Samhain (2014) marked the 8th year of the Reformed Druids of Gaia (RDG).
March 18th (2015) marked the 18th year of the Order of the Mithril Star (OMS).
OMS was begun by a handful of members of the Church of All Worlds, who didn’t think that the CAW nests were SiaSL’ish enough (‘SiaSL’ is short for Stranger In A Strange Land, a Sc–Fi novel written in 1961 by Robert A. Heinlein). Oh, the naturism was there, for the most part, but only the Mother Nest (Oberon and Morninglorie’s) in Ukiah was actually practicing polyamory to any extent. Like most Pagan gatherings and festivals, you could always count on at least half or more of attendees to be walking around nekked at CAW functions. But the commitment to being poly wasn’t there, except that most CAW members were more like ‘swingers’ than polyamorists, and then mainly at gatherings and festivals.
So we schismed, and thus was formed, after a ‘Bring Back the Snakes‘ event at Boulder Creek Brewery, under the full moon in the tourist Grove at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the Order of the Mithril Star.
We found out though, that no matter how much you teach or promote something, even elevating Stranger In A Strange Land to a near Biblical status, you can’t make people be poly or naturist. They either are or they aren’t. Social imprinting, like you got in starting in kindergarten, trumps the natural every time. Oh, a handful manage to break the through the matrix, but most have too often, in the backs of their minds, associated nudity with sexuality, and poly with swinging, and even among those who practice one or the other, naturists spurn polys, and polys, much of the time, spurn naturism. To get the two together is a miracle. Only the Kerista group, a “group marriage” in San Francisco that lasted about 20 years there, managed to bridge the two. There is still a remnant of Kerista on Maui of about a dozen or so.
Did you know? The original idea, when OMS became Druids in 2002, was that the executive committee of every Grove would be a Nest -probably a triad. That never happened either. We joined the Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA) in the Spring of 2002 and by the end of the Summer, after much fighting, and hooting and howling in the RDNAtalk group, then Archdruid (AD) Ceridwen proclaimed OMS to be in schism with RDNA.
At the Mabon Druid gathering here in Humboldt, in 2006, 8 years ago, we hatched the RDG. The rest is history. What do we have to show for ourselves 8 years later? There are a handful of Groves, none of which are Poly or even poly-centric. There are a handful of solitary members who are poly, but their poly families are not Druids. Some are Naturist when a hot tub is available. In fact the only time someone gets nekked any more is at their 2nd Degree Initiation, and almost always that happens in a group of no more than 3, and the nekkedness lasts 10 minutes maybe. Even this tradition is falling by the wayside more and more.
We had an AD who for about six months, entered into a triad. It was the most wonderful thing she said. She was grateful to Ceridwen and I for ‘pushing this.’ Then her husband ran off with the new 3rd, and left her with the kids. About a year later she quit the RDG (her Grove had broken up as well). Sad thing is that she was, (in time spent as an OMS member) the member who had been with us the longest. I even had at one time (when she was still poly) decided she would be my successor as head of OMS. And not too long after that, she quit. Then I put an ad out for my ideal successor, and got roundly trounced for that by members of NoDaL, and ended up making Ceridwen my successor, as she was the only member who fulfilled my laundry list, and I was tired of fighting about it.
A couple of years ago a person complained to their AD that El was pushing poly and naturism too much. That AD came to me and told me “many people” in her Grove had complained. What really happened was that in the old Yahoo OMS group, I had gathered up all of the articles that had been published over the years concerning Naturism and Polyamory, and turned them into files, and uploaded them into their own folders in the files section. This was instead of having them all lost to Yahoos gradual cleaning that they do. With the complaints, we decided at that time to produce two versions of The Druid Path, one to be sent to those who joined OMS directly, and a different one, with everything but SiaSL purged, for those that joined RDG directly. About a year later I found out it was one and exactly one person who complained, and she subsequently quit because “RDG was a cult where the leaders had sex with ALL of the women.” About a month later we went back to there being only one version of The Druid Path, and about six months later the aforementioned AD, and her entire Grove, officially left the RDG and joined the Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF).
The reason she left had nothing to do with any of this. That is another story, for another time, but it has a lot to do with my own feelings of justice, of her struggle to become a 3rd in the RDNA (well, kinda, sorta) and me finding out she had told Ceridwen and I very big whopper. But she had quit before we found that out, anticipating that we would find it out.
So what DO we have? We have a handful of Groves, where deep interpersonal relationships are forged, rituals are wrought, and for most that is all they need. The MG is in a college town, and most of our new members are college students, so they go away after four years. The MG currently has 7 members, 4 of whom have been together for a few years and none of which are either poly or naturist (except for Ceridwen and I, who still hope for more). But, maybe this is the best we can hope for. We will turn 62 this year (Ceridwen did so in August). Time keeps on ticking, ticking, ticking… into the future…… Our guides tell us that it’s all going to happen soon. So we wait with joyful hope for the manifestation of Dryad’s Realm.
I think the majority of people get what they want out of RDG. I think that’s good enough. You can’t make people be what you want them to be. You can only show them the cake. If they eat it, it’s their choice but you can’t make them eat it, they will only eat the part they like.
In the end, that’s the best we can hope for. Let us be happy, and satisfied, for what we have, and leave it at that.