Future of Paganism
Druids: Moving Forward, Remembering the Past
Another wisdom text we turn to is "Instructions of King Cormac":
Be not too wise, be not too foolish
be not too conceited, nor too diffident
be not too haughty, nor too humble
be not too talkative, nor too silent
be not too hard, nor too feeble
If you be too wise, one will expect too much of you
If you be foolish, you will be deceived
If you be too conceited, you will be thought vexatious
If you be too humble, you will be without honor
If you be too talkative, you will not be heeded
If you be too silent, you will not be regarded
If you be too hard, you will be broken
If you be too feeble, you will be crushed. ~ (Translation by Kuno Meyer)
Druids have always been philosophers, but we are much more than that. The ancient Druids studied nature and the heavens, taught the children of the nobility, composed poems, made laws, passed judgments, settled disputes, negotiated peace treaties, and mediated between the tribe and its Gods.
As more and more of the general population turns away from established religions and looks for ways to honor great Nature, She who has been ravaged almost beyond repair, perhaps the Druids will one day be turned to again as mediators between the Worlds.
Many Druids have become aware of the full Indo-European spectrum of history and religion. The Dharmic paths have many similarities with the ancient Celtic teachings and ways. Offerings to sacred Fire and sacred Water, triple deities, High Gods associated with thunder, lightning, and oaks, and Sanskrit words embedded in Celtic languages are just a few of the similarities that point to a common spiritual heritage.
In October 2009 I was honored to present a paper on Celtic Cosmology at the ICCS Conference on Spirituality in Indigenous Cultural and Religious Traditions, in the Washington, D.C. area. The conference was held at a Hindu temple and it was exciting to explore the spread of Harappan and Vedic culture from the East into Western Europe with Hindu scholars.
This October (2010) OBOD is sponsoring The One Tree Gathering in Birmingham, UK, at the Shri Venkateswara Hindu Temple. This gathering will also explore the connections between Druidism and the Dharma.
Many Druids are reading the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, the Laws of Manu, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Ashtavakra Gita, and other Vedic texts in an effort to learn the ancient philosophy that may have informed the religion of the Druids. In future this kind of mutual exchange between Hindus and Druids should become more frequent.
As with any religion, Druids are actively training clergy, developing ritual forms based on actual Celtic precedent, and establishing standards of religious education for lay folk and clergy alike. A major problem is that while the Druid community clamors for public and private religious rites and educated clergy to lead them, they are still not prepared to compensate said clergy for all their years of study and the time required organizing gatherings and rituals.
At this moment in history many Pagans are still in the throes of leaving the religion of their childhood behind and seeking to create their own spiritual path without the intervention of priesthood and without the paying of regular tithes. Yet modern Pagans still want and expect clergy to be there for their life passages such as births, baptisms, hand-fastings, funerals, and seasonal rites.