A robed man standing at an ancient site performing some ritual, this is what most people think of when you speak of druids. To some extent this is certainly true but it is only a small part of the whole. Druids do perform rituals to honour solar events such as solstices but there is much more to a druid than ceremonies. Modern approaches to druidry see more and more women becoming involved in what once was a male orientated path.As well as being priests many druids are storytellers, artists, teachers and/or community workers. Druids seek to gain an inherent understanding of reality, which may be expressed through the natural world, mythology and connecting to the divine.
A druid’s path is a green path. They are custodians of the land and nature, and they look after the land, learning from it, imparting their knowledge to others. Druids are the lands spiritual custodians. This respect for the land goes well beyond a simple appreciation of landscape. It is also a respect for the land’s local spirits and Gods. The Druids understand the concept of community. They recognise, they live alongside the spirit world and that those local spirits are our neighbours. We are all one in nature. Not all druids believe in the same things but there are some things all of us have in common. All life has an inherent spiritual aspect. Nature is sacred and should be preserved. Apart from the physical world, we live in the co-existence of a spiritual world. Druids believe in reincarnation and that our souls live in the spiritual world until the time comes to be reborn. Reality is flawed by preconceptions imposed upon it by society, meditation, study and spiritual insight allows one to see true reality.
Druids have a philosophical approach to life, there are no preset gods or goddesses for druids, instead they tend to use whichever gods they feel in tune with, and in fact some druids see the divine as aspects of nature instead of a god like figure. Some druids see the divine as being the god of all religions before politics and rulers quests for power, corrupted and changed the word of the divine, to control their people by fear of a vengeful god.
Druids often fit themselves into their local pantheon of Gods and spirits, so a British Druid could worship ancient Celtic deities, while an American Druid may honour the divine in the form of the local Native American concept. Alternatively, each individual Druid may simply align themselves with which ever pantheon of Gods they feel the most comfortable with or simply worship the divine one seeing other godheads as simply faces of the divine one.
For Druids, being at one with nature also means a respect for the heritage and magic of the land that can be found at sacred sites, some made thousands of years ago by our distant ancestors. They connect us to our ancestors and our ancestors’ spiritual practices. Respecting these heritage sites means we better understand the wisdom of the land as it was known to our ancestors.
Druidry is the lore of trees, stars, animals and places they develop a spiritual connection to and the world around them and this, in turn, creates a relationship of respect for mother earth…Walking the Druid path isn’t simple. It takes years of study and hard work. In modern day Druidry, there is a series of advancement and the title of “Druid” is reserved only for those that have advanced to the highest level. There are three such stages of advancement, known as Bard, Ovate and Druid.
Bards A Bard is one who has learned the ways and stories of the Druid path, as well as possibly local and personal tales. A Bard is expected to learn great myths and legends by heart, so that he can recite them as needed. It is also common for a Bard to learn different aspects of lore, such as tree lore and animal lore, and in some cases a Bard would even be expected to learn the lineage of his people (either within his Druidic order or his community).
Ovates Ovates are masters in herbal lore with insight into the mystical and medicinal properties of various plants. This is not really witchcraft, but the Ovate does recognise that some plants may be utilised for their magical properties. In this way the Ovate gains a closerunderstanding of nature and in many ways become a healer and apothecary too.
Druids Becoming a Druid means that you have reached the highest rank on the path and may now be regarded as vastly learned in the ways of the land, community and the Other World. A Druid is considered wise enough to teach others who are on the path and act as an advisor, judge and overseer