Sunday, February 06, 2011

The Druid's Walk

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm not Jimmy Page or anything, but it's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely lonely lonely time. What I mean is, it feels like a long time since I last wrote. No matter how I resolve to work less, my job sucks me in at 7:00 in the morning and rarely spits me out before 5:00, at which time I come home to fix dinner. On the weekends there are chores. And yes, Spare does help me with the chores and the cooking ... but it's a big job.

When the bored gods began to speak to me, I didn't know anyone else who followed the Pagan path. The only place I knew about where Pagan events were held was Four Quarters Farm, and it's out near my place on Polish Mountain. A long hike.

Then I started reading newspaper articles about an Episcopal priest over west of Philly who had lost his sinecure for putting Celtic-themed liturgies on his web site. The newspapers mentioned that he had started a Druid Grove that met at Ridley Creek State Park near Media, PA.

On Beltane in 2006 I blithely set off for Ridley Creek State Park with no more than the newspaper hint and a mapquest for directions to the park. Turns out Ridley Creek Park -- in addition to being beautiful and home to a state champion Black Oak -- is very, very large. Nevertheless, I eventually found the Druids at a picnic site.

Thus began a pleasant and spiritually fulfilling four years of Rituals in Ridley Creek Park, and a few close friendships with like-minded people. But our group was small, and fully half of it came from faraway Allentown. From a high of about 15 people, we soon dwindled to six, then four, then three, and last Samhain two. Imbolc has come and gone with no contact.

This is not alarming to the bored deities that we honored during our Rituals. The group has not disbanded in apostasy or schism. All members are still involved in other groups, mostly closer to where they live.

One of the first people to leave our group was its founder, and I recently heard from him. He has founded another group, Celtic Christians who meet in each other's homes, also in that area out west of Philly. I've heard a little bit about Celtic Christianity, but it's not for the bored God Mannanan MacLir, and it's not for me.

So it is with sadness that I sit here on a sunny afternoon, recalling Imbolcs past at Ridley Creek State Park.

My sadness is deepest when I think about the people in that Druid Grove, because it really and truly is difficult for me to fit in most places, including in Druidic groups. I'm apt to give a nod to some other bored deity rather than the prescribed ones. Not that anyone in my particular Druid Grove ever cared, but to a Druidic purist, saying howdy to Manitou might not be kosher. Also, I've never been accused of being a deep thinker (as anyone who reads here knows). All of my worship is through immediate sensory experience. Ergo, almost all of my knowledge of the bored Celtic deities comes from poetry, art, story, and vision, not from the vast literature of modern Druidism.

I know of a Druid Grove here in New Jersey. Once Spare and I went to one of their Rituals, and it was there that I got to meet Isaac Bonewits and hear him talk. But the evening Ritual held by that group disturbed me deeply. I sure didn't like the way they went about their praise and worship. (I've written on this before. Isaac didn't like it either, I later learned.)

The New Jersey Grove has a Facebook page. It's larger and has a dynamic leader. There are all sorts of Pagans at those Rituals, even people who worship the bored deities of Greece and Rome. Still it's not a fit for me.

Today I walk alone.

There's a beautiful mature oak grove that I can literally see from my window as I write this. But I'm not in the least tempted to try to start a seed group. You would understand completely if you had attended (with me) the New Jersey Pagan Pride day last fall, about three miles from my house.

All too often, Pagan Pride events bring out Satanists who are truly just worshiping their notion of Satan as an opponent to Yahweh. This group was well represented at the New Jersey Pagan Pride Day. It is the position of "The Gods Are Bored" that Satan is not bored. Satan is busy. And people who worship Satan as the anti-Yahweh are not even Pagans.

This is the opinion of "The Gods Are Bored" and need not reflect your own.

Having spent the happiest hours of my youth alone in the deep woods, I will return to that practice of immersing myself in some dark hollow, or some sunny meadow, or some ancient grove so remote that the loggers didn't figure it was worth the trouble. I know of these places, back home where I came up.

In the spring, if I'm able, I'll probably drive up to Allentown.

From whence do I draw comfort today, though? Ah, Ah! I'm not at a total loss.

My friends, this Druid bids you adieu to go to Wenonah, New Jersey, in order to watch a large flock of vultures descend to their nightly roost. If I'm going to do Rituals by myself, they certainly won't look or sound quite like anything sanctioned by any praise and worship team devoted to any particular pantheon.


Alex (Satan WHO?) Pendragon said...

Anne, you are a prime representative of the self-realized pagan that Scott Cunningham liberated from deep in the closet, who knows their God/Gods/Goddess much more intimately than any "mystery tradition" can, no matter how "official" they are or how popular their membership. That is the beauty of paganism, in that we are not required to attend any particular groove or coven or bowling league simply because that's what happens to be available to us. Here at Pendragon Hold, we have a High Priestess, her consort (I'm not really "priest" material) and whoever cares to join us in our circle. And we don't require any secret tatoos or handshakes. As far as your "depth" is concerned.....well, I would "kill" to have your readership! Apparently SOME large group of concerned citizens thinks you're plenty "deep" enough. I know you sure have been for me.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

The ancient path of the Solitary is an honourable one. Say hi to the sacred thunderbirds for me. And to Manitou too. (Manitoba, the Canadian province where I used to live, derives its name from Manitou. "Manitoba" is usually translated as "Where the Great Spirit Dwells" but a less formal translation would simply be "God's Country," LOL!)

Lavanah said...

As another non-affliated New Jersyan, I think you are plenty deep. Should you find yourself here in the northern end of the state, please drop by for a cup of tea, and maybe even a visit with a God or Goddess or two, in my circle. Although, ever since I brought One to laughter, I'm not sure if they qualify as bored or entertained when They stop by.

Oh, and maybe the turkey vultures will be around, too.

Jennifer said...

I was missing my coven on Imbolc, which dissolved under similar "uh, everyone just moved on or moved away or had a baby" circumstances. Sigh. This is pretty reminiscent of that too.


I like being the lone pagan...I don't like organized religion even when it's mine.

Lori F - MN said...

There are times when I would like to get together with like-minded persons, as a whole. But my spirituality is incredibly personal to me. No one has ever asked me to define it, But I have, to myself.
There may come a time when a group reforms and you join with them.
Until then, laugh at the squirrles going crazy in the trees and find joy with the vultures.

Intense Guy said...

I'm with YDG... any organized (read: human being mucked up) religion has its troubles.

Nothing wrong with being spiritual on your own... ultimately your religion is an intensely personal thing.

John Beckett said...

I'm not (from) Kansas, but I'm reminded that "nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky".

As a Druid (OBOD) where there are no groves, I've found a home in a CUUPS group. I'm OK practicing on my own on a day to day basis, but I want... need... a group setting for the major holidays. And I've made some great friends in the process.