How are we like a Left Hand Path (LHP)?
Left Hand Paths are said to have the following characteristics:
- They often reject societal convention and the status quo in a search for spiritual freedom.
- As a part of this, LHP followers embrace magical techniques that would traditionally be viewed as taboo, for instance using sex magic or embracing Satanic imagery.
- They often question religious or moral dogma instead adhering to forms of personal anarchism.
- They often embrace sexuality and incorporate it into magical ritual.
- They often attempt to become gods, or self-deify.
- They often glorify the individual, eschewing collectivism.
Well, Reformed Druids certainly reject conventional religion, but so do practically all Neo-Pagans. But Satanic imagery is rejected because Christianity is rejected and Satan is a construct of the Christian religion. Reformed Druids also question conventional morality, but again, so do practically all Neo-Pagans. Reformed Druids in particular embrace Naturism and Polyamory as lifestyle choice. Sexuality is definitely a part of some of our rituals, particularly with those holidays involving fertility, such as Beltaine. Some Reformed Druids are fond of saying “Thou art god/dess,” but this idea is closer to the Hindu/Buddhist concept of “Namaste,” which is a recognition of deity in each other, rather than a self-proclamation of deity. This idea goes a lot deeper, and has been discussed elsewhere at greater detail, but it boils down to the idea that I’m not god unless you are too, and vice versa. Lastly, Reformed Druids glorify the collective, and celebrate not only our interdependence with each other, but with the whole of the planet, if not the universe, as well.
So how LHP are we? If we take each of the concepts outlined above as constituting percentage points then we are 55% LHP.
How are we like a Right Hand Path?
Right Hand Paths(RHP) are said to have the following characteristics:
- They adhere to social conventions and avoid taboos.
- They divide the concepts of mind, body and spirit into three separate, albeit interrelated entities.
- They adhere to a specific moral code and a belief in some form of judgment, such as karma or the Threefold Law.
- Deity is always something outside of themselves, to which they are subordinate.
Most Reformed Druids obey traffic laws and will wear clothes where it’s appropriate. We also avoid incest and sex with children and animals. On the other hand we are just as apt to be Gay as we are straight, and some of us enjoy BDSM. We also reject traditional gender roles and the concept that a husband or lover “owns” his wife or vice versa, Most of us believe in Karma, though we feel we are apt to be the agents of Karma rather than being strictly it’s subjects. From a philosophical point of view the idea of the separateness of mind, body and spirit are a little too simplistic. The whole thing is much much more complicated than that, and can get into discussions relating to quantum physics, so we’ll take that up at a later time.
So how RHP are we? Using the same percentage basis as we did for LHP, we would seem to be about 45% RHP.
In other words, Druids are nether LHP nor RHP, but rather a combination of the two, or you could look at us as constituting a middle path, or some say “middle pillar.”
Let’s look at just one of the areas addressed here, to see how we straddle the line. The concept of deity is an important one to both the RHP and the LHP. How do Druids think along this line?
Well, first of all, we are god. Not “I am god,” or “You are god,” but “we (collectively) are god.” And we can’t be god by ourselves. There is no individual among us who is god, nor do any of us strive for godhood. We just “are.” There is no “becoming.” We therefore recognize that our individuality is only an illusion, or a temporary state while we are in physical bodies. We are therefore not subordinate to anyone or anything, but rather interdependent upon each other. We recognize that if one person hurts, everyone hurts, if one person is homeless, everyone is affected by that state, that “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.” So certain political philosophies, such as libertarianism, are anathema to us. Selfishness is the greatest evil there is. We really are “our brothers keeper” as he is ours. Why? Because we are all one. Because we are all god. How do you honor god? By serving. So we serve each other. We celebrate egalitarianism. No one is better than anyone else. No one is less than anyone else, and we serve the gods (ourselves) best by attempting to make all beings equal, by creating a society – a world – where everyone has enough food, water, clothing, shelter, education, to prosper, “from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his/her need.”
SO SAY WE ALL!