Blog of the Month

Each month we feature a post from a blog of interest to Druids. For July, it is a recent entry from A Druid Way.

 
In this lovely and iconic image, courtesy of Cat Treadwell, Druids climb Glastonbury Tor [in June] as part of OBOD’s Golden Anniversary. Fifty years ago, Ross Nichols (1902-1975) — poet, Druid and school-teacher — formed the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. As a member of the Bardic grade, of course I yearned to attend. For a delightful acccount of the event, go here for Joanna van der Hoeven’s 9 June 2014 post “Celebrating 50 Years of OBOD” on her blog “Down the Forest Path.”
 
Does it matter whether Druids and Glastonbury share a historical connection? Ultimately, only to historians. The lived experience of Druidry, as of any flourishing tradition, means that what we do today shapes our experience more than what may or may not have happened in the past. When my fellow Druids assembled in the town and on the Tor, the sense of community, the sharing of ritual, the reunion of friends, the inspiration of the talks and workshops, the sense of history, and the beauty and much-vaunted “vibe” of Glastonbury, all converged. And the same kind of convergence is true of personal experience as well.
 
Though OBOD’s Golden Anniversary celebration tugged deeply at me, my wife and I had already committed resources to a trip within the U.S. I couldn’t manage both, so I had to forgo what was by all accounts a moving and delightful celebration. But I couldn’t sustain much self-pity, because our own itinerary included a return to Serpent Mound in southern Ohio. I’d visited before in 2008, and experienced a strong past-life recall there. I saw and heard further details this time. Among them were a specific name (of a tribe? a person? I don’t — yet — know), voices singing, images of  the tribe’s shaman, and of my death near the Mound in an inter-tribal conflict.
 
But these details, while moving and significant to me, matter less than the impact which these kinds of experiences make in general. As an instance of “unverified personal gnosis,” my experiences don’t require any belief on my part, though of course I may choose to believe all sorts of things as a result. Nor do such experiences legitimize any attempts I may make to persuade others that my experience was “real” or that they should act differently towards me — or their own lives — as a result.  What the experience did establish for me is a strong personal resonance with a place and a culture, and a doorway to potential future choices and insights about my life and personal circumstances that I might not have been able to access in any other way.  Whether I choose to act on that experience is my responsibility. (What is significant to me right now is that the details of my experience form the basis for a decent historical novel, for instance — one way to dramatize my personal experience and — with further hisorical research — turn it into art.  I feel I can explore and concretize its significance most vividly and vitally this way.  And who knows what further confirmations such research may provide?)
 
For more, and the photos illustrating this blog post, please go here.
 

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