What Do You Do?

Today, I was in my little office. Some admin was done, a bit of cleaning, and then meeting a student to chat about Stuff.

One of the questions that was asked – and which is often asked of me – is what a Druid Priest actually does. And every time, I have to pause and think.

There wasn’t a moment when I suddenly looked around and realized ‘Wow, I’m a Priest!’ Rather, it was a process of doing the work and being called by that title, until I had to face up to the fact that I was Doing It.

I’ve written about it before in other places, and no doubt will do so again. But today, it got me thinking in a new way.

Yes, Priest-ing is looking after, guiding or otherwise holding space for folk. When working, I do that.

But as time has passed, and my health has created interesting new speed-bumps to life, I’m having to Priest to myself as well.

I’m very easily tired. I give my all, and it wears me out. I’m not going to stop doing that, by the way, so don’t ask! I willingly do what’s needed, saving some energy to get myself safely home, and then setting aside time to rest. But it’s the question of how best to recharge that’s been in my mind lately.

Doing things that I enjoy helps, certainly. Sometimes, distractions that make me laugh, such as comedy movies or television. Knitting, with its repetitive but focused creativity. Books – absolutely. If the right one can be found, total engagement as I let myself sink into that particular world for a while.

But I think more is needed now, otherwise I’m finding myself wiped out for longer each time. So perhaps ritualised ‘wind-down’ is needed more than ever – something I’ve tried before, but found difficult to get into the habit of.

I’ll no doubt explore this and natter about it as I move forward. But for today, the inspiration from another led me back to myself. Unusual, but needed, I think.

Holding the space to stop doing, and simply ponder…

Lessons

I’m feeling a little sad this evening. I’ve just finished work on the final lesson for my first year Druidry students.

A year ago, I was still rather shocked to discover that I had a year-full of students at all. I’d been asked often enough to teach, but never expected that so many people would want to hear what I had to say.

Those who lasted the distance are a truly exceptional group of people. I am honoured to have walked with them on this stage of their journey, and look forward to seeing where they travel next. Tomorrow, the final lesson is sent.

But also tomorrow, the first lesson of the next year’s ‘class’ goes out. More enthusiastic folk, keen to delve deep into their own Druidry – while as yet unknowing precisely what that might be!

I’ve often said that one of the greatest joys of my Druid practice is exploration. We step nervously into the unknown, often guided but always alone in ourselves. It’s a brave path to walk, but with so much reward along the way.

I’ve learned so much from my students this past year. Like them, I can’t believe it’s done.

But I can’t wait to see what comes next. 🙂

Learning

Some days, I just want peace and quiet. On others, it turns out that this is not actually true at all – my brain just didn’t realize.

I’ve been working hard lately to catch up with work (after the usual busy weekend). Currently, my focus is on my students – both the year just gone and the year ahead. My Druidry course runs from/to June annually, so as this one finishes, the next begins.

Sometimes it’s hard to do homework, right? Well, it can be equally hard for the teacher to sit and focus on the marking. Especially with something as subjective and personal as Druidry.

But as soon as I begin, I find myself caught in the words of those who talk to me in their replies to my lessons. I’m told stories of childhood, hopes and fears, rants and personal doubts. While my students have a loose-knit ‘virtual’ group, the core work is very much one-to-one.

Druidry changes you, as you engage with it. I’m sure this is true of most spiritual (and vocational) paths, but I see it as it happens. It’s a privilege I’ve spoken of before, but it is also Priesting in its most basic form – teaching, guiding and supporting as needed, without being overbearing, pushy or judgmental.

Those who’ve stayed the course have been a joy to know, and I do hope that I’ll continue to be in touch with them in the future. For those just beginning, I’m intrigued all over again to see where the journey takes us. Some will find it’s not for them – that’s fine. Others will find it harder than they thought. I’ll still be here.

Some lessons take hours to read and write responses to; others much less. All tie together as a continuous story, a year of someone’s life. The teacher learns, together with the students. And while it is work (ie remuneration and effort are certainly involved!), every time I read those tales, I’m glad and grateful all over again.

Connection and relationship. Honour and joy. Inspiring.

The Words of Others

It’s sometimes difficult to prepare yourself for work in the morning. Perhaps more so when you work from home. There’s no ‘ritual’ as such to the day, no special clothes to wear, washing routine or journey to slog through. You just have to get on and start.

When I sit down to work, though, I tend to find that a curious thing happens. I either end up in awe, or in tears. Sometimes both.

Today was both. I was reading through the work sent to me by a student, telling of her adventures over the last month in the wild woods near her home, her exploration of the elements, family difficulties…

And I was left humbled. Reading her words, beautifully handwritten and sent to me in the post, together with some equally lovely hand-drawn art, I was honoured to share in her story. The content might have seemed relatively simple, but this was a verbal snapshot of a life, there, on the page.

The reason for the handwritten letter? She’s not on the internet at all, and likely will never read this. She won’t know how I gently touched the pencil sketches, imagining them being drawn so carefully. I hope to tell her, if we ever meet. But the power of her words, in this way, was breathtaking.

By the way, it’s not just those without the technology, either. A short while ago, a parcel arrived at the door – another student had sent me a package of books, recommendations that she’d decided to flippin’ well ensure that I read! Now she may well be reading this, but I don’t intend to hold back because of that.

Stories are such an intrinsic part of my life – day-to-day, physically, mentally and spiritually – and the lives of others have the power to change my own through their words. The passion of something felt strongly enough to share is something that I will always have time for. This is never ‘work’ as it’s come to be known. Someone has taken the time and effort to send me a tale.

The tears in my eyes today are genuine, and the love for those I meet in this strange ‘job/vocation/life’ is profound. For that, I will always be grateful, and never feel that I express it adequately enough.

Those of you who share with me – this is my love letter of thanks to each and every one of you.

Oh and PS – before anyone says anything, I had a huge box of books arrive today as well. My own. That still flabbergasts me… but I’ve learned not to hug the delivery driver, as it confuses him.

Doesn’t stop me squeeing happily every time I open the package, though. 🙂