Just on the eastern edge of the Forest of Dean, where the River Severn snakes back and forth around the Arlingham loop, there is an annual summer-long sequence of festivals faciltated by Rainbow 2000. One of these, The Druid Camp, has just finished. For nearly a week, more then a hundred folk of all ages come together to celebrate their spirituality together as tribe. Living for a few days in tent, caravan and camper, or even more basic structures, they share sacred time with each other.
Druid Campers come from all sections of society; teachers, healers, scientists, metalsmiths, woodworkers, engineers, counsellors and Councillors… Not everyone is a Druid, nor a pagan, but everyone shares the same basic tenets of honour, integrity and community. Rituals, hosted by members of the Camp in various traditions – Druid, eco-green, Heathen, happy hippy – are held every day, interspersed with workshops and presentations from knowledgeable members of the community, music and dance, yoga, Stav (a Nordic martial art based on Runes) and late night revelry. Vegetarian cafe, long drop and composting toilets, and woodburner fuelled showers and sauna complete the scene.
Druidry in essentially the indigenous religion of Britain, expressed variously through an intentional awareness and relationship with the living landscape. We cannot know for certain the details of the early Druid practice – much of the little that was written came from the politicians of victorious invaders. As inspiration though, those early Druids have reignited many incarnations of Druidry over the centuries, especially from the seventeenth century and the late twentieth.
Many modern Druids work with deity in different forms, be that gods and godesses or elemental forces, and for some the practice of Druidry is a religion (but not for all). In keeping with an experiential spiritual path, many Druids are very aware of their impact on the environment and seek to reduce it. Stories and myth are very important, such as those in the Mabinogion, and these often teach truths through reference to archetype characters, gods and godesses.
(wrote this for an article that didn’t happen. Hey ho, I’m not proud! 🙂 Another version will sit on the Druid Camp web site shortly)