‘Druid Contemplative Voices’ is a book project in which I have brought together 15 people with an active, practitioner interest in Druidry and contemplative practice. This post is to introduce the book and share something about working methods, ethics concerning participants and their contributions, and the context of the work.
The book is largely based on a set of questions (answered in live interviews or through written responses). These explore people’s links with Druidry and other traditions and the role of meditation and other contemplative practices in their lives. They also look at the potential advantages of such practices for the wider Druid movement. This part of the project is almost complete. The last two contributions are due by the end of this month.
I am adopting a themed approach for the writing, rather than presenting a succession of individual contributions. While this book has no pretensions to be academic, I have started to analyse the material and identify themes in a way combines a certain intellectual formality with an intuitive tuning in to what is emerging. I have some background, including a PhD about transition into later life, in ‘qualitative’ health and social research. Qualitative, here, means research focused on people’s own sense of their lived experience – and this can include ‘insider’ research (where I am part of part of the group under consideration). Although the context and relationships here are different, I find this discipline helpful. Far from being an abstracting and alienating process, it keeps me alert and in integrity.
I am writing the book and responsible for its content, but everyone else will have a chance to look at the text and comment before it is published. Where they are directly quoted (which will be a lot and at length, in the approach I am using) participants will need to be satisfied that I am presenting their contributions accurately and in context – and that they are still happy to stand behind them in print. If not they can be amended (within a timeframe) or withdrawn. The book will also include two appendices drawn from early threads in the life of the Contemplative Druidry Facebook group. In this case I sought, and gained, positive specific permission from each contributor to these threads before going ahead.
Druid contemplative voices is the latest stage of the ‘contemplative exploration’ launched in the OBOD* magazine Touchstone in April 2012. Connections made through the article led to a ‘contemplative exploration’ day in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England on 7 July 2102. The Contemplative Druidry Facebook group was launched on 1 August 2012, and this blog http://contemplativeinquiry.wordpress.com on 28 August of that year. In each case, one of their aims has been to champion the contemplative meme within Druidry and support the wider contemplative exploration. By the beginning of 2014 an expanded local group in Stroud had a regular meeting cycle of two full days each year (in May and November) with shorter monthly meetings in between. 11 of the contributors to the book have been involved in this group. Druid Contemplative Voices will include an appendix that looks at the group’s structural frameworks and programmes.
*Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids
NB This I am blogging a day early, ahead of Druid Camp.