How I came to Druidry; or Sitting in the Rain: A Druid’s Tale
Lacy and I often discuss our individual religions at length when we have nothing else to do or when the Awen brings about the topic. Maybe “religion” is the wrong word here, having it’s roots in the Latin “religio” literally “to bind again/together” perhaps “beliefs” is best fit. For, while we are both Pagans, our beliefs vary and these variations are based largely on our backgrounds. Now I will not speak for her in this case (she has plans to write a post similar to this one in the near future) but I would like to let you in on my story and how it has helped to shape my Paganism.
I recently came across a Facebook “note” that I wrote just over a year and a half ago in which I was wrestling with my identity. I wrote it as a way of outlining what I believed to be true. That’s the funny thing about “truth” what a person can hold as absolute truth one minute they can question the next and even reject or ignore later. One of the major things I was battling with was my beliefs and, in this case, my religion as well.
See I was born to a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist father and a Roman Catholic mother. When I was young I had no choice but to be a Fundamentalist Southern Baptist and, like all young people, I thought nothing of it because I knew nothing else. When my parent got divorced I transitioned out of the Baptist church and into the Roman Catholic Church. This is where I spent my childhood and teenage years, happily a committed Catholic. I was baptized, granted communion, confirmed and even acted as a lay minister (I was allowed to pass out the Eucharist at Mass) and a youth leader. I will not go into detail what led me to begin looking elsewhere for spiritual fulfillment, I will say that I became disillusioned with the Church, its bureaucracy and those that were my superiors. There are things that, to this day, I like about the RCC and there are things that I do not but that is a matter of personal conviction and I bear no ill will for anyone that was involved in those times.
In my junior year of high school, while still a dedicated Catholic, I began my spiritual odyssey. I began within my comfort zone, the Abrahamic Religions. I looked into the Rastafari Movement (thanks to a couple of Rasta co-workers) and the Ethiopian Coptic Church, Islam, Judaism and various denominations of Christianity. I looked to the East, investigating Taoism (thanks to my mom) and Buddhism.
Then I met Lacy and she introduced me to this thing called Paganism. Now that isn’t to say I didn’t know about modern pagans before she came along but I just never saw it as a system of belief that I could get behind, she changed that. She showed me how what Paganism really was, not something to be feared or scoffed, but an intelligent faith, that requires a person to stop relying on what someone else tells them and feel. Feel the Earth, the pull of the moon and the heat of the sun and respect that. So I dove into researching all I could find and I found a beautiful gem: Christo-Paganism. See I still had this special affinity for the Christ that got me through so much in my younger days and it allowed me to call upon nature and even a Goddess! This was it! I found it, that one religion that was what I
wanted needed. A pagan tradition that didn’t make be recognize that horned god that I wasn’t sure what to do with. See, I liked Green Man (and I still do), in Him I could see a Green Christ, dying in the Winter and being re-born in the spring but that man with the horns, the pan figure, I still called him “devil” at times.
Then, one day while researching “Christo-Paganism” I came upon this image. It was painted by Br. Robert Lentz OFM and is titled “Lord of the Dance” depicting Christ as the Druid’s god Cernunnos. I think that image changed everything, I dedicated myself to the Horned God that day, though I’m not sure I knew it then. And with Cernunnos came Druidry, at least for me. I found the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids website not long after and instantly fell in love with the idea that my ancestors practiced a religion very similar to this one, something I loved about Catholicism, and the idea of the Bard. As you can tell from this post, stories are important to us and part of the reason is because it is the Bard’s role to tell the stories that teach us and the next generation about our culture. So now you should be caught up on how I came to Druidry but what does all this mean, what do I really believe?
Well I’m what you could call a “soft” polytheist, but I prefer the term henotheist. I believe in the multitude of dieties but I also believe that all gods and goddesses emanate from one ultimate source. Like light, we can see red light and blue and green lights or any combination of those but truly, if all the light merged together you get “pure” light or white light. That white light is the original source of the gods to me and all the deities are but shades of visible light with special jobs.
Further, I’m a “dirt worshiper” in that I believe that the Earth is the center of my faith, all things come from her and she deserves honor and respect. I anticipate putting in a vegetable garden here at Odinskeep, whenever I can do that much work again, so that I might live better by the Wheel of the Year.
I believe that all things are intimately connected to one another in a great web of life. The grass and trees, the stones and dirt, animals, insects, fish and even we humans are entangled in the affairs of the others. Anything I choose to do can have great effect on every bit of that web and thus I strive to harm none. The times when harm is called for (i.e. hunting and sport) then it must be carried out with respect and restrain. I play rugby but when I play I don’t seek to hurt my opponent but to test him.
It is in this same vain that I treat all people of all faiths and lack there of. I do not deny any deity even if said deity has no pull on me. I respect a person for walking whatever path they choose, the only thing I hate is ignorance. To me ignorance is the root of all the evil and negativity in this world. It is the ignorance of man that will cause him to be arrogant, greedy, or bigoted.
I will leave you with this: as I sit here and watch the rains fall, wetting the trees and the nests they hold, soaking the ground and the burrows it hides, I pray, “Great Spirit, from whom all gods come, wash over me. Cleanse this world of hate, of ignorance and negativity. May the rain bring forth new life and help to wash away the old. By the Youth and Maiden, by the Mother and Father, by the Sage and Crone, Awen /|\”