In about a week and a half, I will find myself once again in Louisiana for the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering. The last two years, the event has not been held over COVID concerns (rightly so). This year, there was some question over the possibility due to weather-related damages at the camp that has been used the previous years. However, this year’s camp will be held at a new location, a short distance to the west of where it was held before. I’m glad that this is occurring, as many of the people that attend or what I consider to be family. But there’s more than just that. There’s also the time spent around the fire – the talking, the singing, the laughing, the sharing of our lives together. That connectedness…that shit matters to me. The only thing that could keep me away? The cost of fuel to get there.
In yesterday’s blog post, I joked about my “Connective Druidry” but I am starting to think there’s something more there than just a catchy phrase. As I noted, my Druidry is about connections – connections to other people, to the environment around me, well…literally, everything. But there are folks that will ask me about my spell work, the rituals that I work with, how I work with my Gods….the stuff that a lot of other Pagans seem to place in that realm of “advanced Paganism” which I considered to be a garbage phrase. Connectivity includes all of that stuff. In my approach to Druidry…there’s nothing that places things in an “advanced” phrasing. Life isn’t set up in phases of 101, 201, 301, etc collegiate coursework. Life is….well, life. Druidry is the approach to living. Looking to connections and how things fit together to be a part of living.
In other words, you want to do spell work? Do it!! You want to emphasize rituals in your approach? Do it!! If neither of those calls to your spirit, that’s perfectly fine. At least try the stuff to determine how things go before you push it away. What works for you is what CONNECTS with you. That’s important. That’s the stuff that rocks your soul. That’s the stuff that makes you excited to approach each day with the hope of new eyes.
For me, its finding, exploring, understanding, and cultivating connections with everything around me. That’s my Druidry. That’s the stuff that excites me. That’s what drives me. Being out in the woods with a walking stick, a pair of good hiking boots, and a pack with water and some food…I have everything I need. Well, except for a pen and a journal to write with. Rituals…not so much. These have particular uses. So does spell work, but I don’t have tight connectivity with spells. It’s a tool that I don’t rely on for much. I know that runs as anathema to many other Pagans, but I would also note that not every Pagan does Paganism the same as others and that’s really ok. The point isn’t whether anyone is doing the stuff that you do. The point is that you are doing the things that bring meaning to your everyday life without causing harm to others.
In yesterday’s post, I was pointing out the openly outward connectivity that we have with others. The way that we provide others with the drive and determination to do what they are seeking – just by being there for them. Helping to inspire them to keep moving forward, to keep seeking. What about the ones we don’t know about? What about the ones who silently watch what we do, how we do it, when we do it?
I loathe the idea of being a role model for any individual. I am one fucked up individual. I have made some beautifully disastrous mistakes in my life – quite a few on display for the whole world to fucking see. In many respects, I am no one to model your life after. However, some people have found inspiration from me. So you never know who might be watching and what they might take away from what you do. A type of connectivity that you never see…and sometimes never know. I initiated into Bardic and Ovate grades at Gulf Coast Gathering. One of the folks who initiated into the Bardic grade with me was inspired to finish and be initiated into the Ovate grade the next year. He surprised me with the news when I arrived at camp that year – being the second person to welcome me face-to-face. Somewhere, somehow…he got inspiration from my push to move from Bardic to Ovate grade…and never made a comment to me until that day. Connectivity and inspiration that I never knew about.
There will be those who will poo-poo some of what I’ve said here. Truthfully, I’m ok with that. My life, as fucked up as it has been, has never been about gaining the approval of others. When I have stooped to that mark – going overboard to gain the approval of another – I’ve found that it wasn’t worth any of the effort. The approval I needed was my own.
At the end of The Breakfast Club, one of my favorite movies, the students had been asked to individual write a paper explaining to the principal who they thought they were. The group opted for a single member to write a paper that would explain each of them. Their answer:
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us to write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, the most convenient definitions. You see us as a Brain, an Athlete, a Basketcase, Princess, and a Criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7 o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed.
My perspective of “Connective Druidry” is not what I would consider to be commonplace. The aspects that I place emphasis do not follow the simplest ideas or the most convenient definitions. Many will see this as me placing myself into a “special” category…something “different”. Not really. My Druidry, just as your Druidry will be for you, is unique because I am unique. That’s not something “special” or “extra-ordinary”…its just me. I’m no super-hero. I’m no supreme Arch-Druid. I’m not even a leader, unless someone places me in those spots. Even then, I’d be more likely to shrug off the cape, push aside the symbolism – and still proclaim myself to be just the simple human being that I am. My connections make me what I am. My connections provide me with my strength, my inner definition…and I prefer it that way.
The sleep is still in my eyes
The dream is still in my head
I heave a sigh and sadly smile
And lie awhile in bed
Rush, “Soliloquy” “2112”