I would also like to announce that the OSN has forged links with Conselho Druidico (a portuguese druid group). We wish them well i
|The Order of the Sacred Nemeton||
|The Order of the Sacred Nemeton||
At present we have been putting the finishing touches to the novice training course for the Order. I ask you all to take some time to pray for all those undergoing novice training at present.
I would also like to announce that the OSN has forged links with Conselho Druidico (a portuguese druid group). We wish them well i
I have been thinking about the important role of forgiveness. It seems the idea of forgiving is central to most religions if not all religions. This has led me to the conclusion that forgiveness is one of the divine traits. What follows may seem very Christian centred to some of you but please keep with me and read on............
I was in a discussion with a very liberal Pentecostal man this week. We were discussing the essential message of faith. We both knew something of the background of the other person and we hold each other in deep respect.
I would like to share with you what I said was the central message of the Christian Gospel for me.
As I see it the most important moment in the gospel comes in Luke chapter 23. There is Jesus on the cross with the two thieves either side. One is there mocking Jesus and the other accepts the innocence of Jesus and defends it. He never says he believes in Jesus but he accepts his innocence. Notice that in this passage Jesus does not condemn the other thief he just blesses the one who has lightened his burden.
I see this to be the perfect portrayal of the divine. I tend to believe that at each moment we stand at that point and we have a choice we can choose to defend the innocent or not too. We can choose to be a blessing or to be more of a problem. Now all of us being human, sometimes we choose one way and sometimes we choose another way. The great mystery of the divine for me is that no matter which way we choose to walk, the divine is there again, open armed, asking us to choose again. It never condemns. Each choice brings its own reward or cost which we have to pay and the divine knows this. But of its self the divine never condemns, it leaves that to us. Something we humans have become all too proficient in. It just stands there open armed asking us choose and again we are free to lighten the burden or to add to it.
How do we know if we have chosen the right path? This we see in actions. Mathew in Chapter 25 tells us that the kingdom of heaven is for those who feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked and visit those in prison etc. In this passage Jesus does not talk about faith or believing in him he talks about the actions of those on the path to the divine. It is not going to church or having bumper stickers proclaiming faith that saves you. It is your actions pure and simple. For me this is the essential Christian and for that matter religious message. It is not important how you describe your idea of the divine because that is all it is an idea. It does not really matter in what form you choose to give worship because again that is a human response to a meeting with the divine. What really matters is what you do after that meeting. Will you go out and lighten someone’s burden or do you choose to add to it. Was Ghandi a man of the divine.....yes. Is the Dali Lama a man of the divine .......yes. Did they believe in Jesus .......no. But they do walk the path the divine sets out. We all have a grasp on the truth.....well as much as we can see from our perspective. Our mistake comes when we begin to think we have the only truth. It our way or no way!!!
Here is something which struck me after..... if we map out our life and our choices in a very simple way then what image appears
Maybe the druids weren’t that weird and whacky when they looked for the ideas of the divine in the natural world and centred there worship around a symbol which encapsulates the human state. CHOOSE.
I was talking with my dear friend in London this morning. We have been friends for many years and she has seen me at my best and often at my most outrageous. Yet we remain strong friends even over such a huge distance. I love her deeply.
I was telling her stories about a local minister here who preaches what they have come to call the prosperity gospel. In simple terms I will tell you all that this man boils my piss.
This man actually chased a local poor man who went on a Sunday morning to sell empanadas which his wife made. The man did this to live. The minister chased him and lo and behold the next week end there appeared an empanada stall which benefited the minister. It does seem that the Prosperity gospel works if you are a minister..........
As we were talking about this I was reflecting on the implications of this type of religion. The religion of the individual, self sufficiency and every person for themselves!!!
This belief system is the complete opposite of our way.
We do believe in the individual and in self sufficiency but we also know that by looking to our great teacher nature that a system is only as healthy as all its parts. If part of the system is suffering then the whole system suffers.
We hold a faith which calls us to acknowledge the individual and yet we also are called to see the bigger picture. We are called to see society.
A society which is imbalanced and uneven will never prosper. It is built on a false foundation and will in time fall.
What can we do? We need to make it clear that we do not accept injustice. We need to speak out. We take the time to study. We look beyond the nice words and we begin to read the actions of the people. We need to vote with our feet and with our pockets. If a company or institution acts in an unjust way we make sure they no.
We have to make the decision to look past our own gates and to look at our local communities. A strong community has power. This is why they try to keep us thinking in terms of the individual. Take time today to connect with your neighbour and see if you can help or be helped.
The Autumn Equinox – The feast of the second harvest.
Here are just some of my thoughts on the autumn equinox. How ever you choose to celebrate this special time of balance, may you receive the blessings and the peace of wisdom at this time.
The September festival is one of my personal favourites of the year. It is at this time we celebrate the fruition of all the plans we made at Samhuinn last year. We have spent a full year working with them and now we get the chance to reap our rewards.
At this time the plants are finished producing new fruits and we have made that last hard push to gather in the harvest. It is after that great communal push that we can come together and celebrate with the huge harvest feast. It is a great time to rest on what you have achieved and be proud. Thinking about this time I have the picture from the Lord of the Rings of Bilbo’s birthday party. It has always struck me that this is how a harvest celebration should look. Maybe I am just longing for simpler times. This is also the time to get out and soak up last warm rays of the sun before we enter into the dark half of the year. So why not plan a family picnic, if you are lucky enough to have some warm days still.
In our spiritual lives, the fruits of our growth should have been harvested and we are awaiting the beginning of the new productive cycle. This is a great time to focus inward. We get to look at what we have achieved and we can take time to learn from what we have not done well. It is only through diligent reflection that we can truly learn. This is the festival of consolidation. It is only by looking at what we have done and learning well the lessons of the year that we can begin to plan the year to come. We use our past to guide us into the future.
We know that on this day the light and dark halves of the year are in perfect balance and it is from this day that the darkness begins to grow and that winter gathers its strengths.
All the work is done the food is safely stored away. The wild blackberries are pushing out the last of those luscious dark berries, just as we enter the dark half of the year. Take time to relax. To praise yourself on what you have achieved and to have fun with your family.
So many people in the world are looking for something unique. 1st editions, rare teapots, Charles Dickens Pen! You name it and someone will be a collector of it. Often these people will spend huge quantities of money just to have that one of a kind item. Then when they have it they lock it away, keep it safe, make special display cases and spend even more money on protecting it. All this for a thing!!!
Talk about not seeing what is right under your nose. Every single human being on this planet is unique, special, one of a kind!!! There will never be another you! There will never be another quite like that homeless man you decided not to see today, or that child juggling lemons at the lights, who when he passed by your car for a coin you were busy looking for that “important” paper. Not only people are unique, even that tree outside your window is unique and no pet owner would ever let you say all dogs or cats or hamsters are the same. They know this with all their heart.
If we see each and every person and thing for the special, exceptional thing they really are then we have no option but to respect them and treat them well. That includes the ones we don’t like........Yes even that loud mouth down the pub is unique and special. To respect and value something in no way means we have to like it.
Are we willing to protect, respect and make special each and every person on this planet? As Pagans, that is what we are called to do.
Marcus Aurelius (161-180) in his work 'Meditations' said
"Injustice is a sin. Nature has constituted rational beings for their own mutual benefit, each to help his fellows according to their worth, and in no wise to do them hurt."
We are in a lucky position as we rejoice in diversity. Diversity is a sign of life. We must respect and cherish diversity and see it flourish, it is then, and only then, when our eyes and hearts see the unique individual in each and everything you meet are you truly seeing God.
As some of you have read, here in Tabasco we are being flooded once again. It is causing huge problems for many rural communities.
Today I was talking with an old guy, and obviously the topic of the water came up.
He told me that “we have always flooded here in Tabasco.” “The people expected it and in fact they waited for it.” “The water would rise fast and it would flood everything for about 5 days, then it would go, but that water was clean and full of life.” “The people looked forward to this time as the waters were full of fish and they could eat like Kings, and the soil was better afterwards.” “Now the waters are full of rubbish and they just kill everything.” “The thing is nobody loves the rivers anymore.”
As I listened to this old guy I saw a man who loved his land and his people and showed a deep respect for the natural cycles of the land. In his heart he knew the River Goddess brought life to the land. He saw her cleansing power to renew the face of the land. He would never express it in those terms, but he was telling me that.
We finished talking and I was left with a deep sense of sadness of how we have lost touch with what really matters. We are so conditioned now to see things as resources to be taken and use, without thinking of our real relationship to them. We do it with the natural world and we do it with people.
The rivers need care and attention and then the rising waters will become a blessing once again. Even in the cleansing and destructive process there will be life and a blessing.
We know not everyone can go and clean the river or pressure the government to do the right thing, but following the old idea of the macro and micro cosmos, we can all ask how the rivers are flowing in my life. Am I giving them support, love and maintenance or am I just using them and leaving them to cope?
What are the life giving rivers in your life? For one your blood stream! Change your diet, clean your blood. Allow it to bring life once again. We can all do something about that river. Then what about the rivers of your relationships! Are they flowing with love and life or are the abandoned and overgrown? Is it time to give some maintenance to them? What about the river flowing through my community? Am I helping it or am I just opening my drains directly into it? How can I make my community a place of life?
Take time today and look at all the rivers that flow through your life and see how they can be maintained, and who knows if you have time and energy left maybe you can go to a real body of water and pick up some rubbish and make a small offering to the Goddess there and ask her to flow blessings into your life. Remember the Gods are always willing to exchange a gift for a gift, but remember sometimes water rushes in to cleanse the face of the land to bring new life. It can happen in your life too!!!
Are you ready for that??????
I have tried to stay away from politics and those types of issues. But really I can’t keep my mouth shut.
All over the world there is a move to allow same sex couples to adopt children. They are discussing this issue here in Mexico and one of my fellow Bishops in the CSP has mentioned that they are doing the same thing in Australia. Yet in both cases the Christian Riech have come out with the same old rubbish that it is against Gods Law and it will harm the children etc etc.
Really this is a complete load of tosh. I know that after the war, when many men did not come home, a number of women often moved in together to raise the children. In many cases they were two sisters. Sometimes they were only neighbours. It happened and it worked. These Children did not turn out deranged or with emotional problems. Two people of the same sex are very capable of raising children. It has been proved many times, in many cultures over many years.
No one ever complained about those children or felt they were in some kind of emotional danger. We have to ask why not ????????
Well the only reason I can think of is that if your genitals don’t touch then you are a perfectly great parent. A rock maintaining society in difficult times! But let those bits touch and even worse, enjoy it . Then boom your brain drops out and you become unfit, unsafe and downright dangerous.
These people need to grow up and get over themselves. Just come out and be honest. What they are really saying is exactly what is said in the school yard ......... "urrrrgh no because it is icky". Just as in the school yard this is not a good argument but it is all they have because all the other things they say upon an unbiased look just do not hold water.
If you see yourself among the religious sensible, and yes there are many of us out there, please make your voices heard. Don’t just let the religious reich speak for us all. Stand up for tolerance, acceptance and for truth because it is only when we stand for truth we can actually change the world.
You may have noticed in my last couple of posts I have been developing a bit of a theme. “It is not what is going on but how we look at what is going on.” It is how we think and look at the world around us which determines our future and our attitudes. In some sense it is fair to say that if we want peace in the world we must begin by finding peace in our own hearts.
The big question is how do we find inner peace? The Monastic way has a lot to teach us in this respect. This may shock some of you, but the Monastic way is not a path of suffering and deprivation. True Monasticism is the path of balance. The tools we use to achieve that balance is the Horarium and the Rule of life.
We do not subject ourselves to these tools so we can feel special or superior. We use these tools to help us manage our time and structure our living. Sticking to an horarium prevents excess, whether that is an excess of prayer and meditation or more commonly an excess of laziness or in my case watching the tv. We need to be balanced and to walk a middle way.
The rule of life gives us little staging posts to help us on this very long journey of life. For me it has been helpful to think of the rule of life as stepping stones in the river of changes. Little words of advice which help us manage the normal changes of life.
It is important that we seek the way of balance and harmony. It is important that we take care of ourselves. This is not being selfish and self centred. This is being wise.
If we wish to live in a world of harmony then we must find harmony inside. To change the whole we must change the parts. If we change our self then we can change society. Put it another way , a rule we should all remember, “You can’t give away or share what you don’t have.”
Well that is the holiday period over. Everyone has gone back to their homes and I can settle back into my normal routine. It has been a very full holiday period for me. With many different guests here at the house. One set of guests were devout Catholics and they tried to convince me that I was wrong in my faith and that I had been lead astray and I needed to rejoin the true church. I pointed out that I respect their views and I have never even asked them to join me in prayer s or in any way compromise their faith and I expect the same courtesy. Nothing more! This seemed to cause some offence.
I firmly believe that everyone has to find their own path. Walking your path is all about forming a deep relationship with your idea of the divine and with your fellow human beings. If you do this you will not go far wrong. Your path should be liberating and it should set you free to truly be who you are. It should allow you to be open to share all that you are with those around you. Any real path should feed you with the desire to love and to be loved for these are the greatest things we can do.
The journey to the divine is not really outside of you. The journey is inside and that is where we must begin our search. No one can or should force us to make this journey; it is something we must do because we want to.
In my experience, I have noticed that this journey often begins for people with a small voice deep inside. It usually speaks the loudest when we are sick and tired of being where and what we are. The voice provokes restlessness and you know you need to be doing something or going somewhere or finding who you are. There is often a sense of being lost. This is where our fellow travellers can help. They can tell us what they have discovered and experienced but they cannot make you live their journey.
Be willing to share your faith but remember you are not the only way there are many travellers and many paths. Let your brother and sister find their way.
I have not written anything in a while. I have been rather busy. We have had visitors here at home and this has caused me so many distractions. My routine has been blown out of the water. I spent the first part of the week getting angry about these changes and being a bit grumpy. It was about Wednesday of last week that I realised that all these distractions are in fact a good thing. It is often in the distractions we find the chance to serve our fellows.
During these times I have been able to introduce people to the reason I do things and how I see the spiritual journey. This has opened up some great late night discussions.
I have also had the chance to give hospitality. One of the cornerstones of our way of life!
Yes loosing the routine is hard but the routine is a tool which prepares us for the work in the world.
These last couple of weeks the world came right to me. Right in my own house, and guess what? I was ready to serve and to give hospitality.
Next week I think we have some new house guests and I am actually looking forward to it. I am finding the middle way in all this. My prayer times may be shorter, but they are still happening. Prayer has truly become the basis of my whole life.
So from this I would like to remind you not to fight against the distractions. Embrace them. You never know what chance you may have to be of service to another person. Obviously it is not good to go looking for distractions as a way to avoid the work of prayer and meditation, but if they arise naturally then embrace them.
As a side note Talk about serendipity. Today when I opened my e mail, I had received a message from the Rev. Amy Long with those exact words....... Embrace the Distractions. The Gods are often closer than we think.