path

Tonight I read the first 20 pages of Druidry and Meditation by Nimue Brown.  It got me thinking of my druid path.  I joined AODA.  AODA prescribes a certain path, with lots of leeway to make it your own.  The AODA path is a starting point.  You know, it's like they say you have to know the theoretical foundations of something (like music) really well before you can start inventing stuff that breaks away from the foundations.  Following a structure such as the AODA curriculum gives you a chance to try some stuff and learn some stuff.  Then after you've tried some stuff, you forge your own path.

I took two years to complete AODA's first degree curriculum.  When I completed it about a year and a half ago, I stopped.  It was feeling burdensome to me, and I wanted to take some time away.  I still identify as a druid, and I still read druid books, but I'm not really practicing.

So, I started reading Druidry and Meditation, and it struck me that meditation and time outdoors, both required by the AODA curriculum, really are essential to druidry.  So that got me thinking, if we forget about following AODA requirements, what do I think is essential?  Tonight's first thoughts on that question:
  • Meditation.
  • Time with nature.
  • Learning.  Continually seeking knowledge and wisdom.
  • Service.  Caring for my community and my land.
When I read Nimue's book Druidry and the Ancestors, I saw that studying my ancestry was essential to my druidry.  Studying my ancestry is not just about my actual genetic ancestors.  It's about seeing myself not as a disconnected individual, but as emerging from all who have gone before.

Just as I need to understand human history, I also need to understand the earth.  This earth provides shelter, food, clothing, and air to breathe.  It gives me life.  I could not be without it.  

AODA's Second Degree curriculum requires study of one specialized area that falls under Bard, Ovate, or Druid.  I have been doing Morris dancing and thinking that it counts as Bardic study.  But now as I think about defining my own path, not just fulfilling requirements, it seems to me that something is missing there. Druidry has to do with tapping into creativity.  That's not what I'm doing in Morris dancing.  I'm just trying to keep up with learning the dances.  But druidry does require discipline as well as creativity.

So, what is my druid path?
  1. Mind.  I  need to learn about the world from which I have sprung, which includes both human history and nature.  
  2. Spirit.  In addition to developing my knowledge, I need to develop the non-rational side of things. Activities may include meditation, time in nature, tai chi, free movement, and any sort of creativity.
  3. Craft.  We live in a society in which we are encouraged to have corporations meet our every need.  These days our skills are not how to do things for ourselves, but how to look up information and buy things.  As a druid, I need to learn to do some things for myself.  Druids know how to make things, grow things, and build things.
With the knowledge I gain from pursuits of the mind, the wisdom I gain from pursuits of the spirit, and the skills I can from my pursuits of craft, my hope is to grow in my ability to take care of myself, my people, and my land.

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