Australian Druidry and Seeking the Sacred in Your Own Landscapes

May 31st, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

Julie Brett’s Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape is quite a remarkable work. Having now read this book twice, I am astounded by the depth of the material on how her Druidry dovetails within her relationships with the land she lives in. The description and details of her own work could easily be utilized as a template for developing one’s own perspective in relation to their immediate area as well.
She divides the book into three parts, a nice number for Druidry. In the first part, she spends some time laying out her own perspective, as well as defining what she means by “Australian Druidry.” I found this to be quite useful, as this provides a basic pattern upon which the mosaic pieces of parts two and three are built. Moreover, in creating this basic layout, Julie sets not only the stage, but provides a basic understanding of how she sees everything to be through her own eyes. For me, this was a moment where my perception and her understanding gelled together and brought focus to everything else within the book.

Her second part starts with connecting to Nature. As she notes, Druidry is about being outside – hands in the dirt. While keyboards, laptops and CRT monitors have provided communication and connection, Druidry is not practiced as a keyboard warrior. In my opinion, being outside helps with the visualization of the cycle of the year, as well as perceiving the aspects of the Wheel of the Year. Here, she notes that there are changes to the overall Wheel, along with a difference in some of the festivals and seasonal celebrations. In addition, I really hate to write more about the book in more detail because I feel that I would be stealing some of the joy of the reader discovering the material for themselves. In my not-so-humble opinion, Julie Brett has a book that can open many new doorways for folks looking for ways to bring some new light into their daily practices.
For me, this book has started a new set of thought processes in motion for me. I live in the Texoma region of Texas, in Cooke County, which is nestled against the Oklahoma border, just north of the Dallas /Fort Worth metro-mess. The town I live in is a small one, about 1092 people in size (according to the 2017 US Census estimation data), and with the largest Catholic church in the area – Lindsay is not quite a Pagan hamlet. On the southern edge of the central plains region of the United States, it is most certainly ancestral territory for both the Comanche and Wichita nations. It is hardly a wonder, at least to me, that I am called by Crow and Coyote, though not to practice as a Native American shaman. That is a very different post though.
I watch the Wheel of the Year in nearly every part of my daily life. I work in nearby Gainesville, Texas, and my drive to and from work takes me on a Farm-to-Market road that follows the borders of five different dairy pastures. Every spring and late fall brings about new calves into the pastures. Whenever the herd is near the fence line, I will drive by waving like an idiot to the small cows who start the process of bolting down the fence line to try to pace my truck. As each point in the season moves along, I get to watch the growth of these small calves into what I call “teenager” cows. These are usually noted by their insistence to watch their phone screens rather than do cow things. No, I am kidding. Usually, these cows are starting to get round like the older cows, but have not quite achieved the height stature of the other cows. The foliage is not much to observe, but the leaves do provide a good indication as to when the weather is about to warm (with little green buds on the branches), and about to turn cold (when the browning, aged leaves start to fall to the ground).

There is a variety of festivals, usually revolving around Germanic traditions – German immigrants settled much of the northern tier of central Texas – such as Oktoberfest. The nearby town of Muenster has a wonderful tradition of hosting wonderful celebrations such as this. All of this can be incorporated into some of the Pagan Wheel of the Year festivals with some slight modifications, which can provide some calendar observances for a solo Pagan such as myself.

Walking trails, the bordering shores of the Red River -where it can be reached via public lands- and all the local wildlife, make living this far from the metro-mess of Dallas/Fort Worth to the south, and Oklahoma City to the north quite worthwhile for me. The population is small enough that I can enjoy what makes for a quiet afternoon on the weekends, or a relaxing night viewing the stars from the edge of my backyard pool. Being in such close proximity to ancestral lands of the Comanche and Wichita provide what can sometimes be interesting exchanges with Spirits of Place and Spirits of Ancestor during meditations. I do realize that some would call it cultural appropriation, but I am always reminded that the Gods call whom the Gods call. I am not trying to recreate myself as an Indian Shaman or find ways to bring myself into Native American ceremonial concepts. I am a Druid, who lives in north Texas, on the edge of the southern Plains, and happens to be called by a pair of Native American Gods.

And much of what I have relayed here, about finding the sacred in the world around me – through the landscape of the dairy farms, the native plants in my area, the observances of the Wheel of the Year accentuated with local celebrations… All of that is just a small portion of what is addressed in Julie Brett’s work. In addition, I am certainly looking forward to adding more of what Julie writes about to my daily practice from Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape.

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2 Comments to “Australian Druidry and Seeking the Sacred in Your Own Landscapes”

  1. Mavis Belisle says:

    I assume you must have also stopped in the community of Lindsay, between Gainesville and Muenster. The Catholic church there is a great example of that period of architecture. and it’s always open.
    Mavis

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