Druidic Intellectual cohesion and parity.

attila
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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.

 



Morri
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Clarification of Basic Questions...

What makes us all Druids cannot be imposed from without; it arises from the wellspring within, and it is to that wellspring I feel we must turn for the answers to these questions.

 What makes us Druids is our calling to the pathworking which we share, this cannot be imposed from without.

What makes us a collective of Druids is the mutual agreement to work as a team toward the same goal. The goals are varied; they include education and mentoring of members, ritual work, gathering and sharing resources, as well as working together to resolve social, political, environmental and theological issues. While the individual must rely on "the wellspring within" to determine what agreement they will make with the collective, there must be some interaction with the external beings who make up the collective. This requires negotiation and, sometimes, compromise. This agreement is not imposed, it is accepted or rejected by the individual according to his/her conscience.

Those who can reach mutual agreement can move forward as a team to undertake whatever they choose to do. Those who do not reach agreement can remain in their current collective or maintain solitary status and choose not to participate. The larger the team, the more effective the work. That is why I am here. I am excited by these discussions as it creates an opportunity for many Druidic Orders and pathworkers to come together.

The topic of this thread is "Druidic Intellectual Cohesion and Parity". Why is it that we can share so much and yet be unable to achieve this?  There are numerous obstacles for us that are caused by our diversity, but which can be worked through while respecting and encourage that diversity. The questions posed identify some very simple barriers for us which, imo (admittedly Pollyanna-ish), can be easily overcome. Facilitating some agreement between individuals on these points will go a long way to furthering our ability to understand the specifics of our diversity more clearly, our ability to communicate with one another using a common language, and our ability to move forward to work on projects together.  Reading the Unity and Values threads highlights many of these difficulties. I thought Kenneth summed up many of the concerns nicely when he said:

In fact, what is most often exhibited in some of the larger groups is a bias against a more academically oriented approach, hardly an attempt at intellectual parity--unless it is a type of "no druid left behind" dumbing down of the movement. I realize that this might sound harsh, and, please know that I am not intending it to be so, just making the point that there currently exists no minimal standard by which someone could earn the right to call themselves a druid. If druid, as a title, is indicative of the movement at large, as we have been using it on these forums, I think that such should be explicitly stated, and some reconciliation might have to be given for those who feel that the title Druid is a mark of certain distinction from an ancestral culture with fairly rigorous requirements. 

Thus, the questions:

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

This becomes a "which came first? the chicken or the egg?" question if the answer depends on who is authenticating the titles. Currently I am working on the assumption that there has been a declaration on the part of Druidic Dawn that their intention is to offer an "umbrella" for Druidic Orders, groups, and solitaries that will allow everyone who practices Druidry to speak with one voice in matters of mutual interest.  But the question you pose is relevant in another context and is addressed separately in the basic questions here.

The question results from common misunderstandings that occur when people talk about Druids. We all know that the word was used historically to identify both a class of individuals as well as a subset of individuals within the class itself.  Even in this thread, where I have undertaken to be as specific and as concrete as I can be, there is still misunderstanding about what I mean when I refer to the class of individuals (which I dubbed Druida).  The class of individuals is not the average Celtic person who honoured the gods and participated in Druidic celebration and ritual. The class of individuals were the people who undertook to study Druidry and become the learned subset of individuals who were referred to as Druid.  This means that you had the average Celtic person, a class called Druids who included novices, Bards, Vates & Druids, and the Druid individuals.

Some modern groups use the term "Druid" only when referring to individuals who function as priests within the group or some other designated role. Some groups use the term to refer to a person who has achieved the highest rank in their education system. Some groups use the term to refer to anyone who follows a Druidic path regardless of experience and learning. And last, but not least, are those who use the term interchangeably when referring to both the class and the individuals who have gained the title through learning or role.

 It seems to me that the easiest way to deal with the problem of a word that does not convey the same meaning to the collected individuals here, is to agree on what the word will mean when we use it here.  The people who can most easily compromise on this issue, without having to restructure their whole organization, are those that use the term to apply to everyone in the class. If they will agree to use the term only as a title for an individual and not in reference to a class, communication could be much simpler!

I am one of the people who has used the term interchangeably. I can agree to this without offending my ancestors or my conscience. It will take some effort and would be much easier if I had another word to use to talk about the class.

I respect the fact that there may be some people here who cannot agree to this for reasons that I have not considered because of my ignorance regarding their organization or their approach to Druidry.

 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)?

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'". 

I do not think that the concern is legitimate when we are talking about the older, established Orders. I spent a great deal of time, over quite a few years, looking for an Order that fit for me. Those that use "Druid" as a title all have an expectation that individuals will have a high degree of experience and learning. Are there any groups or individuals out there who would not agree that a Druid should be individuals with a high standard of expertise and, with the exception of functionary roles, the highest rank within their system (be that a hierarchy, a meritocracy, or an educational system)?

How can there be a "highest standard" on a journey that has no end?...

Every skill has a "highest standard of expertise" and there is no "arriving" in any field.  A  Master Carpenter continues to learn about new innovations, tools, and materials. He/she continues to hone their craft. This is true of all craftsmen unless they choose to sit on their heels. The same goes for doctors, lawyers, social workers, nurses, psychologists and anyone in a field that designates "specialists" or rank by education and which has an association or board with which they must register to practice. Those people who achieve their designation within their community who do not pursue their study and hone their skills soon lose status amongst their peers and can face being barred from professional registration.

With the assumption in place that Druids can achieve a "standard of expertise" that is deemed "highest" in any ranking system an Order may have, and that they will always continue to learn and grow because they choose to pursue excellence, the intent of the question should be clear.

3. Do we all agree that the title in question is something that must be conferred by a recognized authority of some kind?

"Authorities" are not about Unity, but conformity and control, and I would be obliged to oppose the foundation of such an institution

A recognized authority is simply a group or person invested with responsibility by the larger group. In this group it has already been declared that there is no intention to assume any responsibility for existing groups. This means that the authority rests with the individual Orders and groups.

The question addresses the legitimate concern of many Orders regarding self-designation. I can declare that I have been studying a Celtic path for 25+ years, but does that mean anything? Even as a solitary should I not  accept that I should be required to demonstrate my expertise to someone capable of judging it before I take the title? If I am establishing an Order of my own, should I take the title Druid even if I have not earned that title through a recognized Order?

Yes, it is risky for many of us. Yes, it means many of us may have to study things that we think we have already learned. But if people are not willing to do this, is there any point in talking about establishing core standards of any kind?

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

If by 'standards' you mean that we as Druids should share certain core beliefs and values, and if by 'authority' you refer to individual groups  autonymously observing these standards, then yes, I agree

Yes, by 'authority' I am referring to individual groups autonomously observing these standards.

No, by 'standards' I do not mean a set of shared beliefs and values. I mean a minimum set of criteria that is judged by the groups as being sufficient to give a person the title "Druid". As you said: "If that is left to each group to do according to their own criteria, are we all willing to extend the same courtesies to everyone who bears the title? If not, then would the title have any real meaning?".

 

We are not here to wield power over one another; we are here to collaborate towards a common purpose for a higher good... All that is required is for us all to agree upon some basic values, on where and how we want our collective voice to be heard, and on how those should be chosen who will speak for us.

It was not my understanding that we were discussing Unity on this thread. This is about intellectual parity. Intellectual parity will make it infinitely easier to gain Unity, but it is not core to the discussions occurring around Unity. IMO we do not need to have intellectual parity to achieve Unity, but intellectual parity can be one of the outcomes of Unity if we choose to collaborate on it.

What the Druidic Dawn Team has proposed to further Unity is colloboration on identifying core values that we all share. While comments here may overlap with those discussions, the comments here are in the context of this discussion. 

 I hope that this helps to clarify the intention of the questions and helps you, and others, to reach within and answer them, even if it is only for yourself.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morri
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Morgaine, thank you so much

Morgaine, thank you so much for your well-thought out and insightful answers to the questions posed. I share your concerns about the danger of initiatives through DD being seen as an opportunity to centralize authority, and I do not think that this is the intention of the DD team, nor that of *most* of us here. I am not accusing anyone of that, and perhaps I'm reading people incorrectly, but I've missed any post where people seem to want such a thing. I expect that some hope that it will make it easier to distance themselves from some of the fringe or extremist groups. That can be done without making DD responsible for sanctioning groups who do not adhere to shared values/understandings or to be responsible for conferring or removing any title that may reflect some core standards which groups and individuals already share. We cannot make the fringe/extremist groups go away, and imo we should not, but I do think that a group that can speak for the collective, by representation and agreement, is able to educate those groups and the public more effectively.

I'm with you so far. Where I lose you, and do forgive my ignorance (it really is ignorance!) is where you say:

That would be difficult, if not impossible, since not all of us are Celtic Druids...

What is the distinction between a Celtic Druid and a non-Celtic Druid? What culture(s) are non-Celtic Druids rooted in? I am not asking about people living in Canada or elsewhere and who are not of  "Celtic" ancestry, I am talking about non-Celtic Druidry defined as a spiritual path that is not rooted in any proto-Celtic or Celtic culture (for the record, I do not normally use Celtic to describe modern groups, those are Irish, Welsh, Scottish etc., that is why the "Celtic" ancestry is written with quotes.)

I need to ask this before I respond to anything else. I wrote a very long post for the Values thread regarding values and culture that I decided not to post, but which may be useful  for me to look at again (after considering your response to this question) and then either post there and link back to here or vice versa.  I don't want to preach to a choir if we are on the same page and it just looks like we are reading from different books!!

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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Perhaps firstly we should be looking for universal principles

Morgaine's answer: Is someone who employs all their knowledge and expertise only or mainly to selfish ends worthy of the title 'Druid'?... How can there be a "highest standard" on a journey that has no end?...

I’ll just quickly pick that one up if I may; if we are only asking for knowledge and wisdom then I don’t see how that can be used wrongly. Its like if we say 2+2=4 there is no ego its just info. Can you imagine that anything like that would get past us lot! Its hard enough to even say what a druid is without getting ones ideas trodden down lols. …even though most of us only say it as we think it is, others seam to feel that their Druidry is being affected by that? I feel this has been going on way to long, I have only been coming on the forums for around 3 yrs I think, but since day one no-one would say what Druidry is about. Anyone would think I was asking them to write the bible!

This sums it up for me, for too long either through roman or christian thinking [I am not having a go here], we have been way too officious about everything. Druidry can give us down to earth good honest wisdom, and yes, it is questionable ~ just as it should be.

There is another level to ‘every landscape has its own vocabulary’ every time we speak a second time of a thing, or revisit the same place, the vocabulary changes. a place will have a different feel to it even though it is the same as when you went their last. As long as we have such druidic liminality in mind then there is no chance of dogma.

Perhaps firstly we should be looking for universal principles?

 



Morgaine_ADO
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Basic Questions...

Greetings,

And thank you for your illuminating answers to these questions! Here are my own thoughts...

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

Morgaine's answer: That depends... Who is authenticating the titles? If that is left to each group to do according to their own criteria, are we all willing to extend the same courtesies to everyone who bears the title? If not, then would the title have any real meaning?... On the other hand, if one authority is to be empowered to certify who is or is not a Druid, then one standard will have to be adopted and approved by us all. That would be difficult, if not impossible, since not all of us are Celtic Druids...

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)?

Morgaine's answer: Is someone who employs all their knowledge and expertise only or mainly to selfish ends worthy of the title 'Druid'?... How can there be a "highest standard" on a journey that has no end?...

For myself, I do not see Druids as people who've "arrived". I see them as lifelong learners whose lives are given in service to their community and to the world, and that it is through this service that their own spiritual goals and growth are attained. In my view, you become a Druid when your mentors and the community you serve deem you to be one. (You stop being a Druid if, by your words or actions you betray the trust that has been placed in you. Who but your own community can decide whether that trust has been misplaced?) You become a famous Druid by getting someone to film the story of your life and work, and put it on YouTube.

Do we all agree that the title in question is something that must be conferred by a recognized authority of some kind?

Morgaine's answer: Yes, if we're all willing to recognise the authority of each Druid group... However, I do not see anything to indicate that the ancestors bestowed titles using a central authority, nor do I see any particular advantage to adopting what appears to me to be a very institutionalized approach to Druidism. Institutions tend to homogenize things. I've never found homogenization to improve the quality of anything...

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

Morgaine's answer: If by 'standards' you mean that we as Druids should share certain core beliefs and values, and if by 'authority' you refer to individual groups  autonymously observing these standards, then yes, I agree; however... I do not believe that Unity requires Druidry to have a Mother Church or central authority with ultimate power to grant or revoke people's titles or right to practice as Druids. In fact, I believe this would be a terrible mistake.

We are not here to wield power over one another; we are here to collaborate towards a common purpose for a higher good... All that is required is for us all to agree upon some basic values, on where and how we want our collective voice to be heard, and on how those should be chosen who will speak for us. The idea of imposing an authority that strips the power from individual groups is not condusive to real collaboration or Unity on any level. "Authorities" are not about Unity, but conformity and control, and I would be obliged to oppose the foundation of such an institution.On the other hand, I fully support the idea of forming a "council" to speak on important issues on behalf of all Druids -- provided that the existence of such a Council does not become an excuse for establishing a central Druid government (which is a very different proposition!).

What makes us all Druids cannot be imposed from without; it arises from the wellspring within, and it is to that wellspring I feel we must turn for the answers to these questions.

Respectfully,

Morgaine

--

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
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Parity

Greetings, All,

Let me start by saying sorry I've not been on here more, but our computers were zapped in recent storms (for the second time this month!) and we're scrambling to get them up and working reliably again. I will be posting more, and more regularly, once we're stabilized...

Morri, I completely agree with the thoughts you shared about Druidism, because our form of Druidism sees things in much the same way. We also have nonclergy in our community; we call them "the Tribes" and see them as people who perhaps cannot serve as Druid clergy, but who wish to live in Druidic community in harmony with Druid teachings and ways. We also see ourselves as being out of step with "mainstream Druidism"... for lack of a better term, though we are passionate in believing that diversity is one of Druidry's greatest strengths -- provided that it doesn't devolve into "eclecticism". The fact that we self-identify as Druids instead of Eclectics would seem to indicate that we all believe that we share some common assumptions and practices  that are uniquely Druidical. If so, then we share some common values, and probably draw from a common well of wisdom, regardless of our individual uniqueness.

Where I see your comments dovetailing with Attila's are when you talk about how our birth societies/conditioning affects our perceptions and habits as Druids. There is a big difference between building a spiritual path that serves the highest good, and building an empire (whether personal or collective)... Here are my musings on that...

Most modern Western societies are deeply invested in imperialist worldviews (i.e. our view is "the" right one, and we impose it on others for their betterment). Most everyone here intellectually rejects this idea, but on a deeper level we've been imbibing these assumptions from birth; it's bound to affect our perceptions and modes of thinking, responding, and interacting. I suspect we're all aware of this influence, but we're likely all at different places in terms of our own process for addressing it. And it's a process that cannot be rushed...

For the sake of discussion, let's put aside the question of whether there were Druids before the Celts, and to what modern nations these peoples should be confined (issues that are all currently being disputed in academic circles). For the sake of discussion, let's say that leaves us with insular and mainland proto-Druidic (native/pre-Celtic) and Druidic (Celtic and later) peoples, and that this is what we're collectively working with as "Druids"... The question then becomes which architecture will best serve Druid Unity (not uniformity) today? What instrument will be best able to respond on behalf of us all? What limits should be set on this instrument's power in order to safeguard the diversity of the greater Druidic community? Many here have expressed concern about instituting a linear hierarchy because of fears that it will ultimately seek to define how we walk our Druid paths. Not an unreasonable fear, given linear hierarchy's track record. I would venture to say that there are few here who are without any ancestral memory of oppression under linear hierarchies... It seems to me that many (if not most) of the concerns being voiced here stem not from our actual interactions with one another, but from the fear of history repeating itself. We are not powerless in this... it is for us to choose whether to perpetuate a damaging pattern or to break free of it and forge a new path. Should we then consider undertaking a collective working to clear away/resolve/ lay to rest the unresolved ancestral issues and/or soul debts that may be clouding our ability to see our present circumstances clearly?...

For myself, I do not think we need a group or person to dictate an official form of Druid liturgy or structure. I think we could benefit from a council of people representing all Druids, whom we empower to speak on our behalves with regard to issues of vital importance from a Druid perspective. And I think the world needs us to do this...  What is the point of having people learned in the ways of Nature, if we never allow them to speak or be heard, and if we never give credence to their advice?... And if we cannot (or will not) extend this confidence to each other, how can we hope for the rest of the world to do so?...

Anyway, these are my musings at present. I think our hearts are all united in wanting to do what's best and in the highest good of all; if we can remain true to this intent, we'll come out right in the end. I look forward to reading and sharing more as my computer allows --

Bendithion Afallon,

Morgaine

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
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LOL!

"I also agree about noobs."

Love it! I'm a noob in Druidic Dawn!

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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thought i would make a short reply for once lols

For me, one of the most beautiful things about modern Druidry, and one of the things I respect most about it, is its variety.

Same here, if anything I would only wish to expand the diversity.

I also agree about noobs.



Morri
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Standards and Unity

Hi Atilla,

I also think that unity is important and I agree to strive toward that end. I agree with what you are saying. Everyone practicing Druidry today is separated from the original Celtic culture(s) and they are doing their best to interpret and understand the ancient practices and beliefs in the context of the ancient culture and in the context of the individual's modern culture. The view of deity depends on that interpretation and there are a wide variety of interpretations that exist. They are all valid interpretations, even if they may not all be true interpretations (applying the old logic axiom "Just because it's true, doesn't mean it's valid" and vice versa).  More important to me is how we connect with the Divine and/or Deity(ies) as individuals. I personally believe that people have to connect in their own individual way, and that what they do to connect, what they experience, and how they understand what they've connected to, changes dramatically over time for everyone. This cannot be mapped in a set continuum where people start at X and arrive at Y because everyone is starting at a different point and, the "continuum" is really a three-dimensional sphere, rather than a two-dimensional line.

For me, one of the most beautiful things about modern Druidry, and one of the things I respect most about it, is its variety.

This doesn't mean that we can't define Druidry, or Druida, or Druids collectively. It does mean that individuals or people may add expectations to the minimum, skeletal viewsor standards  that we all share. It means that indviduals or groups can build on a core set of standards and ideas. This flexibility does not destroy the core.

 I think that the majority of experienced Druida would agree that the title "Druid" should be earned, that it should reflect the highest level of formal education within Orders, and that a standard of hours for coursework can be set. Orders may choose to set higher standards for themselves, but this does not mean that they can devalue the standard set for everyone (ie: they don't get to say "they're not really Druids because they don't train as much as our Druids do").  I think that, as with the Western system of university degrees, the equivalent of an honorary Ph.d. or honorary LL.D can be considered for individuals who have demonstrated equivalent expertise outside the system of Orders. While it has been the practice here that anyone with an honorary doctorate does not use the title "Dr.", that doesn't have to be the case in Druidry but a distinction could be made if Orders, groups or individuals felt very strongly that such people should not use the title "Druid".

I haven't met a titled Druid from any of the large Orders (OBOD, ADF, ADOA, BDO, etc.) that has not impressed me with their mastery in at least one area of expertise. I think the mastery of all expertise in the knowledge and practice of Druidry would be impossible to attain in one lifetime, but I will continue to pursue it as I think most Druida, including ttitled Druids, do. What I am trying to say is that I think the minimum number of hours or course content from these established groups should be the standard that is set collectively. I think that egos who want to play the "I'm smarter than the other Druids" game will continue to do so regardless of how much effort is made to establish or justify the validity of a collective set of standards. If people are not comfortable with this because they feel that some Orders are failing to educate their Druids properly, I think they need to contribute to the conversation in a meaningful and very specifc way, and cite why they feel a failing exists and what would be required to fix it. Yes, it may mean that there are conflicts, but we are all committed to being mature and to seeking resolution, so we should be able to give and recieve critical feedback concerning our performance as individuals and as groups.

I was highly critical of the Orders for many, many years and I was extremely resistant to the idea of joining one. The critical feedback I had to hear as a dedicated Solitary was that serving the community meant more than devoting my career and much of my free time to social justice. I had a spriitual community to serve also that I had been ignoring and which was very un-Druidic. I also was not providing the Pagan community with an adequate measure of the trust they could place in the information I was sharing by refusing to earn a title by an Order, even an honorary one. I realized that I was being very arrogant when I said "people who are learned recognize that I am learned". I call it arrogance because some learned people really didn't recognize it, but it is more than a character failing, and became a disservice (dis-Service) as it meant that the people who needed to know and judge the merit of my words were (and are) those who are not learned. Newbies, neophytes, seekers, whatever you choose to call them, these are the people who need a scale of measurement so that they can learn and become learned themselves.

The above realization only came to me through a series of discussions on unity in another forum. I learned a great deal from those discussions, and I am learning a great deal from these discussions. I see value in that, and while people are learning, even if it is only one, it is not just an intellectual exercise. We change the world through our thoughts, words and actions. This is the essence of magick for me, it is the essence of Being, and that is never pointless for me.  I think this is probably close to what you are talking about with respect to the "Gnostic jigsaw" ~ we can get information and ideas from books, but we need spirit (people and environment) to help us put information and ideas into perspective and then apply them appropriately to the change that we cannot avoid instigating by our existence. We also seek Truth and, because we are so limited in what we can see, we have to gather other people's visions and try to fathom and integrate what they see in our quest for Truth.

 

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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the ’Gnostic jigsaw’

I do think that we are still root ourselves in ancient culture, insofar as we are able to understand it. Does that make more sense?

Absolutely, rooting ourselves is quite fundamental in a society that is loosing all sense of itself.

I expect that examining her beliefs in more detail would have uncovered that she was following a Druidic path.

This is an important point, druid types cover the globe and are in every culture, they may follow different gods or none at all, this is of no consequence to the fact that they are still druids. Many poets artist writers and seers etc throughout the centuries have been bards vates and druids, they just don’t go by the label.

So what is important about the label ‘druid’? for me it simply gathers us all in one place - so to say, it gives us the chance to work together and share resources ~ our wisdoms, knowledge and ourselves. It is similar to the label priest too, in that you have priests of all cultures and faiths.

By uniting we can learn from each other and teach [again extending Druidry], more importantly we can put the ’Gnostic jigsaw’ together! No single person can learn all the wisdoms of the world right! So we all get taught different parts of it according to our natures. We now live in a global society and there are forums where religions and or philosophies are being compared and issues being debates. This is all part of the more general process of Gnostic parity [if Gnostic is the right term?], that humanity is going through in this age.

All I wish for is that Druidry take its rightful place in that, and I commonly go on non druidic forums to that end.

 



Morri
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I also agree.. hee hee

Attila, I don't think it can be perfectly explained... there are just too many factors involved.

"though I would keep away from culture as it is something of an illusion and many/most people arent 100% celts if its even possible to be such"

I do not think that we are attempting to create a Celtic culture today, I do think that we are still root ourselves in ancient culture, insofar as we are able to understand it. Does that make more sense? I do not define people who speak a Celtic language today as Celts, nor do I see anyone today living in a Celtic culture. "Celtic" by my understanding of proper usage is applied to a modern linguistic grouping and to ancient cultures and tribal groups. People today  may be Irish, Manx, Breton, Welsh, etc. but I identify their culture in terms of their modern culture, which is not Celtic, even if their first language can be described as such.

I say that we are rooting ourselves in the ancient Celtic cultures because, as someone who minored in anthropology, I view culture as something that describes everything about a group of people. As a Druida, I am drawing my beliefs and practices from my understanding of ancient Celtic language, their burial rituals, their writings, the writings of foreigners, how their rituals were described and what rituals they felt were important to describe, what they wore, how they warred, what tools they used, who they saw as enemies, friends, kin, and trading partners and much, much more. I am therefore basing my beliefs and practices on far more than what I know about their beliefs and practices. "Culture" is the term that encapsulates all of that best for me. :D

 "Take for instance Germanic and eastern Europeans [esp Lithuania], they may not have ever been called celts [I think the germans were at some point] nor had ’druids’, but they did follow similar ways and had priests by another name."

I think that it is important to question groups that are rooting themselves primarily in another culture. Any German person or group that is attempting to reconstruct a Druidry primarily around their Celtic ancestors are practicing Druidry imo, even if they are acknowledging their Germanic ancestry as well. How could we possibly say that we do not acknowledge the intervening cultures and history when one of the most common practices is honouring our ancestors? I think that it is fair for Druid groups to question the validity of the Celtic rooting when it is not apparent. For example, I have a friend who lives in Portugal who practices Druidry, and she identifies herself with those people who lived in that area. This means that although she is Druidic, she is drawing the factual material from those archeological sites in Portugal and the writings concerning Continental Celts rather than on the information from Insular Celtic groups. This is no less valid than my own pathworking, but she might have to explain her connectivity beyond stating that she is a Portuguese Druid. I once knew a Lithuanian Witch who knew more about trees than any Druid I have ever met, if she had wanted to call herself Druid, I expect that examining her beliefs in more detail would have uncovered that she was following a Druidic path. Saying you are an Irish Druid, a Welsh Druid or a Gaulish Druid normally does not require further clarification. When we use the terms together we are usually identifying the origin of the ancient Celtic culture in which we are rooting ourselves, rather than any modern cultural affiliations (even if they do exist).  In my case, I would not think it unwise for someone to ask me for clarification if I were to say that I am an Irish Druid and that I am required to go to mass daily as part of my spiritual practice. Just because you live in Ireland, or just because your family comes from Ireland, does not make you Druida or indicate your adherence to a Druidic spiritual practice.

As far as my statement about someone disputing that all of western Europe was Celtic at one time, that is just because I recently read something the day before yesterday  that said that it was being disputed. I do not know the details, it was a reference made by a scholar to another set of writings by another respected scholar and I have not pursued the reference yet. I have been studying long enough to recognize that there are trends in academic thought and the interpretation of data that lead to challenges in previous accepted interpretations. These challenges sometimes lead to things that alter our understanding of our history and practice. This is the nature of learning. We adapt to the new information as best we can. I think that if the lack of existence of Celts in all of Western Europe impacts directly on someone's practice that I would not challenge their right to call their practice Druidic ~  unless they decided to root their practice primarily in the ancient culture of their region when it is in direct conflict with the practices the cultures that are still collectively known as "Celtic". I think a more likely outcome is that Druidry ends up redifining the value stated to say "Celtic and X cultures" as the ancient "X" cultures currently share a similar worldview and values with their ancient Celtic counterparts and that is not likely to change even if they are no longer identified or viewed as Celtic.

"your average briton would not have been a druid but would have believed in some gods thereof, so they were not all druids but all believed in the ‘religion’"

Yep, yep that is actually how I read you! Fear not, you are making sense to me. I was only hoping to show people how we can get caught up in how the words are expressed differently than our own but actually don't mean something different than our own. :D

"I think we all understand each other in the main, somehow the rounded effect is the parity, maybe it doesn’t need to be perfectly explained."

I agree. I think that there is parity. I am not sure that everyone recognizes the parity and that is why the discussions and explanations need to occur. I am not referring to this thread specifically, but I notice that many of the objections that are being aired in the Unity and Values discussions are based on a lack of understanding that parity exists, and therefore a lack of trust that we can define Druidry, Druids, standards, values etc. in a way that includes everyone who is practicing.

 

 Note on previous post:

I can no longer edit the previous post. I apologize to all as I was distracted by a visitor when I pasted something in, and accidentally hit send before proofing it entirely. The following sentence which appears under #2, really belongs to #1 and it should have been edited to say:

"It also means that we do not accept groups rooting their practice in an entirely different culture, unless the different culture is an addition, is included to respect/honour a group of ancestors and is not in conflict with the values of the primary (Celtic) culture or those of modern Druidry."

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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I agree...

Attila, an apology to you also as I misunderstood your intention. I thought you were suggesting that a Druid be required to demonstrate adeptness in travelling to, and interacting with, the Otherworld(s).

no need ~ I did to some degree, :D however I was saying that there are levels of this, a clairvoyant will interact with the otherworld by watching images in her mind [or his obviously], a poet through inspiration for their words, an artist much the same. I do think the highest level of this is direct interaction with gods ~ actually meeting them. For me gods are simply very old and wise people. maybe there is a higher level yet [inspiration from infinity] but i think we arrive at that via the gods primarily.

Morri

"1. We acknowledge that our beliefs and practices are rooted in our understanding of ancient Celts and their culture."

I agree ~ though I would keep away from culture as it is something of an illusion and many/most people arent 100% celts if its even possible to be such. However the teachings as much as we can see, are very important. Perhaps I am being overly pc, but I would reach out my arms to everyone [you may note that my triad was purely philosophical]. Take for instance Germanic and eastern Europeans [esp Lithuania], they may not have ever been called celts [I think the germans were at some point] nor had ’druids’, but they did follow similar ways and had priests by another name.

I agree with the rest of what you say and must clarify this..

“I can say that some people will dispute the idea that the whole population of western Europe believed in ancient Druidry.”

Gaul up to the Rhine [half of germany almost], britania, Ireland, Iberia, northern italy, & austria, mainly. What I meant though was that e.g. your average briton would not have been a druid but would have believed in some gods thereof, so they were not all druids but all believed in the ‘religion’. I am just trying to understand it from the perspective of non druids in ancient times, so as to get across the message that;

‘Druidry extends beyond itself’!

I think we all understand each other in the main, somehow the rounded effect is the parity, maybe it doesn’t need to be perfectly explained.

thanks

 



Morri
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Parity here...

As I said above, I think triplistically and that is very hard to convey adequately in a language that can be very subtle but is not rooted in such a mindset. Language is something that is fiercely protected by cultural advocates because it holds keys to a worldview that is not consciously passed on to people and identifies concepts that are sometimes difficult or impossible to translate. Feel free to demand clarification.

I see parity here in some values of Druidry:

1. We acknowledge that our beliefs and practices are rooted in our understanding of ancient Celts and their culture.

These Celts may be our ancestors. They may also be people with whom we identify because we share values and beliefs with them based on our interpretation of what information is available concerning their culture and practice. 

This means that some of us do not believe that you must be descended from Druids or Celts to be Druida, but that you must attempt to understand them. Groups that limit their membership to only members or descendant of a specific cultural group may be intolerant, even 'racist', by this standard, but they are not able to see that outsiders can often obtain equal, or even better, understanding of culture when culture is being reconstructed. It may be that they are unwilling to spend the time to teach the culture to their adherents. While I may not agree with them, I do see them as sharing the above stated "value" with me.

2. We acknowledge that the ancient practice of Druidry is lost to us and we must all reconstruct something based on interpretation of limited materials that cross a wide range of tribal groupings, at least two language classes, several languages and a range of historical time.

This means that most of us accept that there is a wide range of practice and beliefs within modern Druidry. It means that we do not tolerate or accept groups that claim to know everything that ancient Druida did, nor those that say theirs is the only "right" or "correct" interpretation of history, archeological evidence, language evidence, etc. etc. This last does require some common sense, as there are things that we can establish as factual and things that are based in fact and have limited interpretation. It also means that we do not accept groups rooting their practice in an entirely different culture, unless their is an inclusion of respect for a group of ancestors but it is not the primary cultural consideration.

3. We acknowledge that our spirituality is inseparable from community service and daily living.

It is not enough to study and to do rituals. Druidry always comes down to how we try to make our world/environment=community better and it is not something that we do on a set day of the week, or when we are gathered with other Druida. It is something we do whenever the opportunity arises. What I see this group (Druidic Dawn)  attempting to provide is the opportunity to create those opportunities by bringing Druida from different Orders and groups, along with those following a solitary path, together.

 So now I get to pick on your statement Atilla (but please trust that there is a purpose).

"What I meant was [semantics again lols] that in ancient times the whole population of western Europe believed in the religion, even though there wasn’t a religion as such."

I can say that some people will dispute the idea that the whole population of western Europe believed in ancient Druidry. But it cannot be disputed that those people we understand as being "Celtic" in our modern mindset had a group of people that we define as "Druid" and that those people seemed to have many things in common. They were educated, they had specific roles (historians, law makers, physicians, priests and seers), and they were valued and respected by their communities. That they shared a religion, as we define the term today, is also something that can be disputed, as the names of gods are now lost or were distinctly different, the expectations for sacrifice or worship seem to vary, and their ritual practices may have occurred at different times (I am thinking of the Coligny calendar and the Irish Fire Festival dates here).  We do know that they had many things in common: belief in the soul surviving death, belief that individuals could interact with their gods/ancestors directly (without priestly intercession), and belief in that humans were not the only beings to have souls (animism). The last is based on our recognition that they personified elements of nature like land and rivers, and believed in Otherworldly beings.

So, what Attila has said is absolutely true and absolutely false, depending on how people choose to interpret his words and apply them to what we know about Druidry.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Morri
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Apologies

First, an apology to Ayana. It sounds like I may have made you defensive with my questions, or I may be taking it that way because of how you have chosen to answer them. If I made you feel as though you had to justify your pathworking, I am truly sorry. The purpose of my participation in this thread is to obtain insight and understanding, which (fortunately) you have provided. You may be the perfect example of the Elder designation being conferred by the community. I have a great deal of faith in it, but I can respect that it is not viable for many groups to use and it limits the legitimacy so many of us crave.

Attila, an apology to you also as I misunderstood you intention. I thought you were suggesting that a Druid be required to demonstrate adeptness in travelling to, and interacting with, the Otherworld(s).

"What I meant was [semantics again lols] that in ancient times the whole population of western Europe believed in the religion, even though there wasn’t a religion as such."

I want to respond to that quote and some things that Ayana has said a bit more fully, but it will be my usual long winded writing that will take me hours to write (and probably hours to read with much head-banging to figure out what I am trying to say but can't adequate articulate! LOL)

I will post this now so that the acknowledgement of my intention vs. my results and my misunderstanding do not get lost in my wordiness!

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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The three principles of Druidry

Hi ayana

Your post sounds like a perfect example of why Druidry needs a wider perspective. At the same time there are examples where people are teaching [like the racists etc] things in the name of Druidry, which are completely inappropriate! …and even though we consider ourselves as a collection of individuals, we all get tarred with the same brush. Consider for a moment how many people view the ancients ~ as barbaric monsters who performed human sacrifice by the thousands.

We already have a bad name, yet I think druidic philosophy can be most enlightening and most people I debate with agrees! There is no reason why we cannot have an outlining skeleton philosophy that allows for our individuality + a general idea od Druidry as a collection of ideas.

The hindu Vedas were a collection of writings gathered from similar individuals around India in ancient times. I think people like you/me/most of us, can add much to a similar venture, although I am sure you would agree that we don’t want to make it into a religion as such.

I feel this is exactly what Druidry was ~ collections of individual wise men/women who all contributed in some way. The difference is that it was never formed into a religion, the labels like druid, bard etc were just ways to broadly classify such people. Most importantly I feel intuitively that it was always ‘live’ ~ an ongoing process, times and situations change, so people met in circles to discuss such things as and when necessary.

This coincides with the spirituality which I round up as the three principles of Druidry;

‘universality‘, ‘comtemporary thought’ and ‘liminality’ [ / | \ ].

I think these three ideas can form a backbone that doesn’t allow for dogma.

Anyone care to disagree? If so please state your complaints, if not then we can take these [or any other three you feel are more suitable] as a base.

Please note that these are not ‘mine’ they are just my interpretation of what I have learned from others.

 

 



Ayana Owl
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Hi Morri,   I know there

Hi Morri,

 

I know there are more Celts than Just Irish and Welsh, I am of Breton stock. It is difficult to judge the accuracy of 'ancient practices', as disinterring them from a non-written tradition is difficult, especially in England. We can speculate, but we cannot know unequivocally what our ancestors did. I am active in a Bronze Age reconstruction group, providing Living History demonstrations at archaeological digs, so I understand how life was back then. (My avatar shows the reconstruction of the henge found at Durrington walls, and recreated by Time Team some years back).

My path is my own, and owes most to the Ovate  section of Druidry, Healing, divining, and using the gifts of the Land. I have no written lore or dogma, I ask for no followers. I am working on a book about my way, although whether any publisher will find it of merit is a moot point.

I didn't claim to be a 'Wise' Elder, or even an  Elder, although Folk do consult me about healing, I provide ceremonies for various stages of Life. Some introduce me as an Elder, although I do not claim it. Those who come to me are often disillusioned by major Orders, or want a ceremony which is different  from ' mainstream' Druidry. I do my best to oblige.

 

I am not knocking the large Orders, just pointing out that there are alternatives. Not everyone gets on with the teachings of the larger Orders, I found that there were too many similarities between Coven Wicca and Order Druidry, particularly OBOD, but given their respective histories it isn't surprising.

 

Cheers, Ayana

 

 



attila
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Joined: 2007-11-25
a projection of our beliefs

Hi morri

I am glad you liked my quote, it came to me as I was thinking about all of this [as far as i know it is of my own design]. I agree absolutely about the semantics! What I meant by ‘arch druid’ [on other thread] and learned people [a kind of meritocracy], is completely different to how others viewed it. I am seeing it as so; all may contribute, and we keep building and refurbishing the house of Druidry ~ the collected works [no matter how large or small] of Druidry.

I don’t expect our words to be taken as gospel lols, we speak for ourselves not for god/s, so there is really no harm in saying; I am a druid and this is what it means to me to be one, then that, ‘this’ [a given x] is what Druidry is about as far as we are concerned. We can change our interpretations as we go, but if we don’t say what Druidry is at all then to the onlooker it is nothing! That to me insults what we are about and all the effort we put into it.

Whatever ancient Druidry was about is not the most important thing, we can be sure that they would have changed over time just as they changed from worshipping at Stonehenge type temples to oak groves, it is for us to decide what it should be now!

"but I am not sure that it is for everyone"

What I meant was [semantics again lols] that in ancient times the whole population of western Europe believed in the religion, even though there wasn’t a religion as such. Hence I am thinking of ‘everyone’ in that context, in other words that Druidry extends beyond itself weather it is a religion or not. The festivals etc were for ‘everyone’ and they are growing in popularity in our times. The important thing for me is to take everyone into consideration and implicit within that notion is the idea of a projection of our beliefs. We have to consider what others think of our ideas and thus must have something that we are about!

If we didn’t see ourselves as such, then we will just become increasingly insular and equally irrelevant to those outside of Druidry.

 



Morri
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Every landscape has its own vocabulary...

Attila and All!

I am awed by the responses here, particularly in the courage that each of you has demonstrated in examining your thoughts, beliefs and perspective and in listening to what might seem to be challenges or opposition. I bow to you all.

"every landscape has its own vocabulary" ~ I love that quote Attila!  Cross cultural communication is something that I have studied for many years, in various ways to be sure, but I find that it has been something that has served me well. When I moved from Newfoundland to Alberta at the age of fifteen I found I had forgotten my eraser at home and I turned to my classmate (a male) and asked him if I could borrow his rubber. The class fell apart with laughter and I was humiliated. I found out later that a "rubber" referred to a condom in Western Canada and the term was never used for an eraser.  I find that more often than not discussions like ours fall apart when we don't recognize that words are being used differently by others in the conversation and when we refuse to set aside our own definitions and connotations to hear what others mean, what they are really saying, instead of what we think they "must" mean because of the words they choose.  In this thread Kenneth described a meritocracy as placing more value on some people than others. My belief construct objects to this as "value" and "worth" are synonyms in my vocabulary. He may actually mean what I have described in my later post if he uses "value" and "respect" as synonyms, or if he does not use "value" and "worth" synonymously. Many people object to any process that appears to be "playing semantics" and see the clarification of words by individuals or an attempt to identify neutral words in a conversation as being pointless. For me it is not.

"I am happy to leave it to others to hash out the "druid" name issue, it is a bit tedious, especially when many of the Revival Orders have incorporated the name into their public face and are not likely to drop using it as a description of the movement at large. Than means that we could bang our heads against that wall all day long ;-)" 

I appreciate Kenneth's desire not to involve himself in what he clearly sees as a tedious and pointless exercise. It isn't for me as what he says about banging our heads against the wall all day long is absolutely true if we cannot obtain any agreement on whether the name "Druid" references a title or anyone practicing Druidry. You could not expect to gain any agreement or parity on standards for being "Druid" if the name is being applied, and will continue to be applied, across such spectrum of experience.

My understanding is that in Ireland, drui(d) was the name given to the learned class, whether they be fili or faith (excuse my lack of proper accents), whether they be fochluc or ollamh. The name was also used for those considered to be the elite (most learned and respected) of the class itself. What was required of an individual to attain this elite status is not clear, and there are a number of plausible interpretations based on the clues left behind in Irish writings. The Gaulish usage is more well defined, but does not seem to be entirely consistent with the Irish information available.

We are dealing with several cultures here, both ancient and modern. While we may not agree right now, it is very possible that we can all agree.  I am from an Irish tradition. I have no problem with using the name Druid interchangeably, and I do my best to differentiate if the other person in the conversation is referring to the general or the elite. This is not always easy, and I have been jumped enough times on the forums and irl discussions to recognize that quite a few other people, and their Orders, do not use the terms interchangeably.

For the sake of my own clarity, I will use "Druida" to discuss the general group of people who practice Druidry and "Druid" to discuss the learned group.  No one needs to conform to this, just don't be surprised if you confuse me if you do not and are not precise in some other way! I am happy to use other terminology if it is suggested.

"It is a complete and whole thing, it is/was/should be a lifestyle for everyone not just druids or bards etc, and should touch every area of life."

I agree Atilla, but I am not sure that it is for everyone. I have been referred to by others as a Druid(ic) Shaman far too often to believe that everyone approaches their Druid pathworking as I do. Many seem to think that the Otherworld is something to be aware of, but it should not be entered or, at least, not integrated with daily life. Others I have met do not believe in magick at all. These people belong to respected Orders and are 5+ years in their studies, so I have to assume that some Orders do not believe in what I do and they do not work as I do. That they do not does not bother me, nor is it something I really need to change. Who I call "Druid" and who I see as "Druid" may vary significantly at the end of any agreement reached regarding standards. This is not to suggest I intend on being hypocritical, it just means that I acknowledge the right of others to have a different interpretation and to use that interpretation ~ and that I will agree to use it the same way. It won't change my personal view of what it takes to be a Druid as my standard will likely exceed that of any minimum set.

 Ayana, I have a couple of questions for you specifically. You said:

"Much as I enjoy the Wisdom Tales of Ireland and Wales, they do not really have a relevance in the way I work my version of the Druidic Path. "

In what lore or information are you rooting your version of the Druidry? Are you connecting it in any way to the ancient practices of the Celts (there were more than just Irish and Welsh) and how do you do so? How does this different perspective/practice define a Druidic Path, who may be called Druid, and what books/lore and experience would be suggested for those wanting to learn in the Path?

"I am a healer and many folk consult me on various matters. Does that make me a Wise Elder? It may in their eyes, but being old doesn't necessarily make one wise."

I do not disagree with you, and being old doesn't necessarily make you wise any more than being knowledgeable makes you wise. Insofar as my original point concerning the Aboriginal community here defining who they see as an Elder, I would say that if the people who are coming to you frequently to consult call you an "Elder" and they are members of your Druid community, then you would be someone that would be an Elder in my system. If they are from the Druid community and they call you "Wise Elder" then I would wonder if they were all newbies who had no clue what they were talking about because they were not using the proper title of either "Elder" or "Druid". If they are not members of the Druidic community then they have absolutely no say in who is defined as Elder  in the community. Here, non-Aboriginal people can call a person an "Elder" all they like, but this would not influence the community into calling them one. Another significant distinction to make is that Aboriginal people from other Aboriginal communities do not have the right to designate someone as an Elder. Interestingly enough, however, Elders recognized by one community are recognized and accepted by those in other communities. There are no disputes as there is trust that they are working from similar cultural perspectives and that they have similar standards for conduct and the recognition of expertise. Any disagreement is usually (though not always) on an individual level, and is related to a condition that is a personal preference/bias and often distinct from the Elder (e.g.: "I do not think that anyone who stays married to an alcoholic can call themselves an Elder"). This trust could happen in our Druid communities if we understood that we share some basic standards for designating Druids. What we don't seem to trust is if these basic standards are enough. I think that any abuse of the designation has occurred in fringe Orders, my experience has been that these Orders have usually quickly died off, but it may be easier to control what a Druid Order may be, than it is to define what a Druid may be.

Correllon, I too come from a family tradition. I cannot claim that it is unbroken as my father broke it and embraced atheism (although he is really following a Druid path imo and just didn't know it). I also do not know how far back it goes, I never thought to ask my grandmother before she passed and unless I dig up some distant relatives there is no one else to ask. I don't think it is important, nor does it change who and what I am. What I am finding more and more interesting is that some concepts that I abandoned fairly early on in my studies because they were ""not really Druid" are turning out to be more consistent with the history and lore the more I study and uncover.  Some of what I was taught made no sense until I was further along in learning other things, like thinking triplistically instead of dualistically. One of the things that is significantly different about what I was taught and what the historians say about Irish Druids is in worshipping "gods".  It may be that as believers in the Sidhe as ancestors we only acknowledge Danu and see her as a personification of the Divine rather than a being existing within the universe or one tied to a river in Europe.  It may be that we were not Celts. It may be that someone made it all up at some point near or far from my time and they just happened to get a few things right. More importantly, I recognize that what I believe is a finite slice of a much greater whole that is Truth. So, there you go... I am out on the limb with you.

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Ayana Owl
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Posts: 12
Joined: 2007-11-16
I come across this

I come across this discussion on every Druidic Forum sooner or later.

 

I follow a Druidic Path, though I do not call myself, Bard, Ovate or Druid, as I am not active in any of the various Orders I belong to.

I am in OBOD, BDO, BOD and a few other ones. I have tried the OBOD Bardic course, (old style) and found that I could not get on with it and quit. I have been on the Path for many years, and I am 61.

 

I do not worship any of the named Gods, preferring to work with the local spirits of place. For me, the Earth herself is Goddess, and our Ultimate Mother, as from her all of us have come, and to Her we will return, to be recycled.

I see the Sun as The God and Ultimate Father, without his warmth and light, Earth would not be fertile, but a barren, frozen ball of rock.

The Moon I see as Earth's sister, she controls the tides of fertility. Many of us garden by the Moon, many Witches use her Phases in magic, many animals breed at certain moons to ensure the continuation of their species'.

I see these three as a closed system, take any one away and Life would cease to exist, as we currently understand it.

 

My greatest Teachers are Earth, Sun and Moon. Much as I enjoy the Wisdom Tales of Ireland and Wales, they do not really have a relevance in the way I work my version of the Druidic Path. I'm not an intellectual and I don't gey bogged down in these discussions. To me, Druidic work is essentially practical, I am a healer and many folk consult me on various matters. Does that make me a Wise Elder? It may in their eyes, but being old doesn't necessarily make one wise. One can spend 20 or 30 years collecting the Nuts of Knowledge, butjust possessing them does not make one wise. One must know how to open the nuts to access the wisdom.

 

Cheers, Ayana



attila
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‘every landscape has its own vocabulary’

Hi morri and all, thank you for your replies! I hope the following can help get inside the mind of the druid soul, so that along with all our words we may actually put something together. I feel that just as some of you have said, it is not so much about classifications ~ they may vary and that is ok, but within all orders is an underlying spirit and it is by this that I feel we may find meaning and a oneness.

I believe in what I call "function hierarchies" which simply acknowledge that some people are more skilled in certain functions than are others”.

I agree, I visualise this so; if I were the driver of a car one could say I am in control of that environment and hence a leader. However I could be a passenger in the same car yet I would not be any ‘lower’ because my role is different.

I am as you all may well guess, completely sick and tired of people saying no one can say what Druidry is or what it is to be one ~ we can and must. This doesn’t mean dogma it just means recognition of ones talent and roles, that Druidry is learning from both sides of life… this world and the otherworld.

It is a complete and whole thing, it is/was/should be a lifestyle for everyone not just druids or bards etc, and should touch every area of life.

If someone has earned their status as a druid elder, then many of us know that it doesn’t come easy at all! I am visions + 25 years into it and still learning, and I don’t see that I was as wise when younger by a long shot [or even 1 year ago], equally then how can younger or otherwise less experienced people, say they are our equals in wisdom?_!

Its about time we started making sense, this doesnt mean dogma as we are all only human no matter what level, our words can be wise one time and foolish the next. Hence Druidry was always about gathering and deciding issues, and I expect that certain people would be recognised for their particular traits and wise words. If someone else says something wise then I see it and adhere to it, and I expect the same from others.

What I meant by parity is of something that is reached in this way! It is arrived at by elders wise words and by general debate, after all democracy get george bush voted into the most powerful position in the world! How can this make sense? There must be 90% of the planet more suited to such a position.

I agree there should be something to name general druids by, I am sure the ancients didn’t all call themselves ‘druids’. not sure what that could be though. What I am sure of is that there are levels of Druidry ~ as I hope all would agree. A full druid would be betwixt both worlds in some way, usually by visions etc, but they are not trained in the same way as e.g. bards, maybe at first they would learn all the poetry and stories, but after a point the very power of their path is going to take them to a more fluid way of learning. One that I envisage as ‘contemporary thinking’, this is like gnosis over knowledge, though I do feel that artists and poets touch the same level of thought. After all we could say that for an artist;

‘every landscape has its own vocabulary’

This is like seeing things from the eye of the beholder, each and everything should be seen in its own way. Two poets would go to the same beach and write completely different poems, in the same vein a circle of druids would view each gathering in its own light. We could say one thing at one gathering and seemingly contradict it at another, this alone is what breaks any idea of dogma!

 



Correllon_DragonSoul
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Joined: 2009-06-17
WOW..

WOW, is all i can say, all of you have spoken so well(well written that is). I am not sure this old irishman belongs with such speak easy people...LOL. At least let me tell you a bit about me and how my order works. First i want to say something that may cause a stir. I have always had someone within my family who followed the alleged druid path, now NOT everyone in my family was a druid. But there was at least one person somewhere along the line who claimed to hold the title of druid and who had studied through ovate and bard and into druid, and of course had far more than 20 years, plus external education. Now does this make me more accurate, no. I am blessed by this and blessed in the fact i was started at age 7 and worked through ovate and through bard and was given my title of Druid at age 26. I am 44 this year and i still feel over whelmed at times. With that basis and with those wonderful secretive days and nights of meeting in back places around where i was from in ireland, my own thoughts energys and order sprouted from the seed that was placed. I tell my students that in OUR order we do ovate first, if you wish to move torward the druid studies then you must also have the bard studies. So again, ovate(divination) bard(healing and lore, then Druid over public and oracular workings. Now granted those are a basic explaination but, i think all of you get the point. When asked i simply tell them to say what title they hold, as in ' i am a ovate, or i am a bard'. So for us its how we keep it simple and easy, if they ask what that is then of course we go further on within the explaination. Do i demand 20 or so years, yes and no. I evaluate the individual and look at there over all educational level, this being both mundane and spiritual. I of course test and watch and allow them to work and study and it flows from them. As the saying goes actions speak louder than words. I have told them that if they can master going through the studies and i see that they know, retain and can teach back that which has been given, then by all means i test them and allow them to move on with the lessons that i have. Of course not only with the written lessons that i have, i also have oral lessons.  All of this combined is how the move forward with there studies, and i feel confident about them when they give me back(and often times teaching me) what they have learned. I do hope i have made some sense here and perhaps helped with the conversations. Being raised in a considered pagan path and not being a convert i often find it hard to understand the other side of the fence but as i grow older i am trying! My students often teach me when it comes to that. Again i hope this helps and that i have not rambled and i have made some sense.

 

Correllon DragonSoul

 



kproefrock
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Hello Morri, Thank you for

Hello Morri,

Thank you for your brilliant and insightful post ;-)

It must have taken you forever to compose it given the difficulty in cutting and pasting on this forum, I really appreciate that you took such time and laid out the different positions so well. I find that the only way that I can keep anykind of format beyond a block of letters is to disable rich-text. I wonder if other people are having a similar situation.

Regarding your post, I think that we are most certainly on the same page ;-) Intellectual cohesion doesn't mean that we will agree, only that we will agree to keep the conversation going, despite our relative differences. I think, so far so good ;-) 

I am happy to leave it to others to hash out the "druid" name issue, it is a bit tedious, especially when many of the Revival Orders have incorporated the name into their public face and are not likely to drop using it as a description of the movement at large. Than means that we could bang our heads against that wall all day long ;-)

At WhiteOak, we refer to ourselves as Celtic Reconstructionist Druids--perhaps an oxymoron in itself, but, also an implication that we are trying to straddle two sides of an ideological chasm. I think that even within our Order you might find as many different opinions about the use of the term as there are members.

As we move along, to aspects of our practice that go beyond the superficiality of what we might call ourselves (fully expecting that that is an issue that will keep coming up) what about ideology? Where do you personally and where do the collective Ordersderive your inspiration? How do you establish the parameters of spiritual practice? At WhiteOak, we have a beginning reading list of eighteen books that provide a foundational understanding of Celtic culture from an anthropological/archaeological perspective as well as from an inspirational/practical perspective. It generally takes a student 2 years to work through the reading, and there are proscribed tasks associated with the reading that are designed to allow the student to deepen their understanding in a practical way, and begin putting together the pieces of a personal spiritual practice. We engage in a one on one fostership, because spiritual unfolding is a personal process and should be shaped and molded for the individual who is, in turn, going to be shaped and molded by the process. We try to emphasize both a cognitive literacy regarding the source culture of our beliefs but also a practical understanding of the transformative potential of regular spiritual practice. 

Once the foundational understanding is established, then we can begin to speicialize, and, perhaps, most importantly, we can have intelligent discourse about the hows and whys of what we are doing. The great value, I have found, of belonging to a community is that opportunity to share one's personal gnosis with a group of like-minded individuals who then have the opportunity to share the practice or share their own personal gnosis, all through a similar context of modern people retrieving an ancestral spirituality. Ultimately, what this really means, at its best, is that we have the opportunity to share spiritual technique with one another. Shared spiritual technique allows us to create a common ground of experience that has a strongly uniting quality all on its own. 

What might be interesting, and what might help to promote a certain sense of harmony in the larger movement, might be to share certain "big picture" aspects of our relative approaches. That is, I wouldn't want anyone to feel like they were being asked to reveal oath-bound material or secret inner teachings, just road maps of how they see an effective translation of their ideology effecting transformative potential in an individual. 

Still enjoying the conversation!

Have a wonderful day!

Kenneth

"No Success Outside the Home is Worth Failure Inside the Home" 



Morri
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Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
Standards are good, hierarchies are bad...

Hi Kenneth and All!

I do not see any breaking points for creating mutual agreement and understanding as long as people are willing to continue the conversation. This requires a degree of trust that is understandably difficult to obtain in a forum where one can only write and where people are using terms differently.  For example, Kenneth says: "Standards aren't bad, they allow us something to strive towards, unlike holding everyone at an artificial equality."  I am not sure if this is meant to reference my, and possibly Correllon's, view on how the classes can be egalitarian rather than hierarchical, but just in case it does, I should clarify. Kenneth will have to trust that I have simply misunderstood him if the statement was not directed toward my comments.  I can say that a meritocracy as Kenneth describes is close to what I am trying to describe but, in my world, value/worth is given equally to everyone and everything (yes, I am an animist). Respect and rewards are given to everyone and everything on a minimum level, but they are not given equally. Responsibility increases for individuals as the respect and rewards that they are  given increase. I do not know what an artificial equality is any more than I would know what an artificial truth is.  I would need that concept explained to me before I could comment upon it. There is, however, nothing false or artificial about a system that does not believe one life to be of more worth than another. I thought that it was inherent in animism, but it would not be the first time I was wrong!

Standards exist in the system I described, but they are measured by each individual within the community, rather than by one person, a handful of people, or by an organization. The standards are demonstrated by the Elder in how they live, what they do, and how much they have contributed to the community in a positive way. This may be where Attila's struggle lies, as I am referring to a classic dilemma for spiritual paths: we all recognize "holy" people when we see them. We recognize them by their energy. We recognize them by their service. We recognize them by their wisdom. We recognize their skill. A person may study for decades, they may gain all kinds of skillsets, but they may still miss the spiritual grounding that gives them wisdom, clarity and devotion/passion which is what I think sets the "holy", the adept, apart. So please do not mistake my comments as advocacy for no standards,. We already have standards that we all share when it comes to recognizing true adepts. These are not standards that are easy to measure and place a stamp of approval upon. These are not standards that work well with mainstream societies hierarchies and their standards for accreditation, funding, recognition and a myriad of other needs many of our groups have. I always struggle with how much we lose when we change to fit a system that we know is in conflict with our own values and perspective. Often it is that conflict that prompted many of us to start studying Druidry or other Pagan paths to begin with. Do we risk losing what we have gained by leaving the mainstream in the process of setting and imposing standards in the same way the mainstream does? There is also a great deal to be lost by turning our backs on the mainstream. Is there a middle ground? I do not know. I know that I have declined to join Orders in the past because their structure conflicted directly with my egalitarian views. Are some people choosing to be solitaries because of this? If so, are they a large enough number that this group should consider finding the middle ground so that there is not division between people who are all interested in working together born from a simple oversight?

Now that I have discussed the objections and fears that I have when it is assumed that we have to approach the whole concept of designating adepts in Druidry in the same way that the dominant culture approaches it, it might be more worthwhile to shift the conversation in a slightly different direction...

One of the things that I did in my old life (not past life!) was mediating conflict, and I also trained government employees in mediation for a period of time. I'm declaring this not to impress, but because what I am about to do is drawn from the formal process of mediation but it can be misconstrued as hostile or condescending. No hostility here, and I have never made it high enough on any ladder to be condescending...

Kenneth says: "In my opinion, there should be some way to describe what we mean by the title. Is it impossible to establish any kind of minimal standard? I am not suggesting dogmatic adherence to a text book definition, just some form to the title."

I said: "I think we should be talking about what to call people who follow or practice Druidry (full stop). That would make it much simpler for us to start the process of defining any standard for adepts/clergy within different Druid organizations."

Atilla said: "A goal for me then, would be for Druidry to offer many levels of education for all levels of student, something that anyone can belong to, not culture specific [at the higher levels], but with relative levels of ‘help’ and education for all."

Correllon said: "within my order we teach that ovate bard and druid are differing classes and not some level of degree. While yes the druid class is the over all elder or shaman so to speak the others do have there places."

It sounds to me like we all agree, but that we are speaking at different points in a conversation that we have never actually had with one another. Let's have the conversation now and perhaps then we can move on to discussing what education (academic or experiential), demonstrated skills, commitments to service, etc. would be a minimum standard for someone to earn the title "Druid".

Considering your answers, and declaring them, helps establish a set of assumptions that people can work from which, in turn, prevents misunderstandings and back-sliding in the process of working toward the larger goal of deciding who and what a Druid should be.

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

My answer: I am ambivalent. I could go either way. I do not know how it would impact OBOD and its name and courses, nor how it may impact other Orders, their organization and their standards of practice. If everyone agrees to the above, I would advocate for us to coin a neutral term that can be used for anyone on the path. That would help entrench the distinction and use in everyday language. I think a coined term for anyone practicing Druidry would be extremely helpful for this conversation, and many other conversations on this forum. Personally, I am tired of typing "anyone practicing Druidry", "those who follow a Druid path", etc. instead of just "Druids".  It may seem like an inane point to others, but this is where I have seen conversations breaking down, people getting upset or confused, and time being wasted clearing up the misunderstandings because we have to type a sentence, rather than just a word, to describe people who are not "Druids" and sometimes people get tired or simply forget and use the wrong word rather than the right phrase.

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)?

My answer: I would prefer this but titles mean little to me to be honest.  I have spent much of my life avoiding being given any (not kidding) so I think I am a little biased. Does this fit for Correllon's Order? Are there other Orders that may object for reasons I have not considered?

Do we all agree that the title in question is something that must be conferred by a recognized authority of some kind?

My answer: I would agree. Who we recognize as the authority that may confer the title may become a sticky topic. 

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

My answer: That would be ideal and I agree that it should be the case. I am not certain it is possible, but I am open to persuasion. I say this because many of the differences in the Orders relate to what they have interpreted the function of Druids to be. Are they "renaissance men/women" who can do everything the lower grades do plus something more? Do they study and master an entirely different skill set from Bards and Ovates? Is there enough commonality between existing groups to identify and develop standards that can be agreed upon?

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



kproefrock
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Posts: 49
Joined: 2009-03-25
Standards aren't bad...

Attila wrote: "How can we put that into practice when everyone disagrees with each other so much, a mere mention of ‘Druidry is about this’ and we get the usual people coming along and saying it is not ~ no matter what you say it is.

It is; education from both levels of reality [our world and the otherworld], the highest level belongs to those who have had ‘the vision/s’, and then a score and twenty years training. That is the fully trained druid! All others are below that and some will never make it that far ~ or even wish too. Hence training and teaching should be on different levels for different kinds of people e.g. bards, ovates.

The parity I speak if attained from that, where the groups as a whole gains it and all individual find their own place within it"

Hello Attila and All,

I think that the highest hope of recent conversations on this forum is to find a way through these disagreements, and again, hopefully, find our common ground while we might discuss how we, as individuals, and how our respective Orders, might approach these questions. Certainly the use of the word druid vs. the title Druid is a beginning issue. As Morri and Corellon DragonSoul have so eloquently described how they use the title in their respective traditions, there seems to be a strong contingent of people who would like to find our way back to a verbiage more congruent with historical understanding. 

I don't believe that it has to be a breaking point, though.  

In fact, I hope that there aren't any breaking points when it comes to dialog across the continuum of our community ;-)

In my opinion, there should be some way to describe what we mean by the title. Is it impossible to establish any kind of minimal standard? I am not suggesting dogmatic adherence to a text book definition, just some form to the title. Something a little more tangible that might allow us to discuss the margins and the middle of what we mean. I think that to not establish those kinds of parameters stunts the potential growth of the movement.

Standards aren't bad, they allow us something to strive towards, unlike holding everyone at an artificial equality.  

I am afraid that I can't agree to your definition of the fully trained Druid. I think that the visions, the mystical part of spiritual practice is critically important, but, even more important is the context within which those visions can be understood. As modern humans rooting ourselves in historical understanding, we allow such a context to evolve. For me that includes a polytheistic/animistic perspective that honors each individual within the community based on a meritocracy--each of us is valued based upon our levels of training, our willingness to share our talents with our community and our personal accomplishments. 

The modern science of behavioral and developmental psychology suggests that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill or category of knowledge. If you practiced your art 10 hours a day, 30 days a month, it would take 2 1/2 years to reach a level of mastery. Is there a way to translate that into druidry? Is there a basic level of understanding that a person should have prior to calling themselves a druid? Once someone has spent 10,000 hours in study, contemplation and practice, is there something else that we might refer to them as, or are they just as equal as any other member of the organization?

I am enjoying the conversation, I wonder if we are making any progress in creating an intellectual cohesion?  

Have a wonderful day!

Kenneth 



Morri
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Joined: 2008-08-20
I appreciate the clarification!

Corellon DragonSoul, 

"within my order we teach that ovate bard and druid are differing classes and not some level of degree"

Thank you for that clarification Correllon DragonSoul! Within my family tradition this is also true, the ultimate designation of a person's experstise in skill or knowledge is the designation "aes dana" which is not given lightly. Within my Order (OBOD) this is not true and  I tend to frame things in that context in public forums. I appreciate you stepping in with this clarification, as I do agree with that perspective and that interpretation of the concept of classes in Irish lore, and I believe that it is more congruent with the egalitarian construct of labels. For anyone who is intrigued by the idea of an egalitarian system that does not require expertise to be sanctioned through authority but merely demonstrated through practice and the recognition of skill by community, this is a very important point! Thanks!

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



Correllon_DragonSoul
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Very well said

Very well said Morri,

i agree as well, although within my order we teach that ovate bard and druid are differing classes and not some level of degree. While yes the druid class is the over all elder or shaman so to speak the others do have there places. I teach my students that one can be ovate all there life and excel and specialize in a category being an ovate. When people ask my students what they are, they simply say practicing ovate or bard or druid, but that they follow under that classing of people. We have a council of elders(three actually so there is never a tieon decisions). And so while some are working there way to the Druid class, all understand there standing within our order. So i agree with what you have said, or at least what i understood of what you said.

 

Correllon DragonSoul



Morri
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Posts: 111
Joined: 2008-08-20
 Hi Attila "The parity I

 Hi Attila

"The parity I speak if attained from that, where the groups as a whole gains it and all individual find their own place within it."

I am not sure if I am reading you correctly, I find myself agreeing with much of what I believe you are saying, yet I am hesitant to assume I am on the same page because I approach the whole concept of "Druid" from a completely different perspective than most. I base that statement simply on my personal sense of being out of step with many others practicing Druidry.

My path is fiercely egalitarian. I believe in what I call "function hierarchies" which simply acknowledge that some people are more skilled in certain functions than are others. While the value we place on the "job" a person does is directly linked to the scarcity of adepts in the skillset required to do a job, and there are clear distinctions that acknowledge expertise and which may include higher monetary compensation for the work, all the work and all the workers are equally valued and recognized for their contribution to the whole.

What this means is that I approach the designation of "Druid" in much the same way as the Aboriginal communities here approach what many Pagans call "Shaman" as well as the designations of "Elder" and "Medicine Person". Simply put, it is not appropriate to call oneself by these names. Community members confer the titles in their recognition of what you do. Not all community members may agree that a person is a "true" Elder, and they do not have to agree. They would simply not go to that person for the guidance or expertise of the person in question.

This is almost the antithesis of "parity", as it is not expected that everyone will agree. Elders, Medicine People and Shamans are very much like the Druids of old imo. They performed a function for the community and were sanctioned by their community or their chieftains to perform their duties. Different Druids/Vates/Bards (using the anglicized terms) performed different functions which determined their class, and I would expect that different D/V/B's perfomed different functions than others within their respective classes. I believe that any of my ancestors who chose to study Druidry were more concerned with learning, honing their skills and serving their community than they were about what class they were assigned or what they were called within their pathworking.  The purpose of defining the functions /skillsets and/or the degree of expertise in a function/skillset, is not to assist a person in identifying themselves (their identity, who they are psychologically), it is to identify to the community who can do what (or who may do what) and how well you can expect them to do it.

I think we should be talking about what to call people who follow or practice Druidry (full stop). That would make it much simpler for us to start the process of defining any standard for adepts/clergy within different Druid organizations. I think Modern Druids get bogged down by the structure of the societies and the norms of the cultures in which we live. These structures and norms are often in conflict with Druidic perspective. In modern society (being very general here), people are frequently defined by a name that is reflected in the name of their spiritual path or religion (Catholics practice Catholicism, Buddhists practice Buddhism, Jews practice Judaism). These labels refer to the common person who follows the faith practice rather than the clergy/adepts of the faith (Catholic priest, Buddhist monk, Jewish rabbi). So, almost every newbie who comes to the path is going to say "I am a Druid" when someone asks them what they practice ~  until and unless we identify them otherwise.

We have a choice. We can recognize that we need a name for people who practice Druidry but who are not adepts, and no, "Bard" doesn't cut it (it is a class and serves a specific function). Or we need to give up the idea that we call our adepts or clergy by the name "Druid" and find a term that distinguishes them, not just within our Druidic/Pagan communities, but in the larger community as well.

Thems just me thoughts! You can call me naive, my nickname is Pollyanna...

--

~Morri
Fierce in all things and Honour above all.



attila
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Joined: 2007-11-25
thanks for your reply

Hi Kenneth

Whilst I feel that all comers should be welcome, and should be able to take courses etc, part of what such courses should be about is a valuation of members. Druidry has always [imho] been about levels of understanding. I agree that its not just an ‘anti-septic intellect’ although teaching by memory has probably always been the way in basic education. I think worldly wisdom is bought dearly and can take a lifetime [or indeed many!], one has to learn how to evaluate things with wisdom in full knowledge of what a given thing is about.

There is a spiritual level too it too, some people may be brought to this through poetry or art etc, but for me the highest order is brought to us from the other side, for jews there are ‘chosen people’ [I think that’s racist] for druids ‘chosen ones’. I think it is attainable ~ to become conducive to higher magics, and therefore can be part of an education. Such things are usually taught in life as much as anything, though it is useful if there are orders around to help us along the way.

For me this level is shown in things like the tarot quest, where the adherent goes through a number of phases and quests prior to becoming an adept. It is not religion specific either, after all none of the great thinkers stuck rigidly to the then teachings, I am sure I am not the only one who has met visionaries in all walks of life. A goal for me then, would be for Druidry to offer many levels of education for all levels of student, something that anyone can belong to, not culture specific [at the higher levels], but with relative levels of ‘help’ and education for all.

How can we put that into practice when everyone disagrees with each other so much, a mere mention of ‘Druidry is about this’ and we get the usual people coming along and saying it is not ~ no matter what you say it is.

It is; education from both levels of reality [our world and the otherworld], the highest level belongs to those who have had ‘the vision/s’, and then a score and twenty years training. That is the fully trained druid! All others are below that and some will never make it that far ~ or even wish too. Hence training and teaching should be on different levels for different kinds of people e.g. bards, ovates.

The parity I speak if attained from that, where the groups as a whole gains it and all individual find their own place within it.

 



kproefrock
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Posts: 49
Joined: 2009-03-25
Attila wrote: "As we

Attila wrote: "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?"

Hello Attila,

I think that these two questions might get at the root of some of the divisiveness in the community. Druidry remains an inanity if it retains a certain shallowness, by definition. I have not seen any level of intellectual cohesion and certainly not even the attempt at intellectual parity within the larger community of Druidry. In fact, what is most often exhibited in some of the larger groups is a bias against a more academically oriented approach, hardly an attempt at intellectual parity--unless it is a type of "no druid left behind" dumbing down of the movement. I realize that this might sound harsh, and, please know that I am not intending it to be so, just making the point that there currently exists no minimal standard by which someone could earn the right to call themselves a druid. If druid, as a title, is indicative of the movement at large, as we have been using it on these forums, I think that such should be explicitly stated, and some reconciliation might have to be given for those who feel that the title Druid is a mark of certain distinction from an ancestral culture with fairly rigorous requirements. 

I would think that the initial attempt at intellectual cohesion would be an agreement on what we call ourselves and why. Intellectual parity comes through like educational experiences--that would include life's experiences as well as academic training. There is such a large discrepancy between training programs within the movement, I am afraid that unless some minimal standard of competency can be agreed upon, we are unlikely to reach a place of intellectual parity. 

What we might have to show is our own personal progression into deeper levels of our own spiritual practice, and a greater understanding of how we might be able to impact our modern world and culture in a positive manner.

It might be interesting to consider what that might look like...

Some parts of the process that I would consider interesting to share might be addressed with the following two questions:

"How do you translate your ideology of belief into a daily practice?"

"How does that daily practice facilitate positive transformation within your self and the community within which you interact?"

Yours in the Way,

Kenneth