Archive for June, 2008

 

The Wilderness that Leads to the Heart of the Mystery

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

When I was in Germany my publisher told me about a wonderful teacher, Sean O’Laoire, whose tour he had just accompanied – a Catholic priest who had transcended religions in his approach and yet still taught and wrote of the spiritual way. I was intrigued and read an interview of his, which culminated in the following splendid passage, which I quote with Sean’s permission.

I believe that we have to become serial killers in order to reach enlightenment.  Firstly, we have to kill the ego, in the sense that it needs to be confined to its appropriate tasks (ensuring that I pay my taxes on time, stop at red lights and tie my shoe-laces) but not become my identity.  Then I have to kill my father, by which I mean that I have to outgrow the cultural traditions into which I was born, and, instead, embrace a global identity.  Thirdly, I must kill my guru.  Here, I mean the religious traditions through which I have journeyed.  Kabir, the great Indian poet of the 15th century is a model of this.  Born to a Hindu widow, he was adopted by a Muslim couple and went on to transcend all religious traditions, challenging them all but honoring their avatars.  He quoted Jesus at one stage, “Jesus, blessed be he, once said, ‘life is a bridge, cross over it but do not tarry on it.’”  No guru can take you all the way, for you have a way which is all your own.  And the final murder is that you have to kill your God; for all notions of God are made up.
At the beginning of our search we may set out together on a common path.  At some stage, if we persevere long enough, we will each chose a path less travelled.  And for the final stretch of the journey you will “go where no man has gone before.”  You will forge a brand-new path in the trackless, unchartered wilderness that leads into the very heart of the Mystery.

Sean’s grand-father told Sean the old stories in the grand tradition of the Bard and Druid, and you can read an essay Sean has contributed to the OBOD website here and you can browse his website here.

How To Develop More Respect for Each Other

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Here is a BBC film of the photographer Spencer Tunick at work in Ireland. Notice the beautiful shot of everyone holding white roses and of the man who says the experience made him more respectful of people. It brings home something I feel strongly – that being naked in appropriate settings in appropriate ways can be a spiritual experience – and can develop our humanity.

The clip I pasted in ran the sound automatically,which is really annoying. So instead here is a link to the clip, just click to watch!

http://vodpod.com/watch/819285-how-to-develop-more-respect-for-each-other

Around the Fire in Holland

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Here is a video clip Luc Sala of Mindlift TV made the other day when I was at the Eigentijds festival in Holland. Thank you Luc! The Mindlift site has lots of interesting videos to watch.

As a Tale is, So is Life…

Monday, June 16th, 2008

In this speech J.K.Rowling quotes two classical authors. Plutarch: ‘What we achieve inwardly, will change outer reality,’ and Seneca: ‘As a tale is, so is life – not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.’

The clip I pasted in ran the sound automatically,which is really annoying. So instead here is a link to the clip, just click to watch!

A Day of Druidic Scholarship

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids invites you to The Mt. Haemus Lectures
A day of Druidic scholarship and pleasant company, including lunch and sundry entertainments
at The Medieval Hall, Salisbury
From 10am – 5pm on 31 August 2008
With papers from:
Dr Brendan Myers
How Beautiful Are They – Some thoughts on Ethics in Celtic and European Mythology

Professor Roland Rotherham
Working With Animals

Dr Adam Stout
Universal Majesty, Verity and Love Infinite-
The Extraordinary Career of George Watson Macgregor Reid, Chosen Chief of the Ancient Druid Order

Philip Carr Gomm
‘I would know my Shadow and my Light’ -
An exploration of Michael Tippet’s The Midsummer Marriage and its relevance to a study of Druidism

It is with great pleasure that we draw together the four scholars who have been engaged in druidic research on our behalf. This year the lectures will be held in the magnificent Medieval Hall in the Cathedral Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EY, and our simple lunch will be taken across the cathedral green at Old Sarum College. Salisbury is easily accessible by public transport: the area is rich in natural beauty and history, including the landmark sites of Old Sarum and Stonehenge.

For B&B enquiries & local information, including parking, city maps and park & ride, contact Salisbury Tourist Information Centre, Fish Row Salisbury SP1 1EJ Telephone: 01722 334956
email:visitorinfo@salisbury.gov.uk

Lunch: simple and vegetarian. Total cost for day £25/US$50. Please email for bookings or any further information about any aspect of the day: touchstone@obod.co.uk

The Potting Shed

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Eight or so years ago we renovated our potting shed – adding a platform bed and a kitchenette. From the moment it was ready it began its life as a retreat house and home to a succession of inspired and talented friends. First came Ivan McBeth – charismatic megalith builder who built the stone circle for the Glastonbury Music Festival and another in honour of Joe Strummer. Ivan started the MODs – the Megalithic Order of Druids – and now teaches Druidry in Vermont. You can see his website here.

Then came Chris Park who played the bagpipes in our garden, built a sauna and mud bread oven and brewed such strange concoctions the house still smells of his occupation years later. Chris is a musician, artist and educationalist whose website is here.

Then came a whole family – Matt, Anna and their delightful son Oran. Matt is a carpenter and Anna a herbalist who was a great help to us as we worked on The Druid Plant Oracle. Having Oran around the house and garden was like having a little Taliesin roaming freely!

Then came Jim Hindle, who lives here now, whose book Nine Miles is an inspiring read. You can learn more about it from his website here,  which describes the book as follows:

‘Nine Miles’ describes the fight against the Newbury bypass and other road protests of the British Isles in the mid nineteen nineties.  It was a fight characterised by extreme cold, fire and community, cider, drugs and living simply in the woods.  It was a fight to preserve our natural inheritance, to make the case for sustainable transport in the face of powerful vested interests and, in a wider sense, to stand up for the earth herself at a time when our lifestyles are often grossly out of balance with the natural order of things.  Ten years on, that fight has lost none of its urgency.

www.ninemiles.co.uk

We’re looking forward to Jim’s next book!

Are we not as much Harp as Harper?

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

A friend Gordon Cooper writes: Can the Singer manifest without their song? Are we not as much harp as harper? Shouldn’t we be as much a consequence as a creative participant in the magical process? As Opal Whiteley wrote in her book of poetry in 1923:

All Things Live
All Things live;
The innermost thoughts
Of a Man’s soul
Walk the highway
Of the Universe,
And are seen
By all the pilgrims,
Who have gone before.


People not Cars!

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I am very upset. For the second year running events have conspired to prevent me from supporting the World Naked Bike Ride which took place yesterday in Brighton, London, and in cities all over the world to promote the cause of cycle riding over car driving. High Altitude Films has produced a very good documentary on the event – have a look at Part 1 which is only 8 minutes long. It’s educational, entertaining and well-made – and narrated by committed cyclist Jon Snow. Part Two follows.

The rest of the documentary is only available on DVD from High Altitude Films

Elves, Extreme Eccentricity & Opera

Friday, June 6th, 2008

We’ve just published the eight research papers of the Order’s annual Mount Haemus Award, covering the years from 2000 to 2007. At first glance the collection may seem a little dry and academic, but lurking in these pages are elves and fairies, extreme eccentricity, insights into Celtic lore and mystical sexuality, and even – heaven forbid! – opera. The book is privately published – so not available in shops – but it can be bought online at the OBOD bookstore at www.druidry.org

At our Druid camps we get people to turn up on time for talks in the Great Yurt by standing outside and shouting “No-one is allowed in this yurt. Entry is forbidden! Do not come to the talk that is beginning now!” From every direction rebellious folk come running.

Perhaps I should say the same thing here? Do not buy this book! Clicking on this link is forbidden!


TED | Talks | Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight (video)

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

A fascinating 18 min talk by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor who tells the story of her experience of Nirvana as the result of a stroke. If the movie doesn’t play here, see it at Ted.com which has lots of interesting material.

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