MAID and spirituality: A Druid perspective

News & Updates | July 29, 2022 | Sarah Dobec

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A photo of Tracey Ogilvie-McDonald

Canada has one of the most progressive and accessible assisted dying laws in the world. The Supreme Court of Canada recognized medical assistance in dying as a constitutionally-protected right in 2015. We know that 87% of Canadians support the right to medical assistance in dying for those who meet the eligibility criteria, but some Canadians still grapple with the option to end one’s intolerable suffering because of their religious and spiritual beliefs. 

In this series – MAID and spirituality – we share insights from various religious leaders and people who are in support of medical assistance in dying and how they reconcile this position in their faith that might have an opposing stance. 

Tracey Ogilvie-McDonald is an ordained Metaphysical Minister and a practicing Druid. She is also Dying With Dignity Canada’s former Niagara Chapter Chair. Her role as a Metaphysical Minister and her spiritual path as a Druid are probably not familiar to most readers; however, there is much to learn and understand about life, death and dying through her practice and experience. We are appreciative of Tracey’s interest and time participating in our series about medical assistance in dying (MAID) and religion. 

Tracey was able to share her perspective on MAID through two lenses: as a Metaphysical Minister and as a practicing Druid and member of Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) 

Modern Druidism has its roots in Celtic society. There are a number of Druid organizations around the world. Regardless of the organization, they have common beliefs. Some of these are living a life that is earth centered, paying reverence and honour to their Ancestors; working with the elements of air, water, fire and earth along with the sun, the moon and the stars; many Druids have a polytheist view and have relationship with Gods and Goddesses; most Druids are animists in that they believe there is spirit in all things.   

A Metaphysical Minister is agnostic to any one faith in their practice. They are open to all beliefs and respect all paths in order to offer guidance and comfort to those seeking to reconnect to the spirit of the God of their understanding. There is no judgment, and an openness to all. Tracey believes that we all have a path to follow, and she supports people on their journey. 

She explains, “Druids are respectful of everybody; this does not mean that we condone everything, but we respect that everyone has a right to their belief and opinion. Metaphysical ministers hold the same beliefs. As a practicing Druid and a Metaphysical minister, I support medical assistance in dying because the life and/or death of that individual is the individual’s choice, but also because there is nothing to prove by suffering. Most Druids believe that we when die it means that we have finished our purpose here and this journey is over. Druids believe in being present and in quality of life and most importantly, honouring life. MAID is a compassionate way to journey to the next life.” 

Tracey shared that she has had her own experiences of being close to death. A common reaction for many is fear and panic, but as a Druid, Tracey knows she’s on a path and that when this journey ends, another will begin. In those moments she turned to the Tibetan Buddhist practice of detachment, letting go of the human, egocentric personality, remembering that we are part of the ALL. Through this practice, she was able to sit in the present and find peace with whatever was to happen next. 

At the end of our conversation, Tracey summarized, “As a Druid, in my own spirituality, and as a Metaphysical Minister, I see MAID as a compassionate option for those who suffer intolerably. We need to ask, ‘What is the purpose of suffering, and who does it serve?’ MAID can empower someone who wants to be remembered well, rather than in pain. It honours and respects life, and this is important.” 

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