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Author Topic: Druid paths - thoughts and questions  (Read 2407 times)

Sophia C

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Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« on: November 18, 2012, 07:32:54 am »
Since the beginning of my Druidry journey (only a couple of years ago), I've been conflicted over the different Druid paths and directions I could take. I feel increasingly called to hold the balance - between revival Druidry and more reconstructionist Druidry, and between my naturalist/pantheist and Celtic polytheist leanings. The question is where to find the sources for that balance. OBOD Druidry provides me with an excellent structure for magic and relating to the natural world, but it's not so good when it comes to hearth practice and honouring the gods (which it takes no interest in and leaves up to individuals). The best thing about OBOD has been finding my grove, a wonderful bunch of people who follow a range of different paths themselves. But the Bardic grade itself hasn't been amazing - there is good stuff in there, especially as a foundation for magical practice, but that wasn't exactly what I wanted out of a Druidry course! I've almost finished the Bardic grade - I'm taking a short break from it while I figure out what I want to do next.

I've just joined ADF (after pretending for some months that I couldn't hear the call to do so :whis:) and I'm going to look through the Dedicant materials and decide if I want to commit to it. I think I will find a lack of balance in ADF too, though, at least from my own perspective of what 'balance' is - I find revival Druidry very useful, spiritually speaking. My British context could be the reason why. Reconstructionism isn't common here - all the members of my grove are dedicated to scholarly study of their practices and paths, just not within a reconstructionist framework. I lean in a reconstructionist direction, but definitely not exclusively.

My alternative to OBOD, in terms of revival Druidry, is the British Druid Order. I started their Bardic grade about two years ago, then got distracted for a while and gave up, and then started the OBOD course. The BDO course is much more earthy and less, well, fluffy than the OBOD course, from my experience with both so far. The problem is the lack of support - they're a small and not very organised order, whereas you have all the resources in the world to hand with OBOD (tutors, active internet forum, more groves, etc). I'm not leaving my grove - they don't mind which order I'm working with - but the other resources that OBOD offers are fantastic. Just for example, being dyslexic (yes, I'm a dyslexic PhD student), I've found it absolutely brilliant that OBOD offers an audio version of the course as well as a printed version. The BDO, in contrast, does everything via quite poorly-designed PDF, which I can just about cope with if I print out, but which is not nearly as good.

I did a(nother) tarot reading about this today, and the result was the distinct impression that I should just pick a direction and get on with it. But no one said I couldn't get advice from other Druids. :D: I'm currently leaning (somewhat) towards finishing the BDO Bardic grade alongside starting the ADF Dedicant Path, for that balance thing. Any thoughts from anyone who has experienced either ADF's Dedicant Path, OBOD's Ovate course, or (much less likely) the BDO courses?
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Aster Breo

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Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2012, 01:24:17 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398
Any thoughts from anyone who has experienced either ADF's Dedicant Path, OBOD's Ovate course, or (much less likely) the BDO courses?

I'm not a druid and haven't done any of these courses, so ignore me if you want.  ;)

But, reading what you wrote here, it seems to me that you need to build your own brand of druidry that has foundations in all three orders.  Couldn't you do the courses of all three organizations and then take from each the pieces that you find useful?

More work, yes. But ultimately, more fulfilling?  Unless you have a deadline...?

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Sophia C

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Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2012, 02:58:04 pm »
Quote from: Aster Breo;81435
I'm not a druid and haven't done any of these courses, so ignore me if you want.  ;)

But, reading what you wrote here, it seems to me that you need to build your own brand of druidry that has foundations in all three orders.  Couldn't you do the courses of all three organizations and then take from each the pieces that you find useful?

More work, yes. But ultimately, more fulfilling?  Unless you have a deadline...?

~ Aster

That's no bad idea, and one I have considered. My concerns are about whether I'll end up uncommitted and flaky. Plus courses cost money - OBOD in particular is very expensive. But doing more than one order's courses could work. I'd probably be better off sticking with two rather than three, as I have other commitments - I also belong to the Druid Network and have an ad-hoc mentor from there. Plus the informal Druid coffee club I helped set up... It occurs to me that I go overboard on the Druidry sometimes :D:
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Dragonfly68

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2012, 06:17:01 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81451
That's no bad idea, and one I have considered. My concerns are about whether I'll end up uncommitted and flaky. Plus courses cost money - OBOD in particular is very expensive.

 
The only cost in ADF is the membership fee.  There is no charge to do the dedicate path.

bluewave193

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 01:05:32 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398
Since the beginning of my Druidry journey (only a couple of years ago), I've been conflicted over the different Druid paths and directions I could take. I feel increasingly called to hold the balance - between revival Druidry and more reconstructionist Druidry, and between my naturalist/pantheist and Celtic polytheist leanings. The question is where to find the sources for that balance. OBOD Druidry provides me with an excellent structure for magic and relating to the natural world, but it's not so good when it comes to hearth practice and honouring the gods (which it takes no interest in and leaves up to individuals). The best thing about OBOD has been finding my grove, a wonderful bunch of people who follow a range of different paths themselves. But the Bardic grade itself hasn't been amazing - there is good stuff in there, especially as a foundation for magical practice, but that wasn't exactly what I wanted out of a Druidry course! I've almost finished the Bardic grade - I'm taking a short break from it while I figure out what I want to do next.

I've just joined ADF (after pretending for some months that I couldn't hear the call to do so :whis:) and I'm going to look through the Dedicant materials and decide if I want to commit to it. I think I will find a lack of balance in ADF too, though, at least from my own perspective of what 'balance' is - I find revival Druidry very useful, spiritually speaking. My British context could be the reason why. Reconstructionism isn't common here - all the members of my grove are dedicated to scholarly study of their practices and paths, just not within a reconstructionist framework. I lean in a reconstructionist direction, but definitely not exclusively.

My alternative to OBOD, in terms of revival Druidry, is the British Druid Order. I started their Bardic grade about two years ago, then got distracted for a while and gave up, and then started the OBOD course. The BDO course is much more earthy and less, well, fluffy than the OBOD course, from my experience with both so far. The problem is the lack of support - they're a small and not very organised order, whereas you have all the resources in the world to hand with OBOD (tutors, active internet forum, more groves, etc). I'm not leaving my grove - they don't mind which order I'm working with - but the other resources that OBOD offers are fantastic. Just for example, being dyslexic (yes, I'm a dyslexic PhD student), I've found it absolutely brilliant that OBOD offers an audio version of the course as well as a printed version. The BDO, in contrast, does everything via quite poorly-designed PDF, which I can just about cope with if I print out, but which is not nearly as good.

I did a(nother) tarot reading about this today, and the result was the distinct impression that I should just pick a direction and get on with it. But no one said I couldn't get advice from other Druids. :D: I'm currently leaning (somewhat) towards finishing the BDO Bardic grade alongside starting the ADF Dedicant Path, for that balance thing. Any thoughts from anyone who has experienced either ADF's Dedicant Path, OBOD's Ovate course, or (much less likely) the BDO courses?

 
The New Order of Druids offers free introductory material that may help you build a foundation in your druidry. They also have a forum and lots of other resources. I've felt a pull towards ADF, but am sticking with NOD until I finish their all three levels of their coursework.

Asch

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 01:34:17 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398
Since the beginning of my Druidry journey (only a couple of years ago), I've been conflicted over the different Druid paths and directions I could take. I feel increasingly called to hold the balance - between revival Druidry and more reconstructionist Druidry, and between my naturalist/pantheist and Celtic polytheist leanings. The question is where to find the sources for that balance. OBOD Druidry provides me with an excellent structure for magic and relating to the natural world, but it's not so good when it comes to hearth practice and honouring the gods (which it takes no interest in and leaves up to individuals). The best thing about OBOD has been finding my grove, a wonderful bunch of people who follow a range of different paths themselves. But the Bardic grade itself hasn't been amazing - there is good stuff in there, especially as a foundation for magical practice, but that wasn't exactly what I wanted out of a Druidry course! I've almost finished the Bardic grade - I'm taking a short break from it while I figure out what I want to do next.

I've just joined ADF (after pretending for some months that I couldn't hear the call to do so :whis:) and I'm going to look through the Dedicant materials and decide if I want to commit to it. I think I will find a lack of balance in ADF too, though, at least from my own perspective of what 'balance' is - I find revival Druidry very useful, spiritually speaking. My British context could be the reason why. Reconstructionism isn't common here - all the members of my grove are dedicated to scholarly study of their practices and paths, just not within a reconstructionist framework. I lean in a reconstructionist direction, but definitely not exclusively.

My alternative to OBOD, in terms of revival Druidry, is the British Druid Order. I started their Bardic grade about two years ago, then got distracted for a while and gave up, and then started the OBOD course. The BDO course is much more earthy and less, well, fluffy than the OBOD course, from my experience with both so far. The problem is the lack of support - they're a small and not very organised order, whereas you have all the resources in the world to hand with OBOD (tutors, active internet forum, more groves, etc). I'm not leaving my grove - they don't mind which order I'm working with - but the other resources that OBOD offers are fantastic. Just for example, being dyslexic (yes, I'm a dyslexic PhD student), I've found it absolutely brilliant that OBOD offers an audio version of the course as well as a printed version. The BDO, in contrast, does everything via quite poorly-designed PDF, which I can just about cope with if I print out, but which is not nearly as good.

I did a(nother) tarot reading about this today, and the result was the distinct impression that I should just pick a direction and get on with it. But no one said I couldn't get advice from other Druids. :D: I'm currently leaning (somewhat) towards finishing the BDO Bardic grade alongside starting the ADF Dedicant Path, for that balance thing. Any thoughts from anyone who has experienced either ADF's Dedicant Path, OBOD's Ovate course, or (much less likely) the BDO courses?

 
I'm dawdling on the OBOD Bardic course and working through the ADF DP. One thing to be clear on is that ADF is not really recon, we work hard to be scholarly and aware of historical issues (such as Christian overlay, cultural overlap / blending, revision, sources of info etc.) but we are quite firmly Neo-Pagan / Neo-Druids. Further we're orthopraxic not orthodoxic but unlike OBOD (which is somewhere between a fraternal order and a religious order imo) we are a religion and have certain expectations and tenets regarding rituals that are billed as ADF (as opposed to an ADF 'style' rite for instance).

Sophia C

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 03:53:36 am »
Quote from: Asch;81581
One thing to be clear on is that ADF is not really recon, we work hard to be scholarly and aware of historical issues (such as Christian overlay, cultural overlap / blending, revision, sources of info etc.) but we are quite firmly Neo-Pagan / Neo-Druids. Further we're orthopraxic not orthodoxic but unlike OBOD (which is somewhere between a fraternal order and a religious order imo) we are a religion and have certain expectations and tenets regarding rituals that are billed as ADF (as opposed to an ADF 'style' rite for instance).

 
Yes, the OBOD tradition is definitely more 'spiritual' than 'religious', to the extent that these distinctions work for Druidry. Recon was the wrong word for ADF, I know, but I couldn't think of a better one. I feel like ADF will support my reconstructionist impulses a bit better than OBOD, from what I've read of its materials (a friend lent me some Dedicant Path stuff to see how I got on with it, so I've essentially started the course, especially the reading). OBOD is lovely, but I frequently want to throw their CDs out of the car window when I first listen to them. They don't care at all about the accuracy of their sources. They have awesome ritual and meditative work, though.

Quote from: bluewave193;81580
The New Order of Druids offers free introductory material that may help you build a foundation in your druidry. They also have a forum and lots of other resources. I've felt a pull towards ADF, but am sticking with NOD until I finish their all three levels of their coursework.

 
I've come across them, but am trying to avoid getting involved with too many other orders. My head might explode if I join them all. :)

Well, on the same day I joined ADF formally, one of their people asked me to blog for a new project they're doing. So the universe appears to be happy with my choice to go in that direction!
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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A Disgruntled Scotsman

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 05:47:15 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398
Since the beginning of my Druidry journey (only a couple of years ago), I've been conflicted over the different Druid paths and directions I could take. I feel increasingly called to hold the balance - between revival Druidry and more reconstructionist Druidry, and between my naturalist/pantheist and Celtic polytheist leanings. The question is where to find the sources for that balance.

I'm currently leaning (somewhat) towards finishing the BDO Bardic grade alongside starting the ADF Dedicant Path, for that balance thing. Any thoughts from anyone who has experienced either ADF's Dedicant Path, OBOD's Ovate course, or (much less likely) the BDO courses?

 
I haven't experienced any of these courses but a Druid acquaintance of mine on a multi-faith board did say this:

Quote from: Matholwch on another forum

One of the questions I often ask those nice people I meet at camps, festivals, groves and on-line is 'what are you?'.
I get a wide range of replies as you might expect, but one I am hearing more often is 'I am (a) druid'.  I then tend to
examine the claimant with more interest, wait a few long heartbeats and then venture my second question, 'why do you call
yourself (a) druid?'.

Confusion usually ensues as the nice person, now on the backfoot, footles around for one of the standard replies:
1. I completed/am doing the OBOD/Albion Conclave/ADF/some other course.
2. I am a member of OBOD/TDN/BDO/ADF/such and such a grove.
3. I have read a lot of books by, attended seminars by, listened to, or met
Emma Restall Orr/Philip Shallcrass/Philip Carr-Gomm/Ronald Hutton(?)/Isaac Bonewitz/Ross Nichols/some other geezer.
4. I have attended a camp (or camps).
5. I go to the open rituals at Stonehenge/Avebury/any other henge.

Only thrice have I heard the reply "I am a priest/ess to a community of like minded souls. I lead the grove in celebrations,
weddings, namings and partings. I visit the sick and the lonely, counsel the bereaved and the sad, campaign on issues
important to my community, and grow herbs and vegetables on my allotment which I contribute to a box scheme. I also teach
those interested in knowing more about druidry, including doing sessions for the local high school RE programme."

Each of these was a druid, a priest/ess of a community and contributor to the lives of many for no expected reward.
They serve their community willingly and try to exemplify the teachings of their gods by their actions. As far as I know
they do so still.

If we are to rebuild the concept of druidry for the modern age then we must begin to understand that being a druid is a
lifelong commitment to service of your community, not a badge, nor a label, nor a reward for completing a course, nor even a
hierarchical position in an order.


Doing a course doesn't necessarily make one a Druid - some might say that it takes a whole lot more than that.
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Sophia C

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 07:14:51 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;81727
Doing a course doesn't necessarily make one a Druid - some might say that it takes a whole lot more than that.


Oh, absolutely. That's why I only ever talk about being on a Druidic path and I wouldn't venture to call myself a Druid yet. My model for Druidry is a priest friend of mine, Cat Treadwell, who has given up her job to serve the Pagan community in the area where I live. She's an inspiration, and I'm not sure I could do what she does.

But I do want some guidance in forming my own path, because I'm not sure it's entirely necessary to re-invent the wheel from the beginning when others have forged this path already. I don't mean that I want a guide book or doctrine, but that frameworks can be very helpful, especially when you're relatively new to this sort of thing. The guidance I've received not only from courses, but also from my grove members and Druid priest friend have all been extremely valuable for helping to shape my ideas about what I want to do with my spirituality and how I want to forge a path ahead. For example, I've been working with the section of the BDO course on ancestor veneration recently, and some of the approaches they've suggested have been very helpful for opening up an area of spirituality that I've had some difficulty with up until now. Yes, I could have discovered the same approaches through trial, error and much frustration, and maybe the experience would have been more valuable that way. But my ancestors don't seem to mind that I sought some advice.

I also know that there's debate over whether people should use the term Druidry (or even Neo-Druidry) for what they/we do, given that ancient Druids would have done very different things from what we do (and for many other good reasons). But that's a big, controversial issue that I'm side-stepping for myself, for now, by calling what I do 'modern Druidry' and locating it within a tradition that doesn't claim to be any kind of inheritor of ancient practices.

The post you quote is lovely. I'll think about what your friend says - it's thought-provoking.
"We're all stories, in the end. Make it a good one, eh?"
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Vale

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 03:50:38 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81723
OBOD is lovely, but I frequently want to throw their CDs out of the car window when I first listen to them. They don't care at all about the accuracy of their sources. They have awesome ritual and meditative work, though.

 
I'll admit that I've thrown some of their literature across the room myself!

I also liked the rituals and meditation exercises and still occasionally use them.

Asch

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2012, 02:04:39 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81723
Yes, the OBOD tradition is definitely more 'spiritual' than 'religious', to the extent that these distinctions work for Druidry. Recon was the wrong word for ADF, I know, but I couldn't think of a better one. I feel like ADF will support my reconstructionist impulses a bit better than OBOD, from what I've read of its materials (a friend lent me some Dedicant Path stuff to see how I got on with it, so I've essentially started the course, especially the reading). OBOD is lovely, but I frequently want to throw their CDs out of the car window when I first listen to them. They don't care at all about the accuracy of their sources. They have awesome ritual and meditative work, though.


 
I've come across them, but am trying to avoid getting involved with too many other orders. My head might explode if I join them all. :)

Well, on the same day I joined ADF formally, one of their people asked me to blog for a new project they're doing. So the universe appears to be happy with my choice to go in that direction!

 
Sorry I'd forgotten you were an ADF member when I posted :ashamed:

Anyhoodles, I think you pose a very good question and I've loved the responses. :) (I have serious issues w/OBOD too hence my persistent dawdling over the Bardic course lol)

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2012, 08:09:13 am »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398
Since the beginning of my Druidry journey (only a couple of years ago), I've been conflicted over the different Druid paths and directions I could take. I feel increasingly called to hold the balance - between revival Druidry and more reconstructionist Druidry, and between my naturalist/pantheist and Celtic polytheist leanings. The question is where to find the sources for that balance.

I think you're always going to get this looking into Neo-Druidic organisations. If you like their approach to magic&spirituality, plus the meetings&a sense of communal belonging, then that's great. However if you're wanting to connect with hearth practices, and honouring the the Gods in your Celtic Polytheist leanings, then that sounds more along the lines of the Reconstructionist route. You said that your Druid organisations leave that part up to the individual, and that isn't a bad approach as it makes for a good personal practice. I don't think you'll find any Druid groups that follow Reconstructionist methodologies, and you're really not going to find any communal Reconstructionist groups because it's just not that big, but there are plenty of sources(even within the British Isles) and even online or social networking groups that can help guide you in that Recon area.

Therefore I'd try to focus your energies on one, or maybe two if you will(three sounds a bit much) of your Druid organisations, and then supplement the rest of your time on your interests. Many do similar. Take Wicca for example, we're a Priesthood that meet for our circles&Sabbats maybe a few times a month, but the rest of the time we're doing are own thing as well, which for me is being a Gaelic Polytheist/Traditionalist.

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2012, 09:51:21 am »
Quote from: A Disgruntled Scotsman;81727
Doing a course doesn't necessarily make one a Druid - some might say that it takes a whole lot more than that.


And some might say it only takes a little more.

Those clergy responded as they did specifically because they are clergy and that's their calling. Not every practicing member of a religion should be, or should want to be, clergy. Evangelism isn't for everyone. Service isn't for everyone. Past a certain point in ADF, scholarship isn't for everyone.
 
Personally, I find Matholwch's little story smug and self-serving.

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2012, 02:43:55 pm »
Quote from: Sophia Catherine;81398


 
As cliche as it sounds, you have to go where your heart leads you. IME, this is where you will be most happy.  

I do what to point out a few things.  Feel free to not take my word for it.

1.  ADF is an Indo-European religion.  This means that they take inspiration from cultures other than just the Celtic regions (like Rome, Greece, and India). This doesn't mean that you can't specialize in one area, but if you go forward in the programs (beyond the Dedicant Path), you will need to focus your attention on the whole picture of IE rather than just Insular or Continential Celts.

2.  OBOD is rather expensive.  Personally, that was the major reason why I did not join the organization.  Later on, however, I read some of their work from their major leaders and didn't feel that they were the right fit for what I wanted/believed in.  It worked out for me.  I might suggest that you read as much as you can before you join any organization, if only to save you time and money. :)

3.  Keep reading and start a journal on your reflections.  You might find yourself wandering down a specific path or even creating your own.  Again, only your heart knows where you need to be.  If you feel like you've made the right decision after joining a certain group, that's great!  Remember you don't have to commit to anything right away.  The path will unfold itself to you...all you have to do is be willing.

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Re: Druid paths - thoughts and questions
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 02:49:28 pm »
Quote from: tophathaiku;82072


I do what to point out a few things.  Feel free to not take my word for it.


And there are more organizations that those two.  Here's a link that can point you to some good sources: http://www.maryjones.us/jce/appendix15.html

And if you want to, check out Isaac Bonewits' Essential Guide to Druidism.  It's been awhile since I've read it, but it seemed pretty useful.  I hope it can help you, too. :)

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Last post October 17, 2014, 02:48:54 am
by EJay

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