A review by Maria Ede-Weaving of ‘Contemplative Druidry: People, Practice and Potential’ by James Nichol
Modern Druidry is an evolving spirituality; each of its practitioners is continually adding to the breadth and depth of this path through their experiences. What gives a spirituality its power is it practices and approaches, and these are far from static – they live and breathe, grow and change, as we do. For a path to flourish and mature, it requires that we engage, question and explore, remaining open to the possibilities of change whilst honouring the wisdom already shared. James Nichol’s Contemplative Druidry: People, Practice and Potential is a wonderful example of this process in action.
Nichols has gathered a group of Druids to discuss their experiences of contemplative practice. Fifteen Druids share their thoughts about both their solo and group encounters with contemplative meditation and how these have impacted upon their Druidry and wider lives.
The book is in three main sections: ‘People, Practice and Potential’ with contributors not only reflecting on what drew them to contemplative Druidry and how such is expressed in their spiritual practice, but also posing the question of how such approaches might manifest in the wider Druid community, should they be more readily explored.
It is clear from these accounts that sitting meditation is only one part of this approach; mindful walking, chanting, daily offices, communion with nature/the divine and creative activities also play a part in keeping contributors present and connected. There is a real sense that each – for want of an established Druid-based contemplative framework – has been quietly experimenting, acting as pioneers exploring their own frontiers in order to find what works. In doing so, they have been planting the seeds of a tradition that could potentially flourish into a valid and inspiring area of Druidry, one that until now has been rather ignored. Many have taken their inspiration from other spiritualities such as Buddhism and Christianity, however, their practices have developed a flavour that is distinctly Druidic. It’s a fascinating read and interesting to see how meditative practices give depth to Druid concepts such as the Awen and Nwyvre; how Druid contemplation and mindfulness might help to shape, transform or deepen a connection to life and self
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