"Do réir a chéile a tógtar na caisleáin."
I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to me to be a Druid, a title that for me represents a bridge between the ancient and the new. How does it shape my life? How does it affect me?
This may seem like a simple question, but I've struggled to grasp it now for a while. It's like asking how does being a woman shape my life; it influences so many aspects of my being that it is, in its own way, an intrinsic part of who I am. I tend to favor seeing the word Druid as a title, but in some vital ways it has ceased to have that meaning for me - or rather has gone beyond that - and become part of who I am. I am a Druid. If I never held another ritual, if I never taught another class, if I never sought imbas, if I ceased every action that defines the word Druid for me, I would still be a Druid because the external actions have become only a reflection of the inner process. I do not know when this happened, or how, but I know it is true.
So, how do I feel that my life reflects my religious path and role? I feel a driving responsibility to help those that need help. I teach. I run rituals for the public when I can. I care for the world I live in so that it will continue to be able to support all of us by recycling and living as best I can with nature. I try to be knowledgeable so that I can answer questions when people need answers. I hone my skills, be they magical or mundane, so that I can use them when they are needed. I do my best to serve my community when and how I can. I pass on what I know to my children and my students. I strive, not to live in harmony, but to nurture that which creates the best outcome for myself, my family, and my community. I actively use what I know and what I can do, magically, when I think it needs to be used. I pray to the Gods and spirits, make offerings, and do everything I can to nurture a strong relationship with them. But do my actions make me a Druid?
Being a Druid is judged by others based on external actions; either I fit that individual's perception of what a Druid is or I don't. My actions are judged as a if they were my beliefs, yet they are only a reflection of my beliefs. I do not live an honorable life because its what's expected or to fulfill a standard, I live an honorable life because I know that is the best way to live. I know that everything has a spirit and so I honor those spirits. I know the beauty and fierceness, power and vastness of the Gods, and so I honor them in word and deed. I know that my ancestors are with me still and so I talk to them and include them in my life. I know the might and mystery of the daoine sidhe and so I respect them. I know that energy is endless and so I have learned how to understand magic as a tool and use it when I need it. I know that all things are connected and how to read those connections under certain circumstances. I know the paths and ways of the Otherworld. I can read the sky where I live, and understand the trees and plants. I know that great wisdom lives in the old stories and folktales, myths and legends. I listen and hear the song of the aos sidhe, look and see the flow of energy, feel the potential of life. I know these things in my heart and my mind, and I live them in my spirit; my actions are a reflection of this knowing. That is what makes me a Druid.
There was a point in my life when I acted like I thought a Druid should act because I thought that was what made someone a Druid. I understand now that acting like a Druid and being a Druid are wholly different things. One is based only on action. The other is rooted in the soul.