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