Day 1: Why Druidry (Part II: Druidry and Witchcraft)

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. –Walt Witman

No, this is not what I look like. Ok maybe a little...

So I realized I have more to say about this before I go on to the cosmology section. I wanted to talk about and define my own personal style of Druidry and how it is influenced by Witchcraft. This is a post a long time in coming actually. When I came back to the pagan/magical path after almost a decade of pretending I was an atheist, it was Druidry that I started up with. I diligently did the AODA candidate grade along side the OBOD bardic course. The bardic course is designed to help you “plumb the depth of your own soul” and serve as a catalyst for the work ahead (even if most of it is very 101 material I had encountered elsewhere). Still however, it did it’s job well. By the time I began my ovate studies I suddenly fell in love with traditional witchcraft.

Each path, Druidry and Witchcraft feeds a different part of my soul. For awhile I thought I had to choose one but I never could. This led to a lot of flailing and grand announcements and re-defining of myself for a time: I’m a Witch! No I’m a Druid! No wait, I’m a Witch! This was a painful period. Whenever I chose one over the other the other part of myself that is fed by the other would feel starved. I soon realized that the “choose one” argument was a fallacious one. These days I tend to consider myself both.

I remember Phillip Carr-Gom said something in an interview not long ago, that Druidry can be a cloak you wear over whatever else you are. I started off as a Druid with an interest in Witchcraft but quickly this turned into a Witch who wears a druid cloak. I consider both paths complimentary to one another (especially for one pursing ovate work!). There are many commonalities of practice, but each has it’s own distinctiveness that feeds a different part of me as well. To me Druidry is very masculine, solar based, and ceremonial and it invigorates those parts of me that crave that energy. Conversely, Witchcraft feels very lunar based, filled with intuitive ecstatic rites and beautiful folk charms and lore. Together they make me feel whole in a way that neither does alone.

Mostly my practice is just my own these days, I can’t tell you if I’m doing Druidry or Witchcraft at any given time. It ends up just being semantics. Each bleeds into the other too, I use my Stang during most druid rites and my crane bag and druid egg is with me during most craft rites. I no longer see a need to define myself solely in terms of one or the other, I am both and I’m happy with that. It took me a long time to reach that realization and become comfortable with this actually.

Emma Restal Orr said something to the effect in her book Living Druidry that for her the title Witch was redundant and implied in the druid moniker. I agree wholeheartedly. I usually just use the title Druid because I don’t want to be one of the “and people”. (You know “I’m a witch and a druid and a necromancer and a spirit worker and half werewolf on my mothers side” etc). To me Druid and Witch are both words for Shaman, each with their own specific focuses and strengths.

Also there is a seasonal periodicity to this I’ve found. I’m more likely to concentrate on my druid studies during the spring and summer months when I can get out into nature more (nature brings out my inner druid). During the cold long nights of winter and fall I concentrate more heavily on my craft work; I can feel the shift happening right now actually. Also I believe the two are tributaries of the same river. I firmly believe that much of what the cunning folk of old practiced was probably remembered and handed down from the disseminated and fragmented practices of the ancient druids after a centuries long game of “telephone”.

I know this will upset a lot of “purists” out there but I don’t really care. I believe tradition and labels do have their point certainly, but in the end there comes a point where you have to check them at the door and make the path your own. As I discussed on my other blog, the spirit world does not care what you call yourself.

Both paths feed me spiritually in different ways that are very complimentary to one another. I walk both path simultaneously and it works for me. I am a Druid and I am a Witch, and that is what I am.

Ok then, on to cosmology.

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14 Responses to Day 1: Why Druidry (Part II: Druidry and Witchcraft)

  1. Pingback: 30 Days of Druidry « Feral Druidry

  2. LyndaFE says:

    I have just taken on a year’s commitment (to myself) to study Druidry via ADF and I’m reading what you say here with such a huge smile on my face, because THIS is my worrry…. is this going to take me away from a path I already love? Thank you so much for expressing this so well. It gives me the context I need to walk as a Druid on MY path.

    • Thank you Lynda! I’m glad what I wrote was able to help you make sense of your own dilemma. I think it’s a problem many of us face and have a hard time coming to grasp with. Best of luck to you on your ADF year!

    • greycatsidhe says:

      Hello LyndaFE – I’m an ADF Druid and I take a lot of inspiration for traditional witchcraft. There are a lot of ADF Druids who are also Wiccan and find a balance. You can make it work!

  3. Sarah Lawless says:

    I’m so glad you found your balance! It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “I’m a shaman reiki master druid mason…” than to be in a place where one can say “I’m a druid who practices witchcraft, spirit work, and necromancy.” I think many Pagans are trying so hard to either pigeonhole themselves or list every trad they’ve ever brushed by that they forget to just be.

    I too have found that winter is the time for deeper sorcerous magics of the unseen world and summer for interacting with our own world. Many ancient cultures noticed and followed this pattern too. Every year I adore the green and fruits of summer, but still I eagerly await the coming of Samhuin and the magic and mystery that comes with Her return to full power.

    Slainte!

    • Thanks Sarah! It is an easy trap to fall into and an even harder one to get out of. I think there is a lot of pressure to pigeon hole ones self too, especially to those new on the path.

      I too am looking forward to the darker part of the year. I’m not a fan of the weather, but the deeper connection I feel to the Otherworld more than makes up for it 😉 Glad to know I’m not alone in feeling that way!

  4. aynfean says:

    I’ve looked into the AODA courses as well as the OBOD courses and have always hesitated because of the price. Money’s finally a little better around here so maybe I can swing it.

    Don’t wanna come off like a copy-cat stalker I’m just kind of floored how much your Path and thoughts echo mine. For this I come in from the other side. I’m a witch with interests in druidry.

    I wish I could find a course in witchcraft that left the religious aspects of Wicca that so many of them come wrapped up in. Any advice?

    • Yeah if I had to do it now I don’t think I could afford it either. I joined many years ago. No worries I don’t think your a copy-cat stalker! I’m glad to know there are others who are on a similar path! gets lonely out there.

      I would love to find a course such as one you describe. I haven’t seen any yet though. If you do find one let me know though! I’d be all over that…

    • Sarah Lawless says:

      I’ve heard good things about Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery course. It’s witchcraft and magic without the religious aspects. If you like reading Huson and Fortune, you may like it: http://www.inominandum.com/home.html

      • Sarah, that’s a great suggestion actually. I don’t know why I didn’t think to suggest it myself! I’ve been taking Jason Millers course for the last year and LOVE it. I can’t really say enough good things about it. It’s been very influential in my own practice and the last few lessons as the course winds down have totally kicked my ass.

        I would say to anyone who has the means to take it, you won’t be disappointed.

  5. greycatsidhe says:

    Totally agree with you.

  6. Johan Cael Müller says:

    Thank you I really enjoyed reading that- a lot of familiarity there. As a hereditary of the Ways of Olde I studied Paganism for many years before I could come to a conclusion about what Path I am following. Today I am proud to say I follow a combined Path of Witchcraft and Druidry call me a Druidic Witch that’s fine….

    I am happy my heart sings with the seasons, my soul loves the craft. I follow the Sabbats and Esbats. I honour Goddess and God, I do my workings with harm to none. I am One with Nature. I am Hereditary. I am Druid. I am Witch.

    It warms the heart to know there are more out there following both Druidry and Witchcraft/Wicca. To the Gods nothing matters except that you create for yourself.

    )O( Blessed Be /|\

    • Feral Druid says:

      Thank you Johan! Your comment meant a lot to me. It is indeed good to hear from others who walk a similar path.

      I am happy my heart sings with the seasons, my soul loves the craft. I follow the Sabbats and Esbats. I honour Goddess and God, I do my workings with harm to none. I am One with Nature. I am Hereditary. I am Druid. I am Witch.

      I love this! Could not of said it better myself. Thank you so much for sharing and I wish you well on your path. Thanks for sharing the road with me 😉

      • Johan Cael Müller says:

        Only a pleasure to share with like minded Souls.

        Thank you Feral Druid and I wish you well on your Path too 🙂

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