I’ve recently been working on the newly relaunched web site of The Druid Network, moving pages across from the old site to the new, refreshing where appropriate and culling likewise and finding areas where new inspiration would be useful. One area where I’m seeing a gap is in what I call Pragmatic Druidry, and I can already hear the indrawn breaths and gasps of disbelief! How can one be pragmatic in ones spirituality, in ones lifestyle, in ones Druidry?
But aren’t we all balancing living in the real world, with all it’s attendant horrors of casual disrespect, disregard and dishonour, whilst trying valiantly to maintain our relationships with the planet, our local contacts with deity, our family and our tribe? At a minimum, that balancing is one in which you are using a wide network of electrical infrastructure, fossil fuel and rare metals, simply to read this waffling and unimportant web post…
Druidry is at its heart a path of relationship creation and maintenance, between the Druid and the inspirited landscape, via the gods each Druid recognises, to the ‘verse as a whole. that holds true whether one is a polytheist, pantheist, monotheist, or even (for a given value of god) atheist. In any worthwhile relationship, it is crucial that one side respects the other and vice versa. When the relationship goes sour, either it breaks up, or turns into one of abuse. In our relationships with the planet, she can’t run away. If we abuse her, she just takes it, until the day perhaps that she bites back (which will hurt).
In terms of worthwhile relationship, it follows that environmentalism is a positive human trait. We have an understanding of our impact upon the ecology of our landscape, of our world, and of the consequences of “being a bad partner”. Most of the developed world now accepts that we cannot simply continue to overpopulate the planet, pollute the planet, deplete the resources of the planet, and remain immune to the consequences – and yet in the main we continue to do exactly that. Nature is indeed ‘red in tooth and claw’, and the relationship the fox has with the chicken is different but no less natural than the hen with her chick. Are we the fox, to our Earth, or the chick?
So we live in the world we inherited from our parents, and while we will hand it on, one way or another, to our children we have to live for today. Does that mean an unthinking use of resource? Of course not. but it does mean for many of us we have to balance our needs, wants and desires with the costs to our relationships, with our parents, with our children and with our planet. And in spiritual or religious terms also with the gods we honour, the spirits of the places we revere, and with the essence of the path we purport to walk.
I’m faced with balancing my relationships in a Druid sense with living in the world around me, and working in an industrial environment. It’s something that causes crises from time to time, and occasionally I recognise that I am pushing too hard on my side of the scales. And that’s a part of having a relationship too… Sometimes I am a poor partner. So I think I’m going to blog a few ponderings on life as a Druid in a material world. Probably, I’ll be talking to myself, and that’s intentional, as writing down thoughts solidifies them and allows for analysis. But feel free to comment at the bottom of the page.
Mark Rosher /| http://www.rosher.net