The Druidic way of life is one that is in rhythm with the patterns of nature, as reflected in the set practices and habits that every Druid engages in. Each grove has its own unique way of conducting rituals and ceremonies, but they are all designed to align participants with Spirit, and with nature.
The rituals that are practiced by Druids should not be considered strict sequences of behaviours as they are in other religions, which are disclosed in a way that Druidism is not. Rather, they should be viewed as an attitude and a particular way of being and experiencing the environment that gives one an incredible feeling of being in and contributing to the rhythm of the world.
Our rituals usually take place outside, in the eye of the sun – that is, at midday. They may be held at night or indoors, but this practice is more unusual. Being staged around different times of the year, especially around new seasons, gives us a time and space to reflect on what those changes mean.
There is no specific dress code, and some individuals opt to wear plain clothes while others wear robes. Earth-coloured tones may be chosen, for their links to the natural world. Often material from the Carmina Gadelica, and other quotations, are incanted.
The Calling of the Quarters
The most common arrangement for rituals is for participants to stand in a circle, and to begin with the calling of the quarters. One of our members will draw a circle in the air, facing the centre of the circle that our group forms, in a deosil, or clockwise, direction.
The calling of the quarters hails the northern, southern, eastern and western directions and marks out the sacred space of the ceremony. The energy that Druids feel when they stand this way, witnessing the calling and marking out the space, is quite different to what one might feel when playing slots. Both the excitement of the slots and the reinvigoration of the rites are important and worthwhile.
After the Calling
Once the calling of the quarters is complete, libations are poured onto the ground and a chalice of drink is passed around to all those who are assembled. The drink is also passed in a deosil direction, along with food, which is usually in the form of cake or bread.
The grove may then engage in a period of meditation, which is followed by a visualisation of the earth’s energy. The energy is quite specific, and is sent for designated healing purposes. Perhaps the victims of a particularly traumatic and troubling event will find comfort, or perhaps someone who is ill will know healing.
At the end of the ceremony, participants may stay together and enjoy a meal. The meaningful experience of the ceremonies and rites can evoke strong emotions in Druids, and remaining in each other’s company allows them to both offer and receive support before continuing with the tasks of daily life.