Guided Meditations, and Diversity

Wanna skip the discussion and go straight to the meditations? Visit our Meditations Page!

Earlier this year, we began the process of recording (or, in some cases, re-recording) guided meditations with the aim of putting them online. Quickly, we noticed we lacked something particularly important: diversity of voice.

In early February, we thought we were ready to go live. Then, I took a good look at the page and realized: on the entire page, there was only one (less than 10%) that had a female voice leading it. I promised myself that I wouldn’t release until we hit over 50% female-voiced representation on the page.

So, today, on May 1, 2016, I am proud to say that we have just over 50% of meditations on our brand new “Meditations” page as being led by female voices.

(I counted any meditation with both men and women leading as a fraction: 15.3 out of 30 meditations, as of this writing, are female-led.)

Most meditations in the world of modern Paganism and New Age religious movements are read by men. Upon realizing that only 10% of our meditations had female voices, I reviewed the ADF website, thinking, “Surely, we must have a good representation there!” Alas, I found only a single, lonely meditation that was voiced by a woman on the entire website.

How was this possible? On both the ADF website and the 3CG website, we would only have one female voice each?

I have a lot of speculation on why men dominate the voice of guided meditations, but that’s neither here nor there. Today, I want to talk a little bit about why it’s so important to both notice it, and correct it.

Why should we notice a lack of diversity? Simply put, because it isn’t true. While Druidry may have a clear image in the minds of many people, that image is one of old, white guys in long (potentially fake) white beards, and long (very real) white robes. It’s not an inclusive image at all. And yet, our membership is broad and diverse, and we need to find ways to ensure that our Groves do not suffer the long-term effects that Roman writers and the masonic druid orders have saddled us with.

Our Grove is, like many ADF Groves (and ADF on the whole), predominantly female in membership makeup. Most of our members who identify with a particular gender identify as female, and it strikes me as unfair that the representation we sometimes have on our website doesn’t make that a bit more clear. It also strikes me as subtly unwelcoming to have such abysmal representation of the majority of our membership.

Why is it important to correct a lack of diversity? A deep reason for an ADF Grove to go out of our way is that we are, first and foremost, a public, welcoming tradition of Druidry. Our job, as an ADF Grove, is to ensure that everyone has a place to honor the Spirits, to come before their gods in a comfortable environment, and to go out of our way to be both good neighbor and welcoming host to all who wish to come to our fire with good intention.

We cannot provide a comfortable place at the fire for people when we are not showing, in our works, that we value our membership and give them equal access to the outward-facing aspects of Our Druidry.

So, what does this mean for 3CG? First, it means that our Grove needs to take a bit of an inventory of our online presence and see where else we might need to improve our game on the diversity front. It also means that we need to actively work at this. It’s important to note, diversity does not happen on accident. It has to be worked at, and built intentionally. There’s no way to stumble into it. It’s important to note, too, that you can’t get there too fast, but you can get there too slow, so our social media projects are going to have this as a focus going forward.

Most importantly, though, we’re not going to stop asking diverse voices to represent our Grove on our website, and as part of Our Own Druidry.

We will, in fact, be going out of our way to ensure that Our Druidry is Diverse Druidry. And we’ll take stock of what our voices sound like more often, too, just to be sure that when we say “Our Own Druidry,” we really mean that it belongs to all of us.

Brightest Beltaine Blessings,
-Rev. Michael J Dangler