Due to the extreme lack of posts in recent weeks, I feel a small update may be in order. Please indulge me – this isn’t for lack of ideas, and normal posts are currently being prepared for your enjoyment. But if this isn’t Lived Druidry, I don’t know what is 😉
Bringing to a conclusion a very tough period in my life, I have lately resigned from my job with the Ambulance Service. While enjoying it immensely in terms of performing with a wonderful group of people trying hard against adversity to help those in need, the demands of some severely inferior management were unfortunately proven to be detrimental to my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Despite trying my hardest, apparently no changes were possible – I have therefore taken the decision to jump before being pushed.
The only place I am making money currently, therefore, is from temporary jobs when and where possible… and from my Druidry. I asked a while ago (in jest) whether I should attempt to be a ‘Professional Druid’ and survive on the very small and uncertain ‘wage’ this brings – to a resoundingly positive and supportive response! Clearly somebody on high thought it was a good idea as well, and I should know better by now than to challenge the Universe on such things.
But this has made me ponder much more deeply over past weeks, over exactly what I am doing with my work as an active priest, and how best I should move forward. I have no doubt at all that this is the right thing to be doing for me. Having this time for contemplation will hopefully bear fruit, but (hopefully understandably) it is a rather daunting challenge.
Opportunities abound. I have been honoured to be asked to become a Trustee of The Druid Network. I am working with the East Midlands Pagan Federation on local projects, including Pagan Pride. I am a hospital volunteer and Reviews Coordinator, working with a variety of media to help inform on what Druidry actually means as a practice today.
All of these are voluntary, I should add. While it would be wonderful to earn a living as a Pagan Priest, currently there are no major bodies offering such a luxury (although I understand negotiations are under way to afford us status on a par with official Registrars, but that’s for the future).
More personally and privately, I help where I can with queries from complete strangers who come my way, from simple advice to in-depth telephone discussions. I perform ritual, both for other pagans and for those who simply want ‘something meaningful’. I have put myself into the world as an active Druid priest, and do my best to respond well.
And yet, I am constantly challenging myself. What am I doing with my personal practice? Am I doing the best I can to inform and inspire without evangelising? Are my words and my actions best representing my own Truth… and day to day, how am I living that? Do I honour my Gods and my Ancestors with this path? Do I honour myself?
It is a constant challenge, and one that I have taken on voluntarily, with my eyes wide open. But part of the work as an active Pagan is living responsibly. I have never seen this path as an ‘easy’ one, with magic there to cushion the way. First off, that’s not how magic works, and secondly, it’s hard enough telling others how something as apparently ‘amorphous/fluffy/New Agey’ as Druidry is real, very practical and tangible in everyday life.
And I think, ultimately, that this is the key. My main frustration with the perception of modern Druidry (and Paganism as a whole) is that it is something ‘fringe’, somehow invalid or jokey, a hobby that middle-class folk indulge in in an effort to be ‘different’ or that teenagers try as a fad. This is very much not the case. My path is walked for a reason. My beliefs are relevant, sincerely felt and which I am glad to share with others who wish it.
This is where my work is now going, I believe. Being ‘public’ does mean walking the talk, and if I’m not truly living my belief, then what I am doing? So I will speak of this for those who listen, and continue to do my best as a ‘Professional’ Druid, actively moving into the future with others who are working to inform, advise and inspire – in a very real and lived way.