Standing outside the High Court last week with an activist from The Warriors’ Call and other fellow anti-fracking campaigners fighting for the right to protest, a thought entered my mind. Our Druid orders are focused on teaching, arts and spirituality and while the bardic arts go some way to giving a voice to Druidry there is very little focused on making our voices heard on the more gritty issues of life, very little on activism, very little on community work such as helping the homeless and very little on protecting Nature through non violent direct action (NVDA – anything from letter writing to protests).
I find this strange. John Halstead states: “there is nothing more truly spiritual than a radically activist life” and I know there are many people involved in Druidry who are activists yet this is not explicit in our orders. Mark Boyle recently called for people to “resist, revolt, rewild” as a replacement Mnemonic for the three Rs of reduce, reuse, recycle – Boyle’s Rs are more active, more out there.
I belong to two orders. OBOD is primarily a spiritual teaching order and one that has a great focus on the finer side of bardic arts, roles that it does very well, and the Order of the Yew is described as the dark heart of The Druid Network. There are other orders too, such as the British Druid Order which has a real shamanic and magical feel to it. But there is no order focused on getting out there, making a statement and campaigning for what is right for Nature.
We do have The Warriors’ Call, a Pagan group of activists that do tremendous work on the fracking front line. I’m proud to identify as a member (there is no membership card or subscription…) but the group is Pagan rather than specifically Druid and it is focused on direct action against fracking rather than activism in its widest sense.
I therefore wondered if we need an order focused on speaking out and activism, one that:
- helps us network and organise
- supports and encourages community action, such as working with the homeless
- provides a voice on environmental and social justice issues
- is able to bring Druid ritual to action
- provides a bit of identity to those of us on the front line
- gives some structure to the work many of us do
Druidry to me is a deep connection with nature, it is protecting that which is sacred, it is speaking out through Bardic arts, using the magic of the Ovate and standing as a Druid. Encompassing the three aspects of Druidry in the protection and celebration of the sacred leads me to activism in all its guises.
Inspired by the Order of the Yew being the dark heart of The Druid Network, maybe an order focused on being heard should be the Order of the Oak? An internet search suggests that there isn’t an Order of the Oak (maybe I’m wrong – tell me if I am) which seems strange given the connection between Druidry and the oak.
I would welcome your thoughts on this!