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Author Topic: Druidry and Environmentalism  (Read 3464 times)
Ellen M.
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« Topic Start: July 01, 2011, 08:08:12 am »

Druidry seems to have the reputation of being a "green" religion, taking a special interest in the natural world and our place in it. From ancient harvests of mistletoe from oak trees to modern celebrations of the solstice at Stonehenge, nature often plays a special role in how Druids see the world today.

Does environmentalism play a role in your Druidic path? How do you relate to nature, to both the environment around you and greater planetary concerns? Would you agree or disagree with the perception that Druidry is a "green" religion? Has increased nature awareness/environmentalism inspired you to make certain changes in your life (in your diet, recycling, spontaneous tree hugging, etc)?
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« Reply #1: July 01, 2011, 08:40:24 am »

Does environmentalism play a role in your Druidic path? How do you relate to nature, to both the environment around you and greater planetary concerns? Would you agree or disagree with the perception that Druidry is a "green" religion? Has increased nature awareness/environmentalism inspired you to make certain changes in your life (in your diet, recycling, spontaneous tree hugging, etc)?

No, not really.  I do try and do my part in not littering, using recycled stuff and lately eating more organic foods (looking into organic dairy and meats now), but part of it is because I don't see the sense in filthying up where I live. The organic foods is for my health, and yes in a part to how it effects the planet.  But again, that goes back to taking care of where you live.

I think a lot of people see Druidry as a "green" religion, I don't.  I think it's seen that way because of how it was portrayed back, was it in the Victorian times? Not sure, but it was very romanticised.  I think that's where the idea that Druidism was all about saving the environment and "tree hugging".  JMO

Though looking back on my answers, I guess you could say Nature awareness has played a role in my diet and recycling, no tree hugging. Wink Especially after my daughter got stuck to a tree hugging one. lol Good thing a police officer happened by, after he got done laughing he unhooked her.  Word to the wise, if you MUST hug a tree, make sure you are not wearing fishnet sleeves!!  Grin  I just do not see myself as an environmentalist.
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #2: July 01, 2011, 09:26:48 am »

No, not really.  I do try and do my part in not littering, using recycled stuff and lately eating more organic foods (looking into organic dairy and meats now), but part of it is because I don't see the sense in filthying up where I live. The organic foods is for my health, and yes in a part to how it effects the planet.  But again, that goes back to taking care of where you live.

For myself, a lot of the green actions I've taken have been for very practical reasons, which have then gone on to inform my spirituality. Smiley

Quote
I think a lot of people see Druidry as a "green" religion, I don't.  I think it's seen that way because of how it was portrayed back, was it in the Victorian times? Not sure, but it was very romanticised.  I think that's where the idea that Druidism was all about saving the environment and "tree hugging".  JMO

That's a good point - and I don't know a lot about the Romantic view of Druids at all. How do you see Druidry? What does it mean to you? (Have we had a "What does Druidry mean to you?" thread yet? If not, I think we definitely need one.)

Quote
Though looking back on my answers, I guess you could say Nature awareness has played a role in my diet and recycling, no tree hugging. Wink Especially after my daughter got stuck to a tree hugging one. lol Good thing a police officer happened by, after he got done laughing he unhooked her.  Word to the wise, if you MUST hug a tree, make sure you are not wearing fishnet sleeves!!  Grin  I just do not see myself as an environmentalist.

I'm not a literal tree hugger (though I used to be in the past - and that's hilarious about your daughter!). I must admit, though, I do think trees are pretty nifty. Grin
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« Reply #3: July 01, 2011, 01:05:16 pm »

For myself, a lot of the green actions I've taken have been for very practical reasons, which have then gone on to inform my spirituality. Smiley

Yeah, I can see that, in a way it would probably/could be seen as a way to honor the nature spirits.  Or as a form of connecting with your environment, again nature spirits. 

That's a good point - and I don't know a lot about the Romantic view of Druids at all. How do you see Druidry? What does it mean to you? (Have we had a "What does Druidry mean to you?" thread yet? If not, I think we definitely need one.)

You know, this one is harder to answer.  I guess, I align more to ADFs version of it.  I see it as honoring the God/desses, Ancestors and Nature Spirits.  When you speak of "green" religion, I don't think any one path has claim to green. Smiley To me, that's more a philosophy then part of my religion.   It trickles into my spiritual life, but it's not a big part of it.  Does that make more sense? Smiley Sometimes I have a hard time putting down in words what's floating around in my head.

I'm not a literal tree hugger (though I used to be in the past - and that's hilarious about your daughter!). I must admit, though, I do think trees are pretty nifty. Grin

Ah! They are. Cheesy Beautiful to look at and relaxing to sit under. 
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« Reply #4: July 01, 2011, 02:19:37 pm »

Druidry seems to have the reputation of being a "green" religion, taking a special interest in the natural world and our place in it. From ancient harvests of mistletoe from oak trees to modern celebrations of the solstice at Stonehenge, nature often plays a special role in how Druids see the world today.

Does environmentalism play a role in your Druidic path? How do you relate to nature, to both the environment around you and greater planetary concerns? Would you agree or disagree with the perception that Druidry is a "green" religion? Has increased nature awareness/environmentalism inspired you to make certain changes in your life (in your diet, recycling, spontaneous tree hugging, etc)?

Ellen,

Love this and the community service thread! Thanks for starting them. Smiley

I think you're right on the mark about Druidry's relationship to environmentalism. The Druid Revival began, along with the Romantic Period of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, at least in part in response to the Industrial Revolution and its dehumanizing, world-devouring influences. The Romantics (artists, poets, intellectuals, philosophers, etc.) were responding to the kind of Cartesian dualism that split the mind/spirit from the physical body and the material world. Valuing the aesthetic and spiritual qualities of the natural world was a big part of how they countered this dualism and sought to overcome it. I think these days folks have a tendency to dismiss Revival Druidry as "romanticism" (lower-case) as though to suggest that it's naively idealistic or inaccurate. There are some inaccuracies in it, of course, but Romanticism (upper-case) was a hugely important philosophical movement in the evolution of Western civilization, and modern day environmentalism and conservation (not to mention ecosophy and deep ecology, and even the scientific study of ecosystems to some extent) owe their existence to ideas first explored by the Romantics. If you really wanted to get technical, you could probably argue that any person today who uses the name "Druid" owes at least some thanks to the Romantics for their part in the revival of that spiritual archetype.

But it's not just Druidry's connection with the Romantics that suggests it has some "green" tendencies. From my understanding of ancient Celtic culture, the Celts tended to be much more concerned with the earth and (what we would call) "nature spirits" than some of the other ancient religious traditions of the time. In fact, that was one of the arguments the Romans used in support of their belief that the Celts were mere uncivilized barbarians - that they held their rituals outside among the trees in sacred groves and seemed to worship nature, instead of worshipping "proper" gods in elaborate temples full of refined sculptures. A deep connection with and respect for the natural world runs deeply through Celtic spirituality in general - and actually, it seems to me that the Wiccan focus on the natural world might actually stem from its early relationship (via Gerald Gardner and Ross Nichols) to Revival Druidry and Celtic spirituality. I think it's kind of a shame that some Reconstructionists I've met and talked to these days try to distance themselves from Wicca by dropping this nature-focus and focusing instead on polytheism as of primary importance. (That was actually a discussion we had on another thread, so I don't want to rehash it here! Wink)

Personally, the focus on the natural world and environmentalism is so central to my understanding of Druidry, it's fair to say that it's the primary (if not entire) reason I became a Pagan to begin with. I had struggled all my life with the ambivalent role that nature and the earth played in Christianity, looking to saints like Francis of Assisi to try to ease my discomfort with how often world-denying the Christian tradition could be. In the end, though, it just wasn't enough - and when I discovered Druidry, it came as such a relief that here was a religious path where my love of the earth could take a central role. My relationship with the natural world and its wildernesses had always been my main way of connecting with the sacred, and here was a community where that was not only tolerated, but supported and encouraged! Fantastic! Smiley

My environmentalism has remained a central aspect of my Druidry ever since. My partner and I live very frugally and simply, to lessen our impact on the earth in every way we can. We do all the small stuff - washing our clothes in cold water, refusing to use the car unless absolutely necessary, walking or biking most places, eating a vegetarian diet of mostly local, organic foods, reducing our plastic use to almost nothing, composting in the backyard, etc. We also participate in local environmental activism when we can, and we try to get away into the woods of the local state park to camp at least every few months during reasonable weather. We also both write regularly to advocate for environmental awareness (I'm the blog project coordinator for No Unsacred Place). And since we're getting married in two and a half months, we've spent the past year planning a "green" wedding and we're going for Platinum Certification for our wedding through the Live Green Live Smart Institute.

But maybe one of the most important ways that we blend our environmentalism with our spirituality is by actually trying to cultivate and nurture our relationship with the local landscape. I've been studying deep ecology and eco-philosophy for the past year or so, and slowly been learning more and more about our bioregion and its needs and moods. My spiritual practice challenges me to move away from an anthropocentric worldview and learn to see the world and all its beings as part of a "ecology of Spirit," all interconnected and valuable in their own right.

Wow! I didn't mean for this to get so long! But it's such a great topic, and a really important one, too. Smiley Thanks again for starting the thread!

--Ali
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« Reply #5: July 03, 2011, 06:47:10 pm »

Personally, the focus on the natural world and environmentalism is so central to my understanding of Druidry, it's fair to say that it's the primary (if not entire) reason I became a Pagan to begin with.

Ali, thanks so much for this post! I feel the same way, although you've said it so eloquently. I definitely need to do more reading on the Romantics.
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