Journey of an East Tennessee Pagan
May 22, 2020
When I think of Druids I envision a group of people performing a ritual in the woods, maybe in a stone circle. Druidry speaks to me of inner wisdom, a quiet power, artistry, storytelling, and a deep connection with nature. At this point I've listened to a few lectures and interviews, and enjoyed poems and music written and performed by Druids, I'm intrigued, motivated, awed, and intimidated, all at the same time. The people I've heard scare me a little with the depth of their wisdom and how connected they are (to ... ?) they seem. At the same time, I want to jump in the water and swim with them.
For as long as I can remember I've felt a connection to pwers outside myself, and the beauty of the natural world enlivens and renews me. I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, the hills of East Tennessee. The beauty and majesty of these ancient hills speaks to me of magic and mystery. I have strong ancestral ties to the region, with both my mother's and my father's families migrating to the area in the early 19th century. I live next to a swift running stream in a wooded area abounding with wildlife, and I'm learning to listen to what the earth, the trees, and the animals have to say. Druidry's strong connection with trees and spirits of place holds a powerful attraction for me.
Drawing on the five years I worked as a Unitarian Universalist musician, I see many commonalities between Druidry and the principles of Unitarian Universalism. I recently joked to a friend that Druids are what UU would be if they embraced polytheism. While I appreciate the values I learned from the Unitarian Universalists, I always felt that something was lacking, that there was strong resistance among UUs to any kind of spirituality. For me, Druidry fills in the missing spirituality of UU values.
And then there's the music. I have been involved in making music my whole life, and I view my work as a musician as a form of ministry, inservice to a "higher purpose." It's been my experience in Christianity that music and ministry are often in conflict. My limited experience with Druidry leads me to believe that Druid spirituality and practice will enable me to continue to develop my art as ministry, as both gift and offering. Druidry is allowing me to give voice to the spirit within me. I'm excited to ake the first steps on this journey.