A Druidic triad speaks of three candles which illuminate all darkness: Nature, truth, and knowledge.
Nature is the beating heart of Druidry. It is in the very name, Druid, which can be interpreted as combining the Indo-European root words Dru, meaning oak, and Wid, meaning, knowledge. Druids are oak-knowers, keepers of wild wisdom. They speak for the trees.
Unlike some spiritualities that seek to transcend the earth, Druidry seeks to engage with it. Nature is sacred. The earth is holy.
Nor is nature to be seen only as existing out there somewhere, in the wilderness. Nature is all, and Druidry is about connecting with nature wherever you are. Even in the urban core of the city, there is nature. Street trees, city parks, overgrown patches of land (often seen as “waste” land by many), pigeons and falcons and squirrels…and humans. For we are nature too.
Druidry calls us to recognise the sacredness of nature even in, especially in, these despoiled environments. Even in, especially in, these times of climate crisis and habitat destruction.
Engagement with nature is not passive: it cannot be passive, for we are always engaging with nature at each moment. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the waste we generate, all of it is part of our engagement with nature. Druidry encourages us to be aware and conscious of this engagement, not to mindlessly throw things away for there is no “away”, there is only nature. Druidry raises our consciousness and so doing, affects every choice we make, as we strive however imperfectly, to live in a more honourable and respectful relationship with nature and with the earth that is our shared home.
The Druid’s Prayer speaks of the knowledge of justice, the love of it, and the love of all existence. It is a clarion call for Druids to work for social and ecological justice in any way we can. For some, this will mean front-line protesting, for others it may mean awareness raising, volunteering, writing to elected officials, cleaning up local areas that have become polluted, growing your own food, reducing impact, or even writing poems and songs for the land.
What we do matters. I’m not a Heathen, but their saying that “we are our deeds” is spot on. For Druidry to be something more than an intellectual exercise or a quaint hobby, engagement with real nature, with the world here and now, is vital. Not just in ritual and meditation, or on the Festival days, but every day, in every choice we make, large and small.
[Prompt from Alison Leigh Lilly’s 30 Days of Druidry]