Many of you will know about inktober where individuals are encouraged to draw something each day that fits a particular prompt. This year I’m joining in with a variant called Witchtober with prompts from @saffrussellart and @jacquilovesey. I’ve never done anything like this and I’ve had encouragement to give it a go from the ever wonderful Tom and Nimue Brown.
I’ve been posting most of my efforts so far on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (mainly because my Instagram account is linked to my Facebook account). One effort, a poem has been posted on this blog. For me this has become a multi media art project as my efforts have now included poetry, modelling clay, paint and pencil.
I’m finding the process of doing this to be fascinating. I look at the prompts well before I try and do anything and I think about how I can express the theme. As…
With this extraordinary work, independent scholar Larisa A. White, M.S.Ed., Ph.D. has established an historical place for herself within religious studies. World Druidry: A Globalizing Path of Nature Spirituality (2021) is the first work of social science focusing on Druidry as a contemporary religious movement.
This mixed-methods study presents a comprehensive picture of Druidic practices and beliefs in 32 nations. As Dr. White states, it is “the richest data set on contemporary Druidry the world has yet to see (viii).” Dr. White’s methodology is explained and illustrated throughout the text. The survey instrument is also included in an appendix for future researchers. The book is indexed, and features an extensive glossary for those new to Druidry.
Some of Dr. White’s interesting findings:
92% of druids reported being solitary practitioners.
Druids in the United States reported being the most fearful of discrimination and harassment.
Druids in Brazil and the United States reported being the most fearful of physical violence.
Only half of Druid respondents wear ceremonial apparel.
OBOD Druids are the most likely to use visualization as a regular spiritual practice. (This is an influence of English psychologist Philip Carr-Gomm, longtime leader of the order).
As a solitary Druid, I was frankly relieved to see that there are so many of us! Having constructed a stone circle in my back yard, I was also interested to see pictures of other stone circles Druids have built at home. Wildcrafting was a new concept to me, and it was captivating to learn of it and its role in globalization. Furthermore, it led me to modify part of my daily practice to address local geography.
It is suggested by anecdotal evidence that since the 1990s Druidry has been growing quickly as a world religion. After discussing the problems involved in making an accurate count, the study gave the following estimates (p. 256): British Isles and Ireland, 4,528 Druids; North America, 53,564 Druids; Oceania 1,207 Druids. (An appendix deals with the issue of population estimates).
Though Druidry is astonishingly diverse, she analyses and discusses the spiritual common core of all of its manifestations, which she sums up as a process of creating and maintaining honorable relationships with self and all others, including spirit and nature beings (p. 253).
This work provides a template for future study and will be of interest to scholars of religion. This would include sociologists of religion, who could bring in other areas of focus, such as educational levels and political affiliation. In her study Solitary Pagans (2019), sociologist Dr. Helen A. Berger found Heathens to be the most politically conservative of Pagans. I wonder, given the centrality of nature to Druidry, if the same would be true of Heathen Druids (such as the Norse hearth of Ár nDraíocht Féin). The book will of course also be of interest to Druids, who are as this study shows, a studious lot (p. 258).
Dr. White movingly concludes by stating,
“I find myself in awe of the inclusiveness of this religious tradition, its wonderous diversity, and its willingness to learn from all cultures and religious traditions, while still maintaining a common core. I feel humbled and honored to count myself as one among this group of inspiring people” (p. 258). I can say that I felt even more proud to be a Druid after reading this work.
Dr. White will be presenting some of her findings at the 2021 Parliament of the World Religions, for which I registered.
I like to attune myself, imaginally, to significant moments in time, place and culture. I have always done this but I now think of it as an aspect of my Druidry. I have become more conscious about it.
Here I am contemplating an alignment of 1930’s Britain, Brean Down on the North Somerset coast (Bell Head in the book), and the occultist Dion Fortune. I am especially thinking of her determination to “bring back into modern life something that has been lost and forgotten and that is badly needed”. Rather than being a review of her book The Sea Priestess (1), this post is a reflection on spiritual ancestry, and an acknowledgement of her project’s success. As the publisher of the 2003 edition happily notes, “The Sea Priestess is a classic occult teaching novel with romantic overtones, and a foundation work for modern Wicca, paganism, and ritual magic”.
Yes I am writing a novel that is in Anglo Saxon Dartmoor. Here is the beginning. I will put a bit more on every week. It begins in south Dartmoor near present day South Brent.
It was summer when the dusty stranger came up the lane. Brunwaru saw him while milking one their brown-coloured ewes up on the moor and nearly forgot what she was doing. The ewe sensed this and Brunwaru grabbed the wooden pail before her leg knocked it. From where she was the stranger was a shape who moved in and out the shade from the hazel trees on the heavily worn lane. She stood up taking the bucket in one hand. The ewe was already going, calling in her throat to the other sheep on the rough lands. Brunwaru was heading down to the drift-way that left the moor for her home known as Badaworthy, trying…