Am I a Druid?

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Cledwyn
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Am I a Druid?

Post by Cledwyn » 18 Sep 2010, 19:06

Greetings, all!

I am so excited to find this forum.

I became interested in Druidry through reading The Archdruid Report blog by John Michael Greer, as I am interested in peak oil, climate change, environmental, and sustainability issues and the like. When I found out he was a Druid, my interest was piqued, and I devoured the whole OBOD and AODA web sites. I then ordered Greer's excellent introductory book, The Druidry Handbook. I decided I want to become a Druid.

Let me give you a little background about my spiritual path. I was raised in a Southern American, Protestant, Christmas-and-Easter Christian culture. I was not baptized or confirmed, however, as my parents weren't really the churchgoing type. I realized by about age 15 that I wasn't a Christian, and read a lot about other religions, especially Hinduism. However, when I got to college, I decided to convert to Catholicism, mainly because I admired the tradition of art and the beautiful architecture, and was looking for a culture where I could be supported and feel at home. Within a year, I had lapsed! It was way too dogmatic for me, and I could no longer deny that I am, in fact, an atheist. I just don't believe. I can't make myself (I tried). I don't envy believers, either. I find almost all forms of religion transparently false and, at their worst, dangerous.

Though I am a strong supporter of many Enlightenment values, reason, and science, I also reject the completely unenchanted worldview that's dominant in our power-mad, domination-based culture. I don't believe in the supernatural, but I do sense the undeniable enchantedness of the universe, and I have a deep feeling of connection to nature, to the earth, to all other beings. I think the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe, is immanent and beautiful. I always felt an affinity for Native American understandings of spirituality: that "religion" is meaningless, but being in nature, being in the circle, acknowledging and celebrating our place in the world and honoring the totality of the ecosystem and the interrelatedness of all life is true "spirituality." We are as much a part of our place as the plants and animals. Many of us are now far from our native ecosystem and haven't had time to adapt. I think there's something to this idea, but I also think all humans are of one race with only minor differences and that we can develop roots and grow into a meaningful relationship with our environment anywhere on earth.

I am also an Anglophile (really, a British-Isles-o-phile in general). I was born that way. I can't remember a time when I didn't dream of being in Britain. I went there for a year in college on a study exchange, then I went back for graduate school and managed to stay for four years, living and working there. Unfortunately, I found myself rather involuntarily repatriated at age 26, when my then-partner broke up with my while I was home visiting my family, and I was unable to return. I've been in the US since (for six years), but still have a nagging, gnawing desire to get back there someday. I have a deep, strong understanding that my work there is not done.

When I read Greer's book, and started doing some of the practices, and thinking about things through a Druid prism, I felt very at home. Not only is this a reincarnation of my own ethnic "religion," but, like Native American and other indigenous forms of spirituality, it is nature-based, non-dogmatic, and deeply metaphorical, with many levels of potential engagement. I feel like this is the type of soul-stirring philosophical underpinning that's currently missing from our death-based culture.

But I am still an atheist.

I've read the OBOD set of beliefs, and I wonder if there is a place for me in this tradition.
Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.
I would think the last sentence applies to me. I feel that deity is a virtually useless concept, and prefer to engage with the enchantedness of life and the world in a direct, sensory-based way. This is another reason Druidry appeals to me greatly. The tradition encourages us to get out in nature, learn about our landbase, and internalize the fact that we are embedded in this cycle, that we are part of the ecosystem and have a role to play.

I am drawn to personal rituals to help understand the cyclical nature of the earth's time, and to mark meaningful seasons and passages in human lives. The fluidity and beauty of Druid ritual really appeals to me, too.

So, thanks to anyone who read this far, and thanks for this amazing forum!

Am I a Druid? I think I might be.

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by skh » 18 Sep 2010, 20:40

Only you can decide, but either way: welcome :)

:beith:

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by FoxPhantom » 18 Sep 2010, 22:00

Skh is right on this one, and I can't tell you who you are, because in my personal opinion, it's like telling someone who they are and who they are not.

Other then that, I welcome you. :hug:
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Huathe » 18 Sep 2010, 23:17

Cledwyn,

I too am new to this forum, being here less than a week. I too am drawn to druidism and I find it appealing in many ways. I would find it useful to tune my senses even more to the energies of the natural world. To become more " at one " with the forest. I have noticed that religion is all too common a topic here, something I find in a way mundane and intrusive. Religious differences are only a problem if we let it be. To me the most important part of druidism is the common bond that should be shared between all druids, regardless of religious affiliation and the druids closeness and reverance for nature. If druidism can help me learn something about myself and become a better friend of the forest, I am in.

:huathe: Hawthorn Ent
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Lailoken » 19 Sep 2010, 02:34

Cledwyn, I will echo what the others have said...only you can decide if you're a Druid or not. There is no set criteria to determine that. I can, however, tell you what doesn't make one a Druid. Joining an organisation like OBOD or AODA doesn't make one a Druid...it's in your heart and it's something that has always been there, even if it's taken you years or decades to realise it. Being a member of a Druid organisation is a wonderful thing, being surrounded and supported by like-minded individuals is like having a second family and support system, but if you don't put your Druidry into practice in whatever way seems right to you, being a part of an organisation means little. The beauty of OBOD and AODA Druidry is it's lack of dogma, rules and regulations. The individual is given the freedom to explore Druidry, the world and themselves on their own terms, discovering their personal truths that define them, their lifestyle and the way they approach their Druidry.

You're new to Druidry and still have many questions, and this is the place for them! I'm sure in time you will discover the answer to your question all on your own.
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Huathe » 19 Sep 2010, 03:12

Lailoken,

I guess I have always been a druid then, at least at heart. I have always loved and appreciated the natural world and strove to learn more about it through Amateur Astronomy and being a member of the Eastern Native Tree Society, among other scientific studies and hobbies. I have also practiced meditation to some degree for years. But as I grow older it seems that my abilities to sense the living essence of the forest have grown stronger. Maybe it is time for me to pursue the study of druidry in a more formal and organized way. To express that with others as I am. That is why I am here.

In fact my whole immediate family expresses some " druidic " traits. It seems strongest in my sister and I.

James
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by wolfsbane » 19 Sep 2010, 10:40

Cledwyn, Firstly let me welcome you to OBOD. You will find your path in your own time and we will all be here to help you on your path through the forest.
Hawthorn_Ent wrote:Cledwyn,

I too am new to this forum, being here less than a week. I too am drawn to druidism and I find it appealing in many ways. I would find it useful to tune my senses even more to the energies of the natural world. To become more " at one " with the forest. I have noticed that religion is all too common a topic here, something I find in a way mundane and intrusive. Religious differences are only a problem if we let it be. To me the most important part of druidism is the common bond that should be shared between all druids, regardless of religious affiliation and the druids closeness and reverance for nature. If druidism can help me learn something about myself and become a better friend of the forest, I am in.

:huathe: Hawthorn Ent
Hawthorn,
I have read quiet a few of your posts now and whenever anyone mentions religion you seem to get very defensive and start on about peoples focus on religion being mundane. What i dont think you appreciate is for many of us we are the outsiders as far as christianity is concerned and we struggle with our daily lives trying to fit it around what is right and just in the eyes of many. With obod and other groups you will find that many people have the same kind of struggles and will come here and talk about them with hopefuly like minded people. Not all people who are here practice druidry in the same way so you also have those comments that will mention your religion. That is what druidry is really about learning & understanding with others. Well for me anyway.
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Huathe » 19 Sep 2010, 14:21

Wolfbane,

I am not trying to be defensive or trying to come off that way. I know they are many religious affiliations here and as far as myself I respect the religious beliefs of others whether they are Christian or not. Maybe " mundane " was a poor word to use but I just hate to see people have so much pain and problems over religion when they are other wonderful things in this world like trees! I guess I prefer discussions on those subjects over conversations of religion or politics. In my fellow group ENTS, our most heated conversations involve either religion or politics, while I am thinking " This forum is supposed to be about trees and forests ". Fortunately there those conversations are relatively rare.

But, Wolfsbane, I don't want to silence peoples voices here concerning religion and it's problems. That would not be right. I just hope it never dominates the forum.

James
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Zylah » 19 Sep 2010, 14:25

Cledwyn, hi :hiya:

It sounds to me like you're pretty much answering your own question! :wink: Which, as the others said, is totally appropriate. You phrased your love of and connection to the land quite beautifully :applause: ; and yes, part of the beauty of Druidry as it is today is its adaptability. Welcome :)

James, don't worry; it's impossible for one issue to dominate the entire forum, since the forum itself has so many different facets :wink: I just suggest sticking to the topics that won't bother you. Discussing our pain in conflict with other religions is not enjoyable for anyone, but it is cathartic and necessary at times. If it causes you pain, please don't feel you have to participate in that. :)
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Huathe » 19 Sep 2010, 19:08

Zylah,

Your advice is good. I would probably be wise heeding your advice choosing to participate in topics more pleasing to me.

thanks

James
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Cledwyn » 20 Sep 2010, 02:03

Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate your input.

I can already tell that I am going to like it here.

:shake:

Oneonine

Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Oneonine » 20 Sep 2010, 03:55

Most druids discover that's what they are, as opposed to being made one through groups/study.

Believing diety to be unknowable or unimportant is different from being an athiest. The original druids believed in dieties, and worked with them, but these days there isn't much that can't be incorporated into being a druid though.

Hinduism has many correlations with druidry, being different branches of the same root.

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Corwen » 20 Sep 2010, 10:58

There are plenty of Atheist Druids, don't let that be a barrier to you. Its true that most of the US orders are distinctly theist, polytheist or duotheist, but OBOD doesn't have any preconceived ideas about what its members should believe. Anyway there is a fine line between Atheism and Pantheism and Panentheism/Panpsychism (popular ideas among Druids), many with these belief systems (including myself) might be considered Atheists depending on who is doing the defining. For instance I consider myself a Panentheist, but my ideas are so far away from the prevailing Judaeo-Christian deist mindset that I am also happy with the Atheist label.
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Cledwyn » 20 Sep 2010, 20:48

Great points, Corwen.

Though I am an atheist on one hand, I think I am also a panentheist, and that's the aspect/type/manifestation of Druidry to which I feel drawn. I do not think these labels are mutually exclusive (indeed, it seems no religions are totally mutually exclusive to Druidry, which is another thing I like about it - it's a great grounding for exploring enriching ideas and philosophies from other traditions, such as Buddhism or Native American spiritualities - there is a lot of overlap, and no dogma to fence off ideas or prevent real personal growth, unlike most mainstream "religions").

To me, whether the "theism" in panentheism is the same theism as Yaheh or the Einsteinian "god" or the Native American "Great Spirit" is not important. These are huge, fascinating, speculative questions, the "true" answers to which will likely always elude human brains. But the fact that we have a brain at all is meaningful to me, and I feel deeply connected to all the universe. I think the earth is holy. It does not need a supernatural aspect. It just is, and that is enough, nay, more than enough. The ecosystem and all the life in it is the holiest of holies to me.

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by DJ Droood » 20 Sep 2010, 21:21

Cledwyn wrote:To me, whether the "theism" in panentheism is the same theism as Yaheh or the Einsteinian "god" or the Native American "Great Spirit" is not important. These are huge, fascinating, speculative questions, the "true" answers to which will likely always elude human brains. But the fact that we have a brain at all is meaningful to me, and I feel deeply connected to all the universe. I think the earth is holy. It does not need a supernatural aspect. It just is, and that is enough, nay, more than enough. The ecosystem and all the life in it is the holiest of holies to me.
I think you will find many like-minded folks here...a rejection of theism and the supernatural is not a rejection of your spirituality..that is our birthright, and nobody can tell you yours is invalid because it doesn't match their rules book. For me, druidry is a way to approach magic and mystery in the universe..we know so little and what is left to be discovered is so mind-boggling that..well..the mind-boggles...religion/theism, for me, tries (but fails) to rob the world of magic and mystery..it provides pat (and patently false) answers, and trivializes the Wonder.
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Corwen » 20 Sep 2010, 21:38

Cledwyn wrote:Though I am an atheist on one hand, I think I am also a panentheist, and that's the aspect/type/manifestation of Druidry to which I feel drawn. I do not think these labels are mutually exclusive
Thats true, and its important to remember that in case we start to lose sight of the fact that we are trying to use rigid concepts to describe our shifting intuitions and perceptions which in the matter of the divine are by their nature hard to pin down.

Cledwyn wrote:(indeed, it seems no religions are totally mutually exclusive to Druidry, which is another thing I like about it - it's a great grounding for exploring enriching ideas and philosophies from other traditions, such as Buddhism or Native American spiritualities - there is a lot of overlap, and no dogma to fence off ideas or prevent real personal growth, unlike most mainstream "religions").
Druidry is indeed a strange beast. The nearest thing, in my experience, is the North American version of Unitarianism/Universalism.
Cledwyn wrote:To me, whether the "theism" in panentheism is the same theism as Yaheh or the Einsteinian "god" or the Native American "Great Spirit" is not important. These are huge, fascinating, speculative questions, the "true" answers to which will likely always elude human brains. But the fact that we have a brain at all is meaningful to me, and I feel deeply connected to all the universe. I think the earth is holy. It does not need a supernatural aspect. It just is, and that is enough, nay, more than enough. The ecosystem and all the life in it is the holiest of holies to me.
I very much agree with your views, and I hope Druidry can be as much a home to you as it has to me. You might also find some of the ideas around contemporary Animism exciting, there are some links on the front page of the Animism Ning which you could look at, especially the Bioregional Animism Blog:
http://www.animism.ning.com
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Cledwyn » 20 Sep 2010, 22:52

Thanks for the link. I am, indeed, interested in animism, as well.

Also, I love your avatar. I have one on the billboard above my desk right now!

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Jake » 21 Sep 2010, 01:53

Hi and welcome, Cledwyn. It's nice to see another resident of Texas on the board!
being in nature, being in the circle, acknowledging and celebrating our place in the world and honoring the totality of the ecosystem and the interrelatedness of all life is true "spirituality."
This is my belief in nutshell too. I only wish I could express it as eloquently! As others have said, you'll find there's plenty of us non-theists around here so you should feel right at home. There's a wide diversity of belief in OBOD which I think is one of its strengths.

You may also be interested in http://www.caerabred.org/
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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by Cledwyn » 21 Sep 2010, 04:09

Thanks, Jake, and everyone who has contributed. I appreciate it!

I saw something about the naturalist Druids on the Richard Dawkins web site. Nice to see this path is a bit more fleshed out. I look forward to reading the wiki and checking out the site!

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Re: Am I a Druid?

Post by echoe » 17 Dec 2010, 16:29

I don't know that all the relgious talk is painful or awkward or anything, in it's own way, druidism is a religion... a re connecting back to a line of teachings or thought.

If this may help at all? discussion is exploration, I love hearing what others have to say, I love learning points that I might not have thought of. I love understanding or attempting to understand, another's point of view. I have an inherent need to see things from other perspecitves. I know my own, but what are those I might not have thought of? Not all teachings of organized relgions are garbage. There are nuggets of gold among the chunks of trash. It is always good to take away that which retains value to the intellect. Buddhism has many opulent teachings... Native American beliefs have traditions and understandings that I deeply admire and try to adhere to. (One of my favorite is that Native Americans strive to beauty in art, but never to perfection as only the gods can achieve perfection... this allows the person to be fully HUMAN and not to continually fail in endeavors, it allows them to find satisfaction in themselves and to examine a work for its own worth and not with a harshly critical eye. )

I think of it as myself sitting with the scholars attempting to glean some kind of knowledge from the subject offered. But, then I realize I'm not interested in every topic, and when that interest is piqued, well, that is the time I'm ready to fully devote my attention to it. You don't have to talk politics or religion, and indeed in these days and times in America, the two topics are heated and overworked and I tend to avoid the political pipe bomb in the making myself. But here... I'd like to think of this as explorative when we talk about religions, more than heated, or debates. I'm trying to find things that might fit more into what can make me a better person. I'm trying to expand my knowledge to understand the workings of other people and animals, and plants.

I may say things that aren't always well thought out, or which haven't been written completely the way I meant, but I'd welcome the chance for more ideas and enlightenment.

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