Lupus Alae

Spiritflights, fledgling and ancient


Beliefs, Part II: Choosing Druidry, and nonviolence

So...if all religions worship (to my way of thinking) the same Divine that resides within and watches over us all, why choose at all, right? And why Druidry over the others that I'm aware of?

I wasn't raised with Druidic beliefs; I was in fact brought up in a strict Christian household. I always had problems with the exclusive nature of at least the particular denomination in which I was raised. They were right and everyone else was wrong. Other Protestant denominations were less wrong than the rest of the world, but still. This was their thinking, and never mine. There were inconsistencies and hypocrisies that left me feeling extremely disenchanted with the religion I'd been handed. I struggled with that all through my teenage years, not daring to express my views to my parents or other leaders in my conservative community. I felt isolated, an outcast of my own making because I simply could not swallow all of the supposed truths that were constantly shoved down my throat.

In college, I began to really explore other religions, other spiritual paths. I wasn't "shopping" for a religion; I had come to the determination that I didn't have to have one but thought that the research would be useful in shoring up my convictions of what I did and did not believe. I questioned what I had been taught, and over the next few years was able to strip my beliefs down to what resonated with me and felt true; I relaid the foundation of my spiritual life on solely those truths that deep down I already knew -- not because anyone told me it must be so, but because I could feel it on my own, outside of any specific religious following.

I like the cyclical nature of Druidry, and the way the spiritual path is so open to individual practitioners as well as group practice. There is a freedom in it, even if most Druids do hold to a few core beliefs nearly across the board. There isn't the same push to convert others or else, and tolerance for other faiths abounds...I even learned along the way that Druidry and other religions are not mutually exclusive (from a Druid perspective, anyway). The rituals and basic tenets resonate with me, and it's the path that I feel at ease with, at home my feet are finally carrying me where I want and need to go. Quite simply, it just feels right. The something that I felt was missing, doesn't feel that way anymore -- and it's not the same sensation of trying to jam a jigsaw piece into a space it wasn't designed for and refuses to fit in without seriously damaging the rest of the puzzle around it (or creatively editing the piece I was shoving in there) that I had before, with the faith I grew up in. This actually fits. I am a Druid.

I hold myself to the Hindu principle of ahimsa
as closely as possible, which is pretty standard in Druidry. I do believe that our negative actions have negative effects far beyond our ability to discern them, and that what goes around comes around again. I suppose you could say that I believe in karma then, although not precisely as certain Eastern religions do. I don't step on ants or caterpillars if I can avoid it, and I even extend this principle of nonviolence to the arachnids I so utterly fear, though it doesn't always save them. I'm not perfect, but I try hard. Even spiders have the right to be here, unharmed. I strive to not act out against things or beings simply because I am afraid of them, but I am very much a work in progress with that particular example.

Violence has always been abhorrent to me; as a child I was appalled and wounded by some of the "classic" animated movies shoved at most of my generation. I hate violent scenes in movies even now, animated or not, and cannot watch parts of many otherwise good movies because it hurts my heart to even see torture or violence of any sort portrayed onscreen. (A quick barroom brawl is one thing; the downed man getting kicked in the head or ribs is quite another...things like that.) I love books and cannot read Stephen King or anyone else with a penchant for particularly violent/gory scenes. The images gleaned from the words haunt my soul.

I have been accused of being naive, stupid, oversensitive, and "not fit for this world" because of my attitude toward violence and how unable I am to handle certain types of "reality" in books and movies and the like. Frankly, I don't care, and I find it disturbing how desensitized most people seem to have become. Yes, maybe I am at an extreme in my views and what hurts me, but other people edge toward the other side of that. Some part of me feels (and I mean no disrespect here) that the less horrific awful acts are to us, the less incapable of them we become. No thank you.

If you wish to learn more about Druidry, I strongly recommend the OBOD's website.


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