Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | March 10, 2009

The Goose and the Druid

In a recent interview I was asked: Why have you chosen Druidry as your spiritual path?

I have always been interested in many different forms of spirituality, and for me the name or label I give to the path I tread is not so important, because I think we each have to create our own path in many ways. But what I like about Druidry is that it is an approach that is designed to help me feel grounded and rooted in my depths. And it is light on dogma and philosophy and heavy on soil, rain, fire and wind. It’s like a goose.

A goose?

The goose is the bird that flies the highest in the sky but in the farmyard it is strutting around in the mud. I want a spirituality that can take me very high but which also allows me time to splash about in the mud. At our summer camps we often build a mudpit and just splash about in it. I like an approach that allows me to do serious rituals and meditations and also sit naked in a mudbath. The poet Mary Oliver uses the image of geese wonderfully in her poem ‘Wild Geese’ that finishes:

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


Responses

  1. I so love this! While I can’t quite officially consider myself a druid or an adherent of druidry, I do lean in that direction and continue to explore. Your goose metaphor is right-on–that freedom is what attracts me, the freedom to be serious and also have some fun just for the sheer pleasure of it.

    I need a mud pit!

  2. I love it too. It is such a rich image – this messy, muddy playful goose.

    One of the reasons why I never converted to certain Eastern religions, Greek Gnosticism or Modern New Age approaches like A Course in Miracles (and I have learned wonders from them all) is that each of them tends to require their spiritual followers to ‘ascend the material’ etc. – to rise above their attachment to the earth. One sees our planet as part of all that is maya, another the dark creation of the demi-urge and another the projected unreality of the ego. Now while I can see (and am often attracted to) the reason for these notions (freedom from desire etc.) I actually always come back to the fact that I simply love the physical world.

    Not only that I see it as sacred – with all the mess, muddle, mud and muck – I love it. A principle I still find meaningful, from my original path, is Incarnational Living. In short this means to be immersed in the gut reality of our human, messy, earthy lives. The Incarnation (i.e. of Jesus Christ) is not (as so many see) one man becoming God the Son, but a man beautifully symbolising what is true for ALL humans – that God (he/she) is intertwined within all. All are sons / daughters of God. All are god / goddess.

    That’s why I now walk the Druid way too. I see the same truth – earth, dirt, mess, muddle, as well as beauty, stars, rainbows and forests are all part of the divine. It is an incarnational spirituality.

    Mark

  3. I was listening to an Asatru podcast (Ravencast) the other day and the guy being interviewed said that he had come to Asatru because he loved the way they were so serious about their historical research.

    It made me think about how different people are; that for him historical research and accuracy were so important, but for me it was all about nature and the now, and about the creative side of expressing and thanking the divine around me with music and art.

    My thought then led onto the SCA, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and how they have what they call “Fun Mavins” and “Authenticity Mavins” and how the two go together to make the dream so much better.

    I feel most at home in Druidry because you can be anywhere on that scale between the two extremes, and still BE at home. Or, as you say, a goose in flight or a goose in the mud. And we never have to be the goose being force fed to make foie gras for someone one else to eat! 🙂

  4. The Mary Oliver poem is very beautiful – an all time favourite. Strangely, at the beginning of the week I had sent it to a friend after our conversation about the problem of not feeling enough in ourselves; the pressure of others’ and society’s expectations of us.

    Your post also brings to mind the lovely article about Geese in the recent Touchstone. I had no idea that in flying in the V formation they ease each other’s journey. It’s a lovely thought and so wonderful to think that we can do this for each other too. Geese and mud loom large at present. Thanks for the lovely, inspiring post.

  5. I loved this post, and quite agree!!! Here is a piece of a poem that I love, and reminds me of your GEESE as well:

    Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.

    (Kahlil Gibran – Handful of Beach Sand)

    That is EXACTLY why I choose Druidry as well! I feel completely free to be me; splashing in the mud can be very spiritual 🙂

  6. Lotus’s have their roots in the mud

  7. “Incarnational spirituality” – oh! that´s good. That´s exactly why I am a Druid too.
    🙂

  8. Fabulous Philip. I entirely agree and am as ever awed by the wisdom of Druids….


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