Progress within a timeless tradition

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light

William Wordsworth

 

This week has been particularly busy for me.  I have been working on this blog and trying to get it up and running.  I finally got some links listed along the side of the page.  These are pages that I tend to visit frequently and felt compelled to share them with you as well.  I am particularly interested in Druid Magazine which is a new online magazine that is set to launch its inaugural issue on May 1st which is of course Beltane.  You can also find a link to the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) of which I am a member currently in the Bardic grade.  Additionally there are links to music and other resources.  This section of the website is a work in progress but I am hoping to see it develop as time goes on.

I downloaded all 97 episodes of Druidcast to my phone about a week ago.  Druidcast is the official podcast of OBOD and is hosted by Damh the Bard.  I listen to this awesome product on my ride to and from work each day.  I have made it to episode 20 so far and there is so much good information contained in those podcasts as well as exposure to all types of music and poetry.  It really gets the Bardic juices flowing and puts me in a creative mood.

As I have previously mentioned, this blog will focus on the unique aspects of American Druidry as opposed to Druidry in other areas of the world.  I am very interested in how Druids in America live out their spiritual lives in an environment that is so different from where Druidry originated.  I think for me the important part is to look at the historical example as a framework upon which to build a modern spirituality.  I love the mythology and the stories that are the core of the Bardic inspiration and are heavily derived from the European histories.  However, part of being a Druid is having an intimate connection with place.  That means being connected to the land, people, histories of where we are physically located.  Learning about the histories, plants, peoples, mythologies, etc… of England, Ireland, and Europe is fascinating but since I don’t live there it is challenging for me to build a strong connection to those things.  As a part of the learning process those histories are important and studying them can give me skills to utilize in my own spiritual journey.

Being a Druid in the U.S. is interesting.  This country is so vast and so diverse in regards to climate, flora, fauna, histories, traditions, indigenous peoples, etc…In my life I have lived in eight different states ranging from east coast to midwest to the Pacific northwest and southern California.  All those places are very different in many ways so there isn’t one particular right way of doing things.  That is really the beauty of the Druid path in the first place.  At least the Druid path that I have chosen to follow and that OBOD teaches.  It isn’t a dogmatic religion and so you are able to use the skills of this spiritual path to incorporate into your current place and personal spiritual beliefs.

I think this is great because my job takes me to a lot of different places and so to be able to connect with the new place is an important part of the spiritual walk for me.  Where I live right now is primarily Palm trees and tropical plants.  A few years back I lived surrounded by Pine trees and mountains.  Each of these places has its own spirit of place.  Each of them is unique within the American landscape but also vastly different from the English or European landscape.

I am excited to be able to share this journey with you.  I invite you to feel free to comment on any post.  I am still learning the ropes of WordPress so bare with me as I try to keep improving the site.

In closing I wanted to share a photo with you of the Pechanga Oak Tree.  This magnificent tree is located near Temecula, CA and is estimated to be over 1,500 years old.  There is also an interesing website dedicated to the tree and the tribe of people who protect it.

pechanga_lg

What do the Druids and Druidry mean to me?

Greetings!

Recently in my coursework for OBOD I was challenged with the question:  What do the Druids and Druidry mean to me?  I wanted to share my journal entry with you.

Historically the Druids don’t mean a great deal to me beyond my general interest in history.  They represent a small connection to my ancestral past and I think the tales are interesting but I don’t feel compelled to recreate their lifestyle as a reconstructionist might.  They do however represent a way of life that is focused on knowledge which I do value.  Knowledge of self, knowledge of the physical world, knowledge of the spiritual world, and knowledge of the divine.  Druidry for me represents a path towards spiritual awareness and spiritual connectedness.  My own vision of the Divine is very broad and Druidry is a pathway towards discovery.  I don’t see Druidry as a religion with a diety but rather a spiritual practice in which the divine is more clearly recognized and understood.

I think that the great thing about Druidry is that people of all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs can come together in this same discipline and use it without conflict.  They can each have their own understanding of the Divine but still use the framework of this spiritual path to grow in their knowledge and understanding.  Druidry also compels us towards connectedness in the arts, music, healing, and wisdom.  That is what the Druids and Druidry mean to me.

This was a short entry in my journal but I really love this question and the thinking that it forces on me.  I was raised in a Christian home and most of my family still identifies with various Christian churches.  I don’t have anything against the Christian faith or the traditions.  I simply believe that it is too narrow a vision of the Divine.  I think that God (gender-neutral) is much bigger than our minds can fathom but through spiritual practice we can come to see glimpses of the bigger picture and participate in the spiritual world as well as the physical.

Beltane is right around the corner and I hope that you have a great celebration of this time of year.

New Beginnings

Greetings!  I decided to start this blog as a sort of spiritual journal to share my own experiences.  This sort of thing may not be of interest to everyone but some may find it useful to read.  Mostly though it is an opportunity to express my thoughts through the creative art of writing.

So this blog is called American Druid – A Spiritual Journey.  I chose that name because I am an American and follow the spiritual discipline of Druidry or as it is sometimes called, Druidism.  Druidry isn’t a religion in the sense of how most people think of religion with big churches and clergy and a god or gods.  Druidry is rather a framework or a path in which a person works to find their own spiritual reality.  Those who follow this path may worship any god or goddess they choose.  They may worship multiple dieties or none at all.  The hallmark of this path is acceptance and understanding that each of us is on a journey and to support each other along that path.

I am doing my formal studies through the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.  There are many other orders and smaller groups spread throughout the world but I felt that this particular group had a very well developed study program.  So I while I can’t share the specifics of my studies here as they are reserved for members of the Order, I can share some of the lessons I learn as I go through the experience but also just things from my own life.

Druidry isn’t so much about recreating ancient rituals or dressing in white robes although both of those are fine and have their place.  Druidry is mostly about connecting with the the divine, with our own selves, and with the land.  So Druidry in England may be somewhat different than Druidry in America or in Asia.  The plants are different.  The trees are different.  The land and its history are different.  So it is important to understand where you are physically and connect with the place.  This will have a significant impact on the journey itself.

Well, I think that suffices for an introductory post.  More to follow over time.