©2022 Michael Raven
I just caught myself debating the unknowable with myself.
The short version:
I found a book (unnamed here intentionally) that, while an interesting reference tool for trying to understand the thought process behind post-2000 druidism (I used to be a member of a druid grove in the 90s), I also find it frustratingly New Age in too many areas to rely on it too much as a good reference tool. Which is surprising, considering the author’s credentials — and not terribly surprising when you consider the allure of such paradigms used frequently to frame neopagan systems. Those paradigms tend to encourage a power fantasy approach towards life, and people love to see themselves in that light.
And yet, there are good nuggets in it, and the author seems to almost try to walk away from those frameworks, but can’t bring themselves to do so. Frustrating as hell.
The revelations in the practice of druidism related in the book since I was in the grove justify some the changes the group I was involved with made in their schism from a larger order when they broke away. And the information I found in the book, if accurate and not based on those revelations, is intriguing. But as I near finishing the book, I went from thinking, hey, maybe I should reach out to the community after a long absence to thinking it’s best if I continue along my own path without getting involved with those politics. It is in part, too, the clinging to the New Age elements that has turned me off (and has always turned me off since I was in my teens many moons ago). And… the retention of those things when the book comes right out and admits these were based on potentially pure fantasy written by one or several authors back in the beginning of the rediscovery of druidism. Yet, he doesn’t appear to have the nerve to move beyond those potential fabrications and questionable core information sources.
That, and the lists and the heavy focus on hierarchal ascension. I really hate numbered lists of things that you should do 3/10 or 45% of to be considered “on the path”. You must pass through the next “gate” to be eligible to be considered for the gate after that. Frequently, those lists are irrelevant, impractical or politically motivated. But I think it is part of the “writing a neopagan book” formula that several publishing houses have popularized since the 70s. I don’t care about those measures of accomplishment. Like management in a career, management in a spiritual tradition has long faded as something appealing to me.
So, while it is a useful book, it has been a agonizing read because it clings to too many of the problematic elements that were evident long ago and the author seems disinclined to remedy them.
I’d go out and write my own book, but then I’d have to deal with critical people like me and, eesh, that’s a fate worse than death.