You might not know this, but I’m a candidate Druid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA for short). I’m going to bypass the debate of modern druidry verses the ancients, among other things which we can talk about later, and move right into something called cosmology, which is a piece of my studies as a Druid.Cosmology is defined as “an account or theory of the origin of the universe” if you simply Google it. Usually you can find a cosmology as easily as opening up the Holy Bible or the Prose Edda- they’re usually religious constructs. But the Big Bang Theory (the actual theory of the universe, not the TV show) is a cosmology as well! It’s what’s called a ‘physical cosmology’ which is studied by scientists, the actual physical way the world works and formed. Religious/mythological cosmology is the first foundation of beliefs.
There are people, maybe a whole lot more than you or I know, that can and do believe in both their religious cosmology and the physical cosmology. You might have heard of this- believing whole heartedly in the Christian god Christ and also in the Big Bang Theory (BBT). These two cosmologies can coexist in the heart of a person because of faith and belief. The reality is the BBT, but one could say that the forces which caused it, chemical reactions and movement in the whole of the universe is God. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of all of that; as I’m not a Christian, I can’t say that I know much of the depths of their scripture and lore.
So what’s this post about! It’s about me trying to discover and create my cosmology as a Druid. This is also called Wild-Crafting. A long time ago, when cultures and people were more secluded from each other, cosmologies were constructed from the close surroundings and life. Just what could be seen and heard, what could be thought of and linked together. To one culture- the night sky is made by a beautiful god laying out his blanket of black fabric studded with diamonds to sleep on. In another, the night sky could be the inside of a giant skull, with holes pierced everywhere to let the sun shine through when it makes its exit during the sunset. Some cosmologies share certain animals in myth and lessons, and other don’t share them at all. It’s all based on where one lives, and what they see and experience. Here’s an essay on cosmology (it’s not long) from the viewpoint of someone along the Mexico-USA border, a place where I have lived for a few years and loved: Wild-crafting the Modern Druid. As a candidate Druid, I’m supposed to start creating my own cosmology as something to keep me grounded in the spiritual ways of the world. My own belief system of sorts. One day, I’d love to have created so much as to have a “bible” of my own. To others it could even be published and sold as a work of fantasy, just stories. The Holy Bible, Prose Edda, are sold in bookstores. If we wanted to go out on a limb, so are the tales of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars sold- two extremely large cult centers which could easily form their own religions if they wanted to! Modern Wicca started in a similar fashion- pieced together with ancient views and beliefs, a book written on it all, and holidays set up. Not to bash on Wicca in any way- that’s not my intent- I think Wicca is extremely interesting!
I live in the Pacific Northwest. There are lots of trees. Trees everywhere. Woodland animals galore. There are oceans and lakes, rivers, beaches, fields, mountains, forests. There are Native Americans here who have their own histories and culture and mythology. I’m a white kid with no historic culture to speak of, stereotypically sitting in a cafe while I write this post. I believe in certain things that so far can’t be proven. Some things that aren’t seen often, and when some see them they still believe it as something else. But I also believe in what I can see and touch, what is physically real. It’s hard to come up with a cosmology that can go hand in hand with reality when I’ve never thought of these things before. I have a hard time with belief. I was raised atheist, and never spent my time thinking about what could be. I believed in things when they felt real in my heart (hence, surprise, why I believe in reincarnation) with no physical scientific explanation. How should I start building a cosmology? I guess I’ll start making lists of what’s important here in my bio-region. If I come up with something…I guess we’ll find out.
What do you think of religious and physical cosmologies coexisting? Have you done something similar yourself, or does the thought of trying it out intrigue you?