Pillars of Druidry

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

Reincarnation: The Soul (anam) comes and goes in an eternal cycle of lives. Between lives in this world, the Soul dwells in the Land of the Living. The Soul may incarnate in any form, animate or inanimate. At death, the Soul generally loses memory of the details of each individual life but carries the result of the experience across the worlds in the form of wisdom. This may manifest as inspiration (awen – Welsh, imbas – Irish), as music or poetry, or in other ways. There is no evidence to suggest that the experience of the Soul as it journeys between the worlds and between lifetimes is sequential. The experience is better understood as being contracted or expanded, shallower or deeper, inner and outer. The beauty of death is that it erases memories of the life, while leaving the soul with the wisdom that the lessons of the life have imparted.

Spirit in All Things: The whole universe is alive with immanent presence. Water, rocks, fires, hills and rivers, even thoughts, shouts, waves and the wind are alive with soul or spirit presence. The spirits of place and especially the Goddesses of Sovereignty represent this power in the land. The Druids revered the landscape, worshipped within it, and let nature be their guide and teacher. Their task was to nourish the Soul of Life with the life of their own soul.

Reverence for Ancestors: The awareness or wisdom that each soul brings into existence is both individual and collective. The life of the individual, the life of the village, and the life of the land, are the same. The lineage and tradition into which the Soul incarnates shapes consciousness. The Druids honoured the ancestors and the tradition, usually expressed as honor for the tribe and its symbols. The community of the tribe is made up of the dead as well as the living. As we are our ancestors (multiple lifetimes concept) we also pay tribute to ourselves and our brothers and sisters as we honor those in the ancestors.

Multiple Worlds: In addition to this world, there are two others: the Land of the Living and the Realm of the Sidhe. These worlds co-exist and interpenetrate each other. It is possible to journey between the worlds, but to do this in human form is dangerous. Time in the other worlds is non-linear, and glamour and the subjective limitations of the physical senses may seriously affect the traveller’s experience. An image for these many worlds is that of a wheel. We live on the rim of the wheel and experience time on the journey around its perimeter. The spokes of the wheel are the many other worlds (Irish myth mentions thirty-three), and the Soul passes through these to get to the hub. The hub is the Land of the Living, where the experience of the Soul is not constrained by birth, death or time. The hub of course, also contains the perimeter, so the wheel imagery turns out upon itself.

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