Once able to read this book, it turns out to be rather boring. There are seasonal records of growth, precipitation, harvests, and similar notes for the surrounding lands for the last dozen years, and some musings on reincarnation. Belek was also a bit full of himself and convinced that he was always just misunderstood. A few excerpts are found below.
Trees in particular were mysterious, and seemed to me direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason, the woods were the place that I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings.
To get a sense of how it might feel to be a Druid, try saying this: “I am strong – a steadfast seer, a knower of magic and enchantment. I am a sage of the forest. I know the secrets of the oak and the wildwood.” Say it several times over, with as little inhibition and as much conviction as you can muster. It’s important to say it out loud, because the voice has magical properties. If the exercise works for you, you will have experienced something of what it means to be a Druid – a man or a woman who even in these days can feel the pulse of life in the earth beneath them and the trees around them.
Those who study as Ovates within Druidry learn to work with the powers of Nature – they learn the Ogham and come to know the trees as living Beings with their own medicines and gifts. They work with the sacred animals of tradition, and with different methods of divination, and many begin a study of herbalism or other methods of healing, and in particular they learn how to encourage the flow of Nwyfre through the body.
So to prepare for the new, we must free ourselves of the debris of the old, and birch can help us do this, and can point the way forward, for when we are lost in the forest, the shining whiteness of the birch trunk leads us onward – it offers guidance and orientation in the darkness of our journey. The very word ‘birch’ derives from a root meaning ‘bright’ or ‘shining’ in nearly all languages with Thran origins.
Otherworld is seen as the place we travel to when we die. But we can also visit it during our lifetime in dreams, in meditation, under hypnosis, or in ‘journeying’, when in a shamanic trance.
The real test of the value of a spiritual path lies in the degree to which it can help us live our lives in the world. It needs to be able to provide us with inspiration, counsel and encouragement as we negotiate the sometimes difficult and even tragic events that can occur during a lifetime.
The primary philosophical posture of Druidism is one of love and respect towards all of life – towards fellow human beings and animals, and all of Nature. A word often used by Druids to describe this approach is reverence, which expands the concept of respect to include an awareness of the sacred. By being reverent towards human beings, for example, Druids treat the body, relationships and sexuality with respect and as sacred. Reverence should not be confused with piousness or a lack of vigorous engagement – true reverence is strong and sensual as well as gentle and kind.
This attitude of reverence and respect extends to all creatures, and so many Druids will either be vegetarian or will eat meat, but support compassionate farming and be opposed to factory farming methods. Again, the belief that we should love all creatures is likely to be tempered with a robust realism that will not exclude the possibility that we might want to kill certain creatures, such as mosquitoes, dogs or elves.