Druidic Intellectual cohesion and parity.

attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25

Druidic Intellectual cohesion and parity.

I was chatting with a teacher on a forum today, one thing we discussed I thought said a lot of things relevant to Druidry…

Quote; Siblesz

Speaking about the effect of the world great thinkers…

“had they seen what their ideas and actions had done for humanity, had they seen how these ideas morphed into something unrecognizable and opposite of their intent, they would feel disillusioned to the core”

My reply…

to a degree yes, I feel sure they were all wise enough to know that their teachings would be taken out of context, and yet the overall effect of all teachings is continued advancement. They all give us something to work from even if we make a mess of it.

Generally I think humanity is aiming for a kind of ‘intellectual’ cohesion and parity ~ but only as a whole. It is like, some people can be seen as superior to others on an intellectual hierarchy, and some groups or movements may be seen much the same in varying degrees [I.e. not the whole movements but the level they have thus so far attained]. The degree to which humanity as a whole advances shows where we are on the equivalent group hierarchy. Eventually as a group we will reach parity or devolution.

__________________________

As concerns Druidry I have changed my mind about hierarchies, I don’t think we need them or that it matters one bit on an individual basis, and we all have something to offer. What matters is what we are as a group, how we are considered, and what mark or contribution do we wish to make to an overall human spiritual parity! [i stll think that if we could say what druidry is, then that could have a voice and even a spokesperson for it].

Bluntly put, are we a dumbass a confused mess or a group of learned people. The latter not so much on the ordinary intellectual level, you can have 13 yr old more intelligent than most or all of us here. What matters most is aged and learned wisdoms bought through experience and much debate, this we may offer on an individual level, so the question is;

As we consider ourselves to be a group, what kind of Intellectual cohesion and parity can we show?

If we don’t have anything to show, does that make Druidry into an inanity or a confusion?

Should we not at the least be working towards something that Druidry says to the world, something it adds as a collective and not just as individuals. Is not our main role that of learned wisdom speakers? Each and every one of us [in Druidry or not], says things that are inspirational or completely inane and variations betwixt the two. What humanity does very well I think, is to shy away from the latter and embrace the former, this too is what any movement should do or it will simply fall by the wayside. A way must be had by which we all add up to something and can add to the human pool of wisdom.

Ps. don’t give me all that officious nonsense that makes druids appear as like judges, full of laws and rules. I cannot imagine it was like that before the romans came, sitting in circles in groves is an earthly thing, its not something like the Victorians. Here I am speaking more in terms of emphasis, that we tend to overstate such things.

 



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
I agree even if it makes what I said before false

kproefrock, good response, I agree even if it makes what I said before false, you are actually agreeing with the original premise - if I may.

We do have to define Druidry, the difficulty is in doing that in this era. Many people [like the ones I was speaking of before] would come into my definition of druid, there is just something about them. Again this is very vague, though I would think that the ancients would have an eye for spotting potential druids in a similar way.

So we have to have an eye for it, but I agree we should also have a proper definition of ‘druid’ and Druidry.

My definition would be as said before, a druid [not an ovate or bard] is someone that has had their lives guided by visions, usually beginning a specific kind of vision where the creator god [dada/dispater] is met and shows you the future in terms of a personal timeline. As like Caesar said “they know their own futures”, this isn’t literal of course, I for one am still trying to see what much of it meant, its all very symbolic.

May I add that when I say ‘visions’, this is not the same thing as visualisations or clairvoyance etc, its an actual experience and a meeting with the god/s.

Once this vision is begotten the apprenticeship begins, and only by a long and very hard struggle does one make it to druidhood. This takes 20 years, there after is a further 20 years bringing it all in together - so to say, making utility of the skills given. After this period one can be classed as a full adept in Druidry, and in their given vocation in that.

 



kproefrock
kproefrock's picture
Posts: 49
Joined: 2009-03-25
points of departure

I am afraid that I don't agree...the tendency of "Druidry" to be a state of mind makes it tempting to let the term define itself, with the allowance to accept as "Druidry" anything that people want to call "Druidry." The emphasis here is not so much what "Druidry" is, but what people 'think' it is. The obvious advantage to this approach is an accommodation of the subjective nature of the concept. The limitation of this perspective, however, is the way it makes definition an individual matter, and hence, no definition at all. 

Why isn't it called Secular Humanism, or Umbanda, or Sante Daimo, or Contemporary Western Paganism or, just "modern conceptions of mysticism"--What makes any of our spiritual practices "Druidry" in any concrete definition of the word? What makes your "Druidry" the same or different from my "Druidry" is dependent on how we might be able to more clearly define the term.

How can you allow something to "flow" and accumulate everything and anything that wants to stick when the original knowledge base isn't even defined or recognized? How, specifically, does one deepen their spiritual walk when their base is as broad as anyone's imagination will let it be? 

 

Genuinely questioning and Still enjoying the dialog ;-)

Kenneth 

 



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
I expect Druidry to stand up to modern thinking...

I do think that it is still important that people who do this shift their perspective to view Druidry through a Celtic eye to benefit from the pathworking. And I think that this preserves the integrity of Druidry as a framework that is distinct from other paths for new seekers.

It is, and yet ‘Druidry’ [in a manner] was around long before the celts [as it has now outlasted them], by this reasoning I feel it goes beyond culture, and indeed is its own culture. The celtic side of it is important, but as said before I don’t mind just adding without the intention of taking anything away.

This is why I look to core philosophies and even to modern philosophy and beyond. I expect Druidry to stand up to modern thinking and even go beyond it, for me it is contemporary thinking and always has been.

…that’s not to say it isn’t other kinds of thinking too lols.



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
There are many people from

There are many people from atheists to catholics and Buddhist, who would relate to and benefit from Druidry. Those are who I want to reach out too.

Ah! Sorry, I misunderstood you Atilla. Absolutely I agree. I do think that it is possible anyone to keep their religion and follow Druidry simultaneously, as long as there is no conflict between the two paths. A Christian would have a difficult time following a polytheistic form of Druidry, but it would not be impossible for them to follow a path that was based on a moral philosophy. Rooting Druidry in a Celtic perspective does not interfere with this possibility imo This is where the values of diversity, tolerance and autonomy come into play. I do think that it is still important that people who do this shift their perspective to view Druidry through a Celtic eye to benefit from the pathworking. And I think that this preserves the integrity of Druidry as a framework that is distinct from other paths for new seekers.

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding, it was that dang "Druid" word that confused me again... ;)

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
a varied philosophical landscape

I would not call those visionaries that you have encountered Druids, Attila. They are the sages of their respective paths, just as Druids are the sages of our pathworking. Limiting their definition to what we use in our pathworking does not honour the place where they have come from imo.

Its an interesting story and point you make morri, but what I meant was that they have had corresponding or very similar visions to me, but come from different faiths ~ although one is a pagan. I think such people can keep their religion as far as Druidry is concerned, but they feel something lacking in their own religion ~ their words not mine. So my point was that Druidry can offer such people a connection to similar people and to a varied philosophical landscape which does not reject what they are.

There are many people from atheists to catholics and Buddhist, who would relate to and benefit from Druidry. Those are who I want to reach out too.



Morgaine_ADO
Morgaine_ADO's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-09-25
Going with the Flow...

I couldn't agree more, Attila! Thank you for posting...

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.

--

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Sages versus Druids

Attila, my apologies, you seem to be posting at the same time of day as I! So I missed your post as I was writing the former response. You are going to have to bear with me.

 When I was in my second year of university I had an epiphany of sorts as I was sitting in one of my classes. I saw how all the various areas of study that I had been taking were connected, how they overlapped, and how they allowed me to synthesize information. I was so excited and then so disappointed when I entered my third year in my faculty. I felt so limited. My grandmother's teachings in Druidry were very simple, they focussed on the myths and what they meant, what they said about making choices in my life. She also said to read and learn from all sources because Truth was not found in one place. I do not believe that limiting how we define Druidry needs to limit us in from who, what and where we learn. If our values recognize that all of Creation is interconnected, that Truth is not to be found in one place, and that we have an obligation to learn and grow as spiritual beings and give back to the world, then we will keep adding and changing. That will come naturally.

The purpose is to live well and to become the best that we can become.

I too have encountered many adepts in my life who follow different paths. There is a point of spiritual growth were we are in the same place.

My husband is from a mixed Native American family who are all devout Catholics. One of his aunts was a former nun and is very fundamentalist in her views. While we were engaged, and early in our marriage, she was both fearful of me and disapproving. She would not allow her two girls to be in a room alone with me. She spent her time trying to convert me. Eventually she gave up and simply avoided me as much as possible. About 10 years after we had first met, she and I were alone in the kitchen chopping vegetables for a family dinner. She turned to me and asked, "Are you stil into that Witchcraft?", I said, "I still practice magic and I am a Pagan, yes, pretty much". There was a long pause. I was waiting for the inevitable sermon. Instead she said, "You know, you are more Christian than most Christians I know." I said, "Thank you!" and our conversation from then on was very relaxed. There were quite a few positive changes in our relationship after that.

I'm telling you this story because when I tell it in open Pagan and Druid forums, someone (or lots of someones) always has to say: "That's awful! I would have told her to go to hell. How dare she?" . That's the gist of many of the reactions anyway.

Not everyone is at a point in their spiritual growth where they are able to recognize that our differing spiritual paths eventually lead us to the same place. What is important to remember is that people need a variety of different paths to get there. Some things fit for us, some things don't.  It is important to provide new pathworkers something that they can work with, that gives them a framework to start from. If we diversify Druidry so much that it includes all religious and culture viewpoints it will no longer be accessible to everyone.

I would not call those visionaries that you have encountered Druids, Attila. They are the sages of their respective paths, just as Druids are the sages of our pathworking. Limiting their definition to what we use in our pathworking does not honour the place where they have come from imo.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
It may help...to clarify

Midori, I do the same as you, I just find that I sometimes get into difficulty when the person then says "Oh! So you are a Druid!" or something to that effect... then it gets sticky, as I am unable to tell them how Druid is actually used without confusing the heck out of them. :D

Morgaine, I think it is valid that we do not make assumptions about what we do or do not have in common. I think it is important to express our understanding of what we have in common and then flag any differences. Perhaps I do not understand you, So I will summarize what I understand that you are saying (not just based on this thread but the thread on Unity and Values).

I understand that you disagree with the statement: "We acknowledge that our beliefs and practices are rooted in our understanding of ancient Celts and their culture."  You disagree because your beliefs and practices are rooted in Pre-Celtic culture. You feel that it very important to ensure that the definition of Druidry is expanded to specifically include another culture as distinct and separate from Celtic culture.

I think that this must mean that you see the beliefs and practices of the Pre-Celts to be significantly different from those of the Celts. If you did not, imo it would be enough to acknowledge that the Celts incorporated many of the beliefs and practices of the indigenous peoples they conquered into Druidry, and the differences in your practices in your Druidry would be minor. They would be minor because the core values your ancestors shared with the Celts would be the same as those shared amongst the various Celtic, Proto-Celtic and Pre-Celtic groups who practice what you have dubbed "Celtic Druidry".

The conclusion that I draw from this (perhaps mistakenly) is that either one of the values you are using from your own ancestral culture is in direct conflict with one of the core values of the ancient Celts or that your value set is so different that it creates an entirely different set of practices when applied to Druidic shared values.

The examples you give (i.e. not having Bards, Ovates and Druids, and observing the wheel of the year differently) seem to me to be minor. Not all existing Celtic Druidic groups use the OBOD/ADF classifications, and there are significant differences in the wheel of the year. Some celebrate 4 dates, some celebrate 8, and when those dates are observed differ also.  The examples you give make me think that perhaps you are not aware of how much diversity exists in mainstream Druidry and that you actually share more than you think.  I am not suggesting that you are inexperienced, I am merely suggesting that this forum is unique in that it allows us to share, rather than defend, our perspectives and we obtain a clearer view of other beliefs, values and practices. This, in turn, allows us to acknowledge that many of our practices and yes, some beliefs, differ because we work differently with the source material. Such forums are rare.

The values that you describe in the Value thread are values that I share. So, again I become confused about why it is of such importance to you to include a distinct culture in the definition of what Druidry is based upon. The danger, imo, in doing that is that it opens the door for groups who want to practice what Pre-Celts in Galatia were doing (as an example). This is significantly different from incorporating the spiritual paths of neolithic peoples, which generally held the same social structure as the Celts (stratification that could be argued to be egalitarian) and a relationship with the land and ancestors/gods that was, at least, compatible with the Celtic view.

When I read through your site I see some differences, but none that would cause me a great deal of concern, except the rejection of Annals as source material because sources such as the Lebor Gabala are valuable material for anyone working with the myths.

Perhaps it would be useful to discuss what differences exist that are of concern to you and/or differences that have been challenged by groups you have encountered.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
to let things flow naturally

I understand morgaine, I am just as different, in fact I don’t follow the celtic stuff much at all, but I have met a few other visionaries who follow different religions entirely, and yet I would call them druids. This is why I like to extend Druidry beyond itself and reach out, not just to such people but to anyone.

If all druids wrote a book, then there would be areas we agree on and areas that are miles apart or completely different. It all just adds to the book, so my attitude is to keep adding not take away. When Hinduism was formed by collecting writings by sages from all over India, I expect there were many varied texts.

Unfortunately what happens next [as with all religions], is that some elements are omitted or watered down to suit a given purpose. This is a singular parity where I think Druidry would do well to be the opposite, to keep adding and changing with no overal purpose but to let things flow naturally!

 



Morgaine_ADO
Morgaine_ADO's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-09-25
Just to clarify, Attila...

I am talking about what we (the Druids of the Order in which I am a member) are now. Not what we were before. But who we are now is not disconnected from who we were, or who we are becoming. ;) To me these are not separate "aspects" or influences, but parts of one whole identity.The ancestral ways are notliving history for me. They are part of my present existence, alive within me and in the land around me. To imagine that because I am living now and differently I am somehow separate from their living memory is... well, unthinkable -- for me, anyway.

I guess I should clarify something here, not only for you, but for others here who may be a bit confused by my responses...

A lot of what I say may seem "obvious" and I do tend to spend more time defining my terms than most -- but that is because, from what I can ascertain, the way I practice Druidry departs from the mainstream at many points. Yes, there are areas of overlap (as one would expect), but many things that most Druids take for granted simply don't apply or don't mean the same things for me. (For instance, we don't have "Bards, Ovates, and Druids". As far as I know, the way we observe the wheel of the year is different in many ways. Yes, it is informed by some of the same myths, but we work with those myths in very different ways. While our way of Druidry overlaps with the way most others practice, it also departs from the mainstream in many ways.

As a result, I don't like to make assumptions about what we all have or don't have in common, or what we mean when we use certain terms. Looking over the last several responses to my last post, for instance, it is clear to me that either I do not understand the respondants or they do not understand me. It reminds me of Lludd and Llefelys and the wine in the horn... Anyway, my internet access is very limited just now and I still don't have my computer back from the shop, so to add to these challenges I must post briefly and in haste, if I am to post at all. So I would ask everyone to please be a bit patient when reading my posts. I will address any misunderstandings as quickly as I can. These topics surrounding Unity are important to me, as they are to you, and ultimately I do believe we can and must talk about them in positive, empowering, and constructive ways.

I look forward to being able to do that more effectively in the very near future.

--

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.



Ayana Owl
Ayana Owl's picture
Posts: 12
Joined: 2007-11-16
When I describe my Path I

When I describe my Path I say that I follow a Druidic Path and leave it at that. I am certainly no Bard, and my talents lie within the scope of the Ovate, healing, divination and ritual.

 

Cheers, Midori



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Now, the conversation you have all been waiting for... Culture!

I seem to share a great deal of my perspective of Druidry with Correllon, which for me attests to the validity of the role of culture in shaping our point of view and thus our interpretation of Druidry. 

Working Definition

A value is a quality or principal that is intrinsically valuable or desirable (Miriam-Webster Dictionary). Describing my values allows me to talk about what I feel is valuable or important outside of describing actions or abstracts (like ritual and deity). I do not just believe in being honest, I think it is important. When I list honesty as a value I hold, I am telling the listener that it is something that is core to how I perceive, think, behave, and feel.

"Culture... is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society."" (Tylor, "Primitive Culture", pg. 1)

Defining Druidry Using Values 

Druidry is based on a set of values, rather than on dogma, taboos, traditions or rituals. It is based on a collective of cultures that did not even share one language, but two, but who held common values. Ancient Druidry was unique in that it was "a freely consented moral order with an entirely mythical central idea" (Markale, "Women of the Celts", pg. 15).  Markale speaks of a mythical versus an historical central idea, as there are no saviours or prophets or saints to tell us what to do. We are left with the avatars and heroes of our myths to guide us. We use our understanding of the common values (the moral order) of Celtic cultures to help us interpret and understand that guidance.

 This is why we want to talk about our shared values in modern Druidry.

So, my take on this is that I need to define Druidry around a set of common values (our moral order) which were shared by ancient Celtic groups: one of which is diversity, another of which is respect for those with whom I share the earth (human or other).  I do not incorporate any belief or practice into my Druidry that does reflect the common values, I must respect diversity but that does not mean I must become diverse without discretion. I must respect others, but that does not mean that I tolerate acts which violate my values, my person, or of those with whom I share the earth. This means I stand against racism, and I will not tolerate racist acts, but I acknowledge the right of the individual to believe and think as they do.  They can think what they like, but I will do what I can to stop them from doing what they like when that act contravenes my moral order.

 

Pre-Celtic Is Celtic?

We value diversity because our ancestors did. We know, based on our interpretation of archeological evidence, that the Celts did not assimilate or destroy the conquered, that they adapted art and technology into the Celtic culture and, it would seem, the traditions and beliefs of the conquered. This is the only way to account for the differences we see between the tribal groups while certain things were still held in common. From an anthropological standpoint, there was not enough time between migrations for Celtic cultures to diverge so dramatically without outside influence.  This is the theory that I accept as true.

This is why Druidry that is based on pre-Celtic peoples has been accepted in the past. There is ongoing debate as to whether or not many of the groups were, in fact, Celts to begin with. The Fir Bolg, the Picts, the Tuatha de, are a few examples of this. There is also a clear acknowledgement that there were indigenous peoples in Celtic areas and that much of their cultures were integrated into Celtic culture.  Until now, I have never questioned twhether or not these groups are practicing Druidry because they have drawn their inspiration from Celtic sources and culture and they have shared the same values. Their practices may differ from the Celtic practices, but their value system is the same.

Why do I question it now? I question it now because there is a declaration that the values are different.

Yes, I acknowledge that the Irish texts (and others) identified pre-Celtic peoples as having Druids. The texts are not gospels and we need to be cautious of our interpretations because of when they were written and by whom. Calling a Fomor a Druid may have been the same as calling a Native American a Shaman. Shaman is a word to describe a set of practices that do not always describe the practices of Native Americans. Here, calling a Cree Medicine Person a shaman is an insult. It denotes that they practice sorcery. This is because they see the practices of shamanism as going against nature (hence their definition of it as sorcery).  The Inuit, on the other hand, value and fear their shamans, but they do not call them that.  The Inuit have enough in common with the northern Siberians(the original Shamanic culture) that their cultures, values and practices are very similar. It would be unwise to assume that all pre-Celtic cultures shared the same spiritual path and/or practices even if they are called Druid by an outside culture.

For me, a pre-Celtic Druidry would need to share the values of Celtic Druidry, and I am not sure that this possible if a group is interpreting Druidry and its values from a different cultural perspective.

 

Values and Culture

I follow Druidry because it defines a set of values that I hold and because it interprets those values in a cultural context that is similar to my own.

"Celtic" , for me, refers to the ancient cultures as many historians define them today. Those groups that had a common set of languages and values. I work on the premise that (almost) everyone who starts on the path of Druidry is starting from a point outside these cultures and we must work hard to integrate the values into our lives. (On a purely personal note, I believe a Druid is someone who has achieved this).  

I will agree that many of the general descriptions of my ancestral cultural values seem to be the same as those of other cultures, but I do not agree that they represent the same things. Values like "honour", "ethics", even "hospitality" are meaningless outside the understanding of them within culture.

Reverence for ancestors in Shintoism is very different than it is in Druidry. While both groups value and define "reverence for ancestors" in similar ways, the Japanese value conformity whereas the Celts valued autonomy, so the Shinto follow a highly ritualized process of reverence and not all those who follow Druidry consider it necessary.

A famous story here is about Red Crow, one of the chiefs of the Blood in the mid to late 1800's in Southern Alberta, Canada.  In this story, two European traders walked into his camp one day and were greeted with enthusiasm and offered food and shelter. The traders accepted what they saw as hospitality with relief, because the "savages" of the Plains were known to be a warlike people. They ate, they smoked and they talked. In the night, while they were sleeping, Red Crow slipped into their tent and slit their throats. This act made perfect sense in Red Crow's world, as the traders had declared war by walking into his camp instead of waiting at the edge to be invited in. They had accepted food, had smoked the pipe, and went to bed without discussing their reason for declaring war on Red Crow which left only a raid as the possible reason for war between them. The traders were not behaving honourably as raiding warriors, from Red Crow's pov, and must therefore be planning to "steal" horses instead of "capturing" them. Perhaps they planned to steal women also! It is perfectly honourable and ethical to capture horses, but dishonest and dishonourable to steal them. Stealing women was a crime. Dishonourable people were killed. Dishonourable people who posed an immediate threat to the community were killed immediately. That was sensible in Red Crow's world.  The European traders, on the other hand, would view Red Crow's actions as unprovoked and cowardly.  Why offer them hospitality if they were seen as an enemy? Why kill them in their sleep instead of in direct confrontation or by execution if they had committed a crime? While both groups share the ideals of being ethical, honourable and hospitable, what actions they see as being ethical, honourable and even hospitable in the above story are very different. (The information concerning Red Crow is taken from "Red Crow: Warrior Chief" by Hugh A. Dempsey and the lectures of Thomas King and Marie Smallface Marule).

These are two examples where values differ when viewed from a different cultural perspective. In the first instance, the difference is a threat because those who define how to perform reverence outside the culture might impose expectations that violate the values of those functioning within the culture. This will, of course, create unnecessary conflict.  The second story underscores how serious the differences can become, particularly when both groups are assuming that their behaviour can be interpreted as meaning something specific based on what they assume to be shared values. We have all seen the accusations fly: "He is behaving unethically", "She is being intolerant", "He is being dishonest", etc. etc.

 

Prejudice & Respect

Simply put, tolerance is "a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own" (Mirriam-Webster dictionary). Tolerance has no place in a world view that does not acknowledge differences between people or ideas. In fact, in some cross-cultural fields, not acknowledging the differences between cultures is seen as intolerant, as it may allow the expression of differences, but does not acknowlege them. I do not remember where I got the following from, it may have been in university, it may have been from a workshop, or I may have just jotted it down in a symposium. I have run across the theory explained in a few books, but it is usually a chapter long and describes the stages for individuals and societies to move from racism to harmony. I like the simplicity of this little list:

1. You are different from me, you are inferior or wrong  ~ prejudice
2. You are not different than me. We are all the same. ~ pseudot-tolerance/intolerant
3. You are different from me. I accept this. ~ tolerant

Fortunately most of us live in societies that have moved from the first stage to the second. The problem is that individuals who are functioning in the third stage are often misunderstood to be functioning in the first. This is where people who say Druidry exists within a distinct culture (without devaluing other cultures)  are accused of elitism, prejudice or intolerance. Defining and recognizing that something is different does not assume that something is inferior or wrong, it is just different.

Summary

I am of the opinion that any group that shares my Druidic value system and who interprets that value system within the framework of ancient Celtic cultures (as little as we understand it) is practicing Druidry.

This means that I, who acknowledge and revere an ancestry which is not Celtic, but is Irish, and who also honours my Slavic and Aboriginal ancestors considers my path Druidic because I work from the basis of a set of values that I believe to be Celtic. I look at the practices and beliefs of all my ancestors through the Celtic cultural perspective, gleaned through their myths, their history, their art, and their language. Here are some of the values that define my Druidic practice and a small description of what they mean:

1. Truth, in both personal honesty and inquisitive openess to possibilites through avid and continued learning and spiritual growth.

2. Equality, which extends beyond humanity to the whole of the Universe and is manifested in acknowledging and respecting the value and balance in everything. This includes the respect for enviroment and the normal emphasis on Nature that is found in Earth based pagan traditions. I personally don't speak specifically about how i relate to Earth because it implies a separateness that doesn't exist for me. Equality also encapsulates justice and community.

3. Mastery, in knowledge, skill and character which are used to benefit the community and not just the self.

4. Honour, in recognizing obligation to justice, truth, equality, mastery, duty, community, ancestors, clan and self.

5. Reverence, which is done in every breath and act of living and not just in ceremony/ritual. It is a combination of balancing all the values within the act as well as maintaining a connection to the Divine and to the Ancestors as I act. This is why my practice has been dubbed "Druidic Shamanism" or "Shamanic Druidry" by some people I have encountered.

6. Fierceness, which is to do all things using all my strength and focus. I think this is what others might equate with their value of excellence or strength.

If I were to describe those values from a Slavic, Aboriginal or Canadian perspective, the descriptions would be very different.  If these are not shared values that is okay. If none of my values are shared, I would question my association with Druidry. If any of my values are in direct conflict with the shared values of Druidry, I would question my association with Druidry. It is not about whether or not they will let me into their little club! It is about whether or not I share something with the group.

If the pre-Celtic group(s) share the same set of values as Celtic peoples, and interpret the same way as Celtic peoples, then they are rooted in Celtic culture. If they do not share the same values, and those differing values create a difference in how the values of Druidry are interpreted then I think there is a conflict in defining the group practice as Druidry. This is where "talking to angels" as Kenneth describes come in to dispute as being Fluffy. Do you talk to angels because you define these beings as Otherworldly spirits with the characteristics of Celtic Otherworldly beings, or are you defining them as the Order of Angels described in Catholic theology with those attributes? You could do the latter and still follow a Druid path imo, unless you insisted that it was part of the Druid path and/or were teaching it without ensuring students understood the difference. I practice and study Native American Medicines, I attend sweats and fasts, and I consider that part of my reverence, but the only thing that is Druidic is that I am honouring my ancestors. Those practices do not become Druidic because of that association.

These are my personal opinions. I do not expect them to be shared. I expect that some will be challenged.  I hope that it also answers the questions that CalonDdraig put forward. I think the relevancy of training is guaranteed by the adherence to a World View, that world view is that of our ancestors as they were when they were Celts, or living in the Celtic world.  There will always be diversity between us because the Celts were a diverse people and because we are interpreting their view from here rather than from the ancient Celtic world. We will always share certain values and those are what will guarantee accountability. Truth, responsibility, justice, community and excellence are some of the values that make shared standards something to which Druidic groups would adhere. 

There will always be people who declare themselves and their practices Druid who do not share our values or any standards that we may set. They are not my concern. My concern lies with those whose values I do share, and the need to work together to achieve common goals. In other words, I am not interesting in setting standards, defining shared values, or deciding how to use the term Druid because I want to create something that people have to do. This is about what people are willing to do to gain common ground.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
To me the title of druid is

To me the title of druid is sacred and only needs to be used by those who have completed there training to be called so

I agree, but Christians call themselves that and not pope’s, what would a generalised follower of the druidic ways call themselves?

how do you define the term Druid?

Pretty much like a doctor of ‘x’, though even then there should be a classification not just for such learned people, but for the ones who had direct contact and interaction [via visions] with the gods.

where does such training come from

Well I and some others could do it [taking the soul out of the body and bringing it before the gods, thence to get the vision of their lives] via methods that would be very dubious in the modern mind and maybe even illegal [hypnotism/drugs]. It may be possible via meditation of that I don’t know. I prefer it if such people are chosen by the gods, although I am pretty sure the ancients would have had a hand in this, for there to be so many.

On a more general level much of it can be taught, and I think that once on the path things will happen to take someone to what they will be. I thought that is what courses done?

How do i know the title fits me, because when i teach my students and i look into there eyes

that’s pretty much it I would say! Smile

 



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Yes! More people, more ideas!

Thanks for participating in this discussion Lena and CalonDdraig! And, of course, welcome back dear Correllon!

CalonDdraig, the short answer to your question is that, in the context of this discussion, "Druid" as a title refers to a person who is practicing Druidry and who has met the minimum requirements of their respective Orders in learning and experience to be designated the highest grade/ classification/ degree offered within their Order. The question of relevancy within the Orders must be addressed through the discussions on shared values and (hopefully) discussions on what core standards could be shared by the Orders for their members to earn the title "Druid".

As always Atilla, you make me think, and I thank you for that gift!

I agree a druid is a druid just as a bard is a bard, yet bards are surely a kind of druid in the more rounded sense. Either way you need a term for ‘druid’ and one to cover all levels, so what would you use? I would go with druid for all and something else for the higher level, but I don’t mind if we can come up with something more orders would agree with.

My preference is more in line with Lena. I think that the word "Druid" is sacred, not just as a title of respect that many have already earned and integrated into their writings and teachings, but also as the word that is used specifically to describe individuals in the myths that many of us use as a guide today. History describes druids more frequently as a class than do the ancient texts imo. I also think many of the Orders have already integrated "Druid" as a title and that it would be more practical for them to disengage from using the word to describe the class than to describe their most learned individuals.

We have the luxury of being able to coin a term for people who practice Druidry, which would include all the designations/titles, including "Druid". What we end up using will most likely be determined by what people decide to use when they see/hear it in our conversations rather than based on what we choose. So we may have to go through a variety. I was using Druida in this thread, but it is not a good term for two reasons: 1) it is probably too close to Druid and people read it as a typo or did it did not register and; b) no one else picked it up in the conversation. So let's throw that one out as a possibility and look at others.

In looking at other possibilities, think of it in the context of answering the question, "What are you?" and the answer "I am a ____"

  • Druidist
  • Druidene
  • Druidian
  • Druidan
  • Druidane
  • Druidite
  • Druidkin
  • Druidic

The last would best be phrased "I am Druidic".

It may also help to think of what works best for you in the question; "What criteria do we set for ____ to become Druids?"

PS: People who have earned the title "Druid" in their Orders, would retain the right to answer the first question, "I am a Druid".

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



CalonDdraig
CalonDdraig's picture
Posts: 250
Joined: 2007-10-30
Correllon, Many thanks for

Correllon, Many thanks for that post; words of wisdom indeed and truely inspirational. Cuts through a lot of nitpicking and delivers its message in a potent and heartfelt way. 

Off to think about that now... thanks! Also forwarded to our Grove mother... I'm sure she'd agree with you wholeheartedly!

~CalonDdraig 



Correllon_DragonSoul
Correllon_DragonSoul's picture
Posts: 26
Joined: 2009-06-17
Well as time goes by all

Well as time goes by all things change, even we druids change. As far as the title, well frankly speaking for my order, it will stay as it is, should i move onto the next life, i will leave that for my students and others of my order and grove to hash out.

I was started at age 7, i was given the title of druid at age 26. As time went on i of course served in the military, i also acquired a degree in Electronic engineering, and religious theory. I have enough training and credits to have my doctorates in Holistic medicine. Now should i be given title of druid because of all of that? i wouldn't think so, it was given to me by people i trust, people i knew that had a spiritual bond with the cosmos not just this planet itself. 

While yes we are of this planet, it would be arrogant to think we were not of the cosmos and tied into it as well. So when i am asked, i do not say oh yes i am part of a earth based religion, what i say is i am part of a study and belief that all things are tied together, we with the planet and it with the rest of the universe.

Druid, nit pick, as a man raised in what i was told was a handed down irish Druidry, I hold to that faith and belief that it is correct in the teaching that i know and give. Of course i would find it offensive if someone told me that isnt possible or your misleading or, frankly...lying. 

How do i know the title fits me, because when i teach my students and i look into there eyes, i see the results, i see 100% of what i have taught them come back to me. It is within that connection, that very moment that all that I was taught, has now made full circle and been given back. Druid means to me and my order, that which surrenders to higherself, that which gives to the universe to maintain a balance at whatever a cost. We are the guardians, we are the ones that are chosen by someone before us, and we are looked upon as leaders and healers and diviners of the universe. 

Druid to our grove and our order is Training that is intense, it is many many lessons, both on paper and oral. It is having that knowledge of the ancestors and taking it to a new place and time. We are the chosen who one day will make a difference....even when the rest of the world has no idea we did.

I challenge all of you, all of you good people, my brothers, my sisters, all of you who sit and read this and those that do not. Go out, find those students, look for signs and markins that will remind you of who and what they are. Look for those who hold the gift, for those who have the spark, that very twinkle in there eye. 

Find those few, and begin again, train them with what you know and what you feel, teach them to keep that balance. It is on OUR shoulders, OUR path. Are we better than others? Anyone is better than the next, you only have to choose to be, and then go out and do it.

Stay strong, stay vigilant keep your courage and stay on the balanced path. As far as the title, its been there, it has always been there, and will always remain. It shows fear, respect, love, caring and giving.

I want to leave you with a saying i give to my students, and inspiration that came to many many years ago as a Druid. May it give you the same inspiration it gave me.

 

Hail and conquer within the light, for the true balance of war is given by the balance of light and dark. For we the Celtic people shall go forth teach, and care for those who cannot care for, and forward shall we drive our enemies and drink from them so there lost lives will not be in vain but be honored as all souls are.

So look either way for the door shall swing to both sides, and from it shall be our ancestors and so shall a crow fly high and lead us safely to Tir na Nog.

 



CalonDdraig
CalonDdraig's picture
Posts: 250
Joined: 2007-10-30
Without wanting to go off

Without wanting to go off topic, how do you define the term Druid?

If you look at the ancient Celtic culture, the term Druid may be applied in a number of cases: religious acctivity, legal advocacy and also probably the likes of Medicine and Education would have come under the auspices of a Druid's role. It would also be assumed that such Druids have a lengthy education/apprenticeship to standards set by the society they served. However, it wouldn't seem appropriate to call modern practitioners of Healthcare, law and education Druids would it? Or would it...?

I'm all for the idea of training, but the question remains that; seeing as we don't have many Iron age druids to ask about it, where does such training come from, how is its relevancy guarenteed and in the current global situation that modern Celtic spiritual practice finds its self in (I.E. one of many different groups/orders) how can interoperability/standards of practice be assured? Is it necesary to assure such if modern Druids don't have inherant responsibility as part of their civic setting (apart form the civic responsibility I hope we all share as citizens of this world).

It strikes me that these questions about roles and validity of one's knowledge/abilities need to be answered as part of a dialogue about Druidry on an intellectual level - intellectual debate is wonderful, but, as with practice of Druidry there's a good chance we're not singing from the same hymn sheet as it were. Hopefully we can sing different lyrics to the same tune: The tune of inspiration, the Awen that comes to us all. The words are merely the personal expression of that tune.  

Islaw yr deri,

~CalonDdraig - latecomer to this conversation!



Lean De An Thar
Lean De An Thar's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: 2009-06-22
druid as a title for all

To me the title of druid is sacred and only needs to be used by those who have completed there training to be called so.

The title of druid is the highest honour our religion bestows. It would be like all catholics calling them selves the pope , if we just used that title willy nilly. So I vote only those who have done the work to be called druid.

 



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
I don’t mind

Would you agree to use "Druid" to refer only to the title in coversations outside your Order (public conversation)? This would facilitate clarity in conversation and allow you to maintain your preference in your group.

I don’t have an order I am a solitary, though I have many thousands of listeners - if you will. Smile

I agree a druid is a druid just as a bard is a bard, yet bards are surely a kind of druid in the more rounded sense. Either way you need a term for ‘druid’ and one to cover all levels, so what would you use? I would go with druid for all and something else for the higher level, but I don’t mind if we can come up with something more orders would agree with.

 



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Quesion #2 & The mighty oak might need some trimming ;-)

heh ~ I am confusing myself by splitting these answers up, and I am doing my best to label them in a coherent way!

Kenneth ~ I know that the only control that I have in this world is over myself. Anything else is merely influence. I must accept the fact that anyone can take any name and apply it to any thing at any time. I have no control over that.

Accepting that the highest degree of expertise is how we all recognize a "Druid" vs. someone following the path of Druidry, does not apply to those whom we do not acknowledge as following the path of Druidry. The concerns you have expressed seem to me to be related to how we define Druidry, something that is best addressed in creating an understanding of shared values and core standards, and how we define expertise, which is best addressed in defining core standards.

I think that the question can be answered as "yes, providing their are core standards and values".  If there are other qualifiers that would be required, I would appreciate you flagging them.

While I see that there are many people who want to preserve the value of diversity and inclusivity, including me, they are not all advocating for limitless definitions and standards in Druidry. Those who are do not represent the majority of us, I hope. If they do, then Druidry is not what I practice. I can change the name of what I do if the name reflects something which I do not practice, it would not be the first time!  I think the concerns that you have raised regarding diversity and inclusivity probably fit better in the specific discussion on culture in this thread. I am assuming we will be delving into the areas of spiritual practice more deeply there!

P.S. I am enjoying this convo also. It is challenging quite a few of my assumptions and may yet deflate the Pollyanna within on the idea of intellectual parity!

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Questions #3 & #4

Morri's second two points relate to the position of authorities within the movement applying the title and standards. I am pretty sure that we are not at that place where any authority figure or body is going to be received with open arms.

Actually, I am working from the premise that authorities already exist (i.e. Orders) which already apply the title and standards. It would be important to recognize the title conferred by another Order as being valid, even when that title is being used in a different way from the way it is used in your own Order. An example of this would be recognizing the title given by OBOD when their standard of Druid coursework is completed, even though your Order uses the title to denote a person who functions as a priest. While the two approaches are very dissimilar, the title is given to the most qualified individuals in both groups and this qualification can be respected and acknowledged as "equivalent" even if you believe that your standard is higher and/or disagree with OBOD's system.

This, of course, becomes very difficult if there are not core standards in place. They underpin the standards set by the individual groups, and still allow a great deal of flexibility and autonomy.  Orders can place emphasize on scholarship (in the Western system of universities), or learning (in the system of mentorship or coursework), or demonstrated skill (as would be required in the functionary classifications), etc. Each of the existing groups have an idea of what is required to make a "Druid" and they are not all that different: reading and understanding  relevant myth and history, service to community, understanding and practicing relevant ritual, honouring ancestors, and following a moral code or code of conduct, to name a few. The specifics of these things can vary between the individuals and between groups. A moral code, for example, can be set by the individual but must still reflect the values of the Order. We acknowledge that we have shared values. The specifics of anyone's moral code are not of concern to us unless they contravene our shared value system. The Orders can function autonomously as authorities and address any contraventions within their own system, but one should be able to assume that an Order would not acknowledge someone in their system as a "Druid" if that person contravened the Order's values (and thus our own).

 

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Question #1

Kenneth ~ I appreciate your insight into discussions that have occurred at ADOA and OBOD. I can see why ADOA may be resistant as it would require that they change the names of their degrees, I think OBOD could easily move into a model that reserves "Druid" as the title for its highest degree. OBOD would have to stop using Druid interchangeably.

Personally, I would challenge the larger Orders on the idea that it is economically advantageous to them to give the name to all their members. I would think that there would be more advantage in making people pay for the courses to earn the title.

However, even looking at the ADOA, I would say that they are still able to make the distinction between the class and the degrees to facilitate conversations with other people, including the general public. I think that they can place the expectation on their members that they use the full title (e.g. Druid Companion) instead of the generic title "Druid" when referring to themselves.

Ultimately, I guess it depends on how invested the groups are in the collective interests of Druidry and how much sacrifice is required to their individual interests. When the former outweighs the latter, it is possible.

So, should we assume that we cannot obtain agreement from every Druid organization and still aim to obtain agreement from as many organizations as is possible? Or are we better to abandon the whole idea?

One of the things that I have noticed about language is that it is shaped by how it is used. One of my pet peeves was when people used the word "celibate" to describe someone who abstains from sex. "Chaste" was the proper term, as "celibate" described someone who would not marry. Now the dictionaries defines "celibate" as describing both conditions.  We play a game in my family, which is to find an obsolete word and start using it. The goal is to see how long it takes before the word comes back to you in conversation and if it has retained its meaning.  If you play this game, you will notice that some words become "buzz words" and people will use them to show that they are "in the know" without really understanding what they mean. You see this all the time in forums. This is how we influence one another. We can choose to consciously influence others, and the more people who choose to do this, the greater the influence. That is why I am inclined to aim for agreement from as many organizations as possilbe and thus organize a conscious influence.  It may not work.

Atilla ~ I need to challenge you on what you have said and bear in mind that it is done with the utmost respect! You choose what you believe and what you will agree to do. I see you making a declaration that you want to use the word "Druid" to refer to both the class and the individual who has attained the highest grade/ degree/ classification within their respective group (the title).

I think all should be called ‘druids’, its just a useful label, but sure there should be classifications within that, probably hundreds of them within a basic set of branches and a trunk. By visualising the whole thing as the mighty oak, we can have bards, vates and druids as part of the tree going off in different directions..

Would you agree to use "Druid" to refer only to the title in coversations outside your Order (public conversation)? This would facilitate clarity in conversation and allow you to maintain your preference in your group.

The other reason I press this issue is that, if you are unwilling to do so to promote intellectual parity between Druidic groups (for reasons that you do not need to justify), you may be willing to do so to save the newbie from getting slapped in a general forum when they call themselves "Druid" and others take offense. This may be the greatest reason to encourage Orders who are invested in economic gain to make a change as nothing turns people away from Druidry more quickly than this (almost) inevitable event for new pathworkers.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
We have to go beyond everything we were before.

Yeah I agree Morgaine Druidry has a long line and I would go further in saying that it has continued even if broken for a time. Our focus should be on what Druidry is now in respect to what it has been throughout the ages. ‘celtic’ was only around for 500 yrs with isn’t long in historical terms, and sites in germany attest to a commonality throughout western Europe. For me this is the full circle to which we are closing now.

We have to go beyond everything we were before.

 



Morri
Morri's picture
Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Wow! A gift on Lughnassadh!

Wow! I am so happy to see you all posting your thoughts! You have my gratitude...

Kenneth ~ I am sorry to drag you into the fray, but what would my namesake think of me if I could not incite a good Celt to battle??? hee hee

Morgaine, thanks for coming back and clarifying things. You deserve some insight into how I behave and think as I appear to have given you the wrong impression. I am a student of many disciplines, and I have had the luxury of great mentorship and varied project opportunities in my career. Unlike most students of Druidry, who value Bardic skills and integrate them into their core being, I do not use those skills in discussions such as these. In mediation and in cross-cultural communication/counselling I'm an adherent to the principles of Thouless as described in "Straight and Crooked Thinking". This means I will always reframe and present information with the least amount of emotional language as is possible. This can make me seem cold, abrupt, condescending or even angry, but it is simply a reflection of my desire to be as objective as possible in the situation and to avoid words that connote different meanings and/or value judgement. The social work theory prompts me to echo back words and phrases that acknowledge perspective and culture, but I will put them in quotes, not to devalue them, but to convey that I am using them in the same context as the original writer. In short, I'm not feeling prickly and you've said nothing that threatens my personal sense of autonomy or my goals :).

I am not sure if we are in disagreement, I still think that we all have the same goals, but I don't think that we are communicating clearly yet . By that I simply mean that I do not think that our assumptions, language and perception of the barriers are congruent enough to merit mutual understanding yet. I do not yet see anything here that would prevent me from believing that agreement is still possible.

I have questions for each one of you, and I am inclined to split them into separate posts. We may need to move the cultural stuff on to an entirely separate thread if it becomes too confusing in the discussion of intellectual parity.

It is storming here also, I have been out in my garden enjoying the rain and the earth while harvesting my berries and veggies in honour of the day. Now the sky has turned to iron, the windchimes are singing and the rumble I hear in the distance suggests that I would be wise to get off my computer now. I love thunderstorms! I hope your day is as blessed as mine has been with food, good conversation, new learning and other things that makes your spirit sing!

You all have my profound respect, great admiration and deepest thanks for all you share here.

 

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morgaine_ADO
Morgaine_ADO's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-09-25
Clarity

Greetings,

Morri, thank you for responding. I am sorry that we don't seem to be communicating very well.

To expand on the above... The Celts themselves attest to there being Druids in the Isles before their Druids arrived there. The Irish stories in particular speak of "native Druids" distinct from their own Druids (with some contempt, albeit, but they do acknoweldge them). However, most modern Druids think of Druidry as exclusively Celtic... so i think this needs to be addressed.

While our Druid group does study Celtic myths and lore, that is not the centre from which we are wroking. Therefore, if we're to be involved here we would need to be looking a criteria that included the Celtic, but was not exclusively Celtic. This needs to be taken into account when we speak of one criteria for all Druids. I don't expect people who haven't studied pre-Celtic Druidry to be experts in it and I wouldn't expect our members to become experts in Celtic Druidry. But I am open to discussing the possibility of requiring everyone to know both, if we all feel that is necessary to call ourselves "Druids."

I still believe that the best way is the way the ancestors used (we each test each other and decide for ourselves who is or is not Druid, rather than appoint a bunch of "experts" to tell us all who is or isn't "Wise"). I want to think for myself, not be told what to think. I believe in standards of excellence, but as I said before, I think the best judges of excellence are the communities we directly serve and not people presiding over standardized tests for Druidry...If we demand excellence within our own communities we will have excellence -- and preserve diversity.

Personally, I don't see how any criteria can be developed, even should we all agree to make one, without knowing what uniquely Druidic beliefs and values we share. I am much more in that than I am in the power to judge others.

Sorry -- getting storms here. Must run. I will post more on this later... To be brief, we seem not be communicating well. Or else, we disagree and are getting prickly about it. In either case, my intent is not to offend but merely to find some common ground. More later--

--

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.



Morgaine_ADO
Morgaine_ADO's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-09-25
To be or not to be Celtic

Greetings,

 

I wasn't suggesting a Druidry without any connection to proto-Celtic or Celtic sources. I suggest that it is possible to go back further... to the people who were there when the Celts arose (or arrived, as the case may be). The Celts are still part of the Druidic continuum, naturally. They just represent Druidry at a different point in the timeline.

The issue here is that when we say we should have shared values, most people assume that those values will be Celtic. Frankly, our focus is on reaching back to something earlier, and I'm not much interested in being barred from continuing along that path. Perhaps that is not the assumption being made here, but I got that impression from reading various posts, which is why I raise this question.

Hope this helps to clarify my position on this.

Blessings

--

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.



Morgaine_ADO
Morgaine_ADO's picture
Posts: 51
Joined: 2007-09-25
Abuse of Power

Greetings, Atilla,

I'm sorry to say that history is full of people who abused their power, despite having achieved the kind of exalted status we're assigning to the title "Druid" here... So yes, I can imagine it... Whether it would get past this lot is another matter entirely! <grin>

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.

--

Three First Parts to Understanding: An Eye to See What Is; a Heart to Feel What Is; and a Boldness that Dares to Follow.



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
I for one will keep banging away at them until their ears bleed

Your are right about the bigger orders, people wouldn’t agree that 2+2=4 its utter madness. I for one will keep banging away at them until their ears bleed, never say never eh!

Its great that here people can arrive at a general consensus even if we don’t entirely agreeon some things, we can agree in a more general sense. I don’t know how anyone can argue that excellence doesn’t count, it does and must, the druidic path is not easy, its not like abrahamic religions where you can just say I am ‘x’ then that’s kinda it. …if you’ll forgive me saying so.

 



kproefrock
kproefrock's picture
Posts: 49
Joined: 2009-03-25
The mighty oak might need some trimming ;-)

Hello Morri, Attila and All,

I would say that simply having this conversation in a place and in a way that has allowed each of us the opportunity to state who we are and where we are coming from with our opinions has helped to create a certain sense of unity for me. So, I think that the process is working on some level ;-)

 

I am in general agreement with Morri's points, but with the following qualifications: 

1. Do we all agree that "Druid" should be used as a title rather than as the name for anyone practicing Druidry? 

Here is the tedious argument that I wasn't going to involve myself with...and here I am doing so, again ;-)

As much as I personally wish that the designation could be title that one would achieve through hard work and specific application of one's talents, too many conversations at AODA and OBOD have convinced me that this will probably never be the case. The larger Orders have a distinct economic benefit from being all-inclusive and offering a 'name' for their adherents that hearkens back to a historic era that satisfies some romantic need in people to have an association with. The term druid has a place in the collective consciousness of western European people, that much is undeniable; that term has shifted in its meaning over the past few hundred years, and as much as that shift might have been born from a relative ignorance of the time, it is what it is now and I am afraid that the previous meaning is irretrievable. Here again, I know that this is a sticking point for many people who find themselves, like myself, inclined towards a Reconstructionist approach to their spirituality. I am inclined to leave it a sticking point, but, not a breaking point in the conversation ;-)

2. Do we all agree that the title in question is given to someone who has achieved the highest standard of expertise (whatever that standard may be)?

 

Morri wrote: "This is the second point of contention that arises. If we are going to change how we talk about ourselves, people are afraid that the title "Druid" will become meaningless. The concern always arises: "but those other groups don't expect people to do anything to become a 'Druid'".  

Well, I think that number two derives from number one...and the title is meaningless inasmuch as one can decide to adopt it one day and then drop it the next, like any other item of fashion. The failing, in my opinion is that neo-paganism derives a fundamental approach from the conversion religions of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. That is, declare yourself as such and you are that...rather than a spirituality that is drawn from the culture that one chooses to abide by, rather than a specific set of practices that one follows that might serve to separate one's eternal and timeless aspects from an egotistical material manifestation, these are faiths that establish the designation, "I am now this", and then allow one to create some set of practices to fit that, or not. This is the place where new age fluffery and druidry meet, this is where the person who has been "working with angels" continues to do so even though they now self-identify as a Druid and these may not have ever before been a compatible association of beliefs. I ask myself, what do we lose in the process of being so all-inclusive and what do we gain? Certainly we gain a larger following, when people don't have to change any of their previously held spiritual beliefs to become a druid, then there is no reason not to adopt the title, it is inherently 'safe' in that it requires no major adjustment of one's orientation. This is a process that creates a very wide gateway into the movement. What then, might we be losing? I have my ideas and they would take pages to express them all ;-) I do consider that, in spiritual evolution, we often trade breadth for depth. When we include everything, we risk becoming nothing, and then, where does expertise fit? Within an all-inclusive culture, one that allows everyone automatically equal footing, expertise starts looking like elitism from those who don't have it but expect it to be shared. The person who has established that level of expertise might tend to find themselves resentful of those members who expect their expertise to be shared but not willing to put forth the effort to cultivate their own expertise. Intellectual parity is often called for most loudly by those who want to be seen as equals with those who have cultivated a certain expertise that they themselves have not.

I would not want to be a branch in a sick tree, we trim certain branches from our trees to further their growth because not every branch is conducive to good long term growth. In my opinion, there are some branches within the mighty oak of druidry that bring down the relative vitality of the whole tree and should be culled. In an all-inclusive model, no trimming gets to happen and the tree becomes a thicket--hard to make sense of, even harder to negotiate one's way through.

Morri's second two points relate to the position of authorities within the movement applying the title and standards. I am pretty sure that we are not at that place where any authority figure or body is going to be received with open arms. However, I do think that continuing this conversation into some deeper areas of spiritual practice might help us find points of congruency related to how we actually engage our spiritual path, what transformative potential we might have seen inherent to our respective approaches and how information that goes deeper than the face that we present to the world might help us establish a common ground of praxis.   

Still enjoying the conversation ;-)

Have a wonderful day! 

Kenneth 

 



attila
attila's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: 2007-11-25
By visualising the whole thing as the mighty oak

Hi morri [thanks for your last pm] Smile

"hardly an attempt at intellectual parity--unless it is a type of "no druid left behind" dumbing down of the movement".

I would go in the opposite direction, although leave the door open for all. I feel noobs would relate to this just as much as experienced druids.

"This means that you had the average Celtic person, a class called Druids who included novices, Bards, Vates & Druids, and the Druid individuals"

I think all should be called ‘druids’, its just a useful label, but sure there should be classifications within that, probably hundreds of them within a basic set of branches and a trunk. By visualising the whole thing as the mighty oak, we can have bards, vates and druids as part of the tree going off in different directions, thus presenting their own hierarchies particular to their kind. The trunk would represent the whole druidic movement, thus newcomers could find their own way whilst in the base/trunk and become whatever suits them later on.

"Do we all agree that the title in question is given to someone who has achieved the highest standard of expertise (whatever that standard may be)"?

Indeed. There are many levels of this each with their own apex, though I would think there has to be an overall pinnacle either as a wise elder or as a teaching. I would go with the elder approach so that our teachings don’t become dogma [not that they would with us lot lols], people don’t last for ever and can be replaced.

"Do we all agree that any authority conferring the title should adhere to a set of minimum core standards"?

I feel it would be more general, though certain standards could underpin what it takes to be near or at the top.