I am just beginning to read through The Path of Druidry: Walking the Ancient Green Way, by Penny Billington, and am really resonating with it so far. There are passages which just sing to me, speaking to exactly what I am looking for right now, and also completely synchronize with what has always moved me. I am also appreciating her organizational presentation, in how she breaks her lessons into Three Rays for contemplation and integration, which brings together so many relevant aspects of Druidry at once. Her myth work is with Welsh myth, which is not my background, but I think I will enjoy the introduction she provides, as I do appreciate the opportunity to critically and mystically examine myth, which she happily does (I read through a Bardic course once which offered snippets of Irish myth, but absolutely no deeper analysis, frustratingly).
I intend to share here as I go through the book what about it is especially resonating with me, and working for me. This is what I have so far, from the Introduction and first two chapters:
Penny speaks of Druidry being fundamentally about desiring to experience Connectedness, with the land, with nature, and that being in Harmony with it is a vital concept. She speaks of Druidry fitting into the middle of our mundane activities, grounded in the ordinariness of the world, which I really appreciate. She provides breaks from reading along the way, asking one to take a moment to stretch, look out a window at nature, breathe deeply, keeping us connected to the here-and-now of our spaces and lives. I like this groundedness, and how she as a writer can steer us both to and from her writing. She speaks of a reverence for nature as opposed to worship being central to Druidry. She describes the “ideal druid” as light-hearted, of good humor, flexible, approachable, reverential, honest, knowledgeable, able to connect with other realms, and normal-appearing, all of which I approve of!
She knows her history, which she recounts clearly in spots, although the history of druidism through the ages is not the focus of the book, but I really appreciate a solid understanding of history when it is presented.
I love the way she emphasizes relationships, as in this passage from chapter 1:
“Druidry is concerned with our relationship to the natural world: the land, sky, and sea. Being a Druid implies a way of thinking, of being, a way of relating to all aspects of life, as a human being in a landscape.”
She also clearly understands the role and importance of myth, which I appreciate, when she writes:
“The internal journey is our exploration of the legacy of our forebears, though study and visualization pf the key myths and the truths behind them. How better to understand a culture than through the stories that encapsulate its laws, truths, and conventions of life?”
“Developing a mythopoetic view widens and enriches life, paradoxically resulting not in retreating into fantasy, but in embracing real life from a more mature and stable perspective.”
She breaks the work of each chapter’s lesson into Three Rays, which are illustrated aptly by the traditional Druidic symbol of Awen. The Nature Ray comprises of the study of one’s natural surroundings via daily walks. The Knowledge Ray is the study of myth and internal realms, through readings and meditations. The Devotional Ray focuses on integrating the work of the first two rays into daily living and action. Instead of meaning devotional as prayer and worship, Penny says this, which is interesting:
“What we mean by the devotional ray in this book is:
- An attitude of mindfulness of the wonder of life
- A sense of self-worth as a contributing part of the natural order, on many levels
- Service to the world, based on the sense of the essential harmony of all things”
I appreciate that she talks about immersing ourselves in nature, and what we gather from our five senses, that these are the way in to deep, meaningful experiences and connections. In addition, she also emphasizes the sort of sixth sense which perceives a “magical current running through the land,” which I have often felt and tapped into myself. To that end, she describes Druidic practice as helping us to tune into that, and that once that connection is consciously made, its current will support us. I really love the idea of that kind of daily living, tapped into and supported by that current!
This next passage I really love, and have never seen this sentiment expressed in any of the Celtic/Gaelic reconstructionist, traditionalist, or tribalist traditions I have studied over the years:
“Druids believe that we are actually here on earth to learn how to be human, and Druidry helps to set us firmly onto the earth, in our proper place.”
THIS, I think, is so central, fundamental, foundational, and key to the sort of spirituality I am striving and yearning for, which none of the above-mentioned traditions have ever touched, and which I have been sorely missing. This sentiment very much gives me a sense of homecoming, try resonance, and deep meaning. I am looking forward to this journey’s unfolding for me, through this resource and others.
Much gratitude, to the land, sea, and sky, and to the Druidry teachers who are lighting my way.