31 Days of Lunasa: Day Unnumbered — “Steering the Craft”



As I begin this post, I borrow the title of U K LeGuin’s book of exercises for writers — “for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew”, as she subtitles it. At this point I have little more than a nudge, a kind of “sunburn of the attention” that I’ve learned is one signal of an impulse that, for writers, becomes writing seeking to take form. We all receive such impulses, and channel them according to our individuality, our training and imagination and skill-set and desire.

evergreen with new growth

And so this blog is often partly about bard-craft as I experience it. Of all the myths we tell about the ordinary people we call artists, those we tell about inspiration and creativity are some of the least helpful. The bulk of any greatness resides in persistence. But we comfort ourselves that it’s “talent” instead, and let ourselves off easy, not really wanting to commit to the long haul that any creative mastery requires. Look at anything you’ve mastered. The same pattern holds, regardless of the focus. You keep at it till you get better. Or you turn aside for something else.

LeGuin’s words about writing apply to the craft of Druidry:

Once we’re keenly and clearly aware of these elements of our craft, we can use and practice them until — the point of all practice — we don’t have to think about them consciously at all, because they have become skills.

A skill is something you know how to do.

Skill in writing frees you to write about what you want to write. It may also show you what you want to write. Craft enables art.

There’s luck in art. There’s the gift. You can’t deserve it. But you can learn skill, you can earn it. You can learn to deserve your gift (pg. xi).

If I take this frame and turn it and play with it to see whether and how it applies to Druidry, it shimmers and wriggles and pulses in my hands. See what you think:

How do you learn the craft of Druidry? (Notice it’s not “What do I have to believe?”) I learn Druidry by using and practicing its elements. What will I have to show for it if I do? Skills — things I know how to do. Crafts I can apply to my life as I live it. Skill in Druidry frees me to live what I want to live — my truth, my experience. It may also show me what that truth and experience are. The craft of Druidry enables the art of living.

The range of skills spans wide. I’ve met Druids who are skilled musicians, who have created and published their own tarot decks, who live sustainable lifestyles off-grid or on, who raise children strong and sane enough to survive the futures we’re creating, who keep Druid workshops and other events and community going through difficult times like covid, who open their lives and pocketbooks and hearts to others, who don’t need politicians of any party to tell them what freedom is or isn’t, who are ornery and blessed enough to live true in ways that inspire and nourish, and in ways others may never know directly but may feel, like sunlight on skin on a winter afternoon.

Would they do these things if they “weren’t Druids”? In many ways it’s not a useful question. People drawn to Druidry are also people who tend to do these things. It’s more a symbiosis than a causal connection. One catalyzes the other.

We all “steer the craft”, the craft or vessel of our lives, yes, as well as the craft of living, of associated tricks and turns, knacks and know-how, the crafts and skills that ease the journey, smooth it for ourselves and those we touch.

/|\ /|\ /|\

Posted 2 September 2021 by adruidway in Druidry

%d bloggers like this: