Defining Nature Spirituality's Continuum: Witchcraft to Druidry

There is no Wi-fi in the forest but I promise you will find a better connection
Nature generates strong feelings of peace in most people. Such feelings are at the core of Druidry, Witchcraft, and Wicca.
Feeling forests and meadows is a multisensory experience so Druids tend to develop an awareness and appreciation of all their all their senses. 
Feelings are conscious phenomena and all available evidence indicates consciousness is the means of connecting with the spiritual realm. Considerations of its evolutionary purpose suggests we are all interconnected by a spiritual network in addition to the scientifically demonstrated non-verbal emotional propagation network. Networks are extensively mentioned in Alphabetic Akkadian texts and seen in some of the earliest Neolithic archaeological images.
Using feelings to interact with the spiritual realm is emotional magic and this sort of magic is extensively mentioned in the Alphabetic Akkadian texts.

Druidry and Witchcraft Start by Having Feelings of Connection with Nature.

(Jan. 3, 2023) Nature spirituality is a continuum ranging from ungrounded Witchcraft and Wicca which also includes some medieval occult elements to the nature grounded (no occult) Druidry. Nature spirituality is mainstream Paganism such that the all-encompassing word "Pagan" usually means "nature spirituality" even though its dictionary definition is: "a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions."

The core of any spiritual practice are feelings. These feelings are non-material conscious experiences having various levels of emotional energy. Consciousness experiences represent the non-material spiritual realm which is separate from the physical realm. No theory of physics explains consciousness.

Because Druids seek grounding in nature they lean towards the study of history, science, mythology, and metaphysics, Witches are more mystic and eclectic working with whatever powers resonate best. Both tend to be hikers and campers, and support mind expanding books, movies, cultural arts and music.  

Some popular witch specializations are:

  1. Green Witch - works with green growing things. Often a herbalist.
  2. Kitchen Witch - works with green growing things with emphasis on home
  3. Sea Witch - works with oceans, lakes, rivers, waters 
  4. Cosmic Witch - works with state of planets, moon, sun
  5. Hedge Witch - works with the mystery of darkness and the powers of spirits between realms. Almost a shaman.

Starting Green Witchcraft by Annabel Margaret

Main themes with some added context:
  • Magic crafting is a life-long path of growing awareness and self-improvement. 
  • Everyone must find their own emotional resonances and correspondences. For example, what you read about what a crystal does may not work for you, that is only an observation of average effects. (standard training is to take a crystal and carry it with you so it is constantly in your mind. Observe what happens to you during that week.)

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  • You don't need a lot of tools and things to start. While those aid in directing and enhancing certain feelings and emotional channels most things around you generate some sort of feeling within you. Start with natural things you find and personal memory items. Also practice various kinds of meditation and yoga to see what works.
  • Don't be afraid to mess up. Everyone is already messing up and doing uncontrolled witchcraft because everyone has feelings which are being projected out to others. These feelings then come back at oneself because we live in a social and spiritual network. So don't be afraid to start magic work which starts to bring emotions into awareness and under some sort of control. (That we exist within a social network has been scientifically proven. That we also exist within a spiritual network is inferred based upon anecdotal evidence and consideration of the evolutionary purpose of conscious experiences.)
  • Keeping desired subconscious emotional channels open (emotional conditioning) requires constant but moderate practice just like athletic conditioning. If your life is a mess you have the wrong emotional/spiritual channels open so don't keep using those.
  • You don't need to be a Wiccan to be a witch. While this was the first organized witchcraft tradition/religion, it is just one tradition out of many. Find a supportive tradition and make it your own but be aware that not all traditions are supportive. Traditions that are dualist (reality divided into good versus evil), dogmatic, or have lordified, human only, deities will severely limit your witchcraft by blocking many emotional channels. As Jesus himself said "you cannot serve two masters," meaning a person cannot follow both a feeling based spiritual path and a dogmatic path.

Pagan Path

This well done video uses the word "Pagan" as meaning "nature spirituality."  Any spirituality involves feelings of connection with the believed sources of existence. Nature spirituality assumes the sources of existence are the various powers of nature found in both its physical and spiritual (conscious) realms and not some human-like god living apart from nature on a higher plane. Also notice that Paganism (Druidry) in both its spiritual and religious forms is an ever growing personal path and not a static dogmatic faith.

Path through a forest
Your life path is your religion. The dogmatic model common in religions today is not the only possible way to ground spirituality. That dogmatic model has given religion a bad name which is why a large number of people claim they are spiritual but not religious.

Grounding Nature Spirituality to Make it a Force in People's Lives

(July 3, 2022) Spirituality without grounding is just another feel good drug in a society full of such drugs. Spiritual practices need to be grounded in order for them to make a difference in people's lives. This grounding turns spirituality into a religion. 

Early Christianity faced this same issue due to its initial emphasis on gifts of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul issued this warning to those new Christians who only wanted to feel good and powerful. 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV)

 The three components of spiritual grounding are:

Paradigm change cycle
A change in paradigm is a scientific revolution like the one in which plate tectonics replaced the idea of a static earth and land bridges. Changes in paradigm tend to follow the circular pattern above. This cycle was first described in Thomas Kuhn's book called The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962at
Some people have much difficulty in changing one of their paradigms when that paradigm makes them feel superior and secure. This can make them appear completely irrational and willing to perform atrocities. This was noticed by German Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was jailed and eventually killed by the Nazis:
“The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison)

Comparing Religious Paradigms

(Jan. 3, 2023) Having all the facts in the world is useless unless the relevant facts can be found when needed. This requires a mental framework or model (paradigm) for working with acquired facts. If new facts cannot be fitted into a person's existing paradigm they will tend to ignore those facts. Thus holding onto a simple paradigm makes that person seem stupid to others. Consequently, each person needs to develop as general a paradigm as possible by having broad experiences and getting a broad education.

Paradigms are difficult to change. In science paradigm changes are what make scientific revolutions different from normal science. Paradigms are heavily influenced by the culture one is born into and ones own emotional needs, especially the need to  belong to a powerful group. These deep emotional needs can make paradigms very sticky and resistant to change. 

The four main classes of spiritual/religious paradigms are:

Atheistic, Pantheistic - Material realm is superior or is the only realm which exists.

The spiritual realm does not really exist or has no power. Our material world of energy and mass is the only reality. Anything spiritual like the existence of conscious experiences is considered an illusion or as something which mysteriously emerges from material activity.

Transcendentalist - The divine/spiritual realm is superior. The material world is an illusion

The material realm has no existence apart from the divine realm and is just a manifestation of the divine. Our minds create define our reality as constrained by our own cultural conditioning.

Perceptheistic - the divine/spiritual realm co-exists equally with the material realm but only the material realm can be known in common by a  community (Druidry)

We can know the physical realm objectively as a community but we can only know the spiritual realm at a personal level. No one else directly shares  our consciousness. Because of this, deities of the spiritual realm can be perceived in a way best suited for each person either as people or as clusters of powers. This was the paradigm of the ancient pre-classical era culture as revealed by its newly translated texts.

Theistic (Monotheistic or Polytheistic)Theistic (Monotheistic or Polytheistic) -  Divine/spiritual realm co-exists equally with material realm.. Both realms can be known in common by a community. The spiritual realm is known dogmatically via a religion's sacred text. Deities may be lordified, that is, perceived only as people. (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) or be perceptheistic (Buddhism, reconstructed Pagan religions)

This paradigm replaced ancient perceptheism with the rise of large nation states. Their distant male kings came to be seen powers just a powerful and capricious as nature powers. Because these kings were mostly male the divine feminine was downgraded. Because kings had royal courts the divine realm came to be perceived as personified lord gods living on a higher plane in their own royal courts. Because these gods have a full range of human emotions humans need to fear them and appease them with gifts and praise.

Sunrise over calm ocean
Everything in your life depends on where you get your community knowledge. Nature is the only source which is internally consistent.  
A difference exists between community knowledge and personal knowledge. Community knowledge is the facts a community as a whole is expected to believe in order to insure their prosperity and survival. Not believing in the effectiveness of smallpox vaccines puts yourself and many in your community at risk of early death. Being careless with matches because you don't realize how they work can set your building on fire killing you and others. Humans do not exist in isolation from others so a community has the right to expect its members to care about the truths of the physical world.
In contrast personal knowledge is knowledge about your own emotional reactions. It is spiritual knowledge that only you know. You cannot expect others to feel the same or to use the same mental model which works for you. This is why Nature Religion is perceptheistic encouraging any divine conception which works best for each individual. All all equally valid because the spiritual realm in not knowable by experiment.

Druidry's Community Knowledge Source is Nature

(July 3, 2022) Druidry has two valid sources of knowledge with differing purposes because we as humans exist in two different realms, the physical realm and the spiritual realm (our conscious feelings). Community knowledge deals with group survival and prosperity so everyone is expected to have the same truths. In contrast spiritual knowledge is for personal fulfillment, that is, for finding out who we really are. This is reflected in the ancient saying at the entrance to Greek sanctuary at Delphi of "Know Thyself."

In the ancient past before the rise of books and institutional authorities, nature was the only source of community knowledge. If to many cultural traditions developed contrary to nature that culture soon went extinct by being outperformed by others.

Nature is the only guaranteed consistent source of knowledge even if we humans may not understand all of it. If nature was not consistent we would not be here because the universe would have crashed like a computer.

Other knowledge sources are charismatic gurus and sacred texts which are human created sources although unsupported dogmatic claims are made that they are divinely inspired. If they are truly divinely inspired they would all be consistent internally and consistent with each other but they are not.  The result is inherent conflict because in the end truth cannot be agreed upon. The only inherently peaceful religions are nature based religions.

Map of Persian Achaemenid Empire at its greatest extent(550-330 BCE
Dualism was spread by the Persian Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) with it spread of it Zoroastrian religion both east and west which had a huge effect on religious history. Dualism claimed that because conscious experiences like smells were inherently good and bad that the divine realm was also inherently good and bad. (this assumption of inherent valuation of conscious experiences was only proved false in modern times). 
The two sides of dualism were at war with each other until the end times when they would be united once again. In the west, dualism inserted the idea of the end times into Judaism and from there into Christianity and Islam. In the east it triggered the debates which led to the founding of Buddhism and the creation of the Hindu Bhagavad Gita.

Druidry's Goals as a Nature Community is To Align with the Divine Powers

(July 3, 2022) Existing religious communities have three possible requirements for their members:

The ancients always sought to work with the divine/natural powers to achieve societal and personal goals because they viewed them as laws of nature. If the "divine powers" are personified like they are in the Bible then this statement is the same as saying "doing the will of God." (in the Hebrew scriptures the word translated as god is 'elohim  where /m/ is a plural ending.)

What challenged the original Nature based life purpose was the invention of dualism in the Zoroastrian religion (see picture).