A druid nose against the church window

Dec 6th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles

As this is my first blog, a short introduction is perhaps in order. I have been a pagan all my adult life, having been introduced to Druidry at the age of 18. I have been a student and member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids since that point, and have also started to work a little with the British Druid Order. I am a practising medical herbalist and I teach western medicine to acupuncture students (I know, weird huh?). I have lost and found my druid ‘faith’ many times, and it is ironic that I start this blog during one of the ‘lost’ times, but having been on this path so long, I have discovered that the losing enables a deeper finding further down the line. I unashamedly claim my Druidry as a religion, as ‘spirituality’ just didn’t seem the right way to express how I perceive deity and sacred experiences.

Which brings me neatly to the subject of religion, and experiencing a sense of not belonging in a faith framework at a time of year when such a sense of belonging feels so crucial. I have read quite a few articles relating to paganism and (lack of) community, how we are as a fairly new path still finding our way in terms of forming a complete and functioning community, minus the dogma and restrictions of monotheistic faiths. I do not intend to repeat that material here (hopefully) but to add to it. I live in a town where the predominant faith community is Christian, and an active and very positive community it is, on the whole. I always believed the druid community to which I belonged was positive and active too – I was lucky enough to have a grove within driving distance, I attended a few Order gatherings and I have honestly never met a druid who didn’t have a core of decency, intelligence and good humour which made for what I thought was a wonderful bunch of friends. Then I had my children. Due to my spouse’s health issues and total lack of other family support, leaving tiny children with him so I could drive to my grove group was impossible, let alone travel to bigger gatherings. And just like that the spiritual community that had been at the core of my life dissolved, leaving me bereft and angry at a very vulnerable time. Ironically, it was the church playgroups and support that got me through some very dark post-natal depression days. And now my eldest attends a Church of England School (because it is a great school and right for him, even though I know I don’t need to justify such a choice I felt that explanation was merited in this context) and I attend the church services of celebration and other church activities that are part of the school’s life. Although they are inclusive, tolerant and friendly I am definitely ‘other’, on the outside looking in to their faith practices. Druidry is a tolerant and inclusive path in itself, yet I remain excluded both from druid activities and by my nature as a pagan, from church activities. I do not resent those of Christian faith their path, it has much to commend it although it is certainly not the path for me. What I do sincerely hope is that we as pagans can form a more coherent and supportive community though, so when it comes to Yule, to Imbolc, to each lovely festival and marker of the life of the natural and human worlds, our gatherings can be embedded in our day to day communities so everyone who needs that sense of belonging can reach it.

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