I had a delightful chat with author and chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, Kristoffer Hughes. Kristoffer is also a stand-up comedian and Welsh language television presenter. Here are some of the things that stood out from our conversation including a wonderful introduction to Druidry.
Introduction to Druidry
I'll admit, my knowledge of Druidry is rather limited so I'm really glad that Kristoffer explained more about Druidry and how queer people can find a spiritual home in the tradition. Being Welsh, Kristoffer explained the difference between spiritual Druidry and cultural Druidry. The Druid tradition is so ingrained in Welsh culture. For those of us in the U.S., we likely will only be aware of spiritual Druidry.
Kristoffer explains that Druidry is an animistic spiritual practice which views the world as where the Divine lives. Druids are polytheists so they recognize and worship many different gods. He says that this allows individuals to forge relationships with the deities that reflect their unique abilities and talents. Druidry, like other Pagan paths, believes in the transformative power of magic. Druids practice Bardic magic, which is the magic of words and song.
In some spiritual traditions, there's an overwhelming number of things to learn and skills to develop. In Druidry, you can specialize as a Bard, Druid, or Ovate. The Bards are the keepers of the culture, history, and tradition. They specialize in telling the stories and singing the songs. The Ovates specialize in divination, soothsaying, and prophecy. Finally, the Druids are the ritualists, teachers, and philosophers. Overall, it results in much less for an initiate to need to master.
Druidry & Inclusivity
Druidry is an inclusive practice that welcomes queer people. Kristoffer explained that Druidry is inherently non-binary. During our chat, he offered two examples from Celtic mythology that involved individuals working outside of traditional gender roles. Kristoffer mentions that many of their deities and heroes defy gender norms. To him, Druidry embraces queerness and allows the individual to only work with deities that feel aligned rather than enforcing the binary like systems such as Wicca.
One of the things that really struck me is that for some of the Druid orders, the emphasis is always on "How do you do your Druidry?", rather than whether you fit traditional gender or sex roles. It struck me as very freeing and very inclusive.
Imposter Syndrome & Queer Space
I also appreciated that Kristoffer allowed for some vulnerability to talk about his imposter syndrome and feeling like he didn't fit or belong in queer spaces. For Kristoffer, being a drag queen allowed him to find a place that felt comfortable for him. But he also recognizes that having queer spaces is important. He feels it is especially important to have queer spaces in rural areas. As part of his final thoughts, Kristoffer says it's ok to not feel comfortable in your own skin or in queer space but that it's really about how you work on that and reflect that into the world.
About The Guest(s):
Kristoffer Hughes is the chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, and an award-winning author on Celtic spirituality and Druidry. He is also a Welsh language television presenter and stand-up comedian.
Kristoffer Hughes, the chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, joins host Julian Crosson-Hill on the Queer Spirituality podcast to discuss queer spirituality and his journey as a Druid. Kristoffer explains that queer spirituality is an integral part of his Druidry and how it informs his perception of the world. He shares his spiritual journey, growing up in Wales where Druidry is endemic in the culture, and finding a home in Druidry after feeling rejected by Christianity. Kristoffer also discusses the different aspects of Druidry, including the roles of bards, ovates, and druids, and how they interweave. He highlights the inclusive nature of Druidry and its celebration of queerness, emphasizing that Druidry is inherently non-binary and allows individuals to forge relationships with deities that reflect their own unique talents and abilities. He also explores the presence of gender non-conforming figures in Celtic mythology and the importance of recognizing that queer people have always been a part of history. He encourages queer individuals in America who are interested in Druidry to explore resources such as ADF and emphasizes the fluidity and flexibility of Druidry in defining relationships with deities. Kristoffer concludes by sharing his parting wisdom, encouraging individuals to be honest with themselves, strive to be the best version of themselves, and treat others with kindness and respect.
- Queer spirituality is an integral part of Kristoffer's Druidry and informs his perception of the world.
- Druidry is an animistic polytheistic tradition that perceives the entire world as sacred and allows individuals to forge relationships with deities that reflect their own unique talents and abilities.
- Celtic mythology contains gender non-conforming figures that challenge gender norms and highlight the presence of queerness throughout history.
- Druidry is an inclusive tradition that celebrates queerness and provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Queer individuals in America can explore resources such as ADF to learn more about Druidry and its inclusive nature.
- "Druidry is inherently non-binary. We don't fall into the same categories as other binary systems." - Kristoffer Hughes
- "We perceive that each of us somehow reflects that which is sacred." - Kristoffer Hughes
- "We've always been here. We've been here since the very beginning." - Kristoffer Hughes
- "Try not to be an asshole and be nice, employ charm, and treat the world as you would want it to treat you." - Kristoffer Hughes
Listen to the Full Episode
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