What, to begin with, is a family?
It isn’t just, or even necessarily, who we are related to by birth.
As we go through the journey of our life, we form friendships, fall in love, create our own family through choice and circumstance.
In the LGBTQ+ community, and in the Pagan community, there is often an emphasis on chosen family, for in many cases people within these communties have been rejected by their families of birth. My own family of birth are dead, and they were not always loving and supportive when they were alive.
Family is never a license for abuse or hatred. Sometimes walking away is the right path.
And does family mean human?
My partner and I have pet gerbils. These small fluffy creatures with big personalities and loving hearts are very much part of our family. To think otherwise because they are a different species is to be anthropocentric. Druidry recognises the spirit and value of all life forms, so why should they not be family?
For that matter, why would family not include the tree at the bottom of the garden, the birds at the feeder, the frogs in the pond, the river flowing through the centre of town?
When we extend our concept of family, looking through the eyes of a Druid, seeing the hidden connections that unite all beings, we can start to see that all life is our family. All people (yes, that includes the awful ones – family is rarely simple and conflict is sometimes unavoidable), all animals, plants, and perhaps those forms usually thought of as non-living like rivers and rocks, too. They are family.
How does Druidry affect life with and in this giant family of being? It reminds us of these connections, these relationships, these bonds of evolution and ancestry, bone and blood and kin, chemistry and physics, spirit and soul. It calls us to live in honourable relationship with each other, human and non-human alike.
“We are one, we are a universe” – Nightwish, The Greatest Show On Earth.
[Prompt from Alison Leigh Lilly’s 30 Days of Druidry]