On the Solitary Path
On the Solitary Path
While tools are not absolutely necessary to being a Druid- (I have always proclaimed loudly and insistently that worship and magick can be created anywhere and with nothing as long as one knows what she's doing), they are certainly pleasant to have and a pleasure to acquire. My own "Druidic" treasures have been collected over a number of years and include the following sorts of items (which are practical or decorative or both):
1. a nemeton: a spot of sacred ground for worship. In the past I have used: an oak-filled, stone walled space that, luckily, was my own backyard; an enclosed herb garden with a sawn tree trunk for an altar; a screened porch; an apartment balcony; a spot of deserted beach; an old, closed bridge that spanned a harbor; a sunroom; a stream running through a city park; a clearing in a wood. I think you get the point. You can establish your nemeton ANYWHERE. Simply bring your devotion, and you create holiness.
2. a costume for worship: This is not a necessity. In fact, I feel more than slightly awkward running about in fantastical Druidic garb. I'm more the Druid-in blue-jeans type and save my tunics and robes for big deals like performing weddings; but to some folks, putting on a uniform of sorts helps them to adjust their mental framework, to "see" themselves as a sacred being. You might choose a white tunic or robe signaling fairness in judgment and truth, a cloak made of linen, cotton, or wool (natural materials) -or speckled bull-skin if you can get it .
A tartan would be appropriate- in your clan colors- or red, white, and green (the colors of energy, truth, and fertility). Don't settle for a bed sheet; save for the real thing. It took me years to get a fully lined, hooded, flowing cloak of soft green wool; but it was worth the wait.
3. an altar: a flat stone on which one can stand is nice for oath-takings; a natural standing stone with a flat top is wonderful; I have two stones that we dragged with us from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and through four moves since then- one I found deep in a wood and spent three days gradually rolling it out. It was worth it! A sawn tree trunk is great also. My current altar is a concrete garden statue of the kneeling baby Pan, holding a cushion above his head; it was a very expensive gift from an old lover who saw me drooling over it in a garden nursery and bought it for me a month later. Since Pan "called me" to the woods, it is highly symbolic. Use whatever feels 'right' to you- I have even used a small corner bookshelf that served no other purpose or spread a cloth over the coffee table when needed.
4. the sacred well: a cauldron: gourmet kitchen supply stores often sell cast-iron 'chili pots' which are perfect miniature cauldrons; just don't leave it outside because it will rust. A nicely shaped bowl will do as well. For years, I used an earthenware bowl enameled midnight blue inside. It was also good for scrying.
5. the bile: My bile is a bundle of birch twigs tied with raffia. I stand them upright on the altar. A carved stick, a bonsai, a tiny statue of a tree, even a good stick of wood can all serve as the bile.
6. the fire: I have used a lantern, a burning bowl, a simple candle, a votive. We become good at collecting candles and fire-makers. It's addictive. What is a Pagan without candles? I have holders of metal with stars cut into the side that splash star shadows on the wall when lit; I have indigo blue glasses scattered with golden stars and suns; I have colored glass and scented pillars. A Druid never has to worry about the electricity going out.
7. a wand: the 'slat' is a straight white stick of birch, yew, hazel, rowan, or ash approximately an inch in diameter, about 2 feet long, with a rounded bottom and a blunt top- phallic rather than "pretty."
8. a triskelle or tryfot: the three-legged sunwheel.
9. a 'craebh bec': the branch of an oak used to sprinkle blessings; to this you should also attach small bells. I recently officiated at a Pagan wedding and made mine silver for the occasion, wound with tiny white flowers and hung with tiny golden bells. I found the bells in the sewing section of Walmart among the specialty buttons. The branch was quite beautiful and made a lovely little sound that was a blessing in itself.
10. a hearth: a fireplace is a wonderful luxury, a place to burn sacred wood and herbs and a fire on which to meditate.
11. mead: nothing beats the real thing, brewed in Ireland; I carried home several bottles from my last trip (along with a smuggled bottle of 'poteen,' the Irish potato whiskey, purchased from a wandering gypsy with a pony-drawn cart followed by goats); mead is for heaven; for earth, serve beer, ale ('coirm'), or apple cider ('nenadmin') in a fanciful flagon or pitcher.
12. goblets or cups: I have a wooden cup carved by a friend; I also have a wine glass with a golden star for a stem .
13. a knife: I bought my first one in a tiny cellar shop in Edinburgh, Scotland, from a man who made it by hand; the handle was made from the horn of a roe deer.
The rest is fun stuff:
stones: I own hundreds of them, some gathered from wonderful places like Glastonbury Tor and an old stone fort in Wales; others I have purchased in gem shows or in stores when the vibrations are exactly right; some are gifts from friends and family; I often use them as charms which I give to those in need or as protection for loved ones.totems: my totem animal is the toad (duh:), and I have a number of toad and frog statues and pictures given to me by family or students or friends or found on my travels; each one has a story behind it, and their presence keeps fond memories alive.miscellaneous: plants, baskets, figurines, flasks; sun, star, and moon images; feathers and shells; herbs and dried berries; old keys; wind chimes; dragon-shaped bells; wall-hangings and paintings; sculptures; acorns and mosses; dried flowers and branches- If you collect these things over time and with love, they bring with them the power of nature and the memories of what you have experienced within them. They bless your living space and are constant reminders of what you