Firstly, before you read on, let me state this quite categorically: I am NOT setting myself up as any kind of authority on the practise of Druidry. Whilst I have many years experience in mystical concepts, ideas and theories I am relatively new to the framework of druidical practise and I do not propose to tell more experienced druids how to do what they do.
What follows is an outline of my thoughts on how ancient sites may play a part in the development of a druid. The list is not prescriptive, i.e. of you don’t agree with it, then good. Good for you. You probably know better through your own personal experiences. I don’t yet know if these are correct. I am currently at the Birch Stage, and have only just begun to think about the Yew Stage.
I don’t think that the first two stages are necessarily self-contained either – I don’t think you need to have gone through all of the Birch Stage before you can start to learn from the Yew. It’s a question of when you are personally ready to try things out for yourself. However, in my experience, if you try to attain any Oak abilities before you are ready, then the Oak will protect you from your own arrogance by diverting you away from such tasks, or ensuring they fail totally. There is some form of natural progression that requires stages 1 and 2 to have been attained before you can approach the third stage.
I offer these ideas as a map for myself and others, and will report on how valid the framework is once I have verified it for myself.
As a ‘hedge’ druid – essentially a solo practitioner – the following method could only ever really apply and be useful for me. However, I offer this method up for reference, as a peg in the ground to make my initial statement as to a possible series of stages developments in learning about druidry.
There. It’s said. Now you may proceed!
ANCIENT SITES AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE DRUID
BIRCH STAGE: Attunement and the Learning of possibilities
The Birch stage of Druidic development is the stage where the Neophyte begins to awaken to the potential within themselves to be able to tune into and interact with the forces of nature. This stage is typified by the following processes:-
* the discovery of the nature of energy patterns and flows within nature – and the development of the power to find energies
* encountering nature spirits, guided by interactions with the Birch Dryad
* learning how to tune in to nature, recognising its voice, symbols and signs, and discovering its representatives
* discovering how to use the power of standing stones
* meditation and recognition of the communication mechanisms of nature
* the finding of, and familiarising with, given power objects
YEW STAGE: Symbolic death and rebirth of consciousness
The Yew stage of Druidic development is the stage where the Neophyte becomes and Acolyte. To do this the student must graduate from a stage of enquiring into nature to one of total commitment to a permanent relationship with nature. The process by which this is done is:-
* to go through a death and rebirth transformation in the cave, or the enclosed dark space of an ancient ‘tomb’ or chambered cairn
* to learn their “sacred song” by generating a resonance within the cave or enclosed space until they have generated a trance state where they have a revelatory experience
* to learn the properties and potential of the psychedelic experience as a gateway to the nature spirits
* to learn how to communicate with the Yew Dryad for tuition and guidance on the direction of the true path for the individual
* to learn how to use their personal power objects to gain insight and energy
* the power to develop energies
OAK STAGE: Realisation of potential and control of power, with the gaining of wisdom
The Oak stage of Druidic development is the stage where the Acolyte becomes an Adept, or full Druid. During this stage the lessons learned from the two previous stages are sewn together to form a fuller picture of the potential of natural magic. This process involves an attainment of the wisdom required to control and manage such a responsibility to best effect and for the greatest good. It is the stage where the student finds out about the destination of the path they have been following so far. This stage involves:-
* an understanding of the ways to harness energies that feed the environment via stone circles
* the learning of the ability to heal imbalances in nature
* the attainment of sufficient knowledge and wisdom such that the student becomes a teacher in their own right
* the development of a close relationship with the Oak Dryad to obtain an understanding of the purpose of the true path for the community
* the ability to create power objects and transmit energies
Of course, personal development being just that, these ideas are not prescriptive. Attunements, powers and the stage at which one can use that knowledge will all develop differently for each individual. I am simply describing what I have noticed about the process so far, and what I have assimilated from the descriptions of others. This is not a religious structure or set of rules; it is a series of observations and things that I have to validate for myself yet, as well.
I wish you all well with your studies.
Follow your true path