I had the wonderful opportunity to be Guest Lecturer last week at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I had an audience of 22 students in the art history seminar class ‘The Druids’ who have been learning about classical druidry (what we know of it) and their professor wanted to give the students an opportunity to get a modern perspective of how the druid inspiration lives on today in the 21st century.
Though I’ve spoken at a few Pagan Pride Day seminars and visited with countless interested people on druidry, I found this particular engagement to be quite challenging. This was the first group of people who a) were all between the ages of 18 and 20 years old; and b) not necessarily interested in modern druidry or spirituality at all.
I didn’t want to just talk history (yawn) and plus their professor had covered that thoroughly. I wanted to bring the ‘nature’ to the nature spirituality and I wanted to impress the magic available to them in a wonderful universe of mystery and discovery. I knew I’d first have to dispel the misconceptions – prep the canvas of sorts, before I could paint a new picture.
If the audience had any preconceived notions, they were being too polite to voice them. I started with my ice breaker, sharing a triad and asking when they believed it was written. A front row student guessed ‘during the early days of Christianity’ and I got a mercy chuckle from a girl at the back of the room when I said that I had wrote it myself last year.
We went through the druid path and I’m sure I painted a masterpiece that challenged the senses, rational mind and spirit deep with in them. We danced through augury, magic and herbal medicine; we even talked about ritual, ceremony and wheel of the year. It was wonderful, albeit silent.
After my lecture, the professor and 3 students came along for lunch and more discussion. I found this delightful that after an hour and 15 minutes, they hadn’t had enough. We talked more on their backgrounds and thoughts, celtic history and more nuances of the druid path that I had saved for the truly curious. It was a great experience and I was taken back by the politeness and attentiveness the entire group afforded to the subject and me personally.
The mark of a worthwhile discussion like that is if anyone gets something from it. In the end, opening minds, making things ‘main stream’ or less foreign is the goal. And with such young minds, only a couple degrees of refraction can create a rainbow of colors.