© 2020 JJ MIddleway, Enchanting The Void.
Typically I work with prayerfulness, stillness and a deep reverence for the Earth coupled with mirth and playfulness. My ethos is embodied in this Druid triad – which helps guide my life:
Hearth as Altar – Work as Worship – Service as Sacrament
Here in the embers of December As the veil between the years grows thin Rejoice that we are all together As days will soon draw out While we draw in
– JJ Middleway
VITAL AND DYNAMIC NATURE SPIRITUALITY
Uniting the Earth, The Arts and Creativity
Most people’s view of Druidry has been shaped by others, since the Druid’s themselves lived in a time and a culture where people didn’t write things down, but passed them on by storytelling, song, actions and tradition. This oral tradition was largely lost and destroyed when the Romans overthrew The Druids on Anglesey in 60 AD.
Thus the history of Druidry was recorded by the victors, via Tacitus, Pliny and the like. Not exactly a favourable or accurate interpretation (the equivalent would be the way the Aborigines of Australia were spoken of by the incoming ‘conquerers’).
Yet it is possible to glean a sense of their beliefs and practices through some of the sites, myths and legends handed down through the years, along with the disrupted, yet still vibrant oral history of Celtic lands.
So what does it mean to me to be a Druid in the modern era?
One of the things which Tacitus records from the invasion of Britain and Anglesey is this:
“A force was next sent over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed”.
For me this is an example of human interests being placed above a reverence and respect for the land and nature – an early form of ecocide perhaps .
It is further illustrated by the story of St Boniface, who by his destruction of pagan ways gained much fame and notoriety, and was later made a saint. This is typified through his cutting down the “Donar Oak” – dedicated to Jupiter/Thor – and the general destruction of sacred groves of trees in ‘Germania’ . This was around the year 723. Ironically, Boniface was born and studied in England (Exeter and Winchester) , before heading to Europe on his mission to fell sacred groves.
I see the call of our time and of our era, as being to now replant those sacred groves of trees – both symbolically and literally – in order to resanctify the Land – to place trees back at the heart of our culture and our belief system.
It is no accident that the origin of the word for ‘Druid’ and the ancient name for Oak – ‘Duir’ – are closely related – as is the word ‘door’ and a connection with ‘knowing’ or ‘knowledge’. Nor is it an accident that we still touch wood for good luck – to connect with and be blessed by the spirit of the wood.
Druids venerate the oak for a reason – it holds the key to mystery, self knowledge and wisdom. For one thing it demonstrates how to live an abundant and rich life: The oak is recorded as hosting over 500 species – far more than any other other tree. It shares of its gifts unconditionally and widely. There is great healing and solace to be found in the presence of an old oak tree.
I can do a lot worse than to take my model for life as being epitomised by the oak.
So, for me a key part of druidry is ‘to be of service’ – in reverence and mirth – embodying prayerfulness and playfulness.
An old Druid Triad sums it up (Threes being important in Druidry)
- Hearth as Altar
- Work as Worship
- Service as Sacrament
15 Key Elements of Druidry
Encourages us to love widely and deeply. It fosters:
- Love of the Land, the Earth, the Wild – Reverence for Nature.
- Love of Peace – Druids were traditionally peace-makers, and still are: Each ceremony begins with Peace to the Quarters; there is a Druid’s Peace Prayer and Druids plant Peace Groves.
- Love of Beauty – The Druid path cultivates the Bard – the Artist Within – and fosters creativity.
- Love of Justice – Druids were judges and law-makers. Traditionally Druids are interested in restorative, not punitive, justice.
- Love of Story and Myth – Druidry recognises and utilises the power of mythology and stories.
- Love of Song – Druidry recognises the ancient healing power of song and seeks to revive, restore and renew the Songlines of the Earth and of the Body.
- Love of History and Reverence for the Ancestors – Druidry recognises the power, relevance and crucial need to honour the past.
- Love of Trees – Druids have a deep affinity with trees and the wisdom, learning and healing inherent within them. There is an ancient tree alphabet which reflects this. Traditionally Druids work within Sacred Groves.
The very name – “Druid” is believed to be derived from the Oak.
- Love of Stones – Druids today build stone circles, and work with the power and mystery of stone, rock and crystal.
- Love of Truth – Druid Philosophy is a quest for Wisdom.
- Love of Animals – Druidry sees animals as being sacred and teaches sacred animal lore.
- Love of the Body – Druidry sees the body and sexuality as sacred.
- Love of the Sun, Moon, Stars and Sky – Druid Starlore, embodied in the old stories and in the stone circles, teaches a love for the Universe.
- Love of Each Other – Druidry fosters the magic of relationship, of family and of community.
- Love of Life – Druidry encourages the celebration and full commitment to life – It is not a spiritulaity which wants us to escape from life.
Heartfelt thanks to Chris Palmer for the wonderful Drum which has also inspired my logo.
If you feel you would like to support my work in service to the earth, I thank you.
A Druid’s Song
“Humble yourself in the arms of the Wild
You’ve got to lay down low and
Humble yourself in the arms of the Wild
You’ve got to ask her what she knows
And we will lift each other up
Higher and higher
We, will lift each other up.”
Writing and Poetry
These are some of my druidry related writings.
“For equanimity ( and the Equinox) to be fully understood and appreciated, so too must all shades either side of it be acknowledged and