What is a Druid and what do they believe?
Druidry is something which is as simple or as complicated as anyone could wish for. It is many things to many people. It is a spirituality associated with the living land and as such is by nature fluid and changing, like the seasons. Ask a dozen druids, what they believe and unless you’re very lucky, you will find a dozen different answers. The beauty of druidry, is that none of those answers will be wrong and all will be right, not for everyone, but for those who walk the path of that particular truth. Druidism, which is another word for Druidry, is concerned with walking a path in-tune with nature and the universe. It is about walking away from the fast food, fast paced lifestyle, which has taken people far away from the reality of a life lived well. Replacing it instead with more speed, less time and no thought for the environment or any other living creatures who share our world with us.
At one level Druidry is about being environmentally aware. It is about walking your talk, not just imagining a new Utopia, but about working towards such a reality.
At another level Druidry is about learning from the past and using that knowledge and wisdom to build a better stronger future.
Some find in Druidry a perfect spiritual practice, still others link it to other spiritual or religious practices or belief systems. The beauty of Druidry is that it makes a perfect foundation on which to build a spiritually enriched life. As a lifestyle it cultivates an environmental awareness, which unites people on a global scale. There are many different Druid Orders and each have their own ideas of what Druidry means to them. There are just as many individual Druids, sometimes called Hedgedruids, who belong to no Order and enjoy their own style of Druidry, without any restrictions.
What do Druids believe?
This is impossible to answer. There are Druids who are Witches, some Wiccans, but not all. Most Druids are Pagans, but not all. There are Christian Druids, Hindu Druids and even Buddhist Druids. Druidry is less a belief system and more a spiritual awareness. It is an awareness that the way the modern world functions is flawed. It is an inner knowing, a wakeup call, if you will, a call to break free of our self-inflicted money mindset, our time clock, stopwatch self-imposed slavery, and to unite instead under a new banner, one of equality and love and more than this one of service to others. For when we serve another, we serve our self.
Another very important area is creativity. An important aspect of Druid practice is the Bardic Arts. Put simply, this is the pursuit of creation using the medium of art. Music, song, poetry, painting, dance, performance, these are all Bardic Arts and all relevant from a creative viewpoint. Allowing others to do our acts of creation, takes away from us important methods of learning about ourselves from our abilities and of impacting on others through our own interpretation of internal imaginings and inspiration. Druids have a word for this force of inspiration. We call it Awen, a Welsh word, it is also known as Imbas in Irish. This is an energy
force which flows through our world and can, we believe be encouraged to bring gifts out in us, the gifts are wisdom, inspiration and creativity. Some see this as an act of birthing creativity through the use of this energetic force of nature. Awen can be meditated upon and used in chanting, the way any mantra would be used, in order to draw and focus the energy. The Awen energy force is different from the energy force which connects everything, this is known to Druids as Nwyfre, another Welsh word. This is the life force of the universe and known by all of the indigenous peoples of the world, but called many names. Chi, Qi in China and in India it is termed Prana. By making use of both of these energies a Druid is able to perform a type of alchemy, utilising the natural forces in positive ways both internal as well as external. The old stories of the alchemists turning base metal into gold, were in reality looking to change the base mundane human into a reflection of the divine.
Being of the world
Druids are very much a part of the world and are very different from the hermits some people consider them to be. Druidry is about being aware of a connected universe, understanding that we might appear to be different, but that in reality everything is connected by a web of life and of creation. The Native American‘s have a saying ‘We are all related’. People often assume that this means all races of people, but this is not what this means. The ‘we’ does not only mean people, but the ‘all’ of creation, so people, animals, fish, birds, plants, trees, rocks, spirits, everything. So when for example if we take the Lakota prayer Mitakuye Oyasin, which translates as ‘To all my relations’ we are seeing an address to all of those I have mentioned together with mother earth, Father sky, the winds and divinity in the form of a Great spirit, or great mystery.
In Druidry it is important to be in the world; to live a life well lived. Being a Druid is about living in balance and not about having a title and sitting back snoozing in a chair. A Druid will study, but knows that the real university is nature and so they will develop a reverence for the living breathing world around them, both seen and unseen. Another belief is that of ‘The Law of Harvest’ which basically refers to reaping what you have sown. Most people are familiar with this because of the Jesus parable. However it is first mentioned in connection with the Egyptian God Thoth in the Egyptian book of the dead. In the east this is known as the law of Karma. Wiccan witches term this ‘The Threefold Return’ whatever is given out, returns to them three times the strength, whether good or bad. A belief in ‘The Law of harvest’ makes it a personal imperative to work a good and positive will upon the world and to always strive to leave any place, person or thing, the better for having known us.