by James Sangster (aka merddyn2002)
I look at the role of druid as more of an archetype for both a scholar, priest and shaman rolled into one. The Native Americans, Inuit, Australian and Siberian aborigines all had druids of a sort but with their own specific cultural twists. I’m not a Star Wars fanatic but I certainly look at the jedi order presented in those tales as a very good interpretation of the druid archetype.
Another exquisite illustration of the druidic archetype is the Fremen lifestyle as presented in the Dune novels by Frank Herbert. I actually heard through pure rumor that Mr. Herbert may have been a closet druid at the time of penning those particular works. The stories of his “righteous oppressed underdog” Fremen people value a closeness to the spirit of the land, an appreciation for ceremony and formal passages in the stage of life, an organized tribe style government with a council of elders, a shamanistic approach to accessing the “otherworld” and a recognition that time and space do not exist there, and organized formal spiritual leaders that presided over ceremonies and guided their people on a spiritual plain. I would certainly say that their culture (though fictional it is) is just a druidic that of the celts.
I do generally believe in the “four pillars of druidry” being multiple lives, spirit in all things, reverence for ancestors and multiple worlds. And of course, let us not forget Truth, thought that is such a supreme and transcendent concept that it deserves a category on it’s own. Though different people may have variants on these themes generally speaking if there is some semblance or recognition of these basic tenants I’ve always believed it satisfied the general spiritual, intellectual and social path of druidry, no matter what cultural title you give it.
This is a bit controversial I understand but I don’t particularly believe that druidry has to incorporate the three realms and the cosmology of infinity as the celts did. This is in my mind more of a cultural ideal. The Native American tribes didn’t all believe in an infinite universe nor do the Inuits but they are no less druidic in my assessment. Whether you declare there is 1 or 20 “otherworlds” or that the universe is infinite or that we all ride upon the shell of a great cosmic turtle in our physical world that does not change your heart or your endorsement of the four pillars and love of truth in whatever form they may be manifesting in your culture/path.
A druid need not be a celtic shaman following the path of the green man or some other celtic deity. A druid is in your heart and soul. It's in your ethics and your outlook on the world and your place in it.