Picture Courtesy of druidlife.wordpress.com
This lovely blogpost by Talis Kimberly published on Druid Life (link below) elicited many thoughts for me to share. I came to Druidry very late in my life, after a circu-ambulatory lifetime of exploration and experience within the Christianity that predominates in the United States. Starting at a point of extreme left-brained and law-focused evangelicalism, I slowly wound my way through increasingly liturgical expressions until what spoke most to me was metaphor and symbol.
As I have faced death due to my cancer, I have been drawn to understand the ¨Other Side.¨ Familiarity with the Christian mystics embraced by the highly liturgical factions within Christianity led me to explore their writings; surely they had experience with the Other Side which had set up a longing within each of their hearts to remain in the presence of the Holy. Working with Evelyn Underhill´s Practical Mysticism, I began to develop that underdeveloped portion of my own soul.
Developing this led me to appreciate other expressions of mysticism and to find, to my surprise, that at heart, no matter their starting positons, all mystics beleve the same things – we are all connected, we are loved extravagantly, we are all accepted including the parts we ourselves find embarrassing and problematic, and that the Holy is enigmatic even when in the midst of us.
I came to adopt this earth-based religion/philosophy as I had experience of being stalked through my life by the deer-goddess Elen, a very ancient Celtic goddess who I had no reason to have ever come in contact with, and yet who had been present in my life for as long as I can remember. Coming to Druidry alone, in the middle of nowhere northwestern Montana, has been beneficial – I have no one to share with, no one to influence my experience, no grove to conform to.
I have been forced to take responsibility for my beliefs, my knowledge, and my action in a distinct way. I have searched out those who have written about their beliefs and been blessed to have discovered some mighty souls. To my surprise, my path has led to my coming to know some of these very people, though thousands of miles may separate us. I have come to discover shared experiences as the Goddess called to each of us and shared healings of identical wounds.
What can be overwhelming is that to be a true follower of druidry requires acquiring information on a wide variety of topics so as to inform action, living intentionally in all areas of ones life, understanding that there is a cost to be paid when we run afoul of the common culture and yet living out of core beliefs and precepts anyway, and doing this 24/7 while also celebrating the wheel of the year and applying the seasonal insights to a deepending practice and awareness of the sacred.
My first real intentional decision involved choosing woods for a bespoke cane that I was having made; the woods had to be from sustainable sources and I felt like the decision took forever by the time I had done my research. I think a topic for another day is the need for us to be gentle with ourselves as well. Since part of our experience is that we are human, there are limits and we fail or at least fall short. Decisions often have unintended consequences. We must love and accept what the full experience of being human entails.
I am fortunate to no longer live in a large metropolitan area. I find that being in touch with the land is so difficult in an area where one is separated from agriculture and surrounded by buildings and asphalt that are paeans to man´s superiority. Those who manage to do this have my greatest respect. Brendan Howlin´s book, The Handbook of Urban Druidry: Modern Druidry for All, was a wonderful find in providing support for those who face this situation.
My need to be in a smaller settlement and close to the mountains was honored after retirement. I did not feel I had the ability, or really what amounted to the courage, to make the change earlier. Being in an area where every day I can watch the cycle of planting, growth, and harvest, being in an area where I know my farmers and their challenges with the land, these have brought a richness to my spiritual practice. I am slowly aligning more and more with the native American understanding of medicine. Medicine is not what you take when you are ill, but what infuses and aligns your entire life.
Perhaps Talis says it better:
A guest blog from Talis Kimberley I was fortunate enough t o spend my childhood in a house with a large garden. I have often said that the garden, not the house, are really where I lived; certainly my memories of it are stronger. Until I was 17 I knew a kindly green landscape where […]