I have been involved actively in paganism for just under 20 years now. My interest was piqued by a small book about Druidry written by Emma Restall Orr. As is the case throughout life, it was the right thing at the right time. My first forays into the world of the internet found me at the doorstep of The Druid Network as much as anything because, at that time, the network was being developed by Emma and others.
The world of the internet opened doors that just a few years earlier, would have been out of reach for a person such as myself living in a mining community in the East Midlands. The ambitions and understanding that seemed to be associated around Druidry at that time seemed to be exactly what my restlessness at that period of time needed. I looked further and naturally found OBOD. Unlike TDN which appeared to promote discussion around how people were perceiving Druidry along with if and how this would apply to them, OBOD’s approach used a more rigid structure. I was introduced to the three grades of Druidry.
Firstly, the Bard. For someone more used to dealing face to face with people and being able to express myself better, at that time, with those sorts of communication interactions, the role of Bard didn’t seem to fit me at all. Checking out various sites such as this one, confirmed that the role of Bard would be, to put it lightly, somewhat of a challenge. Later sites have also confirmed my initial thoughts surrounding the role. As a Bard, with the emphasis on word expression through prose and the like, to put it bluntly, I would be about as much use as a one-legged man in an arse kicking contest!
The Ovate grade appeared to be more relevent with its emphasis on the seeing arts and healing. I have also thought of myself as a bit of a healer, but being an engineer by trade, my professional work is a healing of machines. I brought some books about spiritual healing which I found to be very good, including this one and especially this one, which the context I found very relevent along with some limited ability in using the techniques.
Lastly the grade of Druid, which, to be honest, after pretty much discarding the first grade and self-limiting the scope of the second grade, appeared to put the third grade out of reach. There was also the thorny issue of the classical writers attributing between 15 and 20 years training to achieve the third grade.
So I decided that I would continue to associate myself around these sites and others in an attempt to find more information and, hopefully, more like-minded people. TDN continued to provide information and one piece in particular from a person I still consider to be both a friend and a very wise person captured my attention. The article was about the subject of feral Druidry. This struck a chord. This was Druidry I could relate to on so many levels, it was uncanny.
The writer of the piece was, I was to find out some time later, involved with Caer Feddwyd and the result of it, Brython. This was an altogether different approach. More based around what was being produced by the scientific community in regards to the traditions around the late iron age before, up to and including the Roman occupation of Britain, the focus seemed more specific. I still look back at those times with fondness, even though we, as a group, sometimes courted controversy with both our approach and sometimes the subject matter we chose to engage with.
This time also proved to be very important in a way that I, and as it turned out she, had no inkling of at that time. I was introduced, firstly in the virtual world then later, in the physical world, to my love and my now partner. Without CF and Brython or the internet, I can say with some confidence, we would never have met as our paths before that time, could not have been more different.
As is the case throughout life, things change and CF and Brython faded. My personal life then changed, as is discussed here. I felt the call of Druidry in my bones again and my move up here to Scotland, strengthened my ties with other than human communities. I could now comfortably sit with the title of Druid, having at least served time learning about Druidry and thus, as I saw it, serving an apprenticeship. I still had problems identifying with Druidry as related to the OBOD framework (and this is in no way to be conceived as an insult to the OBOD framework, but that it justs reflects my own reasons why my engagement with them has been somewhat limited) finding the methodology and interactions through TDN to me to be more conducive.
My partner also began to question where she was, spiritually, along with others online. This is an entirely natural thing, in my opinion, as the greater number of experiences we have, the larger the knowledge bank from which we drink develops and to accommodate these experiences, we have to periodically reassess what is still relevent and what is not. Between us, we have now arrived at definitions that are to us, both relevent and specific enough to use comfortably. It’s amazing sometimes what the addition of a single word can achieve.
So, using the circumstances with which she finds herself in, my partner has now found some sort of closure with this and both a descriptor and direction that will guide her in the future. For me, the communications I have received experientially, have shown me that my role is one based around the land. I questioned how and why I would be, for want of a better phrase, worthy of this role, as I would suggest most people would also have questioned. I knew what was required of me, that wasn’t a problem and I knew and respected that the work I would be engaged in would be for the land and not for the human communities as such. There would not be any recognition, as such, for my efforts, but that has never been a problem. I am comfortable with that thought, especially as it seems to me, the land now-a-days gets little recognition from the majority of western human society at this time as to its own needs.
The key bit of information that swung it for me in accepting this role, was when I was informed that, as humans, we are instigators of change, whether we realise it or not. It is part of our remit, as such, that we all have within us, the power to effect change. And that sometimes, this change could only be exclusively instigated by us. I could not refuse once I had thought through such an understanding.
My work is not tied specifically to any one, or group of, deities, spirits or other than human communities. My work is tied to the needs of the land and the processes needed that are communicated to me. I have the method to engage with, and for, the land and I now possess a physical link between the land and myself which constitutes the contract between us. Actually, two links.
The first is here along with the specific reasoning and the second is this..
This is Scottish Green marble, specific to North western Scotland and the Hebrides. Both constitute specific qualities of the areas I have been fortunate to live in and provide a very physical link between myself and the land I work with and for. I am now comfortable with a title and that title is Land Druid.