|Bleeding Tooth fungus on Michigan's |
Isle Royale National Park
"One of the most striking characteristics of Druidism is the degree to which it is free of dogma and any fixed set of beliefs or practices. In this way it manages to offer a spiritual path, and a way of being in the world that avoids many of the problems of intolerance and sectarianism that the established religions have encountered."
If a Unitarian Universalist were to read the above paragraph with the words "Unitarian Universalism" in place of the word "Druidism" they would never know the difference! In many ways, the two are remarkably similar approaches to spirituality and religion. The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) website explains:
"Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that embraces theological diversity...While our congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about theological issues. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, Unitarian Universalists are free to search for truth on many paths."
Water Communion UU Chalice
Especially in the days before the internet, Unitarian Universalism has been quite a well-kept secret in most communities. Our denomination is a small one compared to other mainline religions - we usually fall into the "other" category on polls and surveys about religion in America. Currently, there are about 200,000 UU's in the United States, with about one in every 1,300 people belonging to a UU church or fellowship. As an entity, Unitarian Universalism itself was officially formed in 1961 with the merging of the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America.
Modern Druidry (or Druidism) is less well organized as a whole than Unitarian Universalism. Many groups exist, such as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Ancient Order of Druids in America and Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (to name a the larger ones).
Identifying myself as a Druid UU, I have become quite comfortable falling squarely into the "other" category of modern religion. As such, I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Michigan and also a member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America. I find inspiration and wisdom from the trees and animals of the forest, written works of prophetic men and women and even from the realms of Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings.
It's not easy being "other" sometimes. But I have discovered kindred spirits in the plants and animals of the forest field and a family of Unitarian Universalists who share in a quest for truth and meaning, even if we don't all believe the same things or share the same opinions.
Next time, I'll dig deeper into the shared principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Learning from each other is one of the best gifts we can share on this wonderful journey of life. Thank you, dear reader, for sharing the journey with me.