SUMMARY: Druidry when followed as a spiritual way can have clear mental health benefits. Within it, a number of features seem to combine in a particular way to make it attractive to many contemporary seekers, who may fall into the category of being ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ (SBNR). These features include fostering creativity, nature-connection, a sense of meaning and community, internal locus of control and psychological flexibility and richness. Specific methods within Druidry, such as the observation of the eightfold seasonal calendar, engagement with trees, plants and animals as potential allies, teachers and healers, may also be utilized separately to good effect, while recognizing that embracing a complete spiritual tradition may open the possibility to us of engaging with a field of collective or transpersonal consciousness which may in itself bring benefits.
Thus far in our exploration of the potential mental health benefits of Druidry, we’ve had an understanding that it offers a holistic approach, but nevertheless, we’ve decided to analyze it and we’ve seen that it’s an embodied spirituality and that it’s a post-Freudian spirituality that’s really developed from the mid- 20th century, that responds to our needs for a different understanding of our bodies and our sexuality. And yet at the same time, Druidry is deeply rooted in ancient wisdom, in cultural heritage. More and more, we’re starting to recognize the value of cultural heritage and indigenous traditions. In some places in the world, such traditions and heritage seem more readily available. People are perhaps generally less aware of such phemonena in the West, and in the British Isles in particular, and yet, scratch beneath the surface, study the folklore, look at the archeology and the history, and the landscape, and a vivid picture starts to emerge. This is really what Jez Butterworth’s play ‘Jerusalem’ was all about. And this is what in our Druid group, we work with. We start by exploring a classic ‘Hero’s Journey’, as delineated by Joseph Campbell, the story of Taliesin, whose roots can be traced back to the 6th century, though it has an even more ancient feel than that. It talks about essentially the journey from childhood to adulthood and the awakening of the creative self, and it evokes a concept that is essential in Druidry, which is that of seeking inspiration, Awen, which in Christian terms might be seen as seeking the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and in Buddhist terms as seeking enlightenment.