Future of Paganism
Druids: Moving Forward, Remembering the Past
Pagans want experienced ritual leaders who will offer their homes as a free teaching and ritual space and they also want competent instruction and well-written articles and books. There are many generous clergy who labor for years with no compensation and a huge eventual burn out rate as a result.
Pagans will cheerfully spend their money on jewelry, robes, and entertaining regional festivals, yet somehow it is still seems immoral to pay for clergy and clergy services. In the future this will have to change. Only when Pagans begin to contribute regularly to their religious groups will it be possible to have Pagan hospice services, Pagan cemeteries, Pagan schools, and Pagan old age homes. These things are vitally needed.
Isn't Druidism a Nature Religion?
As a culture we are growing more and more anxious about the state of the Earth. As I write this article, a volcano of oil and gas is still spewing from the ocean floor of the Gulf, thanks to the negligence of British Petroleum and other oil related corporations. Every day the Earth grows warmer, more species are lost, and cancer rates continue to rise.
Along with ethical and religious scholarship, Druidism provides a context for modern Europeans and those of European ancestry to reconnect with their own ancient tribal reverence for nature (indigenous peoples all over the world have never stopped doing this), within a context where listening to the animals and the winds, to the voices of the fire, trees, and waters is taken seriously.
When we as a people learn to listen once again to the voices of nature we will open our hearts to Her and reconnect with Her creatures as aspects of the divine. If we see the Earth and Her creatures as sacred beings in their own right we will be more likely to work toward their preservation.
The Order of Whiteoak (Ord na Darach Gile) has begun to talk about "Organic Druidism" and "Bio-regional Animism" in a Celtic context. We are looking for ways to engage with and more deeply feel into and support our own bio-regional habitats -- forests, deserts, oceans, mountains, streams, lakes, and ponds. We are looking for ways to deepen our sense of belonging within the watershed areas in which we live by connecting with the ancient Spirits of Place.
Our ultimate aim is to view ourselves as the custodians of our own little patch of planet, exquisitely aware of the plants, animals, and unseen beings that live there. As this awareness becomes more acute, Druids are organizing activities such as tree plantings and trash removal from wild places, and notifying each other of other opportunities for service to the remaining wild.
Druids and Politics
After many years of online debate it has become obvious that Druids represent all political stripes, from Progressive to Liberal to Middle of the Road to Conservative to Ultra Right Wing Libertarian. What is important for the future recognition and acceptance of our religion is that polls include us. The Zogby poll still refuses to include Pagan or Druid or Wiccan as a religious category (despite repeated requests from many). Some more forward-thinking polls are just starting to include Druids and Pagans, which is cheering.
It would be very interesting to finally know what the prevailing political slant of Druids actually is. The main thing is that politicians need to know that we are out there and that we vote.