Exploring Druidry

A druid is someone who loves nature, trees, the wild, with all their heart.

Phillip Carr-Gomm

A while back, I picked up a book from a bookstore—I think when I was in Scotland, actually. I wasn’t in the market for a book, but there was a sweet little book on display titled The Druid Path, A Modern Tradition of Nature Spirituality by John Michael Greer. Well, that was intriguing. So I picked it up, wanting to support this quaint local bookstore, and it being the only book that really spoke to me.

I read it, once, liking some of the things it said, but turned off at the end, where it spoke of an initiation ceremony. A solitary one, mind you, which is more palatable than a group one, in my mind. But I have some deep-seated aversions now to organized religion, and even though Druidry is more of a philosophy than a religion, that initiation thing felt very religious-y.

For someone put off by organized religion, I sure keep coming back to this “where do I fit in, spiritually?” question. I’m a conundrum unto myself. (And to plenty of others, I’m sure.)

Anyhow, I think my revived interest in Druidry was triggered by a few things. One was reaching out to Eryn Schrader of The Plant Witch podcast (which is how I discovered her, but she’s so much more than that, including being a writer on this Substack platform where I host my newsletter) when something came in an email about her spiritual mentoring. That had been niggling in my brain for a while, so I decided to pursue it. Eryn has started following the Druid path since I started listening to her podcasts and reading her writings. So I think that’s a big part of what sparked this curiosity that seems to be nagging at me. Pay, attention, it calls. We have something for you. Whether this turns out to be another case of integrating pieces of a defined way of thinking into my eclectic nature-based spirituality, who knows. I have yet to speak with Eryn about this (but looking forward to it). Druidry is also most likely a part of my ancestry. And visiting Stonehenge, associated with the Druids (but most likely not created by them), really had an impact on me. Lastly, I picked up a book called Sacred Actions, Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices by Dana O’Driscoll. I didn’t know this when I chose the book, but she is a Druid (actually an Archdruid, which is a leadership position) and a fellow permaculture peep (there is a quote on her book jacket by the woman who taught my permaculture class and visited my property for a consultation). I feel like there are just a LOT of magical synchronicities happening here. So much so, that I started paying attention.

So I re-read The Druid Path, started listening to some podcasts, and bought another book on Druidry called The Book of Druidry, A Complete Introduction to the Magic & Wisdom of the Celtic Mysteries by Kristoffer Hughes. What I like about this author, who I saw speak in a YouTube video, is that he is from Wales, where Druidry was big. I have Welsh ancestors, and I like the idea of learning more about this lineage of mine and what my ancestor’s lives were like. Hughes’ primary language is Welsh (or Cymraeg). He was brought up immersed in the Celtic culture. I almost feel like he is speaking to me as a stand-in for my ancestors.

I can tell you that the symbol of the Three Rays was the biggest thing that pulled me into continuing to study Druidry from my second pass through The Druid Path. I feel like a deeper exploration of that symbol is best left for another post, but its basic meaning was about the path to peace that is found between two extremes (the left-hand ray of knowledge and the right-hand ray of power). Compromise. Finding a middle way. This spoke directly to my heart. As a matter of fact, as I type this, I’m just realizing that I now have a new way to look at the 3 of Swords in Tarot. That card is typically represented as 3 swords piercing a heart and is often interpreted as grief. But that never resonated with me, because the number 3 in numerology stands for communication, connection, and creativity. And the sword stands for truth, among other things. I think that finding the middle way between extremes, especially when it involves people at opposite ends of thought, requires all those things that the number three stands for. Plus a willingness to step into truth.

That tarot revelation right in the middle of typing a paragraph surprised me as much as it probably did you. This post was not about Tarot, but there you go. This is why I write. Writing connects so many dots for me. I would be lost without it, and I don’t care if anybody else reads it. I write for me. But, I do want to show you the traditional card for the 3 of Swords, while we are on the subject.

I’m also going to create a new topic under the Gaia menu called The Green Path. I thought of changing the Green Witch Ways menu item to that, but I don’t want to lose the history of the intent of those writings, even though there is SO much crossover with any nature-based spirituality. I’ll probably put posts in both those categories when they both apply.

By the way, in The Druid Path, Greer speaks of divination, which he defines as “the art of developing intuition through the use of apparently random symbols,” using the Coelbren alphabet. It’s basically similar to divination using Runes, which is a Norse thing. But he also mentions that modern Druids use other forms of divination, such as tarot. (As a matter of fact, Dana O’Driscoll, the author of Sacred Actions, created a tarot deck called The Tarot of Trees.) Greer also talks about a Three Rays of Light spread that can be used with any of these forms of divination. And so, we come full circle with this tarot tangent, back to the Symbol of the Three Rays. I’m definitely going to have to devote a post to this symbol and its meaning!

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