Thirty Days of Druidry 26: The Chew Toys of Druidry

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For my birthday earlier this month, my father in law sent along a card with a cover picture of the four (five) characters from The Wizard of Oz. In the cartoon bubbles above each one are their familiar goals: a heart, some courage, a brain, a home — and Toto as a stealth fifth character gets his say, too: “Maybe a chew toy?”

Druidry has grown sufficiently into its potential that it has a green and beating heart. As for courage, many Druids do try to “walk their talk” as far as they can, at least keeping the two yoked together and pulling in the same general direction. Not all of us, and maybe not even a majority of us at any one time. But any is more than none, enough for a start, more than before. Step forward, live one’s values openly, whatever others may think of them, or quietly (still matters): against fracking, for preservation, against excess (except maybe during festivals, when mead and love-making and all-night drum circles get to play their vital parts in making Druidry just slightly less than completely respectable).

And against dogmatic certainty, if we can, allowing for enough skepticism that we swallow fewer baited hooks. Small successes: a river cleaned and reclaimed, legislation to preserve rather than consume (or at least consume and restore, replant, restock, re-establish). Is it enough, against the slide and careen of our times? We may not be able to know right now. Maybe our current pessimism is part of a useful course-correction, long in coming.

But it counts for something — all things have their weight and presence. The planet’s learning and growing too, a hive of beings that, if they soil their home, will nevertheless still die and be remade in some form, if only as atoms that were Christ and Hitler too, to work out all the consequences, bad and good together. If not me as me, some of my kin will be here in years to come. (Does it matter in one sense if I have been here before? I’m here now.)

A keen-edged kind of justice: the physical world doesn’t appear to do mercy, unless you count cosmic balance as a kind of far-seeing compassion, impersonal in its workings. The gods and spirits, I notice, do sometimes save, but not us from ourselves when we walk away from their counsel.

Brains, too, haven’t been lacking since Druidry’s earliest days, admittedly along with sometimes generous portions of looneyness. The Revival brought out themes and practices many Druid groups like OBOD still draw from, and the more purist Celtic Reconstructionists have increasingly founded their practices on what can be recovered from the past and from mostly careful and informed deduction.

As for a home, well, here we are. Living in and on it, nourished by it, drinking from it, giving back to it what we choose to give to future generations — to our future selves if you hold deeply to full-on recycling.

Which leaves the chew-toy. What things might correspond to that? The tides of current fashion and flaming opinion, sure. Scandal and media obsession, the so-called Witch Wars, the poly-, duo-, mono- and a- theist speculations that usually lead no further, sometimes, than mild clarification or further obfuscation. One or two or ten people finally turned toward practice rather than pontification. A slight deviation away from head-stuff, into things heads deal less well with, but other parts of us say home, home, I’m in native inner country here.

A seemingly casual and causal sidestep into worlds where those old questions get traded for quietly larger and equally old ones. The slant of sunlight at dawn. Dew on bare feet, now that summer’s nearing. Trill of birdsong. Instinct to breathe in the chi, prana, nwyfre, elan, vital energy alive and pulsing all around. Breathing it out as I live my life. A nudge, maybe no more, to serve in some specific way in my neighborhood: an old backyard dump to be cleaned up, a gathering to organize or attend, a seemingly chance conversation that changes the paths of the participants, infinitesimally, modestly, significantly. A move around or out-of-state. A relationship ending, a relationship beginning. A season to plant, to harvest, an injury healed, a new wrinkle, scar, perspective, discovery, wonderment.

What I chew on comes second. Remember, I say to myself, remember that sequence, that priority. My jaws don’t have to be the strongest thing about me.

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