"Whatever the future holds for humankind, it will be the same future for all in Nature. This book explains how ordinary people with new perspectives are both caring for and working with Nature and all its denizens as we live our lives and face that future together. When you read this book, you will find not just a new way of thinking, living and believing but also true hope, for us and for all in the Natural World. I cannot recommend this outstanding book too highly."
— Malcolm Brown, Isle of Wight
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
When I first stumbled upon the word Druid in my readings of modern world religions, I was intrigued. The word conjured images of Iron Age priests conducting blood sacrifices with golden sickles — or of white-robed New Agers at Stonehenge pretending to be Iron Age priests. As is turns out, nothing could have been farther from the truth.
As a long-time ecosystem restorationist and naturalist, I was pleased to discover a modern religious tradition that valued “hands-in-the-dirt” and the planting of trees as a valid means of spiritual expression. I was pleased to find a religious path focused on deeds rather than beliefs: go outside and study nature; practice meditation; study and learn; celebrate the seasonal cycles of nature, as they actually manifest in the land where you live. Discovering Druidry felt like a homecoming, and so I continued my exploration.
There were numerous Druidry organizations, curricula and how-to books, each promoting a different perspective on modern Druidry, but the diversity of opinions was staggering. Practicing Druids encouraged newcomers to pursue multiple, diverse avenues of learning, and create a personal path of Druidry that was uniquely their own. This was confusing to me. If the label Druidry could be applied to any set of beliefs and ritual practices, didn’t that label become meaningless? Perhaps all that modern Druids shared was a desire to use the same romantic word as a title? I wondered: Was there really a coherent religious tradition of Druidry? If so, what were its defining characteristics?
Very little research had been done to determine what practicing Druids actually did or believed across the world. How did Druidry vary across Druid groups, cultures, and regional landscapes? What, if anything, formed the spiritual common core of world Druidry? There were so many questions being asked, and no definitive answers to them. Someone needed to go out and find those answers. And so, I did.
I found the answers to be surprising, fascinating and inspirational. In an era plagued by climate-anxiety and eco-despair, reading true stories of practicing Druids around the world — who are working to cultivate honorable, reciprocal relationships with Nature — was a truly uplifting experience. I hope you find their stories inspirational, too.
Larisa A. White (née Larisa Naples) writes to celebrate Nature, to advocate ecological stewardship, and to explore the ways in which people relate - or fail to relate - across nations and cultures, landscapes and species. Her past projects have ranged from award-winning screenplays for animated films (Bee Mine / Logline: Bee meets girl.), to original songs (Spangle, Dangle, Glitter / a song of hope and magic for Yule), to acclaimed academic studies (World Druidry / exploring how modern Druids relate to their local landscapes). At present, she is developing the eco-fantasy adventure series, Tales of the Primordial Mountain.
Larisa was raised as a global nomad, relocating every two years as her father designed international airports. Rather than becoming rooted in one place, she spent her childhood bridging gaps between cultures, always looking in from outside. She learned local languages, attended local schools, participated in local religious celebrations, and adapted to local customs, seasonal cycles, and landscapes. In doing so, she discovered the joy of living the questions, exploring diverse perspectives and solutions, and always thinking a little bit differently.
After completing her Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, Larisa spent a decade conducting mixed-methods sociological research on the ways that people learn, grow, and change under the influence of changing educational and cultural contexts. Her focus later shifted to the ways in which people interpret and interact with Nature. While she has always found the research fascinating, Larisa prefers creative writing to academic. She has won international awards for her poetry and screenwriting, and enjoys writing rich stories with compelling characters, grounded in the living world.
Larisa currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her free time with her husband and son, building wildlife habitats, and restoring native ecosystems on lands once lovingly tended by the Ramaytush Ohlone.
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