I am so excited to find this forum.
I became interested in Druidry through reading The Archdruid Report blog by John Michael Greer, as I am interested in peak oil, climate change, environmental, and sustainability issues and the like. When I found out he was a Druid, my interest was piqued, and I devoured the whole OBOD and AODA web sites. I then ordered Greer's excellent introductory book, The Druidry Handbook. I decided I want to become a Druid.
Let me give you a little background about my spiritual path. I was raised in a Southern American, Protestant, Christmas-and-Easter Christian culture. I was not baptized or confirmed, however, as my parents weren't really the churchgoing type. I realized by about age 15 that I wasn't a Christian, and read a lot about other religions, especially Hinduism. However, when I got to college, I decided to convert to Catholicism, mainly because I admired the tradition of art and the beautiful architecture, and was looking for a culture where I could be supported and feel at home. Within a year, I had lapsed! It was way too dogmatic for me, and I could no longer deny that I am, in fact, an atheist. I just don't believe. I can't make myself (I tried). I don't envy believers, either. I find almost all forms of religion transparently false and, at their worst, dangerous.
Though I am a strong supporter of many Enlightenment values, reason, and science, I also reject the completely unenchanted worldview that's dominant in our power-mad, domination-based culture. I don't believe in the supernatural, but I do sense the undeniable enchantedness of the universe, and I have a deep feeling of connection to nature, to the earth, to all other beings. I think the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe, is immanent and beautiful. I always felt an affinity for Native American understandings of spirituality: that "religion" is meaningless, but being in nature, being in the circle, acknowledging and celebrating our place in the world and honoring the totality of the ecosystem and the interrelatedness of all life is true "spirituality." We are as much a part of our place as the plants and animals. Many of us are now far from our native ecosystem and haven't had time to adapt. I think there's something to this idea, but I also think all humans are of one race with only minor differences and that we can develop roots and grow into a meaningful relationship with our environment anywhere on earth.
I am also an Anglophile (really, a British-Isles-o-phile in general). I was born that way. I can't remember a time when I didn't dream of being in Britain. I went there for a year in college on a study exchange, then I went back for graduate school and managed to stay for four years, living and working there. Unfortunately, I found myself rather involuntarily repatriated at age 26, when my then-partner broke up with my while I was home visiting my family, and I was unable to return. I've been in the US since (for six years), but still have a nagging, gnawing desire to get back there someday. I have a deep, strong understanding that my work there is not done.
When I read Greer's book, and started doing some of the practices, and thinking about things through a Druid prism, I felt very at home. Not only is this a reincarnation of my own ethnic "religion," but, like Native American and other indigenous forms of spirituality, it is nature-based, non-dogmatic, and deeply metaphorical, with many levels of potential engagement. I feel like this is the type of soul-stirring philosophical underpinning that's currently missing from our death-based culture.
But I am still an atheist.
I've read the OBOD set of beliefs, and I wonder if there is a place for me in this tradition.
Druids share a belief in the fundamentally spiritual nature of life. Some will favour a particular way of understanding the source of this spiritual nature, and may feel themselves to be animists, pantheists, polytheists, monotheists or duotheists. Others will avoid choosing any one conception of Deity, believing that by its very nature this is unknowable by the mind.
I would think the last sentence applies to me. I feel that deity is a virtually useless concept, and prefer to engage with the enchantedness of life and the world in a direct, sensory-based way. This is another reason Druidry appeals to me greatly. The tradition encourages us to get out in nature, learn about our landbase, and internalize the fact that we are embedded in this cycle, that we are part of the ecosystem and have a role to play.
I am drawn to personal rituals to help understand the cyclical nature of the earth's time, and to mark meaningful seasons and passages in human lives. The fluidity and beauty of Druid ritual really appeals to me, too.
So, thanks to anyone who read this far, and thanks for this amazing forum!
Am I a Druid? I think I might be.