Book review
by Derek Ayre
Living Druidry

by Emma Restall Orr


I found the book Living Druidry: Magical Spirituality for the Wild Soul by Emma Restall Orr (ISBN 74992479 7), very inspiring and was fascinated by the parallels between Druidry and Zen. In both paths, there is no beginning and no end, no creation and no creator and through this philosophy, the practitioner learns that man himself is responsible for his destiny and does not attribute blame or cause to a higher deity. Buddha was an ordinary mortal man (not a god) who discovered that enlightenment was available to all men who were willing to make the commitment to its realisation by accepting what is, existent in the here and now. In both Zen and druidry, mastery in life is attained by the acceptance of what is. Personally I would say that Druidry is Zen for the Western Pagan.

Druidry reveres nature and holds a deep respect for all living things, as does Zen. I suppose one could say the difference lies in that the Druid would actively pursue the "gods" gifts during his meditation and Zen would aspire to transcend all phenomenon, in the mental and physical domain, in favour of the "empty mind".

Both paths however, have rituals. The Zen master would bow in reverence to his meditating cushions before beginning zazen (Zen meditation), the druid would show homage to his altar before entering meditation and then often go into an altered state of consciousness to commune with nature, which is regarded as the energy of existence itself. This energy can be found in the wind, sun, light, dark, rocks, earth, water, fire, any animal or living thing.

In Living Druidry, Emma Restall Orr explains that pain and discomfort as being nothing more than another form of energy which can be united with and transcended - again very Zen-like in approach. And reading this book has reinforced my inspiration to to embrace my own pain as a part of my spiritual growth and not fight it off as something undesirable.

The author goes on to address some very serious world issues in a very potent way that is very dear to my own philosophy of life...  The world is made up of individuals and if awareness is applied by each individual to his/her spiritual existence, that world could change. When a person practices meditation, he/she will develop a compassionate "being-ness" that others would soon become attracted to. This higher state of being would be not only desirable but (as Buddha claimed) attainable.

Zen practitioners and Druids alike do not submit to a god, but deepens the connection to other (equal) states of energy. 

This article is merely my interpretation of Living Druidry: Magical Spirituality for the Wild Soul which I believe to be an excellent book to add to the library of anyone seeking spiritual growth and development.

Questions?  I encourage you to...

Copyright 2000. Derek Ayre. All Rights Reserved.



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