When people find out I’m a Pagan – there are lots of questions. What’s my religion like? Do I sacrifice small children in fires. Do we kill people and animals in large wicker structures? Did I have to make a blood oath with Satan? Yeah. Questions like that. Then, when they find out I’m a member of a Druid organization – another round of questions gets fired up. Can I make a cup of hemlock that they can give to their boss? What’s the *real* purpose of Stonehenge? Am I going to grow a long, white beard and start wearing robes of white? Yeah. Even more questions like that.
The reality of what I believe in is far different. I believe in separate entities. I believe they manifest into my life in a wide variety of ways…but not quite the way people tend to believe. I believe in the sacred aspect of Nature – that everything around us not only has a beauty, but also a life and personality all its own. Sometimes, we’re not totally cognizant of that – not because we don’t believe. Not because we don’t have the “magickal” sight to see. Its mostly because we lack the patience to move at the speed of everything else around us.
Within most Pagan traditions (and other belief structures as well), there’s the conceptual aspect of understanding the Seasons. The calendar and the clock is man’s creation. Both are a design of measurement. The number of times the sun rises and sets, as our small celestial wanderer dances around our star. That measure is meant to assure us – the human creatures – and help set a pattern to our lives. There’s a pattern to other living organisms as well. Insects seemingly do not sleep – but merely undergo periods of non-activity. The trees grow – a little each day. Just not completely discernible for human beings. We don’t normally notice the patterns by which the trees interact with their surroundings or how they continue to grow. At least, not until we notice. Suddenly the tree has flowering leaves in the early parts of Spring. Then just as suddenly, the leaves have turned a golden color. A few weeks later, they fall from the tree and the branches are bare.
Humans live their lives on a fast and tightly interwoven cycle. Over a 24-hour period, we attempt to spend 1/3rd of that time in sleep/rest. Some people manage that – others can’t. Some folks work while others sleep. Our news is now so tightly interwoven into our lives, that the news channels are constantly broadcasting items of “Interest” — just in case something happens. In the teaching environment I am employed within, we teach an entire subject in fifteen weeks. The pace is relentless within the classroom. To get to my classroom environments – I have to drive my Subaru through packed roadways with other people trying to get somewhere else with other things to be completed. Our focus isn’t on our lives. Its not on our environments. Our focus is on the pursuit of money, so that we can pay for the services that we have used. Whatever is left over, we utilize that to obtain items that are meant to distract us from our environment – or to create new, artificial environments for ourselves.
When people ask me about the Gods and Goddesses…when they ask why I have a reverence for Nature…when they ask why I seek “some arcane, mystical knowledge”…I realize that they are asking these questions through a jaundiced eye. What they know of Pagans and Druids is what they’ve seen in the movies that they rent through Netflix…what they’ve read in books bought through Amazon.com….what they’ve known through such games as World of Warcraft.
My answers reflect for what I strive for in my life: simplicity. The Gods and Goddesses exist. They don’t reach down and push me from location to location. Much like a teacher – they show me and let me learn from experiencing that. My reverence for Nature comes from the fact that I am a *part* of it. I show respect for everything…and try to be as much a part of the Cycle of Life through nurturing and protective processes. Every morning, I put out fresh birdseed for the birds, along with torn up pieces of old bread – if I have any. I fill up my bird bath with “fresh” water from the hose and wash out the inevitable squirrel droppings located there. When I go on my daily walks, I carry a trash bag with me – which I fill with the trash found along my path. While others may see a need to throw their beer cans and bottles out of their cars before getting home (not a good idea for your parents to know what you’ve been up to – which they know…but that’s another thought process altogether), I would rather that the trash be picked up and thrown away. Not because it keeps the property values up – but because trash can sometimes be harmful to the creatures in the area. My idea of being a part of Nature is to become the best Steward I possibly can. I won’t change the tide on my own. But maybe I can inspire a few others – who can inspire others…and so on. I’m not seeking “arcane knowledge” either. My idea of working with Druidry is to marry my belief structure with my desire to be a better Steward of my environment.
My beliefs are simple. Do the best you can. Be kind to others. The rest will follow in its time. So be patient. And in this day and age with the desire to slam more “experience” into a twenty-four” cycle….most people seem to be living their lives behind a To-Do List or a Bucket-List. And in trying to move through Life at such breakneck speeds – in my eyes, that’s living life as a slave to those lists – and missing out on the experience. Hurrying through Life is no way to live. $.02