That is a key word in imagination. We create our grove, and that is a discipline.
Without imagination, we perhaps would still be picking berries and hunting Buffalo
With a core idea comes the science that makes it all happen, these two go hand-in-hand. They are often seen as opposite sides of the fence, while it is really using math that at a time was considered godly to know.
Is druidry any different from other ways to the divine?
In some ways yes. And to the OP question, is it OK to seek the divine for our self? In structured religion we rely on a priest who devotes his life to seeking and communicating the divine. This as we know is ripe for abuse, that has led to the renaissance of personal divinity. In a sense druidism as we know it today is taking a personal responsibility to devoting at least a few years of our life to learn divinity for ourselves. One of the conundrums of neo-druidism today is the feeling that we should then teach it.
It isn’t really communicated from one person to another however, it is rather a study of a wide range of age old beliefs and the practice enabling us to seek and find what is divine in a spectrum of ways. How each person finds what is the universe within will vary by a number of ways. Our own personal environment is key, how we are "internally wired" is another big factor. These two things need to be discovered, and trial and error often lend to guide us to what really works for us individually. This often IMO because we are no longer isolated and our roots come from many different places on earth. Earth itself has a diversity in environment. What is learned by a person in the desert will be different from what is learned by a person in a temperate climate with four seasons as example.
Finding "our" face of god.
More and more we find though that the core values all are similar, and things like the idea of hell, the reality of Valhalla, the seeking of ascent to heaven, all go far back in history, far far back, long before Christ or any of the Judaist religions. What druidism can be, is way to use these core seeking methods to make new and real a divine link for us today.
Those in control by subjugation will of course rail against this idea, and make all manner of claims that it cannot happen, even though they themselves did do for themselves. go figure eh?
The responsibility to this end is to realize and have good judgment. This takes a discipline, and that often means for most, we will have to train ourselves and even give ourselves a chance away from distractions, learn meditation, empower our mind-body and light-body.
We then become more vital, better attuned, balanced and able.
In a world full of distraction, total BS and lies, the clarity found by any number of self divine paths, druidry as one of them, is well worth the effort.
We do however as mentioned see people take this too far, lack the real discipline and even be delusional.
Most of the Bardic grade is spent getting in rhythm, finding the beat of nature and getting the grounding needed to go further.
The Ovate grade is a grand exploration, time to exercise and really dig.
The Druid grade then becomes time to sort out all we find, "dial it all in" and form our views, pick our chosen path and move ahead with life.
I do not think it is a "parlor trick", not at all.
It is a learning I frankly wish all people would do in one way or another without the kind of delusion that religions often carry with them.
As I brought to this conversation earlier, would Christ want anyone persecuted for not being a Christian? Yet the crusades and inquisitions and witch burnings happened.
The human tendency for "wanting to be right" is large and ego driven. The discipline of druidism is to avoid this at all costs, and in fact to make clear that such ego driven ideas are as far away from the idea of self divinity as possible.
We then see the "love of all existence" as a prime goal, meaning the acceptance of "natural justice". These go hand-in-hand, to accept that our reality is not "the" reality. It is just ours. And in that precious, just like everyone else.
This unique reality to each of us breeds a cross-pollination of imagination, an "alive" kinship and way to always grow and never find ourselves stuck in a funk. It is OK to always continue to seek, learn more and aspire.
That is what druidism is all about.
Religion defines the divine, or tries to, in the simple pages of one book..by comparison.
It is important to consider that:
All that is written in the bible or Koran etc, is often "out of context". We all know how that works in the media, message boards and so on.
It is important to then put things "in context" when seeking meaning from things written 2000+ years ago.
All too many things are gerrymandered to meet an ego driven goal of being right, and making someone else wrong.
This kind of lording and subjugation fails in the face of true self divinity. It then becomes obvious and in some ways discouraging.
We however then need to show by example and not preach or try to teach. Offer ways, many ways to others to seek. Become accepting and learn from what others find.
Then we all have something to discuss over a few beers
If we were all the same, we would be sad, bored and frustrated people.
Fully vesting ourselves in the age-old tradition of the three stages of druidry will result in may positive ways. I believe that the results make all of our choices better, better balanced, and unlike religion, still flexable, able to use imagination, not afraid to break tradition and try new things. this is why the early Drui were respected, solved problems well, were good teachers, lawyers and more.