'A philosophy of life is a bundle of wisdom you have gathered from your reading & experience. It is not a rigid ideology that allows no development & complexity. It’s a living thing, a developing idea about life that belongs to you alone.'
“Druidry is “disorganized” in the best possible way.
Each of us works with Druidry in our own way—that is its beauty & its gift. Unlike “organized” religion, Druidry is “disorganized” in the best possible way. When we follow Druidry, we are not in a restaurant, we are in a kitchen. We work with ingredients— perspectives, methods, exercises, & rituals—that we can combine in our own unique ways to create a Druidry that is to our own taste.
It’s up to each of us to be inspired by those who have gone before us—to use the ideas & methods they suggest that work for us & to discard those that don’t. This creative, independent, empowered approach to the subject shuns dogmatism & embraces universalism & eclecticism. Long live such a free approach to spirituality!”
~ Philip Carr-Gomm
‘Above all else, Druidry means following a spiritual path rooted in the ‘green earth’. It means embracing an experiential approach to religious questions, one that abandons rigid belief systems in favour of inner development & individual contact with the realms of nature & spirit.’
~ John Michael Greer
What it is to be a Druid
Druidry today has both ancient & modern roots, & comes under the general umbrella of ‘Paganism’: In simplest terms Paganism is a religion of place, or a native religion (what people practiced in the countryside as opposed to the organised & structured religion of the towns & cities), a religion other than one of the main world religions – Hinduism-Buddhism- Judaism- Christianity- Islam, which spread themselves through conquest & coercion during the ‘empire building days of old’, it is specifically a non-Christian rival based on pre-Christian Celtic religion, & is deeply embedded in Nature.
*This essay is not anti-Christian. Any comparisons with Christianity or any of the main world religions are objective & without any harmful intent.
As the Modern Druid movement began it looked to the past for its inspiration, to the ancient past for its roots, to create what is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. One of the first steps to understanding the myths & religions of the Celtic peoples is to identify some of the basic elements of those beliefs & practices.
From today’s archaeological, classical Greek & Roman texts & current research of surviving native literature (largely Irish & Welsh) we can see there were differences in religion in the various regions, & in different eras, however we can perceive a number of common themes from the many sources now available to us:
The acknowledgement of both male & female deities
Respect for ancestors & elders
Appreciation by service to & protection of the natural world – minerals-plants-fungi-animals-humans, striving for a harmony & balance in a sustainable way
The interconnection between this world & the Otherworld
The cyclical nature of time
The immortality of the soul
Cosmology & the sacred center
The cauldron, the sword, the well, the head, the number 3
The importance of knowledge & skill
Respect for truth, honour & courage
Religion cannot be separated from culture, so it is important to look at culture as well. Whilst there were differences in culture between the regions, there are also recognisable similarities between the different Celtic tribes:
Tribal organisation: ruled by a king/queen/chieftain
A threefold division of society: 1. Rulers & Sacred Persons (Bards, Ovates & Druids). 2. Warriors & Craftspeople. 3. Farmers & Herders.
The sacred nature of kinship – the prosperity of the land & the people depends on the honour, truth, courage, generosity & worthiness of the ruler.
The ruler’s success was dependant on his/her union with the Goddess of Sovereignty (the Scared Land) & her blessings.
Territory, independence, prosperity & life were protected by the warrior class, with a focus on courage, honour & loyalty; some ritualised warfare - single combat, as well as cattle raiding.
A sophisticated system of kinship which insured social bonds & ties, & which also encouraged interdependence & community support in times of hardship.
An understanding of the sacredness & importance of the land & the natural world.
A great appreciation for wisdom & skill, learning, ancient traditions & lore, poetry & music, arts & craftsmanship; also a connection between poetry & prophesy.
Fondness for storytelling, food & drink, board games & field games, hunting, horses & hounds; beauty of all kinds, cleanliness & adornment.
With all this as inspiration the birth of Modern Druidry began…
Druidry is a religion, it was recognised as an official religion in Britain in 2010, it is spirituality, & it is a way. But more importantly it is a relationship – a relationship with Nature, with the Universe. Druidry is a modern way of life that connects us to the ancient poetic heart of the land. It brings us back in touch with nature & teaches us to use our natural gifts, so that we can better serve ourselves, our community & the land around us.
All Pagan religions are characterised by a connection & reverence for Nature, & are usually polytheistic, there are also many atheist pagans, for there is no requirement to believe in a specific god or goddess & gods, but they all hold a concept of the Divine. The approach to Druidry is very similar to other Pagan beliefs, spirituality without structure.
‘The structure of religion is so often about control. There are too many issues around who has the right to make whom do what. The right to punish, to exile, own & devalue can all be tied up in religious thinking too, & these are destructive influences across the globe. I’m much more interested in the power to control self, & the self-discipline that is all about what happens inside an individual…Whatever your focus, spiritual practice should not be about meaningless ritual repetition. It should not be merely a habit or means of appeasing others. Nor should spirituality be a wholly intellectual exercise. There is significant place for thinking & philosophy…spiritual experience has to be grounded in feeling.’
Spirituality without Structure – Nimue Brown
Druids, as other Pagans, may be trained in particular traditions or they may follow their own inspiration. Druidic practice seeks too to understand the patterns of nature outside humanity, within our environment, honouring the powers of nature as wholly sacred. All life is deemed to be unconditionally sacred, bearing its own intrinsic validity & purpose.
Druidry is one of the most popular pagan religions because of its reverence for the land, but it isn’t all hoods in the woods, robes & standing stones. Druidry is a spiritual path that takes a combination of hard work, respect for the land & a sense of style… Druids seek to gain an inherent understanding of reality, which may be expressed through the natural world, mythology & connecting to the divine.
Those who practise Druidry do so through a deep spiritual connection perceived & experienced with their land & culture. Druids pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct & personal experience. The tradition is inspired by the ancient Celtic Druids – the Naddred, wise sages who organised the economy, kept the social rules, history, traditions, & guided the spiritual life of their people.
Coherence is brought to Druidry upon the spiritual foundations of its reverence for Nature. Based on reverence & respect for life itself, & the practice of seeking honourable relationship with all, Druidry guides us to live with truth & responsibility.
Classical Druid – academic study, with no religious or spiritual application
Fraternal Druid – service to the community, a moral philosophy
Spiritual Druid – a spiritual path, which too can sub-divide into three paths: i. Mysticism. ii. Shamanism. iii. Magick.
*Like all classifications, it is a tool to break down a complex subject into subsets for easier learning; all three of course can overlap each other.
The ancient Druids had three branches or grades of study, as does the modern form of Druidry as taught by OBOD (Order of Bard, Ovate & Druids):
i. Bard - a keeper of history, stories, & songs,
ii. Ovate - a sage of nature or shaman, it also incorporates the healing arts,
iii. Druid - the keeper of the traditions, leader of spiritual practices, & keeper of the law.
Collectively this is known as ‘The Path of Druidry’, which focuses on dedication, through shamanism, magick, & mysticism (mystery - a puzzle to be solved, the BIG questions), to seeking the divinity in all. As well as performing priestly functions, Druids are trained to be artists, storytellers, community advisers & teachers.
There are four strands to the role of the Druid.
Ritual. Ancient Druids would conduct the important spiritual rituals of the tribes, especially at the times of the Festivals. Modern Druids celebrate the eight festivals & invite others to do the same, in order to help increase everyone’s awareness of the changes in nature – be they agricultural/ seasonal or solar – & simply to have fun. Druids also celebrate the lunar cycle.
Natural Philosophy. Ancient Druids would study both the inner & outer world – the physical as well as the spiritual & would seek to learn from observation of nature in order to understand & create their philosophies for life & living. Modern Druids do the same – studying Philosophy to discover the wisdom of the past & also studying nature & the way the world works now to find the best ways to live. Looking for wisdom in the sciences e.g. seeing how evolution & Gaia theory teaches that we all have a common ancestor, are all kin, are all interconnected, & then building our lives and our ethics upon that understanding.
Teaching. Ancient Druids would teach their people through various methods about their culture, laws, the universe & nature. Modern druids do the same – through a variety of means. We can learn, & then teach others what we have learned so that we can all live better lives in relationship with the natural world.
Service. The Druid class in ancient Celtic cultures was very important, highly respected & occupied many of the most important roles in society – whether that be judges, teachers, peacemakers, political advisers, philosophers or ritualists. Druids were there to give a service to society around them. Modern Druids follow this same path – not sitting back, but getting active in society, whether that’s learning about law, how to help people become more peaceful & solve conflicts or giving advice, & helping or holding to account those in politics. Druids believe in getting involved in their world & trying to make it a better place.
In Druidry, Nature is our sacred book, & each Druid’s relationship & interaction with nature is different, a personalised, creative & individual approach free from dogma, doctrine & policy, although they hold to some common principles; the pursuit of Love, Wisdom, & Creativity, within the understanding that all life is sacred & connected. Who are engaged in different kinds of ‘work with the land’, who celebrate & engage with the cycles of the stars, sun, moon & the seasons.
The western traditions of Druidry celebrate up to eight festivals each year. They comprise the four solar quarters i.e. the two solstices (longest & shortest days) & the two equinoxes (day & night are the same length) plus four Celtic 'fire' festivals.
All these mark important events in the cycle of life & also symbolise changes in the Goddess & God, based on the Arthurian Myths as used by OBOD. They are:
Samhain (Halloween) - 31st October: the feast of the dead; remembrance of ancestors & people, now dead, who were important to us. It marks the end of the Celtic year & the start of the spiritual new year. Also known as All Hallows day, the night before being All Hallows Eve (Halloween) or all souls night.
Alban Arthan (Christmas) - the winter solstice, 21st December approx.: rebirth of the sun & the gradual lengthening of the days towards springtime & new life.
Imbolc (Candlemas, or St. Brigid's) Day) - start of spring & the return of the Goddess to the land.
Alban Eilir (Easter) - the spring equinox, 21st March: Return of the sun from the south, springtime proper. Some celebrate a holy union between God & Goddess.
Beltane (May Day): Summertime begins celebrating new life & the holy marriage of God & Goddess.
Alban Hefin (Midsummer, St. John the Baptise birthday 25th) - the summer solstice, 21st June: Everything is green thanks to the God of nature, the Green Man.
Lughnasadh (Harvest Festival) - end of August: the festival of the first (corn) harvest.
Alban Elfed (Michaelmas the Feast of Archangel Michael), the Mabon - the Autumn equinox - 21st September approx.: second (fruit) harvest celebration, making plans for the winter months to come.
And finally back to Samhain & another turn of the wheel of the year, or wheel of life.
The Druid revival tradition recognises & cultivates the development of a personal spiritual path, & in the Druid tradition, these differences are encouraged rather than minimized.
In this way, revival Druidry has a very similar philosophy to the Unitarian Universalists – belief is an individual choice. Being a Druid doesn’t mean you can’t also hold Shamanistic-Jainism-Shinto-Hinduism-Buddhism- Judaism- Christianity- Islam, or Atheist perspectives. In Modern Druidry we have plenty of others who combine Druidry with other things, like Christianity or Hinduism. All are celebrated.
I need to emphasise at this juncture that modern paganism – at least in the UK – has no direct links with the ancient pagans, there is however a large ever growing body of lore & texts coming to light as serious research looks at our Celtic Mystical, Shamanistic & Magickal past, shedding new light & encouraging growth & development.
We don't know what the original Druids did, except through Roman writing of questionable accuracy, & although the presence of cunning men & women (descendants of the Druid traditions) is by contrast relatively well documented from medieval times onwards, the set of folk magick practices, & more sophisticated grimoire-based magick, was firmly rooted within the Celtic Coptic Christian tradition for over 500 years before it became Romanised & temporal (approximately 1500 years ago), it is unlikely to reflect any earlier form of the true practices of the Druids, except in a very tenuous form.
Modern paganism's roots are in part embedded in the late 19th century, with the rise of organisations such as the Golden Dawn & the Ordo Templi Orientis.
Whatever flavour of practice you care to name – Wicca, Druidry, Heathenism, or Ceremonial Magick – however, there are some common themes: romanticism, classicism, a harkening to the historical & mythical past, mysticism, shamanism & magick, & a focus on the natural world & the passage of the year. The majority of pagans these days do not dwell in the countryside, but a yearning towards nature are marked.
Religion is a set of variously organised beliefs about the relationship between natural & supernatural aspects of reality, & the role of humans in this relationship. Many religions have narratives, symbols, & sacred histories that are intended to explain the meaning of life, to explain the origin of life & the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos & human nature, people derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.
While religion is difficult to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies, simply says it is a "cultural system".
Druidism is not a set sacred-text based religion, & arguably not a theism or set of theisms per se; modern Druidism is diverse, fluid, & individualistic.
There are hints & clues in the documents of the times, hints in the writings of their enemies, hints in their mythology & so on, but it leaves holes in our knowledge.
So, for the most part, Druidism of today takes what we DO know, uses what is hinted at, fills in with logic, archaeology, research & creates the parts that are still missing from new cloth – as much as some may wish in a romantic way there is no authentic Druidry left, Druidism is eclectic today. But just because this is what we have to do, even though we don't know exactly what was believed, that does not mean that we are not close in what has been practiced in the past.
The ‘work’ of the Aspiring Druid within the Outer Order (mundane world) is to consciously control & place in balance all the various components of the personality self. These are symbolised by the elements, which we work with on four levels, the physical, the mental, the emotional, & the spiritual, through a Magickal & an Alchemical process;
• Body-Self – Earth
• Thinking-Self – Air
• Feeling-Self – Water
• Passionate-Self – Fire
With this in mind, the state of consciousness of the initiate waiting for their Gateway initiation(s) should be one where they can, at will, exercise control over & promote balance within their whole personality.
This would include:
• Their physical body-self, fitness, health & material life.
• Their thought processes & rational & concrete minds.
• Their emotional patterns, nature & expression.
• Their sexuality, passion, will & intuition.
Such a person would necessarily be positive towards life & would know how to solve, accept or work towards solving, any challenges they might come up against. They would be able to draw extra elemental energy from the Macrocosmic realms of the elements & other planes (Druid’s Authority) when required to keep them functioning well & healthily.
So part of being on the path of Druidry is the charge, “Know thyself”, carved above the door of the temple of Delphi, an ancient Greek Mystery School, is millennia old, but it has never been more important.
*Research from psychologist Daniel Goleman shows that self-awareness is crucial for all levels of success. Developing self-awareness is the first step to develop your EQ (Emotional Intelligence), to developing yourself as a whole spiritual being as you travel on your personal spiritual path towards integration & enlightenment (Unity – connectedness).
You can’t gain self-awareness through knowing psychology, but it is a major part of Druidry or any other spiritual practice for that matter. Rather, it requires a deep understanding of your past & current self. Experiences shape how we see the world. So, we have to reflect on how the world has shaped us. How well do you know yourself? How deeply do you understand your motivations? Do you understand what drives you? Your own self-image? Or how others experience you.
Understand Your Life Story.
“The stories we tell ourselves about our lives don’t just shape our personalities –- they are our personalities.” - Dan McAdams, Northwestern University psychology professor.
Your narrative identity is the story of your life; but it’s more than just a story. How you understand your narrative frames both your current actions & your future goals. How much you confront your life’s challenges - what may be called your “crucibles” - defines your level of self-awareness. We come to a greater understanding of this process when we actively engage with our Ancestors:
Ancestors of Blood
Ancestors of Place/Land
Ancestors of Tradition
2. Create a Daily Habit of Self-reflection
You should develop a daily practice of setting aside at least twenty minutes to reflect on your life. This practice enables you to focus on the important things in your life, not just the immediate. There is a direct correlation between mindfulness & changes in the brain - away from anger & anxiety & toward a sense of calm & well-being. Reflection takes many forms. Some keep a journal, some pray, & others take a long walk in Nature or jogging.
3. Seek Honest Feedback
We all have traits that others see, but we are unable to see in ourselves. We call these "blind spots." Do you see yourself as others see you? If not, you can address these blind spots by receiving honest feedback from people you trust.
Receiving feedback is hard. So, focus on psychological triggers that might block your learning. Three main triggers prevent our learning:
If you feel defensive (a red flag), think back to why you do. Often, we can explain it using these triggers.
Foreword to ‘Contemplative Druidry’ – Phillip Carr-Gomm
“An interesting development is afoot in the world of Druidry: contemplation & meditation are starting to receive more attention. Last year ‘Contemplative Druidry’, a collection of writings, introduced & curated by James Nichol, was published, & I wrote an essay as a foreword for it…
‘Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.’
We all know that Druidry is a magical path – Druids wear robes & conduct rituals with wands & candles, invocations to the directions, prayers to the gods. In a world sorely lacking in meaningful ritual, it can feel like a balm to the soul to engage in actions that are not obviously utilitarian, that are designed to help us enter into a deeper sense of engagement with life – to give expression to our belief in a world of Spirit that infuses this physical world with energies that bring healing & inspiration. And yet it can sometimes feel as if modern Druidry’s concern with ritual has placed too great an emphasis on the magical, at the expense of its equally important mystical concerns.
An interest in mysticism, & in the use of contemplation, meditation, & devotional practices that foster the aims of the mystic, has always been present in the modern Druid movement, but in the excitement of Druidry’s renaissance over the last twenty or so years, it is probably fair to say that the balance of attention has tipped towards the magical in Druidry, & that now it is time we paid more attention to the mystical…”
Each Celtic clan, tribe, or kingdom had its Druids (this includes the powerful cults of females too, who due to the rising influence of patriarchy had been side-lined in the texts of the day), who assisted their hosts by magick art.
Though Pliny recognises the Priestly functions of the Druids (the mystical side of Druidry, meditation & contemplation, self-awareness & personal growth), he associates them largely with magick, & applies the name magus to them.
First things first, Druidism is a way of life; it is also shamanic & a magickal practice, a religion &/or a spiritual philosophy that embraces the Great Mysteries.
You cannot separate the philosophy from the spirituality from the magick, without invalidating the way of the Druids. This is an eclectic path. No man is an island – all peoples, all religions/cults (they are the same thing, it is only a matter of numbers) have influenced each other – they are all nothing but an eclectic path that is forever changing. Change & development at any given rate & local becomes known as culture – that culture then influences another & is in turn influenced by another – the eclectic path.
So what is real Druidism???
The truth is no one really knows – would a Druid (really the Naddred) meeting a Druid, separated by four centuries, know each other???
The main elements of Druidic belief are:
Druids seek above all the cultivation of wisdom, creativity & love. A number of lives on earth, rather than just one, gives us the opportunity to fully develop these qualities within us.
Sacredness of all life: Life itself has a spiritual nature about it. A philosophy which deals with the sacredness & divinity of all life in which all life is equal in value. Therefore, humanity is on the same level of importance as plants & animals. Druidism emphasizes the "spiritual nature of life”.
It has no official dogma, doctrine, policies or sacred Scripture (the root of all religious wars, suffering & oppression of the past as well as in our modern world of today). It is all about an ‘un-structured approach’ to spirituality.
They are Pantheistic & adaptable, they affirm the presence of God/It/Divine (the One & All – the Living Universe), as a force (Nwyfre, Chi, Life Force – 0 energy/the field of modern physics from which everything in the physical universe is made), that exists in all things – there by allowing one to be individualistic in one’s own personal relationship to the Universe, anything from monotheistic to polytheistic to animistic – the emphasis being a personal relationship through direct practical & spiritual experience.
Druidism practices a tolerance of many different philosophical & spiritual traditions & teaches that no one system of thought is truer than any other.
The Otherworld: A place of existence beyond our physical senses. It is a place we are supposed to go to when we die but can be visited with the help of meditation, altered states of consciousness, visualisations, chanting, hypnosis, & shamanic journeying.
Druids are believers in reincarnation. They believe that the soul is immortal & after a person dies, they are transported to the 'Otherworld‘. They also believe that, that person will come back again in another human body over many life times until they had learned & experienced life in all of its glorious aspects.
Druidism is a nature based religion (it is through observation of nature that one learns the secrets of the Universe) that has many elements in common with New Age & Wicca, but with a focus on Ancestry & Nature. It reconnects us with nature, our ancestors, & ourselves, by "working with plants, trees, animals, stones, & ancestral stories." Druidry is a religion of Nature, in other words Druids revere Nature. Druids see the divine as immanent in the whole of life & the universe; in every tree, plant, animal & object, man & woman & in the dark side of life as much as in the light. Druids live their lives attuned to the cycles of Nature, the seasons, life, death & rebirth.
Healing: It brings healing using holistic means for both body & spirit.
Journey: Life is a journey from one stage to another; birth, possible marriage or successive partnerships, children or teachers/mentors to children (it takes a whole village to raise a child), death, etc. The goal being reintegration of the self with the Self.
Potential: Developing one's potential for the development of our creative, psychic, intellectual, & intuitive abilities.
Magick: Where ideas are brought into manifestation & divination (seeking the divine within) – a personal moral compass, not ‘fortune telling’ but for personal spiritual development, all spiritual paths are about self-awareness leading to becoming an ‘individuated spiritual individual’.
The truth of reality is hidden behind our perceptions & can be revealed through study & insight. Modern Druidry offers ways to reconnect with the cycles of life, the spirits of nature, our ancestors & their gods.
Like all spiritual traditions, its ultimate goal is unity with the infinite. It is free of dogma & any fixed set of beliefs or practices – this doesn’t mean that you do nothing, your personal story development & daily practice (techniques to connect you with the Living Universe) are to be individually explored…are they yours through direct personal experience or are they the tales of another???
In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, & a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance & sectarianism that the established religions have encountered through becoming temporal & enslaved to Mammon.
So how can we begin to practice (the act of doing) this reverence for the sacredness of all life – all sentient beings; we begin to let in the light when we open doors & windows – having an open mind & through trial & error we learn. It is only by gaining knowledge, & then doing something practical with it – to experience it first hand, that we develop Gnosis, our own personal & unique relationship with the sanctity of life – The Living Universe.
To gain a greater depth both spiritual & practical from Druidism, or for that matter, any spiritual practice, it behoves one to fully investigate, acquire & expand their personal knowledge base & daily practice of the techniques that open up their spiritual & psychic nature, & through self-awareness to develop one’s self into the best that it can be & achieve unification with the divine.
‘For the most part, Druid ethics are not much different from Christian or Buddhist ethics. What sets modern Druid ethics apart is that it de-emphasizes blind trust & obedience to authorities, rejects the idea that there are any scriptures that are more sacred than others, and grounds its ideal of respect and love in the whole natural world, not just the human community.’
Alferian Gwydion MacLir
The author Brendan Myers says that the first moral principle of the ancient Druids was a devotion to truth. Myer’s suggests that the Druids may not have adhered to specific rules & authorities to determine proper ethical conduct. Instead he sees them striving to become a certain type of person, out of whom ethical behaviour naturally arises.
What follows is my ordering of the eleven principles for the contemporary Druid based on Nihtscada’s study of the old Brehon laws:
Uphold the truth, starting with yourself. (Deep exploration of your inner-self.)
All life is sacred & all are responsible for seeing that this standard is upheld. (Re-establishing your connection to Nature leads to the emergence of natural ethics & behaviour, a sense of belonging & fulfilment, by being of service to & protecting Nature.)
Serve your community. (The expression of your Higher Self & natural ethics.)
Every action has a consequence that must be observed & you must be prepared to compensate for your actions if required. (Take the pollution of our planet on the global industrial scale, the relentless use of plastics, we as people of the earth are going to have to make compensation on an epic scale or perish with the thousands of ecological environments already lost to us by our own hands through being disconnected with Nature.)
You do still live in society & are bound by its rules. (Be an active participant in creating positive change.)
Work with high standards. (All work is honourable, take yourself lightly & what you do seriously.)
Make an honest living. (When we understand our connectedness to everything, we understand that if we hurt or harm any one part of it – individually or collectively, we ultimately harm ourselves.)
Be a good host as well as a good quest. (What goes around comes around; with sustainable & balanced methods there is more than enough to meet every single thing’s needs.)
Take care of yourself. (Health was held in high esteem amongst the Celts, so much that a person could be fined for being grossly overweight due to lack of care.)
Maintain a healthy balance between the spiritual & worldly. (Nihtscada writes: ‘Ethical & self-respecting Druids did nothing without being properly schooled or aware of the consequences ahead of time. They knew when it was appropriate to visit the Otherworld & immerse themselves in the spiritual as well as when it was appropriate to be fully in this world.)
Be sure your of your convictions, particularly when judging or accusing someone, but also when debating. Ask yourself: are you really sure? Do you really know that this is the case?
Back in the early 1800’s began the long process of creating modern Druidry, from an industrialised culture that had become disenchanted from its spiritual connection to the planet we live on.They watched the birth of the Industrial Age & for some saw the environmental crises looming.
Faced with a Hobson’s choice between dogmatic religion & material science, they took a third path, drawing inspiration from the legacy of the ancient Celtic Druids to craft a new ‘Spirituality of Nature’. The ancient Celtic Druids who provided the original inspiration for the Revival, & whose example still guides it today, had a reputation all through the ancient times as first-rate mystics, shamans & magicians’. It took most of a century to become a significant part of the modern Druid tradition.
Mysticism, Shamanism & Magick belongs in Druidry because the core principles of the Druid mysteries, shamanic techniques & magick are the same.
All unfold from the awareness that the world around us is a community to which we belong, not a commodity we can own.
All recognise that subtle connections weave every part of the cosmos together & offer us unexpected ways to sense & shape the flow of events.
All realise that our fate is a co-creation of our actions & the patterns of space, time, & meaning that define the world around us.
That these principles also form the foundations of ecology stands as a sign of their wider importance. And today its importance has never been in more dire need.
Of all the subjects that comprise what nowadays is called occultism (hidden knowledge), the most misunderstood of all is Magick, even Alchemy, which to some is annoyingly dark & obscure, evokes far more sympathy & understanding as a rule than does Magick.
“It would be an unpardonable depreciation of value if we were to accept the current view, & reduce the spiritual striving of the alchemists to the level of the retort & the smelting furnace. Certainly this aspect belonged to it; it represented the tentative beginnings of exact chemistry. But it also had a spiritual side which has never yet been given its true value, & which from the psychological standpoint must not be underestimated.”
Magick & by its use it extends into Mysticism & Shamanism, simply & briefly concerns itself in the main with the world of modern psychology & physics. It deals with that sphere of the psyche of which normally we are not conscious but which exerts an enormous influence upon our lives.
Magick is a series of psychological, breathing, & visualisation techniques used by Mystics, so devised as to enable us to probe more deeply into ourselves, following a basic definition of magick: Magick is the science & art of causing change, in consciousness, to occur in conformity with will, using means not currently understood by traditional Western science, which affects the physical world.
“The quest for spiritual experience begins with the quest for feeling:
What moves you?
Has anything in your life been beautiful enough to make you cry?
What took your breath away, put you on your knees with awe, turned the world over & shook it?
Those are some of the keys. Follow those things, seek & court them, make space in your life for them & treat whatever moves you as vitally important. Honour it, by whatever means makes sense. The rest will come in its own time.”
To what end?
First - we shall understand ourselves more completely.
Apart from the fact that such self-knowledge in itself is desirable; an understanding of the inner nature releases us from unconscious compulsions & motivations & confers a mastery over life.
Second - that we may the more fully express that inner self in everyday activities, in a healthy & balanced way, for the benefit of all.
It is only when mankind as a whole has reached, or perhaps when more advanced men & women in the world have evolved some degree of inner realisation that we may ever hope for that ideal utopian condition of things – a wide tolerance, peace, & universal brotherhood.
It is to such ends as these that mysticism, shamanism & magick owe its raison d’etre.