I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m a history snob. Even more so when it comes to paganism or anything remotely related to that subject. It’s just the way I am, I love unraveling ‘facts’ back to their humble and primal beginnings, though sometimes there are things I wish I never found (Samhain was NOT the Celtic new year, it turns out- discuss… as an example).
For me, whether for good or ill, if something that is accepted as common knowledge, or assumed to be true and then is later found to not be so, then I lose faith or regard that particular subject as no longer important. The same cannot be said of modern Druidry, indeed the whole of the modern Pagan movement, and yet it can. Allow me to explain.
Cthulhudruid gave a wonderful account of that most famous of sects and gentlemen’s clubs: The Golden Dawn. Not only is it’s history steeped in Qaballic mysticism and the exploration of the spiritual side of industrial age man, it is also riddled with politics, and celebrity (both Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner were members).
The Golden Dawn was not just another ‘secret society’, because unlike most, it had progeny and even gave birth to two more movements: Thelema and Wicca. In fact, I suppose you could say it was the ‘Mother’ of all modern paganism and witchcraft and… even Druidry.
On the journey home, both myself and Ladymorgana had our minds racing, did this mean that all we thought was a lie? Did this mean that ALL modern pagan practices actually only go back to about 300 or so years? Belief is a strange and wonderful thing. I had previously been aware of the Golden Dawn and that it had a huge influence on today’s rituals and spell casting techniques, but I guess I had no understanding that it actually provided the backbone of all that those who call themselves witches, druids, magicians do.
How would anyone who was embarking on the quest to follow the ‘old ways’ feel once they discovered that those ‘celtic witchcraft’ -sorry, lets jazz it up- ‘Celtic Wychcrafte’ rites were actually from a book of Hebrew origin? Not meaning to sound anti-semetic here, just trying to paint a picture of origins being vastly different from their later incarnated forms.
The point is, it works. It doesn’t actually matter if those of us who practice magic
or perform modern rites are following a way that is different and perhaps alien to how our ancestors did it in the past. There’s a reason people call it Modern Druidry or Neo-paganism… the present is not strictly following the ways of the past because it can’t. Too much of pagan history has been second and third hand information, we can only go with what we have. A Druid of the past might look at a modern Druid and look totally confused at what they are doing; whereas the reverse could see disappointment and maybe even fear at the practices of the old.
I am pleased to call myself a member of the Order and proud to say I am a member of the Grove of the Corieltauvi; there are times when I find the practices of the Order questionable, as there are things in the Gwers I disagree with. And yet there are lessons I have learned from both the Order and the Gwers that have expanded my understanding and both my mind and spirit that I could never give up on.
The only point to following ‘if it is true’ is that it has to be true to you, there’s no reason in paying lip service to a rite or a prayer if it does nothing for you, if it does, then ‘do as thou wilt’… just don’t be an idiot and ruin it for everyone else.
I would like to thank my friends at the Grove for helping me to become less of a history snob, though I must confess I’m not quite cured yet.