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Druidry Represented in India

Here is the text of the speech given by OBOD's representative Keith Southall, when he attended the Fifth International Conference & Gathering of Elders in Mysore last month.

Keith has hosted a One Tree Gathering at his beautiful garden centre in Worcestershire, and another one is planned for this August. See this page for details of the One Tree Gathering - connecting Druidry with the Dharmic religions of India.

Greetings to you all, and thank you for inviting me to this beautiful country for my very first, but certainly not last, visit...
With your blessings I would like to tell you my own personal story.
By default I was brought up as Church of England in the  British isles, hearing wonderful moral tales of people across the seas, but I could not really relate to a lot of these stories as they were based predominantly around a dry  desert land thousands of miles away with a completely different way of life, different food, different landscape - different culture. And here I sat in a very green, and usually very wet land. So I always felt I was only paying a sort of lip service to this religion.
Up to the age of 30 I had no idea, and indeed neither did my friends, parents or most of my school teachers that there was an actual living indigenous spirituality of our very own British Isles which predates many religions and which most importantly is about our own green and pleasant lands, its own hills and mountains, was based around our own native diet, our own native trees.
So it was in my early 30s that I first found that Druidry actually existed, and that it not only strongly revered my own green lands but had its own Gods and Goddesses, its own plethora of wild wood spirits, its local deities that I could relate to so much easier.
When I found Druidry I felt I had come home.
I suddenly felt like I had been with parents for many years who were not actually my real parents, who were almost adopted parents and that suddenly I found the truth, that I had real parents with new teachings that I could understand so much better.
I had been searching for my own British spirituality for years and here it was under my own feet all the time, with inspiring teachers waiting to teach me.
I joined the Order of Bard Ovates and Druids and have never looked back since.
I have had Teachings given to me from the land and hills that I live on, I have had Teachings to be able to commune with the spirit of native trees, the spirit of place, the Genius Loci, teachings that should be widely given to all dwellers on the beautiful British Isles and to all its peoples who have left and travelled onwards across the globe, this is now my hope.
In Druidry I found we have our own ancient festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh  and Samhuinn.  
These beautiful festivals were almost lost but have now been revived and now grow strong again, so we are saving this wonderful ancient culture and its teachings of peace, tolerance and acceptance and it is through conferences like this that we can spread the word and bring more people home to there own indigenous culture, so I am so pleased to be part of this growing international community of like-minded people. 
With the teachings and the tools now given to me within Druidry, I have been able to find my heritage, to make contact with the spirits and deities of my own land, but also with this greater community here today. I feel whole.
I have found my home.

Keith Southall, Mysore, February 2015