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One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 02:40
by Hedgeapple
Hello friends! One earnest question from a prospective student:

Does one have to actually believe in the existence of pantheons of gods from Europe and elsewhere in order to follow the Druid's path? For the last few decades I have developed my own natural approach to spirituality which, unsurprisingly, mirrors a lot of the concerns and ethic of modern Druidry. I would like to continue developing in my own ways and believe that Druidry, as it is named, may be of assistance; however, looking at the various groups (ADF, AODA, OBOD) I see a lot of emphasis on the term "polytheism." Can I directly benefit from studying Druidry without using gods or goddesses as a device to reach what I feel more naturally as something elemental/intrinsic and nameless?

Thank you kindly for any answers you share.

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 03:24
by Selene
Hedgeapple wrote: Does one have to actually believe in the existence of pantheons of gods from Europe and elsewhere in order to follow the Druid's path? ...
Can I directly benefit from studying Druidry without using gods or goddesses as a device to reach what I feel more naturally as something elemental/intrinsic and nameless?
Hi, Hedgeapple, and welcome to the board!

To answer your questions, "No" to the first, "Yes" to the second. :)

From the FAQ page on the main OBOD site:
Do I have to adopt any particular set of beliefs or practices when joining the Order?
No - all members are encouraged to believe and practice only those things which they feel are true and right for themselves. There is no dogma in Druidry, which instead is characterised by the qualities of tolerance and an appreciation of diversity. For this reason people with widely differing approaches are members, from Pagans and Wiccans to Christians and Buddhists, and to those with no particular philosophy or religion.
There are, however, a few beliefs which most members probably hold in common:
In Spirit, or God/dess - in something more than just matter
In the Otherworld - in something more than just the world of appearances
In Rebirth - in life after death in some form
In the Web of Life - in the interconnectedness of all life
In the Law of the Harvest - in the law of cause and effect, that we harvest the result of what we have sown.
Please note the use of the term "most members" in the statement above. Within the Order, you will find hard polytheists, soft polytheists, pantheists, panentheists, monotheists, agnostics, atheists, and probably a lot more "-ists" than I've ever heard of. Believe what works for you. You'll fit right in. :)

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 10:27
by Badger Bob
The only people I know who have had a problem with the deities in the courses have been hardcore Atheists who have a pathological aversion to any kind of supernatural entity. You have to wonder what they thought they might get out of Druidry in the first place but that's people for ya :shrug:

A numinous natural approach to the divine (in any number) should be right at home. As with anything that OBOD does; if something doesn't work for you, adapt it to fit your own path. OBOD provides a skeleton but it is up to you to do all the hard thinking to put the meat in between the bare bones.

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 10:40
by Fire oak
I don't worship deities in any way Hedgeapple but do believe in the spirit that exists in all things. And FYI Badger Bob I am not an atheist, far from it :)

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 13:44
by DaRC
Can I directly benefit from studying Druidry
OBOD Druidry is positioned as a philosophy.
The dictionary definition is
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
3. a particular system of thought based on such study or investigation: e.g. the philosophy of Spinoza.
4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: e.g. the philosophy of science.
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
6. an attitude of rationality, patience, composure, and calm in the presence of troubles or annoyances.
one that I think neatly sums up what OBOD is about.

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 17:51
by DJ Droood
Michael C. Page wrote: For example I personally don't see why we can't take all the wonders of our World into our hearts and be a Neo-Mono-Hena-Poly-Pan-Theist with things leftover and behind
Is there room for any non-anti-a-apa-theists in the circus tent? (I think I fall into the apa category)
Apatheism (/ˌæpəˈθiːɪzəm/ a portmanteau of apathy and theism/atheism), also known as pragmatic atheism or practical atheism, is acting with apathy, disregard, or lack of interest towards belief or disbelief in a deity.

An apatheist is someone who is not interested in accepting or denying any claims that gods exist or do not exist. An apatheist lives as if there are no gods and explains natural phenomena without reference to any deities. The existence of gods is not rejected, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.[1]

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 18:41
by DJ Droood
Michael C. Page wrote:Oh I've heard of this before DJ. :D Am I correct in summing this up as a post-modern take on the age old view that any language to used express the divine is inadequate so why bother to try? I can certainly understand why some people would be inclined to make their lives easier by taking that view - I mean, hey it's less stress. :-)
Possibly...I just found the word on wiki this morning...came up with apatheistic on my own and just wanted to make sure it was a "thing".....not even sure if an apatheistic person worries about words to describe "the divine"....just doesn't care...focused on the laundry...if "the divine" isn't going to help iron and fold, what's the use?...how about "S/he/it Who is Not Much Help With the Laundry"...as an honourific?

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 20:11
by Explorer
DJ Droood wrote: Possibly...I just found the word on wiki this morning...came up with apatheistic on my own and just wanted to make sure it was a "thing".....not even sure if an apatheistic person worries about words to describe "the divine"....just doesn't care...focused on the laundry...if "the divine" isn't going to help iron and fold, what's the use?...how about "S/he/it Who is Not Much Help With the Laundry"...as an honourific?
Ah, don't worry, it's just a phase...
I grew from atheist into apatheist also, but then enlightened into flexitheist or pragmatheist as my indoctrina... ehm.. druid training progressed.
Now I don't believe in deity, except on occasions when they comes in handy, and even then I don't care if they exist or not.
(It is the mindset that counts, not the reality of it).

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 20:36
by Heddwen
Bizarre. The apa, flexi, whatever-ists come out of the closet as strong clod hopping atheists when some poor little fundie bible quoting christian sets one foot in the skeptical druid forum....and the rest of the time ...who knows whether they believe or not!!!

Re: One question

Posted: 17 Feb 2015, 20:42
by DJ Droood
Gods are like cops...aren't around when you need them, show up long after the s#*t goes down, shrug, tell you to call your insurance company and leave.

Re: One question

Posted: 18 Feb 2015, 05:40
by Hedgeapple
Thank you for asking Michael.

My method, or approach, to contact with the essential has always consisted primarily of the following: physical interaction with my environment through various outdoor interests (walking, gardening and kayaking mostly), awareness of and celebration of the seasons with self-styled rituals, and meditation (Kundalini-like, only occasionally). I have always kept a display of carefully chosen plants, seeds, rocks and feathers which do comfort me, and I have caught myself talking to the river near my home more than once during times of difficulty, but I have never truly experienced or imagined Deity beyond the forces present, seen and unseen, known and unknown, which uplift and move this. To me, the perfect manifestation of the divine is a giant cypress at dusk, perched with egrets and surrounded by the droning of cicadas. To my mind, nothing is more instructive or miraculous.

Of course, these are just the things I am familiar with and I would like to do and know more.

Re: One question

Posted: 18 Feb 2015, 14:52
by Explorer
Heddwen wrote:...and the rest of the time ...who knows whether they believe or not!!!
Yep, behold the Mysteries.

Re: One question

Posted: 20 Feb 2015, 11:18
by treegod
I have a couple of blogs on this:

Druidic Theism, where I consider my own theistic beliefs/doubts.

And Polytheisitc Meanderings, which describes a bit of the path my thoughts have taken. I'd published it on this thread here, which is worth taking a look through.