Australian Druidry: Connecting with the Sacred Landscape by Julie Brett
I’ll admit, when I saw this title I believed it was a contradiction in terms. Maybe not a direct contradiction, but when I hear “druid” I think of pre-Christian western Europeans, not Australia.
Some of the most cherished seasonal celebrations in Western/European culture don’t make a ton of sense in the southern hemisphere. With the natural seasons inverted, celebrating Christmas in mid-summer with all its northerly symbols of snow, reindeer, and sleighs seems a bit off. I was pleased to see this very confusion inspired Julie Brett’s work in this book.
I don’t follow a druidic path, but I enjoy reading and learning about belief systems centered in nature. The ideas presented aren’t new, but the fluidity of practice described here feels truer than clinging to what’s familiar for familiarity’s sake. It feels brave, embracing a sparse map of belief to find individual meaning in the land you’re in.
There’s enough in the book for anyone with an interest in druidry. If you’re a fan of plant and animal symbolism, she includes some of that. If you’re in search of ritual structures flexible enough to follow you through your travels, there’s some of that too.
I particularly enjoyed Brett’s suggestions on searching for symbolism for yourself, though observing and recording the natural forces at work in your life. I live in a desert. Though December – February is still winter in the US, seasons in our climate mean the opposite of what they mean in most parts of the country. I look forward to using some of these tools to embrace where I live.
There’s little in this book that could cause offense. Respect is reinforced frequently, especially with regard to native peoples’ sacred spaces and symbols.
I’d happily recommend this to someone interested in learning about current druidic practice. Yes, it’s focused on Australia, but the author makes every natural location accessible by sharing how she worked to make Australia accessible. It is well-rounded instruction, useful anywhere.
I’d also give this book to anyone with a desire to connect more with nature and with history. There are wonderful suggestions about record keeping, setting aside time to meditate, and developing intuitive observation skills.
Pick up Australian Druidry by Julie Brett on the 29th of this month!