These two belief systems have always seemed separate but in fact they come from the same root. Witchcraft connects with nature in much the same way Druidry does and we could go as far as to say that Witchcraft and all its magical arts fits very well into the Ovate Grade of Druidry.
Druidry has three grades, the first is the Bard Grade, this is where you discover your creative potential, it explores the ancient myths of the Celts and immerses the seeker into the landscape around them. The next grade is that of the Ovate and upon this journey you are taken deep into the forest to learn about the trees, herbs and magic.
Finally the last grade is that of the Druid, this is when the seeker has accumulated knowledge and through the experience and practical application of that knowledge wisdom has started to arise. These three grades are intertwined and forever flowing in and out of each other, some people choose to stay as a Bard, some like the crafts of the Ovate and stay there as healers while others get a calling to become a Druid, these people become teachers and facilitators of ritual and scared space.
Witchcraft or The Craft is very similar as it also has three levels of training, which we call The Outer Teachings, The Inner Teachings and The Secret Teachings. The Outer Teachings are the introduction to the seasonal year and its eight festivals, the God and the Goddess and the Sun and Moon phases through the year.
The Inner Teachings occur when the seeker has traveled around the ritual year and now wants to take things deeper. With the knowledge they have accumulated through the turning year they are now ready to move onto a different journey that gives rise to inner wisdom. The Secret Teachings are in fact not secret, they are called that because when a person has been a practitioner for some time, an inner knowing arises and it’s this unspoken world that becomes the bedrock of the Witches practice. It’s a place that supports all the work and they become able to hold scared space and teach. It’s a place of unspoken magic and that’s why it’s called secret, a sort of inner knowing that just ‘is.’
As you can see the two paths are very similar and both rely on a deep respect for nature. There are no right or wrong ways in any of these belief systems as they both flow fluid around a basic framework that is known as the Pagan year. Witches and Druids can be as different as the many trees in the forest, some concentrating on healing, others the creative arts all the time being normal people going about normal things in the day to day world. What binds them together is their love of nature and how we connect to the forces that surround us.
Both these traditions help people live better lives and bring people together who are like-minded. The world we live in today is not the world of the past, it’s full of so many demands on our time and these gentle ways of nature are an antidote for this. By connecting to the world of the trees and our landscape we once again forge a deep respect for the environment we live within. Nature gives us everything we need for survival but how many times do we ever stop and say thank you. In both the traditions of Witchcraft and Druidry that is exactly what you are doing.
You are taking time apart from your busy life to stop for a while and say thanks. When we do this nature opens up to us and speaks to our heart, that’s when we connect with the forces of inspiration that bring about such gifts as poetry, written verse, music and art. They are the creative expression of our connection to nature, you might think “oh I cant paint or I cant make music”, maybe you don’t have the time to develop these gifts but you can give a smile full of love and that’s what it’s all about.
It’s about taking that inspiration back out into the world and sharing it with others who are probably not Witches, Pagans or Druids but they will respond to that which flows through you. It’s the same thing that flows through them but as yet they may not have awoken to it. So that’s why we practice these paths, it’s all about being able to live a happy life and in turn share that happiness with others. When it is brought down to simple truths and values such as these it all seems to make very good sense.