“It [spirituality] is the province of our responsive and creative imagination – not just a fiction-factory but a vitally necessary place where we work out the interpretative patterns we need for our life-world as a whole, structures and visions to provide some usable order in the chaotic world of our experience.” Mary Midgley

 

“Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” Anais Nin

 

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” Carl Jung

 

I left spirituality until last because it’s too easy for modern Druids to focus on the spiritual aspect of Druidry at the expense of the political and educational aspects of it. Druids were priests, magicians, seers, prophets, diviners, mediators with the deities, shamans, guardians of sacred knowledge, sacred places and shrines and a whole range of spiritual and religious functions in their society. They were the mythologers and mythographers of their time, governing the images, stories and symbols that would guide, and even legitimise, the lifestyle and culture of their peoples. They also encoded their peoples’ experience into myths to preserve the wisdom of the past for future generations, locking their history and worldview into symbolic form.

 

Symbols speak to us at deep levels; they evoke and invoke energies within us, energies that give us a connection between our personal life and the rest of the cosmos. Spirituality gives meaning and ethics to guide us in life, guiding our attitude and behaviour, but it also goes deeper than that. Psychospiritual development can take place, through the normal psychological development stages, but also a spiritual development where an individual is open to their creative potential beyond initial psychological programming. When therapy stops or is not necessary, and the psyche is in a healthy and balanced state, development doesn’t stop there, it carries on. The psyche is not a static machine, to be repaired, adjusted and kept running smoothly, it is a growing organic thing that constantly changes, and spirituality is something that helps us cope and direct that change, and allows the soul’s own Dharma or spiritual “blueprint” to unfold and evolve according to its own inner pattern.

 

Each person’s inner pattern and life journey is extremely personal and individual. I live and work with people, our own paths in life run parallel but they do not merge. Working together, growing together, but never growing into each other. My life journey can only ever be mine, shareable with no other being, but it is a thread in the fabric of evolution; of human evolution, of the living Earth’s evolution and of the whole cosmos’ evolution, with its beginning and end residing there; emerging from and finally merging back into nature. And here we take a step into a fundamental aspect of modern Druid practice and belief; its connection to the natural world and the focus it can create in humanity on ecological and environmental issues. (next article)

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“Art does not solve problems but makes us aware of their existence. It opens our eyes to see and our brain to imagine.” Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

“The capacity for wonder has been called our most pregnant human faculty, for in it are born our art, our science, our religion.” Ralph Sockman

 

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein

 

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” Anais Nin

 

Oh yes, all very nice quotes, very “inspirational” but probably nothing without the grounded perspective of the next quote…

 

“On this planet, we are probably the creatures most capable of perceiving and responding to God’s vision of a different, better world. God’s primary avenue for liberation is through responsive human hearts. We can wait for supernatural miracles, or we can roll up our sleeves with God and get to work.” C. Robert Mesle

 

That about sums it up for me. We no longer need to be God’s passive “puppets” but active cocreators, consciously participating in the ongoing creative evolution of Creation! In the past humans had to make up for the mystery of the universe by projecting various ideas onto it. We didn’t know anything about it, so it was best done by filling in the gaps of our knowledge with magic, myths and miracles. In a word, imagination.

 

Of course we could think that as knowledge expands we need the imagination less, but I don’t believe that for one second. It is the imagination that lets our knowledge grow, it is a tool that helps us break free of outdated ideas and think beyond the box into newer dimensions of knowledge. Without the imagination, we’d have no way of understanding things like genetics, astrophysics or quantum physics, because these things can never really be experienced directly. It is the imagination that allows us to “experience” them. For me, practicing “miracle mind” is a necessary stage before the expansion of knowledge and experience, a provisional state of being that allows us to take the next step in evolution. I still enjoy looking at the world with myths in mind, especially when I have some creative project in mind (the sun really does ride around in a chariot!).

 

But our knowledge and our control over that knowledge will never be absolute; we’ll forever be searching the mysteries, and forever practicing some form of “miracle mind”. Myths, magic and miracles are still a part of what makes us human, what gives us a sense of a world that is alive and meaningful, that the world is somewhere where you “roll your sleaves up with God and get to work.”

So… GET TO WORK! 😉

cosmic-druid4This blog is a medley (or synergy) of quotes. It all happened because of an interesting thread on a message board. A comment came up about how things could only be changed by a charismatic leader summoning the enthusiasm of the masses. I agreed with this, but with some serious reservations. This is my reply, though it has been edited to fit The Grove of Quotes:

The value of a leader is important; to be able to set up a vision and to concentrate the energy towards that vision so that it manifests; to be able to coordinate a group into effective action, that’s what a leader can do.

“Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.” Winston Churchill

“The hero is one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by.” Felix Adler

But we should be careful of who the charismatic leader is and what they stand for. Hitler, for instance, was very charismatic, he took the apathetic and despairing (at the time) German nation and shook them up into enthusiasm. His speeches, his military displays sparked a fire in the hearts of people. An insane and murderous fire, but fire none the less.

The problem here, as Hannah Arendt says, is “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” People without any charisma or vision of their own can become unconsciously swept up into herd mentality under the banner of a dangerous “Charismatic Leader.”
To avoid this we should listen to Carl Rogers advice; “If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.”

It is the individual that makes the difference and the foundation upon which social change is created…
“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.” M. Scott Peck
“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” Confucius

The other part of social change is to connect the individuals, to concentrate their energies in a whole, but not to melt together…
“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” Jimmy Carter

This is what has happened with my own life. At some point I took the initiative and thought about my own individual life. I started to develop that, not content with everything that my society had. I wanted to go beyond it somehow, expand beyond its limitations and become something that was really me, not some pre-determined role or stereotype I had to fit into. I didn’t want to give in to peer pressure or live up to others expectations, my goal became to fulfill myself and express my own individual truth.

I stayed true to this, no matter how obscure my vision of it became. I still had a deep trust that my inner process with my individual truth would take me somewhere, and it has!
As Anais Nin said, “The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.”

Finally I found a role (for want of a better word) that fit me, not a role that I fitted into. It started in my own personal life and then expanded beyond that, finding others of “like-mind” (but NOT the same mind!) that I could work with, where my individuality could work alongside other individuals in a group effort without having to lose my sense of personal uniqueness (see Earth Sanctuary). For me it is proof that different individuals can collaborate for a common goal, a Greater Good that each individual has come to by their own choice, that there needs not be a charismatic leader showing the way to apathetic followers. If there is to be a charismatic leader then the followers should also be charismatic self-leaders, at the very least. Each individual takes a committed responsibility for their own life and also for a Greater Good. For me, the Greater Good to really concentrate on is a healthy interdependent and synergistic relationship between humanity and Gaia, the living Earth of which we are a part.

And here’s a few more quotes that sum synergy up, particularly the first one;
“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

“The challenge of social justice is to evoke a sense of community that we need to make our nation a better place, just as we make it a safer place.” Marian Wright Edelman

“In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.” Marieanne Williamson

Then, as I was writing this post on the message board I receive a very apt comment on The Grove of Quotes saying;
“We walk a common path,” Mary Oliver said “whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination – calling to you to take up your place in the family of things – in this time of the great shift it is important to hear the voices in the chorus calling, leading the people to a new world order.”

BUT, it can only be done with a chorus. One bright soul followed by a load of blind sheep just doesn’t work!