L is for Local: Pagan Blog Project 2013

I’ve been intrigued by Druidry for a while, so I recently started reading Penny Billington’s The Path of Druidry. It’s taking me a while to get through it. This is partly because my attention span is very short these days. But it’s mostly because the book has a lot of suggested visualizations and daily practices that make a lot of sense to me–so I’m trying them all out as I go, and that makes slow progress through the pages.

One of the very sensible suggestions is a daily walk, regardless of weather. The walk doesn’t have to be long, but she suggests that it be very focused. That you walk with the intention of engaging fully with the landscape, both as a part of the natural world and as a doorway to mythic, otherworldly energies.

A Local Park
A Local Park

Which leads me to one of the ways I feel like Druidry might be a very good fit for me.

I love the way Druidry (at least Billington’s version thereof) encourages a practice centered on your immediate surroundings.

The beauty of local spirituality is that it helps those of us on nature-based paths find a real, vivid connection to the planet AND to spirit.

More of the Park
More of the Park

Of course we honor the whole earth–but the whole earth is kind of big. It’s challenging to have a relationship with an entire planet of which I will likely only ever see a very small percentage. On the other hand, a strong connection to my local landscape and its spirits, energies and entities is easy. Falling in love with the tiny part of the world I call home is a natural result of spending time interacting with it. When I love the local landscape, reverence for the earth becomes something personal and concrete rather than a pretty (but abstract) sentiment.

An interesting side effect of reverence at the local level is responsibility. When I’m at the park by my house, and I’m paying attention, suddenly THIS place, this tree, this grass is the earth I revere. And when that happens, I am more likely to act on its behalf in whatever way I can. Sometimes it’s as basic as picking up litter, sometimes it’s more like giving reiki to a tree. Either way, I can observe the direct impact of my actions on the planet, and the idea that I can make a difference doesn’t seem far fetched anymore. If more of us became intimate with the nature at our doorsteps, we might do better at being good to the planet. You never know.

Not everyone is going to want to be a Druid–I’m still making up my mind about the whole thing, though I’m feeling pretty positive about it at the moment–but I think all of us who try to follow an earth-based path could do worse than get up close and personal with our immediate environs. I’m sure the big sacred sites are worth the journey, but I think  it’s important to honor the sacred close to home. As Wendell Berry said, “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places, and desecrated places.”


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