That is a scary title there, “My Gifts to the World”. That presumes I have anything worth giving.
Recently I finished reviewing my Bardic grade, year-long course with OBOD. It felt good to finish the course, get it done and out of the way-I have other courses and other things calling. I thought for a long time about what I would “DO” after I finished the course. Yes, I plan to take the other two levels, starting next year, but I feel so changed and so ready to DO something in the world. But what?
I finished the course in May and after a few months of delay, vacation, a wicked case of the flu, and more delay and procrastination, I figured it was time to really look at what I had learned. Once I finished writing and began to read over it however, I got a bit terrified. I had just written down what I think my gifts are-what I should go out and do in the world! I’ve been waiting for that information from the Universe, and avoiding that commitment-avoiding saying that out loud, for a very long time. And there it was in black and white.
I thought I would put it on this blog, for all to see as well. Why? So that I can remind myself that this is my path and that it is now out there for the whole world to see. Now I have to do something.
So here we go:
My gift is multi-faceted and based greatly in the fact that I am retired, live on a small income that precludes travel, and live in a very rural area where I have little contact with anyone, let alone progressive pagans, so everything I do is going to have to be done via the medium of the internet.
When I started this course I would have guessed my gift would be something very different. I did struggle a bit with the word “Bard” because I don’t fit the classic sense of the word. But now I understand the definition to be much wider than my original notion.
Here’s the final list that it’s developed into. I could write about this for a long time, but I’ll be brief. These are the things I can do.
- Prayer: I can hold space for the world, and pray, daily. I can do ritual for healing for peace and for compassion.
- Connecting with the Ancestors: I have a strong connection to my ancestors and apparently some talent for finding them and talking to them. So I can communicate with them and work with them to change things in the world, and I can help others to find their ancestors via genealogy, DNA research and direct communication.
- Being present on the internet to be a teacher and mentor: I used to think friendships via the internet weren’t “real” but now they’re really about all I have. And I have found really wonderful groups of people where sometimes my wisdom is useful and even appreciated. So I will hold space in these places and try to be a light for others.
- An “American Druid”: Perhaps the biggest gift, that is still in development is defining and speaking about what it means to be an “American Druid”. I am a child of diaspora. Many of them. And Druidry is a different thing all together when someone is disconnected from the homeland that those teachings sprang from, different in that our land here does not hold the stories of the majority of people who live here. Only if we are of the local Native tribes do we know the stories of the land. So I will be doing more work-some of it collaboratively with other Druids on what defines an American Druid, some of it in connecting where I can to the Native people in California as a Druid, and will also be doing a tremendous amount of work as an ally and an activist in the area of “Cultural Appropriation”, calling out those who appropriate the cultures of oppressed peoples and guiding people on how to appreciate, rather than appropriate.
- Peace Activism: I will also be working online to promote Peace and Non-violence with other Druids and pagans, rather than promoting change through violence or “any means necessary”. One of my strongest definitions of a Druid is as Peacemaker, and mediator. Never will I resort to violence to create positive change.
- Writing: I have created two websites, one that will be collecting Peace and Non- Violence resources and also a collection of written pieces (link coming soon), and the other (this one) that will be used as a space for a collective of American Druids to post their writings on Druidry, Animism and Cultural Healing in America.
So there we have it. Now I have to live up to that, don’t I? I think I’m ready for the challenge because one thing the OBOD course taught me was perseverance. So time to get on it!