Frog wrote:Throughout the OBOD training we are exposed a whole host of ideas, concepts and specialities - the arts, healing, divination, psychology. We are also exposed to recognise that we don't have dominion over nature, but are indeed part of it.
So is it possible, as a druid, to focus on the storytelling, the psychology of man... and ignore (or have a lesser concern) with the other aspects? I recognise here that my involvement with nature isn't as all encompassing as someone who effectively lives in the woods.
For my own part, I would suggest that this is possible as it's just a shift within the scope, but would be interested in other views on this.
Believe it or not, I have been thinking about this for days. Because my jaw dropped when I read it.
I have no specific spiritual or religious background, but a string of peak experiences and personal empowerment in the wilderness kind of made me 'spiritual'. I almost died a few times. Twice by charging bears in the USA, once by an elephant in Tanzania, once by illness in the amazon jungle, a few times by rivers, mountains, desert and weather. I even almost drowned in a scottish bog on Skye, can you believe it? (the stone I stepped on wasn't a stone after all, but the skull of a sheep that made the mistake before me). And usually it was by my own stupidity or mistakes. But it is probably the lyme infected ticks that will do me in, I lost count after 50 bites last year.
I don't know how close I really came to death, but there were a few moments where I was convinced that I would die in the next minutes.
And something strange happened then. Instead of panic I felt icely calm, and even weirder, instead of fear I felt humor. I thought it was very funny that a stupid little human like myself ventured out into the wilderness, thinking that he had any control. And I was ready to die, it was okay to die that way, I felt honoured...
But I clearly surived it every time. And when the adrenaline ebbs away something else happens.
The fear returns, but more balanced. I understood that one of our errors is to try to avoid all risks at all costs. It is natural and healthy to have some fear and to be at some risk. In the end we all die anyway. But I also understood what it really means to venture out into the wilderness alone, and suddenly I longed for company.
When the sun came up, it came with the greatest sense of joy and gratitude that I ever felt. I cried. Nature let me live, which I didn't think I deserved at all as part of that destructive human race. Revenche would have been justice. But then I realised with every fiber of my being why there had been no revenche. The bears didn't treat me as part of the destructive human killing machine that we are. They treated me as a natural adversary who broke a hidden territorial rule and got a warning. Nature treated me as part of nature, as an equal. And that was a defining moment, a peak experience, since then I feel part of that "bigger thing", and I think that feeling is also described in religion..
I describe this as one experience, but it happened a number of times. And it also had the effect that I felt more and more confident and balanced. At first just in my skills to navigate, stay safe, recognize potential dangerous situations, knowing my physical and mental limits, to experience and live.
But at some point I also started to do the OBOD course, which seemed to flow more or less in line with my way of living and thinking. Not all of it, but druidic mysticism was clearly a language i which I could describe my nature spirituality.
And especially when I was going through the more advanced stages of the ovate grade I started to use a new set of skills. Other ways of being aware, using ritual and magic to fine tune my intuition, following hooting owls, barking roe deer and the whispers of the wind in the trees, the stars. Instead of my gps, compass and map. Even contacting the ancestors when I found myself near hill graves, and responding to what I seemed to picked up.
I am not exaggerating, this is all real, this is what I really do. No longer in exotic far away wilderness area's, I no longer have the resources to do that. But it doesn't matter, I no longer have to find myself there, I already did. I can now do it right here, right where I live. A realisation which I also owe to druidry (a weak form of nationalism isn't so bad after all ;-)). And my nature approach isn't global ecology, but personal experiences.
So... I've never considered that nature could even be left out of the equation of druidry, because it is the core of everything for me. Are we talking about the same spirituality?
I must admit that I sometimes wonder if I am in the right cult. I managed to combine my druidry with my experiences and it became a powerful nature spirituality for me. But you can't get that out of the course alone, you have to add real experiences, real life. Otherwise it remains a theory, a facade.
OBOD doesn't provide the natural experiences, you have to go into nature for that, but it does provide ways to express and enhance the empowerment that it can give. I now express it as rituals, songs, stories which I can share with others.
But to be honest, when I came out of that dark ovatic forest after a thrilling journey, and entered the druid grade, I expected to find others who really live druidry as a nature spirituality. But it is strangely empty here. I found a handful of 'wild druids', I married one, but most seem to have taken different paths. So perhaps I'm the one who didn't get it, instead of everybody else, statistically that would make more sense
Like two days ago I talked to a guy who organizes an OBOD meditation workshop, and he said that that workshop could not be given in the forest because druids need a warm and dry indoor place to meditate. So it costs 110 euro's instead of nothing. Yeah, something I definately think that I am in the wrong cult.