Christian Druidry: God and the Elements

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by path_of_one, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Yep. I have no other gods aside from the One Divine God (a la Christian trinity).

    Nature spirits, ancestor spirits, etc. are not gods (at least for me). And I don't worship them.

    Honor, respect, welcome, say "hi" to... yes. Worship, no. I respond to spirit entities the same way I respond to human strangers- politely, cautiously, and with interest. My experience has been they are more or less like humanity- some are good, and some are bad, and some are indifferent or shy.

    Now, the earth mother herself- the sort of spirit that Earth/Nature is- is honored and respected by me. But again, I do not offer worship.

    I offer praise and thanks to many- the same way I praise my husband, pets, students, family, and friends. I offer worship and give my life only to God.
     
  2. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Hi there everyone! Path, thanks for writing this thread, it's nice to know there are other Christians with druidic leanings around :rolleyes:

    Hello! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to respond! Somehow I missed this thread coming up again all that time ago and just caught it now with Angel's post.

    I have always wanted to get involved with a more mystical, nature-orientated form of discipline, and I have looked at Creation Spirituality, Christian Wicca, Celtic Christianity and now Christian Druidry. I still contemplating which one resonates with me the most, so I still have lots of questions.

    Celtic Christianity is very much like me. Unfortunately, it was a practical matter that prevented me from it- I couldn't find a Celtic Christian church or organization here in California. I do read books on it and I am very much in alignment with Pelagius. I know he was considered a heretic at the time, but I find his writings very inspiring and loving. Ultimately I went with Christian Druidry primarily because I had access to a Christian church and texts and to Druidic frameworks through the OBOD, which didn't exclude Christians or insist one be polytheist. And you can get a mentor that is matched with your religious leanings, so if you're a Christian they can find you a Christian Druidic mentor.

    My main worry about accepting an animist/magic/nature-focused form of Christianity is the many scriptural and historical events that have shown the two to be at odds. From the Bible's opposition to augury, divination and familiar spirits to the numerous clashes between Saint Patrick and the indigenous Irish druids, there seems to be many instances of these more shamanic faiths being rejected by pillars of Christianity. How do you account for these things?

    Well, let's take the Bible's opposition to augury and such first. When I looked into the Hebrew and Greek meanings of those passages, I found that what the Bible banned were harmful practices toward others and practices that sought to know the future (and thus not trust in God, but rather in oneself). The Bible is actually very specific about what types of practices are forbidden and what witchcraft constitutes, and witchcraft in the historical and anthropological meaning is not the same as modern day Wicca or witchcraft.

    Witchcraft- in both the modern anthropological meaning and the historical one- means (nearly universally to indigenous peoples) a psychic practice that enables the witch to harm others through evil intent. It is not equivalent to magic or even sorcery. Sorcery was causing evil intent through the means of magical paraphernalia, ritual, and/or drugs/poisons. In nearly all indigenous societies, witches and sorcerers are people who are dangerous and harm others- they differ in the mechanism of how they do it and natural ability. Whereas people are typically born witches, they train to become sorcerers.

    Our modern understanding of a witch as a real magician- someone who effects their physical environment through ritual, training of psychic ability, and/or sheer will- is totally different from the Biblical and general indigenous (as well as anthropological) definition.

    Secondly, the Bible does make it clear that attempting to know the future through any means, including astrology, augury, various divining methods, and working with ghosts (necromancy) was forbidden. However, certain methods were approved for divining God's will, such as casting lots. The Bible is silent on those that naturally experience spirit entities without seeking them and without trying to gain information. In reality, many Christians these days are quite unfamiliar with what the OT actually says about witchcraft and the specific forbidden actions. Many churches "line" has been to tell people that all neo-Pagan, magical, and shamanic behaviors are forbidden, when this is not the case. Nor does it give much guidance to those of us who are born able to perceive spirit-entities in nature (me), or ghosts (thank goodness, not me, but I have known mediums), or who have any kind of natural psychic type abilities. For most of us, turning such things off only comes after learning how to master what we experience enough to tune it out. Otherwise, many of those born with such abilities simply are bombarded whether they like it and want it or not.

    So... that said, what is my take on this? What are my practices? Here's a run-down of a few of the common questions I've been asked:
    Telling the future- I don't do this. Period. Through any method. I don't want to know; not knowing keeps me trusting God. Plus it makes life more exciting.
    Communing with ghosts- This has happened a couple times and I did not want it to. I avoid it when at all possible.
    Communing with nature/place/ancestral spirits- Happens a lot. I basically treat it like talking with human people. There's a lot more to this, if you're curious.
    Tarot/Runes/Etc.- Not for telling the future. I appreciate the artwork, and occasionally use them for meditation/reflection. I see it as a way to tap into my subconscious and symbols that reside there- kind of like analyzing my dreams. I don't think it's a good idea to lean on these or use them for reassurance or anything like that- that is what God is for in my opinion.
    Ritual- I create my own. They incorporate old Celtic Christian prayers, modern Druidic ritual format, thanks to the Earth and spirits of place, and my own poetry, songs, and actions. They're pretty much entirely unique to me.
    Magic- depends on how you define it. I've always had some abilities to naturally influence certain things, in various ways. I don't believe I'm supposed to use power for myself- not any kind of power or ability, whether ordinary or not. I can speak to this in more detail if needed, as well, as "magic" incorporates different things for different people. I do not do ritual or ceremonial magic at all. I do believe we can influence physical events using a variety of methods based on our will and intent. Have I done it? On occasion. Was it right? So far, occasionally yes but generally no, and like any sin, I had to confess to God that I misused a gift I believe He gave me. Sometimes I effect things without even meaning to. I pray for God to keep my thoughts and actions pure. I don't think this is much different from people who have great wealth or political power- the danger is always that we use it for selfish or just plain mundane reasons, rather than appropriate ones that are aligned with God's will. I make mistakes just like everyone, and all I can do is try to repent and grow into a better person with God's help.

    I don't know much about St. Patrick and the Druids, honestly. I can say that I use St. Patrick's "The Deer's Cry" prayer in daily morning ritual, and it is one of my favorite prayers out there. From what I've read, a lot of the early conflict between Christianity and Druids was not based on theology (indeed, Druids already had a concept of trinity and even Holy Spirit, in a way) but rather on politics. The Druids were advisors to royalty, and then Rome came with Catholicism in tow and wanted to rule over these formerly independent people. There were also major cultural clashes, such as over the role of women and the way marriage worked.

    I am also interested in the kind of rituals you do. How does a ritual involving the spirits of the ancestors and nature differ from a ritual or prayer involving God alone?

    If you want specifics, I suppose I could post a basic outline of something, like morning ritual or my peace ritual.

    Overall, it differs in that I honor, respect, and welcome the spirits of the place I am in, I honor my own ancestors and the ancestors of the place- that is, I talk to these beings. Then I proceed to mostly talk/pray/sing to God. But I do offer a general welcome to the spirits, thanks for letting me borrow their place (especially in my grove, which is a bit of wild forest a few miles up the mountain, and is really not "my" place at all), and invite them to join me in worshipping God. It's that idea that Creation itself glorifies Him and worships Him.

    How do you pray?

    Lots of ways. In ritual, this tends to be my favorite "formal" type prayers- The Lord's Prayer, various ancient prayers of the Christian saints, and poetic prayers that I've written myself. Daily ritual prayer tends to be, like The Lord's Prayer, general. Peace rituals, which I do once a month as a special ceremony to pray and meditate for peace in the world, are more like intercessory but still formal.

    Then, constantly throughout the day, probably like lots of Christians, I pray to God in a more informal manner about all sorts of things.

    And then in church I pray according to their ritual practices.

    Do you take the eucharist?

    Yes. It is deeply meaningful to me.

    Are you a member of a wider church or denomination?

    Not yet. For years I left the church (though I went to various ones on and off- I tried a bunch of them!) because I was shoved outside the fold, so to speak, on a number of occasions. Then, through the gift of some on this board as well as a family member, I tried the Episcopal church and found a denomination that was a fit. I love the ritual of high mass (where all the prayers are sung), I get all of the art and ritual that is meaningful to me, and yet I am "allowed" to be Christian and also earth-focused, quite liberal politically, scientific, and tolerant of others without being shunned. It's a good fit- nothing's perfect, but this works for me. I plan to join the Episcopal denomination once the local church I have been going to has the new member course.:)

    I continue to do my own ritual as well and I do celebrate the eight Druidic festival days as well as the Christian ones. At some point I would like to also participate in a local Druidic group as well as church, but the nearest one is two hours away. :(

    I know there are quite a-few questions, but I am quite new to this :D

    No problem, happy to help! I think, based on this thread, there are quite a few Christians that connect to God through nature, and are in part earth-based. And then there is a strong mystical tradition in Christianity going back to the very origins of it. I think it is just that these things are not the focus of many denominations today. Based on this thread, I think it is safe to say that there are probably considerable numbers of Christians who generate their own path on these matters, either through their understanding of and participation in their church, mystical orders and paths within Christianity, and/or synthesizing ancestral indigenous spiritual traditions with Christianity.

    Peace

    And peace be with you...

    Kim/Path
     
  3. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Alan Scott Card..."The seventh son"...;)
     

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