Salve. My name’s Kate, and I am — broadly — a pagan. More specifically, I’d consider myself a Druid. Druidry, or Druidism, can be a tricky thing to define because, like paganism as a whole, it can mean rather different things to different people.
For some, Druidry is a ceremonial tradition first and foremost; to others, like me, it is a religion or a spectrum of religious beliefs – a philosophy which holds at its heart the deep, inextricable connection between people and land. It is, in short, a ‘nature religion’, whose adherents might have many different ways of viewing divinity (some are monotheistic, some polytheistic, others still pantheistic, and so on), but who all generally recognise the importance of that link between the individual and the spirits of nature.
Many Druids hold their ancestors in great reverence, and have a deep respect for cultural and literary traditions and heritage. The most commonly used symbol of Druidry is ‘awen’ – representing the flowing inspiration of the poet bards:
But Druidry comes in many shapes and sizes, with many different interpretations. For me, there’s much less emphasis on ancestors and heritage, but I still have a clear recognition of the divine in the mechanisms and systems of Nature. My “gods” are largely impersonal: they are the sea, and the sun, and the wind in the trees; they are places, they are the weather, and the stars and all the terrifying wonder of the universe. Still, impersonal as they may be, I tend to envisage them with a rather Graeco-Roman vibe to them, and if I do invoke them for any reason, it’s using those names: Neptune, Apollo, Boreas, the genii loci, Nox, and so on. (Honestly, I don’t think they really care that much. They’re usually kind of busy, and I am very, very small.)
Probably my most specific focus is on the power of human words, beliefs and actions to shape and define the world around us, and to cast it into shades of light and darkness, of “good” or “evil”. So my practice, in terms of prayer and ritual, involves recognition of and showing respect for divinity as reflected in the world around me; but for the most part it’s about the day to day. In my daily interactions with others and in the way I go about doing what I do, how can I best nurture the light and resist doing and saying things that will make the world around me worse?
And if I ever work that out, I’ll be sure to let you know.
Together with Suzanne Martin, I’m also currently one of the Webmasters for the Chesterfield Interfaith Forum. So if you’ve noticed any issues with regard to the site here, please do let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.