Druids Today

From Druid Magic, by Maya Magee Sutton and Nicholas R. Mann, Llewllyn 2000.

Although being a Druid originally meant being of the priestly order of a Celtic society that no longer exists, today it is essentially a matter of self-definition. Being a Druid means identifying oneself as a Druid, and choosing to follow the tradition of the Druid path. To have an idea of what a Druid is today, look deeply into what the word means to you. You may be thinking, however, that simply calling oneself a Druid does not a Druid make. There must be something – a belief or training perhaps – that graduates and qualifies the aspirant into the title of Druid. At present, this is difficult to answer, and until an answer appears you can do what many do which is consider themselves "Druids in training."

There are however many Orders of Druids here in Britain and around the world. They have different styles. Some base themselves on the Druid revival which has been slowly taking place since the 17th century. Others base themselves upon native traditions, such as the Welsh Gorsedd. Most grew out of the tremendous revival of earth-centred spirituality which took place in the latter part of the 20th century. This revival, as well as many branches of paganism, is continuing. Their websites can be found alongside this one. Books on Druidry are in most bookstores.

Although no single Order or author can claim to possess the "true" path of Druidry, most agree that Druidry was in the past and is now polytheistic, pantheistic, animistic, bardic, poetic, life-affirming, earth-honouring, law-abiding, civic-minded, rational and intuitive. It was and is not belief or faith based, religious or dogmatic.

If there is one thing Druids today may have in common it is a reverence for life: for nature and the Earth. Do you? Whether this view defines a Druid is impossible to say. Another unifying factor among all contemporary Druids of whatever order or inclination is very likely the wish to give something back to the earth. This is indubitably something the Druids of old did, so here indeed is a common tradition. In the same way as the ancient Druids presided at rituals where offerings were made to the earth so Druids today are rediscovering the results of gifting. It is through gifting that service to life begins. It is through gifting that it becomes possible to arrive at a true understanding of our place in all things. We are indebted to life. We are sustained in every moment by water, earth, fire and air. Coming into an understanding of how we can give back to these things allows the possibility of consciously re-entering the sacred web of reciprocal relationships that make up all life.

 Druid Cosmology 

The universe itself is infinite. Without beginning and without end. Spirit is without time and matter. It exists outside of the world as we understand it. Linear time and space are foreign concepts in the other worlds. The task of the druid is to fully realize this and our connection with the world on multiple levels of consciousness. We seek to become one and understand the universe and how it works by observing and learning. When we come to fully realize this and we have learned all the lessons we need to learn we become an Ascended Master or a soul which can become one on a fully conscious level with the Universal Soul.

In my mind, this concept is not unlike ( try not to laugh here ) the concept of The Force in the Star Wars stories/movies. The Universal Soul or Source is the universal force of life which flows through all things. When we realize it’s presence and reach out to it we can tap into it’s connection with all things.

 The Three Realms 

The Land of the Living, The Land of Youth, ‘of Women,’ the Blessed Ones, Summer Land, The infinite Universe, The dwelling place of the eternal Soul when it is not with a body (where we go when we die). This realm infuses, surrounds and contains the Otherworld and the Human World. It is vast, and knows no corporal, spatial or temporal limits. It has no beginning and no end. This is the center of the wheel of creation; the hub of life if you will. Divine sacred light of creation and of God emanates from this place that is not a place.

The Otherworld, The realm of the Fae/Fairy, The Land of the Sidhe, gods, goddesses and ancestors. The Otherworld infuses the Human World at all times with its power and influence. It can be seductive and dangerous. This is the resting place of all god archetypes, demons, fairies, familiars, spirit guides, ghosts and mythic places/heroes or those people/things/places that have since passed from the human world. This world is represented as the spokes on the wheel of creation as it lies between the Land of the Living and the Human World. It is also our interface with the Land of the Living while we are in Human form as this world must be crossed in order to access the Land of the Living.

The Human World: The manifestation of Life for us at this time. This is the here and now. What we know consciously as our world. The embodiment of the Life of the Universe in Nature on this planet. The Soul is accompanied by a body in this world, and the physical senses of the body determine its perceptions. It is possible to journey to the Otherworld or the Land of the Living from here, or be visited by beings from there. Druids can learn or remember awareness of the eternal Soul and thereby gain some understanding of the Otherworld and immortal existence in the Land of the Living while incarnate, but full memory usually does not return until death. However, if we learn to listen to ourselves we can usually hear the whispering of our higher self (soul) whispering and hinting to us from the full wisdom of our soul gained from our many incarnations in creation.

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