The call for peace is a frequent feature of druid rituals. I’m not sure where it originated (probably in the romantic revivals of Iolo Morganwg and his ilk). The precise form varies from group to group, but the gist involves facing each direction in turn and making a brief prayer for peace. ‘May there be peace in the east’ – being typical. Once the four directions have been approached, the caller stands in the centre and asks for peace in all the world, or worlds. Many finish with a line like ‘for without peace, no work can be done,’ or ‘without peace, the voice of spirit cannot be heard.’
Druids have a traditional role as peacemakers between angry Celtic tribes, although they would also fight when they felt it necessary, according to Roman observers. A druid could command battles to cease, and be listened to. So, whatever the modern sourcing of this call for peace, it does draw on the known historical activity of ancient druids.
Peace in ritual is a practical necessity. All those present have to be co-operative with each other. If there is animosity or bad feeling, then you can’t make a circle work or run an effective celebration. It’s also an important reminder of the need for peace in the rest of our lives, and in our hearts.
As we approach Peace One Day, I’ll be writing more about peace as a topic – from personal and political angles, considering the role of the modern druid in all of this. How do we deal with conflict? How do we work for peace? When (if ever) is peace not the answer? Is peace the same as stasis or passivity? I used to think it was, but I’ve learned differently in recent years.
Blessings of peace go with you. Peace in your heart, peace at your hearth, peace in all the worlds.