Book Review: The Book of Druidry

by Kristoffer HughesLLEWELLYN
reviewed by Kate Madden Yee

Hear the word Druid and what comes to mind? Albus Dumbledore, his craggy face framed by long gray hair and beard? Or a midnight circle of men in white robes, cutting mistletoe with golden scythes? Druidism exists to this day, and practitioners of Druidry are a diverse lot, according to author Kristoffer Hughes, who offers an overview of druid history and ways to live based on the values these Iron Age Celtic priests and bards held dear.

Hughes is Welsh, and his insights come from a deeply Welsh perspective. A key concept for the Druids was the world tree, and their honor and respect for trees can still be felt today in the Welsh phrase Dod yn ol at fy nghoed, or “to come back to my trees.” In fact, the invitation of Druid spirituality is to return again and again to one’s natural core: “Druidry is the craft of being fully immersed in life while rediscovering and not losing sight of our center,” Hughes writes.

Druidry invites spiritual engagement on three levels: inspiration, service, and guardianship (that is, honoringDruid history and tradition). It has a strong connection to Wicca, so some practitioners use Wiccan rituals or observe annual celebrations of natural phenomena. On the pragmatic side, Hughes suggests regular journaling about key Druid values; developing a devotional practice of daily meditation or prayer (he begins his days with prayer to Cerridwen, the Celtic divine mother of inspiration); and supporting both human and nonhuman communities through concrete acts of service.

In any case, Druidry is a deep call to a nature-based, grounded self, and is “something that one is in relationship with, and any relationship worth merit is profoundly transformative on all sides,” Hughes concludes.

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