Due to my own stupidity I haven't been feeling too good of late. An old back problem has been playing up more than usual and I've barely been able to make it from the bed to my arm chair. As a result I've been on-line far more than normal. On a good day, I get up, check my emails etc (or very lazily get my wife to do that for me), then potter about in my workshop for the rest of the day. That is what I should have been doing today but a few days ago I spied a lovely big hazel bough, just laying there in the neglected wilderness beyond the gardens saying 'come get me, carve me, love me' and I couldn't resist. So off I went to do battle with the nettles and brambles, got stung and scratched and slipped on my arse down a slope much steeper than it looked. Then I lugged said branch back up the slope, over a fence, through the neighbours garden and our own, and then up a flight of stairs. The magnificent hazel branch now stands in the corner of my workroom. Which is more than I can do; I can't stand at all. I sort of hobble about, stooped and crooked issuing expletives and whimpering sounds in equal measure.
I'm being looked after by my capable wife, as usual. She helps without complaint; providing pain killers and potions, massage and a listening ear, cups of tea and nourishing meals. I'm getting the tea alright, I'm just not getting the sympathy! As she quite rightly points out (but please don't tell her I said that) this whole thing could have been avoided with one little word... Help. Or rather two, Help Please. I do have manners after all.
My wife has long insisted that Druids are 'up themselves'. That's OK. I allow her these little lapses. I know that in reality Druids are here with the sole purpose of keeping Witches in line. (*ducks here to avoid all the shoes, stones and heavy kitchen implements that are being thrown, or swung, in my direction by any witches reading this). Its our little joke. I have utmost respect for my wife and her craft. She is a witch through and through, its in her bones (both the ones in her body and the ones that litter the kitchen window ledge! What is it about witches that make them want to bring dead things home?) I am in awe sometimes, of her insight and her abilities. We tread different paths but those paths often run together, a sort of 'duel carriageway' of faith, if you like. We can poke fun at each other along the way because we do it with respect.
Only now I'm a little worried. Until now I've taken 'up themselves' to mean stuborn but lovable; eccentric but in a nice way; insular but indepedant and inovative; authoratative but understanding, confident but reassuring...you get the idea. But now I'm starting to wonder that when she says 'up themselves' she's politely saying 'Druids have their heads stuck so far up their own arses they could bite their own tonsils!'
So what has brought about this disturbing re-think? Well as I think I mentioned at the start of this post (before my mind started to wander all over the shop) I've spent far more time on-line over the last few days than is normal for me. This has been a good thing in some ways. I've caught up with old friends and answered emails that should have been dealt with weeks ago. Hell, I even wrote to my brother! But then I got bored and started reading blogs. Nothing wrong with that, there are some excellent blogs out there (just take a look at the list to the right to find some of the ones I enjoy; some beacuse they are thought-provoking, some beacause they are beautiful, some just because they are an honest window on someone's life) but I started to venture further afield. I followed links through to links through to links, winding my way through the blogosphere without the aid of a map and survival gear.
And I kept coming back to one thing. There are very few Druid blogs that I actually enjoyed reading. Its all so serious! And by that, I don't just mean serious, I mean pompous and arrogant; complicated for complicated's sake. A serious subject should be treated with respect, obviously, but there is great merit in humour; in admitting one's failings (yes, even Druids cock things up sometimes); and just enjoying life for no other reason than to enjoy life.
I'm not a great Druid. I'd be the first to admit that, at times, I'm a very bad Druid. But I was taught by a great Druid. I was taught by a man of honour and integrity, of deep faith, of humility. I was taught by a man with great humour. A lot of that humour was directed at me (although I was frequently too dense to realise that until I was half way home!) but it always made me chuckle, and then it made me think; and then I thought you clever old goat! And then I'd chuckle some more. I learnt so much through humour from that man. His untimely death left holes in my education that I can't ever hope to adequately fill.
I'm not saying all Druids should be comedians, far from it. But some nights I sit and watch my wife as she reads through new posts on the witchy blogs she follows. Sometimes they make her thoughtful, sometimes irate, but there is always at least one that makes her laugh. Out loud, a proper laugh. And that is good.
It is with great sadness that I find myself wondering if Druidry has lost something somewhere? Has Druidry become so caught up with presenting an image of being learned that its forgotten how to laugh at itself? Has it become so bogged down with complexities that it has lost its sense of wonder? Have we lost sight of the beauty of living by druidic priciples? Have we become so enamoured by what Druids were we've forgotten what we are?
In short, are Druids really up themselves?