I’m back from the Keltria conference.
It was lovely to connect with fellow Druids, this time in sunny (and oppressively hot) Georgia. We shared laughter, insights and ritual techniques, and above all, fellowship.
And for me, that last is my favorite part. Druids are rare in my local Pagan community, and quite possibly in the larger Pagan community in general. In metropolitan areas, the population density is such that you’ll find at least a few other folks sharing your path. In less densely populated areas, suburban or rural, it can be difficult. Pagans there, as with most anywhere, tend to be Wiccan.
I have no problem with Wicca per se, but it’s not my path. I’m a polytheist. I don’t believe that all Goddesses are one Goddess (whom I jokingly refer to as the Great Marshmallow Mother) who is the moon and earth, or that all male Gods are ultimately one sun and fertility god. In other words, Aphrodite, Kali Ma, Nu Kua and the Morrigan are, in my mind, not all “aspects” of one deity; the same holds true for, say, Mars, Krishna, Perun and Coyote. I honor a female sun and a male moon, which is the reverse of the Wiccan community.
To be snarky, I hate conversations in which someone inevitably calls Brighid a moon goddess, since all goddesses are ultimately one Goddess who is the moon. Usually, I nod politely and bit my lip very, very hard to hold back the words. Because no matter how well-phrased, those words would prick; people hate to be corrected. And who am I to correct them? Wiccans have a different system, one that works for them. It would be akin to a Presbyterian correcting a Pentecostal.
Before I discovered Druidry, I did participate in Wicca; it was the only option available, and better than nothing. But I was one of those folks uncomfortably shifting my feet back and forth, grumbling, “Isn’t there a better (for me, at least) way?” This path has always been about my love for the Gods, not about magic(k). I can see how that last draws people — the prospect of power, or of attaining desire — but such power and attainment for their own sake has always seemed hollow to me. I have a different motivator, I suppose.
To get back to the point: gatherings such as these, despite the expense of travel, are worth it. You see you’re not alone. And perhaps I’m a Luddite, but I don’t think fellowship can thrive solely on the Internet; the Web consists of words shorn of the subtlety of intonation, and the person’s innate character. The Internet is a lifeline for members of smallish faith paths, but to grow, you need more that just a lifeline. You need the sustenance that comes from a human voice, a human face and a shared rite.