I’m an introvert. Every psychological test, both formal with a therapist and self-reported online, has confirmed this, giving me extremely high (above 90%) scores for introversion.
As such, my Druidry has always been a mostly solitary pursuit, sometimes accompanied by my partner who is on a similar Pagan path, but more often than not just me. One of the wonderful things about animism and Druidry of course is that it reveals how we are never really alone; there is always community, in the form of other-than-human persons like the trees and birds, the microbes in the soil, the bacteria in our bodies, all distinct conscious beings with whom our lives are inextricably entwined. And then there are such liminal entities as spirits of place, deities etc. – if you believe in them of course.
Yet, still, solitary practice has been the foundation of my Druidry for years now. So why was it that I found myself on a grey, cold, Sunday morning standing in a field with my partner and two other Druids whom I had never met, chanting the Awen and holding hands?
I have to admit it was a surreal experience for me. My only real experience with group ritual before this was either with my Druid College classmates, or in large Pagan camps – conveniently far away from anyone I may know in “real life”. This small group was in my own home city.
My being there was purely the result of an email from a local practicing Druid who invited me to come along for Beltane. I had no clue what to expect, and frankly I didn’t dress for the weather, but I plucked up the courage to go along anyway. And it was worth doing so.
Ritual has a funny way of binding people together. People who I don’t know, people who I would probably never go up to and strike up a conversation, but people with whom I could share a common language, common reference points, a shared symbology.
One thing I want to do this year is work on being more open with my Druidry, not just have it as a hobby for weekends and occasional gatherings, but something I can be proud to live and walk each day. Not to preach or proselytise of course, but to be a Druid, quietly living my path.
Going to a nascent comminity Druid group is part of that. It’s about stepping beyond the solitary comfort zone and bringing my Druidry into community with other people’s Druidries, and seeing what can be culitvated together by doing so.
I will still need a lot of solitary time though, as an introvert I need the time to recharge after doing things with people, no matter how enjoyable it is still a massive energy drain.
But this feels like a step in the right direction. A step to making my Druidry more “real”, more enacted and embodied, less a thing purely of words and ideas.
And that can only be a good thing.