February 2009


“A person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human. To become human, is what this individual person, has been created for.” Martin Buber

 

Version of the Druid’s Prayer that I first learn;

Grant Oh God and Goddess protection,
And in protection, strength,
And in strength, understanding,
Amd in understanding, knowledge,
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice,
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it,
And in the love of it, the love of all existences,
And in the love of all existences, the love of God, Goddess and all goodness.

 

There is a serious problem with the Druid’s prayer. I discovered it when looking through other prayers and then examined the Druid’s Prayer, I found something lacking in it. I’ll give you a few examples;

 

From the Lord’s Prayer: Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

 

From the Great Invocation (adapted version): From the point of Light within the mind of God
Let light stream forth into human minds
Let Light descend on Earth.

 

Druidic Chant: Awen
Described to me as “Ah”; drawing energy from the cosmos, “oo”; as drawing energy from the Earth, and “en”; combining these energies and sending them into ritual space and/or the world.

 

From Buddhism: Om Mani Padme Hum.

Now this one can be translated and interpreted in many different ways, but one specifically comes to mind in the context of this message is described here; “On the relative plane, this mantra is a way of drawing blessings from the Infinite [Om], processing (as it were) through the human heart [Mani Padme], and sending them out to the world [Hum].” Jim Pym, You Don’t Have To Sit On The Floor

 

The Druid’s Prayer lacks this manifestation or incarnation aspect. We invoke all of these qualities; protection, strength, understanding, knowledge, justice, love, goodness etc but there’s nothing explicitly grounding about it. They can remain abstract, working on only one level of being. All of that energy is being invoked in the “astral” but it’s going round in circles because it has no way to be channeled into more concrete experience. At least it’s not mentioned explicitly anyway. If the Lord’s Prayer did not include “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”, Heaven would remain a dream because it needs Earth to express itself fully.

 

When The Druid’s Prayer was written, it was relevant to the times, but now I think that some adjustments should be made to it. It is not “A Druid’s Prayer” but is called “The Druid’s Prayer,” and with such emphasis it becomes the underpinning basis for what Druidry is, in a way that Om Mani Padme Hum underpins Buddhism and The Lord’s Prayer underpins Christianity.

 

My spirituality is about incarnation, not disincarnation, so if I use this prayer in any way, I’d have to end it with something like this; “And for all of these qualities to be manifest in Life and the World.”

“’Yes I am,’ agreed Arthur. Of course he was a Druid. It was perfectly clear. But he wasn’t just talking Druidry. It wasn’t an academic exercise for him. He was living it, every day of his life. This was a new kind of Druidry. Warrior Druidry. Druidry with energy and verve. Druidry with a mission, not to pontificate about the meaning of Stonehenge, but to fight for it. So he set about turning the Warband into a Druid Order.” Arthur Pendragon and Christopher James Stone, The Trial of Arthur: The Life and Times of a Modern-Day King

 

“We have to bring about a psychological transformation in our relationship with the society in which we live. Therefore, there is no escape from it into the Himalayas, into becoming a monk or a nun, and taking up social service, and all the rest of such juvenile business. We have to live in this world, we have to bring about a radical transformation in our relationship with each other; not in some distant future, but now.” Krishnamurti

 

“The transformation of the world is brought about by the transformation of oneself.” Krishnamurti

 

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Moshe Dayan

 

Here is a little something I wrote a while back. I was considering how the whole spiritual, educational and political system of the ancient Druids could have been created from a fragmented nation of warrior tribes. I imagined a council of individuals from different tribes with spiritual, education and political roles working together to direct the conflictive energies of their tribes. For me, this image is THE most relevant image for modern Druidry’s mission in the world today.

 

Long ago, there were many different people, many different tribes, all spreading across the Land. They’d come from one source, but then they separated and their ways diverged from each other. They prospered and developed many tools and skills to live and survive. But as the tribes grew and grew in number, they stopped spreading across the Land for there was nowhere else to go, but instead became crowded in it. The warrior lodges grew more volatile, desperately fighting against each other, trying to gain power for their own tribes.

But the Land suffered and as the Land suffered the tribes suffered, making the warrior lodges fight even more intensely. The blood ran and formed pools, and heads and other trophies were piled high. The life of the Land’s fabric began to fray and unravel, and the tribes’ lives deteriorated in turn.

The Land cried out… Enough!

But the tribes could not hear, so immersed in their own suffering and violence they were.

ENOUGH!

Yet some did hear, women and men, those who knew the Land as soul mate, those whose bodies and souls were intimately in tune with the life of the Land. These Wise Souls knew what was happening, they listened to the Land, very carefully, to what it had to tell them, and they were led by its wisdom together. They gathered in a secret meeting, deep in a cavernous womb of the Land, and here, with their voices weaving across one another, their thoughts and ideas brewing together into one idea; to keep the Land in balance, the tribes must be in balance with it, and for the tribes to be in balance with it they must be in balance with each other. A vision formed of one diverse tribe as part of that Land, but which required much work to forge, much collaboration to manifest that vision.

They vowed to work together, for the Greater Good of Land and tribes, to pool together their knowledge and wisdom from which all of the tribes could draw upon as a common resource so that the tribes could grow in understanding of each other and relate to each other without resorting to war. Their energies could be channeled together for a common goal of peaceful creativity. And so the Druids were born, learned and spiritual people, networking among the tribes, giving council under the guidance of their vision for the Greater Good, coordinating and collaborating through the magnificent diversity of their tribes and speaking across their boundaries in a spirit of understanding.

There is One Earth and it is crying ENOUGH! It is asking for collaboration, it is asking for humanity to channel it diverse ways together into a common vision of a truly global humanity, at one with the Earth, not ripping apart the fabric of its existence.

And it asks for a new Druidry to guide this task, or at least women and men in tune with the Land, with the Earth, with Gaia, working together to pool their diverse wisdom and knowledge into a common vision, to speak across the boundaries of humanity and affirm that we can work together, becoming a contributing aspect of the Land’s creativity and evolution, to carry on the work of weaving its fabric, to become Artists, Teachers, Workers and Guides for the Land and its tribes.

 “Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of Faith, Strength, Energy, Will, Sympathy, Justice, Imagination, and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.” Dorothy Thompson

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” Dorothy Thompson

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” Martin Luther King, jr

“Bad s**t makes good fertilizer.” By yours truly!

“Often on the battlefields, at the very moment when the armies approach each other with swords raised and lances thrust forwards, these bards will advance into the midst of their adversaries and tame them, as though having cast a spell over wild beasts.” Diodorous Siculus

Imagine a war between two noble Celtic tribes, standing on opposite sides of a valley shouting and raging at each other, waving big shiny implements in the air and wearing outlandish body paint and little else. From a nearby woodland, in the valley, steps a group of unarmed people dressed in white robes and carrying strong staffs. They are Druids, come to bring peace to the warring tribes.  The most senior amongst them ceremoniously raises her arms, with staff in hand, and proclaims at the top of her lungs “Oi, you lot PACK IT IN! Right, I want your bosses to get down here right now! I don’t care if this takes the rest of the century, we’re going to sort this out once and for all, got it?! We’ve got serious talking to do that’ll make your sword wielding antics look like an after-dinner toothpick wielding session!”

There is a difference between conflict and violence; violence is incompatible with peace, conflict is not. Violence is useless and destructive, conflict is potentially creative. Violence is smashing two heads together like pumpkins, conflict is more like two stones being struck together to make a spark; in a word, friction.

Conflict (friction) is energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, we can only redirect it. Conflict is an everyday and unavoidable part of our lives, therefore we cannot avoid it. If we do avoid or ignore that energy and don’t express it, it will invert itself, build up and explode, probably hurting someone that doesn’t deserve it (been there, done that). Or sometimes it implodes, which is where people hurt themselves (almost been there too).

So there’s no way around it, unresolved conflict becomes violence, externally or internally.  You can sugar coat it and avoid conflict in the name of “peace and serenity,” which only helps to reinforce (even create!) the problem of violence, not resolve it. But if any conflict in life is treated as spark-producing friction, then that “spark” can be used to start creative “fires” that can Inspire, Heal and Transform.

This concept of Inspiration, Healing and Transformation I derived from the roles of the Celtic fire goddess Brigit; as a patroness of poets her fire inspires, as a patroness of healers her fire heats the cauldron that brews the herbs that heal, and as a patroness of blacksmiths her fire melts the raw material that is transformed. Conflict, I believe, can be directed to light fires that Inspire, Heal and Transform, and many peacemakers (Druids and non-Druids alike) would do well to remember that peace is not the “absence of conflict” but an active endeavor, requiring effort.

We should strive not to respond to conflict with violence, but also we should not ignore or deny any conflict its necessary expression. As a Druid-in-training my work is to learn how to face and creatively deal with conflict, not in bullet riddled warzones, but in the personal relationships of everyday life.

 It’s hard work. It’s difficult to maintain. But ultimately, it’s rewarding.

Peace! (but let’s work on it)