Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Druid "Way of Life"?

A short item archived from FB...
The term 'way of life' comes from Greek philosophy. Philosophy had as its goal the discovery of the basic truths of existence, and sometimes the initiation into mystical experience. Some "philosophies' (as we say today) included a "bios" - that is, a 'way of life'. This was the philosopher's prescription for how to seek the good in life. We remember some famous ones - Epicurianism, Stoicism, Pythagoreans, etc. Some mystical philosophies, (i.e. 'mystery religions') such as the Orphics, required abstention and austerity in common life, some included regular spiritual practices such as purifications and sacrifices.

So when we ask what 'way of life' comes with Druidism, we are (in one sense, anyway) asking what prescriptions for living well and doing good are found in our path.

ADF being American Neopaganism, we have hesitated to do any such thing. We don't prescribe vegetarianism, or paleo eating, or any other food regimen. We don't dictate sexual or marriage models, or restrict social activity based on religious standards such as ritual impurity. In the main we teach a set of spiritual practices intended to allow us to make our alliances with the gods and spirits, and receive their blessings. We don't conceive that we must keep a set of moral rules in order to be worthy of that blessing. That gives the religion little leverage in prescribing a Way of Life.

We teach Virtue. That means we encourage ourselves to actively develop the strengths and powers listed as our nine virtues. We seek to become wise, pious and insightful, diligent, honorable, etc.. We teach Piety. We instruct in workable methods of invoking and offering to the gods and spirits, and of receiving their blessing. We structure our practice in the Sacred Year, that enchants each season in turn with meaning. We teach Study. To me, reading (at least) a book a month is a way of life.

Like most of our modern Pagan ways, I suppose each of us must compose our own 'bios', rather than shopping our way through the various philosophers hawking their ways, er wares... er...

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