I’ve been wondering lately, what exactly is Maine? In the strictest sense, Maine is lines on a map that define its political boundaries, to the West with New Hampshire and to the North and Northeast with Canada. However, within the arbitrary lines that define our political existence lie innumerable regions, micro-climates, geographical features and geological history. The spirits of place are innumerable here and their stories are even more so. The land we call Maine is many lands, many places and many are the stories that describe both.
Having been raised with the context that Maine is defined by the political processes of boundary creation, it is not hard for me to see that familiar shape when I think of this State and all that it means to me and many more people who live, work and play here. Maine is a place that seems so spiritually fertile that it nearly begs for more people to root into the land and make connection. No matter where I go I tend to feel the pull of something that desires my attention: a stone, a tree, a bird, a bush, a stream, a mountain. When these things fall under my gaze I no longer see them as geographical features or flora and fauna, I see them as godlike, divine, inspiring.
When I speak of Maine, the rocks sing to me. Katahdin springs up from the land, Mt. Desert island forms from lava spewed before the last ice age. I think of visiting Cadillac Mountain, how the sides are just steep enough that every step seems like you are going to encounter a cliff and yet it just keeps going.
I pick up rocks at the beach, geological history in my hand. Here are my ancestors, the trilobite, the ancient fern. I feel the grit of the sand and imagine the stories it tells, perhaps lovers under moonlight, the bodies of billions or even trillions of beings washed up upon it, most microscopic, some as large as whales.
I go deeper inland to the forests and there the conifers and deciduous trees watch me pass as though I am burning a path as I go, the essence of my existence like a quick burning fire, a counterpoint to their own more deliberate existence. Their language is slow, deep, sometimes sorrowful. The trees hum in bass tones that vibrate up through the land into my feet and the stones absorb these vibrations like sinks and hold them. I go further into the mountains and high hills where millions of years ago the Earth moved and creased new structures. Above the tree line it is as though the wind has swept away everything yet here and there a plant pokes out from the rocks in stolid defiance…it reminds me of a balding man’s scalp but with more character and ancient stories written into it.
I dive back down into the River valleys, run the course of spring waters through the torrent of the rapids. I see the great boulders as the rivers rage around them and think of the smooth and weathered beach stones I held in my hand and know that their stories are ancient and different. I find a stream feeding fresh water into the torrent of the river and I follow it up to a pond where the loons make their mournful sounds and the trout and white perch feed mercilessly from the swarms of mosquitoes and black flies at dusk. Surrounded by the pine, the water is still at sunrise, reflective and beautiful where songbirds call from the cattails across the marshy boundaries of a lake.
When I see the land of Maine, this is how she speaks to me. In Mountains and Rivers, lakes and seashores, stones and trees. I wander off the path of the forest into the wild and I see stories, so very many stories. The dance of mating dragonflies, the chattered recriminations of the squirrels, the diving swoop of the Hawk.
I want to tell these stories, I want to climb into them, live them and then sing the songs of Nature, the songs of the wild, so that others may hear them and perhaps seek to find the music themselves and I am not alone in that desire. There are others who wish to do so as well, other practitioners of Druidry for whom this land, this region, is home. It is a place of Land and Sea and Sky in such natural beauty that one can barely help but Love it and feel Loved in return. This is the place where our feet touch the land and through it, the Earth.
To that end, several of us are in the early stages of forming a Druid Order for the State of Maine. Maine is a land that is vibrant and alive in its natural beauty and yet still in need of relationship to the people who inhabit her. Druidry is a living tradition, one that seeks to craft sacred relationship with the land and the spirits that inhabit it. We hope to be the keepers of tradition and a relevant addition to the foundation of the Pagan community here. The Order will serve several purposes. It will allow those who practice Druidry to belong to a central hub by which we can share information, knowledge and inspiration that is relevant to our individual communities.
The Order itself is founded on three basic principles, each of which have three contexts:
Location: The Place, the Land and the Earth
Being: Our Ancestors, Ourselves and our Community
Becoming: Knowledge, Learning and Teaching (1)
[Another concept here is that] this Order can support Druidry, which has a unique hum to it. We don’t all have to have the same definition or the same practices or the same core of learning. Druidry is bigger than that. It is about questing Awen. And we do that through our relationships. The most prevalent relationships are self, family, community and the spirits of place. Always it is about wakeful honorable relationships, for those bring inspiration. That from my studies is unique to this tradition. Others may talk about ecstatic practices, but Druidry is very clear, holding seeking Awen at its center. (2)
We presently have no “name” for this Order and that will likely be forthcoming soon. Ultimately though, this is a Maine Order of Druidry and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we look forward to presenting ourselves in this capacity to the community.
If you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Quote Courtesy of Aracos
(2) Quote Courtesy of Snowhawke