So just curious, what started all of you to become pagan/Druid? For me I was born this way. I live in the south and though hunting starts as a birthright here, I always cried and hurt as a child when my dad took life. Since I was a child to this very day I do not and have not taken life. I value all things living. I garden and grow my own food and still live off the land. I’ve tried different churches and whatnot but nature has and always will be my home. So what’s your story?
I’m curious too. How does one continue living in the physical world without taking life? Don’t you take the life of that which you grow in your garden? I can understand the sadness, but that’s the way nature works.
As for me, I came to Druidry following a series of hypnosis sessions including a past-life regression in which I was performing a ritual with a bonfire in a grove and was arrested and executed by what appeared to be Roman soldiers. In a later session for discovering my life purpose, the facilitator repeatedly referred to my “Merlin energy”. I did some web searches and when I found this site, it looked like a good fit for me so I applied for membership and lo and behold they accepted me. I have been in this order for nearly five years and I feel at home here.
When I grow my plants they are generally heirloom. So what I take I give back next season. Or depending on the plant I let it grow all year and only harvest the seeds.
Since I was a child I’ve always been drawn to the stories of the druids. I’ve always felt that is where I came from. I have a great deal of Scottish in my heritage on both sides. I just kind of settled into it when I was in my early-mid 20s.
I’m probably not as ecology minded as the average druid in this group. Its not that I don’t have care for the environment and my part in it, but I’m not driven by it. There are many aspects to being druid and the ecology is simply a part of it for me. If I had to pinpoint it (and I’m not fond of doing so), being druid is about honor above all else.
What started my journey? First, I’d like to acknowledge that my Southern Baptist Christian upbringing is indeed part of my journey. Before I sought out occult, new age, and pagan knowledge I was a devout Christian child, taking my Bible to school, wanting to be a missionary, and counseling “troubled” kids at school. My faith was steadfast and tested and upheld in many ways before THE EVENT. The event that was the catalyst, in which my former faith fell, was an attack in which I was held hostage for a couple days by a guy I was seeing and the demon that possessed him. I did the thing. I did the thing I was taught to do and that I was told would always work. I claimed the protection of Jesus. I rebuked the demon. I said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, who’s blood is poured over me, I command you, Demon, to leave!”. He laughed at me and said, “Do you think if you say that I will leave?” The fact he didn’t just instantly vanish in a poof of smoke and even talked back to me ripped my heart out. I lost my faith. Right then. Right there. I said, “No.” Afterward, many months were spent in total confusion and anguish. The total story is long and includes a lot of stuff that went on but in short, I finally decided that I had to learn about all the things I was taught never to learn, never to seek, and never to have anything to do with. I had to learn about this demon to protect myself. What I had been taught didn’t work, so I had to. It was hard. It was scary. It was a big big big big deal. Almost 25 years later here I am and I’ve got the answers I was seeking and I understand the role that everything and everyone played. I get the Christ message that was never taught to me in church. I was a seeker and I found the truth I was searching for. It just took a big event to get me to look in the right place. Next time I see that demon I’m going to hug it and tell it I love it and thank you.
I know… quite the story. It’s uhhh… yeah. It is.
I grew up being forced to follow a belief system that was not my own. As soon as I could I started exploring the connections I was feeling. The calmness of walking along and following a stream with its twists and turns, smelling life growing, hearing the ripples around rocks, seeing reflections of moonlight in the water, is something to be experienced and not just abstractly read about.
At about age 5, I was told people who don’t believe in god spend eternity with the devil. I was terrified and had my first existential crisis in the drive way, I prayed a little prayer that if god was real and could hear me, could god please make me a believer, and then I saw/was shown how we are all alive inside the body of god, and god is alive in everything in creation, there is a life in everyone and everything. Mom said that was a fine understanding of god, and I’ve never been good at organized religion since, not one that shuts us off from our own gnosis anyway. So far, this path works for me.
I started training in my family’s magical tradition when I was 8. My grandfather on my dad’s side taught me in secret, and arranged for other elders to give me specific teachings he lacked. I was his “heir” the only one he would teach. No one else in the family knew about him. When my parents found out about the lessons they shipped me off to church twice a week to “correct me”. They didn’t know what my grandpa was teaching… only that involved me learning about our Indigenous culture. They felt this was dangerous for me. I struggled with racism in the community because I’m mixed ethnic. They saw this as adding fuel to a fire they already couldn’t contain.
But packing me off to church didn’t help lol. I was an incredibly rebellious child. The more I was force fed religion the more I snuck away for lessons.
When I was 12/13 my grandmother on my mom’s side told me about the family lore for her side and my grandpa(her husband). She encouraged me to learn who the ancient druids were. To study the “earth” religions like the natives, and witches of various cultures. My mom thought she was dropping me off to get lectured on the “evil” of my choices, and instead I was being encouraged!
This is a great thread. For me, I had been introduced to what I now know are druidic ideas by my grandfather, who taught me much about plants, nature awareness, and reverence of the earth. After rejecting my birth religion and going agnostic for a few years, I finally had too much “evidence” to stay agnostic. Nature was my church and my teacher. So, in my mid-20’s, I finally found my way into druidry–and I was lucky to land in the AODA! I’m still here :).
I was struggling with some depression and aimlessness. Spiritually, I was in pretty bad shape. One day, Wicca came up in a casual conversation with my wife, just in passing. For some reason, it stuck with me. I read a couple of books and decided to go for a walk in the woods on a day that happened to coincide with the full moon. Out there, I found a crow cawing at me from the top of a tree that had died, but had become the support structure for new, living plants that grew up around it, thorns and ivy. The crow took off, and I decided to follow it. It lead me down into a small clearing off the path. Running water had cut the clearing off like a small island with narrow creeks on each side. There were a few trees in the center that were leaning out away from the clearing due to the erosion. It looks like the palm of a hand. In the center of the clearing, someone had constructed a ring of stones, as if for a fire. I stood there and prayed beneath the crow. Then, it took off. I went home and performed my first ritual. A short time later, I saw someone mention druidry on a pagan forum and felt the urge to follow it, just like I did with Wicca. I no longer consider myself Wiccan, but it was instrumental in getting me to druidry.
Looking back at my life, it is apparent that my beliefs have always been druidic, but that is often the way with these sorts of things.
Like others here, it took me quite a long time for me to find my way to Druidry, although I was pagan for many years before that. And like others, I turned away from Christianity because it simply didn’t live up to its billing, for one thing. I was told that Jesus answers all prayers, and he never answered any of mine. An all-knowing god certainly should understand how to communicate with me, so he could if he wanted to. Plus, I ended up rejecting the idea that most of the world’s population will go to hell after death because of an accident of birth, because they happened to be born into cultures that aren’t Christian.
So that was one thing. The other was that, first, I was drawn to forests and wild places, and the second, the works of JRR Tolkien changed my life. He may have been a Catholic, but his works have a magical, pagan worldview, and it set my brain on fire. How I wanted to go to Middle Earth! Being pagan seemed to be the next best thing. And then I happened to meet a pagan–long story, but that’s how it started.
I too was raised in a belief system that was not a good fit. I tried my best however to be what my family wanted me to be. I was always curious and loved reading, but as a female person higher education was never on the table; marriage was. I think that one of the turning points for me was when I was around nine and had read this really great book about snakes. I found it so fasinating that I regaled my family with all the things that I had learned from the book while we were driving. My father did not find the snakes nearly as fastastic as I did, and when we arrived home he gave me a 20 minute sit at the table lecture based on Ecclesiastes 12:12- And further by these my son be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. ( KJV). Then I was sent to help cook dinner lol. After that I read most everything I could get my hands on, in secret. And if it was something that the elders of the faith said should not be read, then I read it faster. I was allowed to finish high school and was quite happy that I was able to. I was married young to a man ten years my senior because I had great house keeping skills. He became controlling and abusive almost immediately and would not have a phone line contracted for several months, because he wanted me to adjust to my new role without the distraction of my family. He needn’t have worried, because when I tried to leave I was sent back twice. I disappeared after reading a book that taught me how. I got a job, and turned out to be quite good at it. I met wiccans and pagans and stuck with that for about ten years, but it didn’t fit like a well tailored dress if you know what I mean. During the pandemic I found a book on Druidry, I had not looked at the beliefs before because I felt like it was from a far away place. I devored the book, which led me to the AODA website. I felt like I had come home. It has been amazing to work on the canadate material.
Sorry for the long post, should probably have warned everyone ahead of time.
I also grew up Christian and was pretty committed to that until my teen years, when I started to see cracks in the wall that had been built up around me. My problems with Christianity were mostly that as I got older and began thinking more for myself, the whole story became less coherent and convincing to me. I wanted to go deeper, more mysterious, more universal than mainline Protestantism would allow. So over a period of years, I moved from one thing to the next, mostly not finding what I was looking for but seeing hints here and there of something deeper. Eventually I ending up finding a reference to JMG’s book The Long Descent in a footnote in a permaculture book, which sounded interesting, and a quick internet search of his name landed Druidry right in my face. I felt a deep movement inside of me that this could be it! I bought The Druidry Handbook and devoured it, and now here I am.
Simply put, a love of nature and the land that turned into a search for a deeper spiritual connection to it.
I first heard of druidry in passing in the 90s. I did not seek out AODA though until I came across JMG’s book on the Coelbren. That was my intro to AODA itself.
Due to some comments made in private, I would also like to acknowledge that the way I tell the story is mostly from the point of view of how I understood things at the time they happened and that now I understand them in a different way and that no, I don’t intend on trying to call forth a demon to give it a hug. But if I saw it… I would. And yes I know it sounds bogus but folks, that’s just the way it is. I’m quite used to people thinking omg this chick is whack.
It’s all good.
Such a terrifying experience. I’m glad you were able to break the programming of the church and find your own path, and there your healing. … In dream work there is a process of attending to the image by which the demonic will open to the divine, but this takes some training, practice, skill, and attention. Likewise, in psychotherapy, we dance with the monsters of the psyche, but again, it takes a skillful tender to facilitate the alchemy. … In some world traditions, when the saint in training encounters the demons within and without, usually in the forest, those demons transform to become helpers and protectors of their spiritual master/teacher. Beware of the ego inflation in that last one, but all to say, i get it. The devil lives in the christian church because they feed him and keep him chained with their fear mongering and emotional manipulation. Watching some preacher freek out about little naz’s shoes the other day, it’s pretty clear they are “feeding the beast” the baser of human emotions. No curiosity in that place. I suspect curiosity is one part of the antidote, one that stops allowing others to suck off our fear and anxiety.
Thank you for your supportive reply. It means a lot. I’ve done a ton of dream work but not like, knowing what I’m doing, other than be aware I’m dreaming and control my fear response. I’m a super vivid dreamer and I travel quite a bit in them. I have prophetic dreams, dreams of people that passed or are about to, dreams involving tech that doesn’t exist yet, epic adventures and magical happenings, alllll kinds of dreams and such. I’ve never practiced or learned a lot about it really other than overcoming fear. Checkity check. Time to go deeper I guess. Let me know if you have good resources for advancing those skills.
What started me on my path to becoming a druid was how I was raised and who I was from birth. I have always loved nature, but I grew up in families where we went camping every weekend. We spent as much time outside as possible, even in winter, which can be quite bad here at times. We went fishing, hiking, skinny dipping, hunting, foraging, planting gardens of all kinds, having indoor bedrooms used as greenhouses, houseplants everywhere, grew our own food, had pets and animals we used as food, learned how to make our own clothes, how to sheer sheep, clean and brush and dye the wool, how to spin it and then how to knit and crochet. We learned how to cook using all the food we grew. You could say we were homesteaders only in the city. I learned how to kill and clean and cook small game and chickens from an early age. By 8 I could do a Yule dinner myself. It is a part of who I am.
I always recycled everything, even before they had recycling bins. I composted all natural organic food items. I used cloth bags instead of getting bags in the stores. I tried to not drive as much as possible. I even refused to get a car until I had to. Currently I am handicapable, and sadly a car is necessary, but I still don’t use it as often as possible. Still, even as a child I snuck out of my bedroom window at night to go sit outside reading by the moonlight. I would pick and eat all the various “weeds” my father and mother taught me were edible. I would pick flowers and eat them too (at least the ones I was taught was acceptable to do so). I was taught how to make soap, shampoo, conditioners, lotion, use soap nuts for wash and vinegar rinse with woolly balls for the dryer when we cannot air/line dry. I lived modestly, even when I had money. I wear only natural clothing and have only reusable bags and such. Even my ziplocks are silicone or reusable vacuum-sealed. My whole yard is a massive garden. Everything in our garden not only attracts good insects and promotes a healthy ecology, but also attracts pollinators and is 100% edible. Even the ornamentals are edible. The “city” may not allow gardens in the front yard, but what they don’t doesn’t hurt them. I give away as much food as we use too. We donate to food banks or to people around us that need extra good food for their children. I guess you could say I have just always been a druid and never thought otherwise. I do keep witchcraft as part of who I am, but works well with being a druid.
Wow! What a childhood and great lifestyle! The life you live is I think what most of us strive for and romanticize. It’s a lot of hard work and making alternative choices instead of the easy, convenient, pre-packaged ones. It’s honorable and I tip my innanet hat to you. Fabulous!