Saturday, January 24, 2015

Druid study program

I completed the AODA first degree curriculum 2010-2012.  Then I decided to take a break.  Although I did  read some of the books for the second degree curriculum, I stopped the daily meditation, weekly time in nature, and seasonal rituals.  I knew I was having trouble keeping up with them. I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue.  I thought I would take a break and see what insights I grew into.  The insights I've grown into at this time are:
  • 2012 was when I got involved in the time bank and Morris dancing.  I think I thought my time was infinite.  I don't think I realized how much those activities cut into time for druid practices.
  • The books for the AODA second degree curriculum are not the direction that I want to take with my studies.
  • Areas accepted by AODA are natural sciences, the arts, and  magic.  They do not consider social sciences to be part of druid study.  The original druids were teachers, judges, historians, and peacemakers, but AODA excludes this from their definition of druidry. For me, human studies are essential to druidry. 
  • I can't commit myself to AODA because my conscience objects to their censorship practices.  I agree with their premise that internet forums should be moderated for civility, but the way they put it into practice is too much.  I was uncomfortable with it from the first week I joined, but I tried to live with it.  However, there was one incident that was the final straw, that told me that I can't in good conscience identify with this group.  Someone posted a question about the origins of a phrase.  I posted a link to an article about the origins of the phrase.  My link was deleted because the people who originated the phrase were pacifists.  Apparently AODA thinks we can't learn history if the history has anything controversial in it.
Druids forge their own paths.  Organizations like AODA, OBOD, and ADF may provide a starting point, may give you direction and focus, but ultimately, you forge your own druid path. So I've been thinking, what's my druid study program? What if I want to go on to the second degree of study,  not AODA's second degree, but one I create myself?

I know that I like to make lists of things to do and books to read, and, rather than doing the things or reading the books, I just go on to make new lists  But right now what I have in my mind clamoring to be written is a second degree curriculum.

Areas  for my druid curriculum are:
  • Ancestors
  • Meditation
  • Ritual
  • Nature
  •  Movement
  • Music
  • Sustainable living
Some of these areas, such as nature and meditation, are pretty much core to druidry.  Others, such as movement,  are specific to my own interest.  Other people would add areas according to their interests, such as divination.

For each area, I'll list practices and/or books to read.   I've read a number of books in these areas already.  I'll list books I've read and found valuable, and books I'd like to read.  I'm omitting books I've read that I did not find to be crucial to my druid study.  With the books I haven't read, I'll find them and at least look at them.  If they do not seem worthwhile, I will delete them from the list.  If they do seem worthwhile, I will read them and keep them on the list.


Ancestor study is framed in Nimue Brown's book Druidry and the Ancestors.   I've read this book, but I want to keep re-reading it, because I think it has a lot to do with  what my druid path is all about.  It's about seeing myself is rooted in history, family, and the earth.

Brown writes about ancestors of tradition, place, and blood, so that's how I categorize my reading lists in this area.


For my druid study program, studying the ancestors of tradition means reading about what others have said about druidry and pantheism.

Historical Druids
Alhouse-Green, Miranda.  Caesar's Druids: An Ancient Priesthood.
Cunliffe, Barry.  The Ancient Celts.
Ellis, Peter Berresford.  A Brief History of the Druids.
Hutton, Ronald.  The Druids.
Hutton, Ronald.  Blood and Mistletoe.
James, Simon.  The World of the Celts.
King, John Robert. The Celtic Druids' Year: Seasonal Cycles of the Ancient Celts.
Markale, Jean.  The Druids: Celtic Priests of Nature.

Modern Druids
Billington, PennyThe Path of Druidry: Walking the Ancient Green Way.
Bonewits, Isaac.  Bonewits' Essential Guide to Druidism.
Carr-Gomm, Philip.  Druid Mysteries.
Carr-Gomm, Philip.  The Rebirth of Druidry.
Carr-Gomm, Philip.  What Do Druids Believe?
Ellison, Robert.  The Solitary Druid.
Greenfield, Trevor.  Paganism 101.
Orr, Emma Restall.  Druidry.
Orr, Emma Restall.  Living Druidry: Magical Spirituality for the Wild Soul.
Taelboys, Graeme K.  Way of the Druid: Renaissance of a Celtic Religion and its Renaissance.
Treadwell, Cat.  A Druid's Tale.
van der Hoeven, Joanna.  The Awen Alone: Walking the Path of the Solitary Druid.
White, Julie, and Talboys, Graeme K.  The Path Through the Forest: A Druid Guidebook.

Harrion, Paul.  Elements of Pantheism.
Raymo, Chet.  Natural Prayers.
Raymo, Chet.  When God is Gone, Everything is Holy.


My ancestors were from New England, and before that, they were from Britain and Ireland.  I want to learn the history of these places in order to know about the lives of my ancestors, lives which led to the creation of me.  I want to visit the places in New England where my ancestors lived. 

New England
Historical Fiction
Hebert, Ernest.  The Old American.
Hebert, Ernest.  Whisper My Name.
Hebert, Ernest.  The Dogs of March.
Voigt, Cynthia.  Tree By Leaf. 

Robertson, Adele Crockett. The Orchard. 

Bunker, John P., Jr.  Not Far From the Tree: A Brief History of the Apples and Orchards of Palermo, Maine, 1804-2004.
McBride, Bunnie, and Prins, Harald E.L.  Indians in Eden: Wabanakis and Rusticators on Maine's Mt. Desert Island.
Rainford, Sheila, and Jones, Ruth Owen.  Harvesting History: Amherst, Masschusetts Farms 1700-2010.
Russell, Howard S.  Indian New England Before the Mayflower.
Sherman, Sam.  Ipswich: Stories from the River's Mouth.
Hutton, Ronald.  The Stations of the Sun.
Sykes, Bryan.  Saxons, Vikings, and Celts.
Historical fiction
Shaw, Maura D.  The Keeners.

Gantz, Jeffrey. Irish Myths and Sagas.
Heaney, Marie. Over Nine Waves.
Heaney, Marie. Names Upon the Harp.
Smyth, Daragh. Guide to Irish mythology.

McCaffrey and Eaton. In Search of Ancient Ireland. 


 I've read a book that one of my ancestors wrote about another of my ancestors, but mostly the study of ancestors of the blood is not about reading published books.  It's about spending time with my relatives, and collecting stories and photos.


I want to practice meditation every day.  In addition, the following books may be useful in cultivating that sense of spirituality and being present  in the moment.

Brown, Nimue.  Druidry and Meditation.
Brown, Nimue.  Spirituality Without Structure.
Brown, Nimue.  When a Pagan Prays.
Kornfield, Jack.  After the Ecstasy, The Laundry.
Nichol, James.  Contemplative Druidry.
Patterson, Rachel.  Meditation.
Pierce, Tamora.  The Circle of Magic and Circle Opens series are fantasy novels which talk about meditation as a way of tapping into your power, and which promote respect for the forces of nature.


Practice  rituals to celebrate the wheel of the year and other occasions.

Greer, John Michael. The Druidry Handbook.
Greer, John Michael. The Druid Magic Handbook.
Kondratiev, Alexei.  The Apple Branch.
White, Julie, and Talboys, Graeme K.  Arianrhod's Dance.


Go for walks every week.  Watch the turning of the day and the turning of the seasons.

Blouin, Glen.  An Eclectic Guide to Trees East of the Rockies.
Fergus, Charles.  Trees of New England: A Natural History.
Symonds, George W., and Chelminski, Stephen V.  Tree Identification Book: A New Method for the Practical Identification and Recognition of Trees.
Sibley, David Allen.  The Sibley Guide to Trees.
Thomas, Peter. Trees: Their Natural History.
Watts, May T.  Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter (Eastern US)
Wells, Diana.  Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History.

Berenbaum, May.  Bugs in the System: Insects and Their Impact on Human Affairs.
Buchmann, S., and G. Nabhan.  The Forgotten Polllinators. 
Capinera, John.  Field Guide to Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets of the United States.
Deltheir, Vincent G.  Crickets and Katydids: Concerts and Solos.
Jacobsen, R.  Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis.
Longgod, W.  The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men.
Ransome, Hilda.  The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore.
Tautz, J.  The Buzz About Bees: Biology of a Super-organism.
Whynott, Douglas.  Following the Bloom. 

Bailey, Elisabeth Tova. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating.
Krichner, John C.and Morrison, Gordon. Ecology of Eastern Forests.
Mabey, Richard.  Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants.


Practice movement every day.  This includes dance, Nia, and tai chi.

I have looked at several tai chi books, but none make the cut for my druid study program.  Maybe these books will be interesting.

Roth, Gabrielle. Maps to Ecstasy: The Healing Power of Movement.
Roth, Gabrielle.  Sweat Your Prayers.


Listen to music.  Sing.  Play musical instruments.  I have long had the idea to learn to play hammered dulcimer or harp, but in the mean-time, I have a ukulele and I found that practicing it is a way of opening my mind to music theory.  

Roseman, Ed.  Edly's Music Theory for Practical People.

Sustainable living

Integrate sustainable practices into my life.  Be mindful of where everything you use comes from.  Don't use products that harm the environment. Reduce reliance on fossil fuels.  Use renewable energy.  Reduce, re-use, recycle.   Buy local and organic.  Support small businesses and farmers. 

Coyne, Kelly, and Knutzen, Erik.    The Urban Homestead. 
Hayes, Shannon.  Radical Homemakers.
Elgin, Duane. Voluntary Simplicity.

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