I love my Druidic community. ADF is full of so many talented, intelligent, and helpful people. The number of groves and members grows meaning there is potentially someone to celebrate with no matter where you go. I love gathering with like-minded people in fellowship for celebration and learning. It can be lonely without community. One’s spirituality can become stagnant and isolated without community. Druidism is based in a tribal society so having a tribe is, in my opinion, an important aspect of the religion.
Being part of an organization has many perks and I definitely encourage Druids to look into what’s out there. Sharing ideas, art, and liturgy can be wonderful. The ability to join with others who see the world similarly can be powerful. You’ll almost always have a sympathetic ear or shoulder. In many organizations, there are experienced elders who can help you through difficult times. There will always be a bard, artisan, warrior, or healer willing to lend a hand or say a prayer. There are others to collaborate with, resulting in unique and moving experiences. In some organizations, like ADF, there are recognized priests who can perform legal marriages. Many groups are recognized as established religious institutions with tax exempt status and are associated with religious freedom organizations, lending strength when your path is challenged. People work together to gather and review resources, providing you with many tools.
Sometimes nobody is available.
Sometimes the invigorating, inspiring discussions become repetitive, argumentative, and stifling.
Sometimes the diversity becomes contentious rather than strengthening.
Sometimes I just need to get away and refocus.
Sometimes I like to be on my own.
During quarrelsome periods, when an online discussion list is full of gnashing teeth, I often have to step away. I probably couldn’t do that if I had more responsibility in the organization, but as I am right now… I can. I go to my altar, I light the fire, tend the well, and honor the tree. I thank the Kindreds for their blessing. I get outside and spend time with the trees and other plants. I look to the stars, the sun, the moon, the clouds… I turn inward and closer to home – to my tribe right here. I focus on what’s important.
Being part of an organization is a wonderful thing and I think many are doing very good work. I am proud to be a part of ADF, for example, and have gotten much from the fellowship, study programs, and resources. The bigger an organization gets, the more likely some bureaucracy will occur. I understand that. I’m part of it in some ways as a Dedicant Program reviewer and leader of a special interest group. But don’t let yourself be fooled that Druidism is an organization. Druidism is about community, but it is also about the Kindreds, your own family, and your relationships with them. Ground yourself there. Things can become hot and you can get discouraged, but remember that is not what it’s all about.