There’s been a lot of talk this week about Teo Bishop’s new project, the Solitary Druid Fellowship. It’s designed not to be an online community, but more of a spiritual resource for solitary Druids. There will be posted liturgies to use for each of the High Days, as well as blog posts – but no comments except on certain occasions (namely High Days).
I’m not sure what I think about their reluctance to become an online community. I understand that a threaded forum or email list isn’t everyone’s idea of a way to stay connected, but I’m also not sure there will feel like much of a connection simply through using a pre-created liturgy, especially since the liturgies will need to be customized to an individual’s hearth culture. (I also understand that the desire to avoid a community avoids the need for staff to moderate threads and forums and comments, which is a very real thing and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.)
On the other hand, having resources for working as a solitary is a good thing. I struggle with working in a vacuum, and it’s been the connection to other Druids, through the DP and the Discuss and Dedicants lists, as well as email, that have kept me thinking about my own Druidry past the initial period of interest.
Having a shared liturgy, one that uses the CooR, is an interesting idea as well. It brings to mind that idea of the Sacred Center, and of being in a shared “sacred space” when we’re all participating in ritual at a Hallows. I definitely like the idea of a shared practice, but then I haven’t seen the liturgy yet either.
I guess the part that makes me wonder how this will work as a shared path is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunity for actual sharing. Yes we would all be doing the same liturgy (or variations on a theme, as it were), but without the chance to talk about it, unless they’re expecting us all to become bloggers, I don’t know that it will feel much like a community.
I definitely think it will be a good resource, and I’m looking forward to the various blog posts. I especially liked the recent post about how a community fire is fed by individual fires, and the importance of a solitary practice even for Druids who have access to a Grove. Cultivating a strong individual practice is something that’s important to me, and has been for several years.
Grove work is an odd subject for me at the moment. I’ve had trouble getting responses from my local Grove about much of anything, and I’d rather not have my first meeting with them at someone’s house (for safety and comfort reasons, call me paranoid). So while I have the ability to access a Grove, for now I’m essentially solitary. And I’m OK with that, though I do think having a community is important as well. I think best in conversation, and it’s important to me to have people to discuss my ideas with. (This is part of why I blog as well.) I’m also paranoid, extremely uneasy in groups of people I don’t know, and reluctant to really settle into a group, for fear that it will not work out again. So I go back and forth about the Grove thing. Fortunately there’s no requirement to join one, even if there is one nearby.
Hopefully the SDF will become another resource to me as a solitary and will inform and guide my practice in a meaningful way. I have my doubts about it’s ability to feel like a fellowship, but I can see how it could become a very useful place and starting point for solitaries.