So in writing the intellectual and transpersonal history of the role of Druidry, bouncing like a tiny bark amidst the waves of the struggles between truth and power, one would have to write a series of multiple interwoven histories and stories. The miracle in fact is that so much has survived and revived — and transpersonal history can contribute to its recovery and dynamic reformulation, so that Druid history can be seen as one strand of the complex tapestry of re-emergent narratives, one sequence of patterns on the overall carpet of history, so similar in shape and symmetry to those of other primal traditions, that as the tsunami of monolatrous totalitarianism retreats from the landscape, we can once again recognise the common patterns of our universal humanity reappearing — this surely is the explanation for the way that the Mayan prophecies about as being a significant marker in time have caught on so.
All the occult orders of the 18 th and 19 th centuries, from freemasons to theosophists and the Golden Dawn, can be seen, archetypally, as attempts to get the repressed narrative of esoteric wisdom out into the daylight once again. And one of the oldest and most repressed narratives of all is of course the narrative of the lost Goddess at the heart of history  — the her of history. It was the Druid pantheon of Goddesses that transmuted into the Holy Grail that Jung saw bubbling away at the depths of the collective unconscious of the European mind.
As a peace historian I would also remind listeners that Pax was a Goddess, bearing a horn of plenty — and peace history is perhaps the most repressed of all histories, so much conventional history being the history of war and conflict. Perhaps the most suppressed of all narratives within history, however, is the history of wholeness.
The over-specialisation of history as a discipline has tended to support the notion that reality is made up of discrete, different and competing parts and dimensions. Yet mankind perennially searches after wholeness, integration, entirety. Pansophists were active in both Protestant and Catholic parts of Europe, not least at the court of Rudolph 2 nd , and its ideals as a movement have been well summed up by R. Another aspect of it was the striving after complete experience.. Rudolf 2 nd and his world: Another very important suppressed narrative known to historians is that of witchcraft, which has been the object of intense academic and scholarly debate for many decades .
Historians are currently exploring all manner of diverse features of the history of witchcraft, including: An enormous bibliography encompasses all these studies, but as yet however, there seems to have been no bilateral study of the mutual inter-relationship of Witches and Druids in history, starting with the 20th century, and going back to the 19 th and 18 th centuries, then further back to Mediaeval times and on into ancient history.
There is also the question of what would have been the legal status of someone who had so claimed. Transpersonal history likewise, as a disciplined way of conducting historical research into the way that archetypes and other transpersonal forces have governed historical cultural processes, can perhaps help in untangling this complex layering of suppressed truth, notwitchstanding  the pain that must linger in relation to many of these issues.
The way that suppressed narratives return to light is often by way of revolution, and the myth of the revolutionary upsurge is an important one for transpersonal historians to study. In my own previous work on the esoteric history of Marxism  I discovered close links between the history of 18 th and 19 th century esoteric and occult groups and the early communist cells which began forming in the era of the 18 th and 19 th century revolutionary movement.
Marxism was strongly influenced by the occult underground, as had been earlier revolutionary movements. The Origins Of The Revolutionary Faith London, demonstrated the freemasonic milieu out of which much revolutionary rhetoric and practice emerged. Only transpersonal history, it could be argued, has the intellectual and spiritual tools to make sense of this complex multilayered history of revolutionary underground movements and their links to occultism. Bonneville, Marechal, Blanqui, Robespierre, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Lunacharsky, Stalin, Ho Chih Minh, all had their moments of fascination with occult matters, and all were drawn to the esoteric as they were to secret organisation in covert cells and groups so as to foment revolution — which they saw as at once a metaphysical and a political act of liberation .
Some revolutionaries, even specifically invoked Druids as master intelligences who could direct the return to common sense in society from behind the scenes . The more gradual revolution that socialism seemed to promise, also had its occult and esoteric dimension, and Robert Owen and St Simon, the twin founders of socialism, both saw a revolution in the transpersonal domain of existence as being a sine qua non to any effective political and economic revolution here on earth.
Many 18 th and 19 th century reformers saw their political revolution as being the implementation of authentic Christianity — or as Saint-Simon called it. Thomas Davidson and other founders of the Fabian Society saw that the conquest of evil, ignorance, class oppression, poverty and social injustices would only be gradually achieved alongside a similar metaphysical and intellectual victory over religious dogmatism and literalism, and this could only be achieved by esoteric enlightenment.
The real transpersonal history of all the revolutionary and progressive movements of the last years has not yet been fully written up. Billington himself neglected to write up the occult dimensions of the American Revolution against the British. Here is important work for future transpersonal historians, and it is certain that the more detailed narrative of politically engaged Druids and Druid groups would be a part of this wider narrative.
Certainly, John Toland was in touch with many republican movements in the later part of the 18 th century, all across Europe and North America, whose fervour eventually bore fruit in the American and French Revolutions. Active Druid lodges fought on the side of the American revoution . John Locke however, whose doctrines of human rights and governmental accountability is often invoked as the intellectual fountainhead of the era of revolutions, eventually came to distance himself from his earlier friendship with Toland as representing the more extreme republican wing of the enlightenment .
Royalism came back into favour and it was realised that in the monarchical traditions of Europe and globally, there are preserved ancient customs bestowing legitimacy on sovereignty that no amount of demagoguery can be a substitute for. Thus the Victorian age, an epoch of liberal-conservatism if ever there was one, saw both a high flourishing of Druidry and a love for the romanticism of monarchy, tradition and the esoteric trappings of lineage and nobility.
Victoria herself was a kind of Druidess Queen, who idealised the Scottish highlands and looked back on her Jacobite ancestors with fond nostalgia. Pax Britannica reached its apogee under Victoria, who for many Druids of the day, seemed like Boudicca Redivicus. One very important task to be done by future transpersonal historians, and particularly those with an interest in Druid history, is to revisit Jewish history  and Biblical history from a Druid perspective. Firstly, this has in fact been an abiding interest and theme of Druid histories since the beginning — Geoffrey Keating's History of Ireland and the Annals of the 4 Masters always reference the Biblical origins of the Gaelic people.
Mapping the Druids against the Biblical lineages has always been a favourite pastime of Druid thinkers and historians. Chronologically, the story is simply told: Druidry is, in this interpretation, a living spiritual lineage dating back to prehistory and to the peoples of these islands, who built the thousands of sacred stone circles and wood henges that litter the landscapes.
It survived in oral traditions underground, just as the Tuatha de Danaan went into the undergound tumuli of Ireland. Abraham, a key figure in the history of the transmission of Judaism, is dated by reliable scholars to approximately BC. The Hebrew Tribes however had something revolutionary — very early on, they got hold of the alphabet, and this enabled the recording of their ancient stories, myths and legends into a continuous narrative, whereas the ancient druid elders were obliged simply to pass everything on orally and spiritually.
We can see innumerable places in the Jewish Holy Scriptures where the prophetic genius shines forth in ways that are structurally and psychologically identical to the presumed functioning of the Druid class in Celtic society. Jewish prophets and spiritual elders had the same complex relationship to temporal and kingly power that the Druids also held.
Both prophets and Druids seemed to be able to listen in to the secret workings of the Mind of the Universe. They perceived sacred signs, interpreted synchronicities, experienced miracles and subjected their dreams to profound analysis. There is very little difference between the Druid and the Prophet typologically speaking, apart from the nomenclature . But if our Druids had met with Jewish esotericists, or highly trained rabbis well schooled in the mysteries of life  and they had discussed their respective cosmologies glimpsed between the lines so to speak, they would have certainly realised that in the Jewish teachings of the Kabbalah and the tree of Life, and the Druid teachings of the tree as a symbol of the interdimensionality of being, there was in fact more or less complete agreement.
Indeed, to many Druids Abraham seemed exactly like a Druid himself, and his love of erecting sacred stones, and in his insistence on a covenantal relationship between mankind and the divine source, one can glimpse a very Druidical love of pacts and oaths and vows. Some Druid historians also see a strong link between Druidry and the Phoenician culture, and almost certainly Phoenicians were in touch with the ancient British cultures which provided them with tin, so necessary to the bronze that fuelled the Bronze Age of the Mediterranean world .
Future transpersonal historians can work out the implications of this trade, which must also have been in ideas and values as well as purely in metals, and one encounters the intriguing probability that Druids would indeed have occasionally visited the great Phoenician temple cities of Tyre and Sidon just about the same time that Solomon was borrowing Phoenician craftsmen to make his new Temple in Jerusalem.
To Druid thinkers, whether of ancient times, or modern times, the whole notion of anti-Semitism would have been a logical oxymoron: Their complex ancient mythological stories, partly inherited from their mysterious Sumerian cultural progenitors, in many ways echo the complex pantheons and legends of the Celts and their Druids. Future transpersonal historians will probably discover that Indo-European languages, with all their mythological complexities, and Semitic languages and their own mythological pantheons, are all interconnected and can be jointly traced back to far more ancient Asian, European, Egyptian and African common ancestries .
In the story of Fenius Farsaidh appearing miraculously just before the Tower of Babel was destroyed, and preserving the language of the pre-Babel speech of mankind, and keeping it alive in the Druid schools of the far west, we have an archetypal and possibly even ancient memory trace of historical knowledge, that the Druids did indeed trace their spiritual lineages back to the very earliest sub-strata of human wisdom and unfolding .
It is only when that ancient wisdom is reclaimed from the funeral pyres of history, and speaks to us once again as Er did when rising up before a startled audience expecting his instant combustion  — that we can perhaps reconcile and heal the complex fault lines of the tribes of mankind, and their separate lineages and genealogies and competing histories, between Arab and Jew and European, between Lebanese and Egyptian and Iraqi, between American and African.
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And for this we need the vision and scholarship of transpersonal historians, imbued with the wisdom of both Fenius Farsaidh and Abraham and Gershom Scholem. For many Celts over the centuries, Christianity has appealed, subliminally perhaps, because Christ was, to all intents and purposes, functioning exactly as a major Druid. Not surprisingly then, in the history of the church much that it has accomplished has been in concert with the better aims and practices of Druidry, and normally speaking the two worldviews have co-existed comfortably.
This was actually the original meaning of the Catholic faith — i. From a transpersonal perspective, terms like Catholic, or Protestant, or Orthodox, or Rosicrucian  or Unitarian  , or Trinitarian  or Gnostic  are more like archetypes, representing a certain psychological attitude, that all of us adopt from time to time, than fixed sets of dogmas that have to be adhered to. Druid Christians  might also look somewhat quizzically at a Christian church whose pater familas is none other than our old friend the Pontifex Maximus whose forebear no doubt authorised the invasion of Celtic Britain to satisfy the imperial whims of the Roman Gentry and who fought an occult war against Druidry for centuries .
The Druid church would surely rather be led by an unknown Pontifex Minimus, a shadowy figure appearing somewhat like a Merlin, concealed and revealed by the mists of Avalon, generation after generation . In my own work looking at the history of Marxism in relation to occult and freemasonic groups in the 18 th and 19 th centuries, I discovered a network of Masonic groups and offshoots whose existence is either not really known about by the general public, or regarded as suspect and deviant by all those who would wish intellectual orthodoxy on those they cannot follow or understand .
Freemasonry  in its modern formulation, was very much a British-Scottish-Irish development, and can be almost said to have been a kind of rebirth of the Ancient Druid mystery schools of antiquity. From its resurfacing in the course of the long 17th century, it attracted many esoteric figures who were also drawn to the study of Druidry or who were in some way Druids themselves. You could make an argument that freemasonry was the universalisation of Druidry — shorn of its cultural specificity . But time and again Freemasonry tried to return to its Scottish roots  as with the Royal Arch grades, which looked to Scotland for their legitimisation, or in the work of Chevalier Ramsay in founding the freemasonic lodge in Paris, which saw the birth of French freemasonry, that grew into the Grand Orient.
Later in the course of the 19 th century, the Theosophical Society was set up as an offshoot activity by a group of freemasons working with H. Blavatsky and theosophists were especially active in promoting and defending Druidry as an august ancient caste of neo-theosophists that Blavatsky had praised in her own voluminous writings.
The Alexandrian neo-Platonist philosopher, Ammonius Saccas, who first coined the word theosophy , may well have encountered Celtic pagan students in the halls of learning then flourishing in that great city, and would undoubtedly have regarded their system of thought Druidry as yet another example of divine wisdom theo-sophia. Not surprisingly then, many transpersonal thinkers have also gravitated towards theosophy, as for example, Alice Bailey was one of those theosophical mystics who influenced transpersonal thinkers such as Assagioli behind the scenes, while her husband Foster Bailey was an active freemason .
The full story of the contribution of theosophy to Druidry and vice versa, however, is one that still needs to be written up by transpersonal historians in depth . Similarly, the extent to which Druidry and neo-Druidry have been cross fertilised with freemasonic history, and the extent to which freemasonry has acted as a nurturing receptacle for neo-pagan groups and lineages, is something about which transpersonal history can indeed get down to some serious research .
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Similarly the Ancient Druid Order of the 18 th century was likewise cross-fertilised with Masonic members and supporters. It is also worth pointing out here that Stukeley believed that Druidry was itself an offshoot off the ancient Egyptian priesthood, and thus he would have seen his membership of Freemasonry and Druidry and Christianity as all compatible with each other. Thesis Many freemasonic papers from Stukeley are to be found in the library of the Freemasons Hall in London, many of them dealing with Egyptian religion see bibliography.
Tragically the virulent hatred shown towards freemasonry by General Franco, Benito Mussolini, and Adolf Hitler, who between them closed most of the lodges of continental Europe and actively persecuted and killed freemasons when they could find them  , gave the occult dimensions of World War 2 a particularly interesting twist, especially when you learn that Churchill was both himself a Mason and a Druid, and Roosevelt a Mason, as were many other leaders of the United Nations opposed to the Axis powers.
Personally, I would only wish that these august gentlemen had sat down to a symposium and discussed their differences in peace, rather than unleash a war that killed millions . Freemasonry and Catholicism have certainly been fighting an underground shadow war for some centuries, and Druidry is bouncing around uncomfortably somewhere in the middle getting shot at from both sides . Perhaps it can help heal this long split in the collective psyche of mankind? If so, it will have to be through the adjunct labours of transpersonal history, which can not only document in full the horrors of this long occult conflict, but also analyse psychologically and pschyo-historically what on earth was going on archetypally behind all these struggles!
If freemasonry was the bete noire of the 20 th century, Islamism has replaced it in the eyes of mainstream media and conspiracy theorists in the 21st century. Can transpersonal history, and Druid history, shed any light on this titanic struggle underway between Islamists and Sufis,  Muslims and anti-Muslims?
I had one of my Druid dreams a couple of years ago. Then times had changed. Letters had got jumbled and gone missing. Like Apollo, Allah is also a deity associated with healing — many great medical doctors and philosophers of medicine have been Muslims. Like Apollo, Allah was also a deity associated with prophecy, and his foremost prophet, Muhammad, has certainly influenced and inspired an awful lot of people.
Islamic music also greatly influenced mediaeval European music, and Sufi poetry greatly influenced the troubadours and early renaissance poets and bards. Indeed, the wandering minstrel of European Mediaeval literature, which was in turn projected back on to the bards at the court of King Arthur, were influenced by the wandering Sufi bard at the court of love in mediaeval Spain, Sicily and the Levant. Like Apollo, Allah is also a patron of the arts, architecture, literature, learning and philosophy! So my dream was trying to tell me tell this in a nutshell! But if the Druids were priests of Apollo in the Celtic lands, then the Sufis are the priests of Allah..
One thing both Druids and Sufis have always insisted on, is that violence and warfare and conflict are to be avoided at all costs, and that peace, reconciliation and mediation are always preferable. In my own spiritual journey, I have encountered many Sufis as well as Druids, and have been inspired by them all to work tirelessly for peace and healing between warring parties, which led me found the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Middle East . At one memorable filmed encounter in Northern Israel, I interviewed a Sufi Sheikh, Sheikh Abu Palestine, who was strongly hostile to me, until he learned I was the Peace Druid of Britain, whereupon his face creased into smiles and he grasped my hand tightly and acknowledged me as his brother in spirit, working for a common cause.
The transpersonal history of mankind has yet to be written Hegel tried making some preliminary notes in his various lectures but if and when it is, the story of Druidry and its interactions with Sufis and the ancient Semitic and Iranian mystical traditions that it has drawn from will be part of that overall story.
The links of Druidry and the Middle East surely go back further even than Zoroaster! Can transpersonal history tell us who did it? And what about the wars in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq? The answer is very simple — arbitration, mediation and reconciliation are always preferable to war and violence — that is both the authentic Islamic way and also the authentic Druid way. Suicide bombing, terrorism, the killing of unarmed non-combatants and women and children, have and always will be anathema to both authentic Muslims, Sufis and Druids, and should be to the practitioners of all other authentic spiritual and ethical traditions.
As Peace Druid of Britain, I am sick of clearing up the mess left by warlike politicians and I could do with some help. Transpersonal history is designed as an auxiliary branch of history, which is also a therapeutic methodology than can be regarded as a sub-discipline of medicine. Even as I write a fresh bomb attack has blown up innocent people standing waiting for a bus in Jerusalem, following Palestinian deaths yesterday - and I am due to visit that city in a few days time..
Somehow this interminable conflict has to be healed and solved — after all it was a couple of Druid elders who got us into this mess! One unique and interesting synchronicity about history is that the very nation which saw the rebirth of Druidry in the modern world, as well as the original flowering of it, also ruled the Indian subcontinent for about two centuries.
One of the unique repercussions of this fact was the intellectual symbiosis that took place between British and European civilisation and Indian civilisation. This gave among many other things a tremendous boost to those thinkers in Britain who were already arguing that Druidry was a continuation of the earliest substratum of human cultural achievements in Europe. Sir William Jones  , an extremely highly educated Welsh linguist, when appointed as Judge in Calcutta, made it his business to master Sanskrit, and realising the similarities between ancient Indian languages and European languages, coined the phrase Indo-European languages , which have been a major field of academic philological research ever since.
Students of comparative religions also began studying the ancient Hindu scriptures and realised that in Hinduism  there is preserved a continuous and still living ancient wisdom tradition, which has seen uninterrupted evolution ever since the Palaeolithic, and which preserves therefore in its structures and teachings, ideas and insights which we can also see echoed in the Druid schools, as transmitted through Celtic sources in Ireland and Britain from a period of similar antiquity .
Two core similarities stick out above all else: Gandhi embodied the principle of ahimsa to the modern age, and in so doing lost Britain her Indian Empire, but gave to mankind an incalculably richer Empire, the kingdom of non-violence , the kingdom of peace, which however we have yet to take up permanent citizenship in. Secondly, in the Upanishads and other Hindu philosophical writings, it is possible to reconstruct the core of Druid metaphysics, which must have been a kind of Western Vedanta, as evidenced in the poetic works of Amergin and Taliesin that have come down to us.
The Self within the Druid is the small self that roams at large throughout the Universe: The investigation, purification and extension of consciousness carries the secret to enlightenment — Druid enlightenment must have been very similar to that of the Hindu sages. Similarly, Buddhism  and Jainism both in their own ways embody these two twin thrusts of the flame of wisdom that Hinduism at its best stands for, and which Druidry also embodies.
Ahimsa, non-violence, is at the absolutely dead centre of both Buddhist and Jain ethics, and the will to enlightenment is the single most important thing we humans can attempt in our brief passage through embodiment, life after life. This transpersonal perspective on existence leads to the cultivation of equanimity, compassion, tolerance, breadth of views, insight, all of which we can surmise as being the original Druid virtues on the path to enlightenment.
Many modern Druids have also made their own ways to India  , and embraced in dialogue their own spiritual counterparts. Whenever true knowledge exchange happens, it always feels like a homecoming. Druid history, transpersonal history, the history of religions and religious education. One of the crucial contributions that transpersonal history can make to scholarship is to the study of the history of religions, but this time looking at them from within a different paradigm perspective.
Most historians of religion have studied the phenomenology of religious behaviour and outer practices - rituals, pilgrimages, festivals, initiations etc. This is still how a great deal of religious education is taught in schools, with a concentration on the paraphernalia of outer religious practices.
His followers were certainly projecting onto him ideas with a very ancient lineage. Instead religions are oversimplified, and the interesting symbioses that occur between them, are overlooked . Colour coded into 15 categories of faiths e. Box 29 is Druidry. Each box is also number coded, as in the period table of elements, and tells us: These numbers are admittedly often just intelligent guesswork, but it is up to the scholarly community to work out these numbers with more precision longer term. In the case of Druidry, I have estimated the total numbers of practitioners on the planet who would identify with this path now as being approx.
The ancestors of these tribes projected right back to the dawn of human kind, to the Palaeolithic era is then also included in these figures, as being all the generations of ancestors of later Celtic tribes down to , BC, which is the terminus ad quem taken for this Table in terms of advanced human populations capable of religious conceptions, language, fire, and sophisticated social organisation, including ritual and ceremony.
These figures may need revising upwards or downwards, and not just for Druidry but for the other boxes of the Table. It is the very first time that such a table has been constructed, and probably, we are the first generation in the history of mankind, where such a project would have been possible. The Table is unique in that it also includes the category of Esoteric Traditions, which includes freemasonry and various forms of occultism, as well as New Religious Movements.
It is truly comprehensive, and based on the latest and most up to date research in comparative spirituality and philosophy. From the perspective of transpersonal history, then, each single entry in the box of has validity, a lineage, a perspective and a teaching. In the book that accompanies the Table, much more data is given which encompasses the names for the deity given in each faith, the primary values and virtues it stands by, the holy places associated with it, the names of its founders and holy people associated with its traditions, the names of its key holy books and the languages they are written in, the key ideas it stands for etc.
Among philosophies pale yellow the following are examples: Pythagoreanism, idealism, Kantianism, Hegelianism, Logicism and analytic philosophy, existentialism, materialism, secularism; among New religious Movements are found: Among Esotericism are found: In Christianity are found: Gnostic Mandaean, Mystical, Shamanic etc. This is dangerous, since religious misunderstanding is ever a potent recipe for violent conflagration as we have seen in the Balkans and the Middle East in recent decades, let alone in Northern Ireland.
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The world is too interconnected, too super-implicated, too co-dependent, as Buddha put it, to permit such oversimplified demonisms. Of course some people like staying in their simple faith bubbles. I have had some fundamentalist and literalist evangelical Christian parents tell me I am effectively the anti-Christ.
The implications of our understanding of religious studies being too simplistic are in fact quite huge. As a peace Druid I would say the world has nothing at all to fear from truth, and from rigorous transpersonal historical scholarship that asks ultimate truth questions about ultimate truth claims, both past and present.
Druidry can hold its head up proudly as an ancient lineage of thought and practice, rooted securely in the magical landscapes and peoples of Western Europe, in sacred sites and stone circles that have been reverenced for literally thousands of years, and which were part of a once global network of ancient sacred sites that criss-crossed the world from Palestine, to Malta, to Orkney, to Mystery Hill, to Easter Island.
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We come from an ancient species, you and I, to whom the experience of the numinous, was the very guarantor of our rationality and our morality. It was and is our reliance on Great Spirit, on Lugh, on the Great Goddess, on the Holy Trinity, known by myriads of names in all cultures  , that enables us to take delight and appreciation in each other, in all our various roles as parents, children, consorts, students, teachers, lovers… Everything here is miraculous, and always has been.
Just as the waters of the Tsunami in Japan will slowly recede, so too the Tsunami of intolerance, hatred, religious bigotry, fanaticism, literalism, anti-womanism, anti-earthism, anti-childrenism, anti-humanism, anti-intellectualism, will likewise gradually recede, and allow those of us still standing to recognise one another as survivors, and to work on rebuilding and healing an earth worth living in, where space for the sacred in our everyday lives is not something unusual and weird, but something recognised as a fundamental and basic human right — the right to wisdom.
Druidry and the arts have a long and fascinating story of mutual relationship to tell. In the ancient literature one reached the ranks of Druid after serving a long apprentice as a bard, or poet, and in mediaeval Irish, although the formal rank of Druid was to some extent replaced by the various ranks of Christian priesthood, the ranks of the Bards and poets indeed never needed replacing .
Even to this day in Ireland, artists rank in society with very considerable respect, and in Wales, poets are honoured annually in the Eisteddfod, and in the various literary and artistic societies scattered throughout the land. Thomas are as known and loved by the average Welshman as much as famous footballers are in other nations.
Both the Welsh and Irish can be called a people of poetry — but this is perfectly fitting, since the Awen has never left these lands . Exactly the same flow of inspiration that surrounded the ancient Druids and Bards, flows still from the skies and seas and landscapes of the ever-changing patchwork of Celtic golds and greys and greens that is the miracle of these lands. In Scotland it is the same — the Bards of Scotland have also never left, and whether in Gaelic, Scots or Scots English, a long and perpetual tradition of homage to the Bard remains alive in the Scottish hills and glens from time immemorial to the present.
On this Bardic  heritage the Druidic imprint is always close to hand, and there is but a short distance from the Bardic capacity to channel inspirational verse, and the Druidical capacity to channel divine revelation. In cultures where literacy replaced orality, the line was more capable of being more firmly closed, and in Islamic, Jewish and to some extent Christian theological understanding the canons of prophecy are now closed .
To the Druid mind this is simply a metaphysical and psychological error — there can be no more closure of the prophetic capacity in human beings than there could be a stilling of the currents of the airs and winds above Snowdon. The Awen still blows where it listeth . But ironically the traditions of literature and poetry are extremely healthy in spite of the monotheistic attempt to remove prophecy to apocalypse.
All true art is a form of mini-apocalypse in which the artist channels divine awen into the soul of the reader or listener, and makes a breakthrough into the divine understanding. A poem of Rumi, or T. Eliot, or George Herbert, or a great passage in Shakespeare  , all have this effect. The same is true of music, and the musical heritage of the Celtic lands, where the musical Bardic tradition is alive and flourishing .
The classical Celtic Druidic musical forms, such as the harp and pipes are alive and well, but in the counter-cultural traditions the image of the Bard has blended into that of the wandering folk musician and then the rock group: Likewise when the Celts built their thousands of stone circles throughout the Isles, there was a positioning of spirit and matter in alignment, a kind of stone mandala being constructed. To embody wholeness, and beauty and symmetry, in the crafting of a temple for prayer and praise and wonder, such as Daedalus would have himself recognised. Transpersonal history can help art history by guiding us to understand the minds of these ancient artists, and to ask what elemental forces of soul were being communicated and set down in all these various forms of artistic creativity.
When the arts are under threat as ever, in our educational system, we have to ask seriously once again as a culture: Fortunately, many educators, and artists are leading a fight-back against the idea that education is all about skill and technique and not about inspiration and meaning. Bards and Druids are being invited into schools to lead workshops on Taliesin and the cauldron of inspiration, and to give to children, often in natural environments and retreat sanctuaries, the sense of wonder and love, without which life is meaningless.
Literature too, and the novel, and film, are replete with Druid themes — is it any wonder that Tolkein, C. Rowling have all found the magical underworld of the druidical imagination as a living inspirational fount to craft the destiny of their characters. Gandalf is the representation of the Druid elder who struggles against evil, and is ultimately triumphant. Harry Potter is the child who unintentionally has inherited the Druid magic from his parents and must forestall the demonic powers of those who would usurp wonder for their selfish ends.
Fantasy fiction and science fiction likewise flourish as genres in which the Druid archetype is never far below the surface. And the same is true in film — what are the Jedi Knights if not the Fianna rewritten for a modern age?
One wonders, frankly, why there has never been a real blockbuster Hollywood movie based on Druidry watch this space! Ultimately, art is a transpersonal activity which allows the human mind to glimpse, through the medium of beauty and order, some part of the cosmic patterning and harmony that brought us here, and to which we return. Druidry thus has a constant and continuous mission, to inspire the artists, the bards, the poets and the craftsmen among us, to go on and still draw down stories from the stars, to still lick those three drops of inspiration from the cauldron of Ceridwen so as to still hum high tunes of magic for the Gods .
In this penultimate section of this paper, we have to consider the contributions made by Druids to the development of the natural sciences. Transpersonal history as a methodology of historical analysis is futile if it cannot shed light on the development of scientific ideas, and give some indication of why the natural sciences have risen to become such an important modality of transacting the pleasures of knowledge in our contemporary era.
Problems of the environment, disputes about the causes of global warming and severe climate change, are now major political issues on the minds of world leaders. Can transpersonal history contribute anything useful to these questions? And what and how can Druidry specifically contribute, as the sparks fly and theories and counter theories trace their trajectories across the intellectual firmament?
In the 19 th and 20 th centuries it became very fashionable to try to develop the idea that historiography was another adjunct or auxiliary to the cohort of the natural sciences. A truly scientific history therefore must take cognisance of this inner dimension of history, the subjective conscious selves who are ever the observers and participants in history. If one retraces the history of the unfolding of the natural sciences but this time you include the spiritual dimension of the lives of the scientists in the narrative, you get a very different picture about what constitutes the onward growth of scientific knowledge.
Instead of a mathematically exact linear graph, you get a kind of zig-zag pattern where concrete experimental and numerical exactitude jostle alongside abstruse metaphysical exploration, occultism and esoteric universalism. Given that Britain and Northwest Europe was one of the seats of the scientific revolution, it is not surprising that Druidry therefore crops up in the narrative of the birth of scientific method. One of the greatest scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton, was a very close friend with one of the most important Druids in modern times, Rev.
What Newton was attempting as a natural scientist was to map the fundamental forces that held the cosmos together. He believed that gravity was partly an attractive force, and partly a repulsive force. He was also inspired in his researches by years of study into the metaphysical and esoteric traditions of alchemy and ancient religions. A later generation of natural scientists became fascinated by the whole question of the evolution of life: Wallace was deeply involved in spiritualism and became convinced as a scientist by observing the phenomena produced by trance mediums, that the human personality did indeed survive bodily death.
If this was so, it meant that we humans have a supernatural dimension to our existence which cannot be explained away by reference to mechanical phenomenon in material reality. It is fascinating to observe that spiritualism was very much a phenomenon associated with the heyday of the Victorian era . It is worth pointing out that it was precisely the Victorian age that saw the rebirth of organised Druidical sects and groves throughout both Britain and the wider British empire, as it was then known, and it was also under Queen Victoria that the empirical sciences promoted by Thomas Huxley were so vigorously pursued.
The way that Druidry, spiritualism and empirical science intersected each other in the Victorian era would make a fascinating story to be explored in depth at a later stage — not least in the obsession for geology and the unfolding antiquity of the earth, which shattered literal biblical accounts of creation.
In Germany and France also, the 19 th century saw not only a swift development of empirical studies in electricity, magnetism and radioactivity, but also in psychical research, telepathy, parapsychology, mesmerism, and spiritual healing. The bush, it turned out after all, was indeed on fire. But the transpersonal history of science is older than this. Accused of occultism, they learned to mask the full spectrum of their interests.
Likewise the founders of the Royal Society under Charles 2 nd combined the same interests in the mystical and esoteric with the empirical, but learned in public to mask their inner or transpersonal interests — just as Newton was obliged to desist from publishing his own views on spirituality. John Dee who effectively played the role of Merlin to Queen Elizabeth . Going even further back in time, we come to Aristotle, whose codification of the complex ways in which energy, and purpose interweave through the many diverse forms of nature and the animal and biological kingdoms gave rise to our entire modern approach to the natural sciences.
But this is only half the story. Aristotle actually worshipped Apollo, the Lord of light and Reason, and sought to advance the rational inquiry into the ways that nature displays and unfolds her splendid complexities — for him, empirical science was a form of religious worship, as it is for all true scientists.
Most classical commentators agreed the Druids worshipped Apollo as their chief deity, and many recent studies have argued that the ground plans of the numerous stone circles scattered around the UK and Ireland show an advanced knowledge of astronomy  and geometry . In the latter part of the 20th century, however, it became apparent that although it had brought great advances to human welfare, the scientific revolution had also brought costs, which had resulted in widespread pollution and alienation from nature, and also the dehumanisation of man from man, as ownership and commodification replaced community and belonging.
Many neo-pagan and eco-warriors advocate as a response to this crisis of modernity a kind of return to more ancient and primal spiritual teachings and the continuing rebirth and vitality of Druidry in the 20 th century has been witness to the popularity of this perception of Druids as proto eco-savants who lived in remote forest groves and advocated a kind of eco-spirituality long before the term became fashionable. Bill Plotkin  , whom we have mentioned briefly before, is one modern day nature-seer who has raised his voice against one of the major thinkers of the transpersonal movement, Ken Wilber, as being insufficiently aware of the importance of soul, and its groundedness in nature, and too prone to transcendence, verticality, and modernity.
The debate goes to the heart of this section and concerns what kind of science, or what kind of knowledge, we need to lead us out of the chaos that modern technocratic civilisation has constructed for itself, with its mass milling machines and its computerisation of consciousness in which all human intercourse is gradually being reduced to digital format? Robert Bly  has been inspiration for some years behind the reclaiming of a transpersonally based male spirituality that can be as powerfully pro nature, pro spirit and pro soul as the advanced eco-feminist movement.
Ken Wilber has criticised eco-pagans, and by implication neo-Druids, for their over-romanticisation of nature and earlier primal forms of consciousness and spirituality. Rather that trying to return to a pre-modern age and form of spiritual practice, Wilber argues that although modernity has brought great progress to mankind,  what is needed now is an integral form of spirituality and scientific practice in which the insights of ancient religions and spiritual traditions are preserved, but so are the genuine advances achieved by modernity, including the notion of human rights, and the development of scientific methodology itself.
The danger, for Wilber, is that if we choose to follow the wrong kind of Druidry, or other pagan and neo-pagan paths, we can revert to a pre-rational form of worship in which, before you can blink, people might be advocating, for example, the odd human sacrifice as a good way of averting environmental disasters! Wilber and other critics of eco-paganism have also pointed out that Nazism emerged partly from an extreme form of eco-fascism, in which the rights of animals and nature, and some tribes, took precedence over the rights of other human beings, meaning that many a fine mind ended up in the chimneys at Auschwitz while the gauleiters carried on lovingly stroking their dogs….
Plotkin says that a genuine recovery of the insights of primal and shamanic cultures will reveal that the Wilbers of this world, the arch modernisers, have nothing to fear so long as these insights are reclaimed in the right way and for the right reasons: The shamanistic traditions of indigenous, oral cultures emphasise the discovery and embodiment of our unique soul, as do the twentieth-century depth psychologists Carl Jung, Marie-Louise von Franz, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, Robert Johnson, James Hollis, and others.
In contrast, the major world religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam focus upon the realisation of — or union with — spirit, as do the theories of some transpersonal psychologists such as Ken Wilber, or the lessons of contemporary spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle.
The challenge facing thinkers now is to find a way to affirm both soul-making and spirit-making simultaneously. Nonetheless, we agreed that all four of these spiritual approaches are absolutely important for an integral and balanced view of spirituality.
This would be somewhat worrying if it were universally true. Is not science something we need more of, as it is for Wilber, only a new kind of science, an integral science, which links and binds the various disparate insights of all the fragmented and scattered specialist disciplines that have apparently become like what happened to the language of Babel  all over again? Wilber defines integral  as his term for the perspective that brings all the various forms of knowing back into harmony again. The debate between modernisers and eco-archaisers  , is a conversation found at the heart of the modern crisis of what it is to be an aware human at the dawn of the third millennium and to wonder which direction we ought to proceed in.
Anyone with intelligence, at a crossroads, will spend a great deal of time thinking about where we have come from - hence the need for history. But likewise, will reflect on what higher motivations and spiritual aspirations we need to move forward towards wholeness and wisdom, hence the importance of accessing, in whatever way works for you, the domain of the genuinely transpersonal.
Let us give the last word in this conversation to Bill Plotkin and indirectly James Hillman here, as a kind of transpersonal ecologist  , who still wants us not to lose sight of soul as the human essence par excellence. Everything — a rock, the wind, a song, a moment, a building, or a marriage, as well as the earth itself — has a soul, an essential and unique quality.
Certain essential qualities mark humanness in all times and places — certain enduring themes and patterns called the human archetypes. It is to study how these various forms and archetypes of soul come into being and pass away, and according to what laws, and patterns and dynamics, that transpersonal history has come into being, as a new genre, a new way of doing history.
The Eleventh Mount Haemus Lecture
Ultimately it is the attempt to rewrite the history of mankind and indeed the history of the cosmos, as the history of soul — and to do so taking on board the whole history of scientific striving, epoch after epoch, but also taking on board the spiritual striving and the metaphysical imagination of mankind as it evolves, age after age . The real challenge is: This is surely the vision of deepest ecology. In helping to articulate this cry of the inarticulate, transpersonal history can perhaps be of service not just to Druidry, however, but to other indigenous knowledge systems still left stranded around the globe in the wake of the flood of modernism.
We are at once, each of us, both universal consciousness Brahman and localised embodied form Atman , dual and non-dual simultaneously; body, spirit and soul. To a work such as this, there can be no conclusions or finality, only a taking stock of how far we have come, and a few signposts as to what might follow . From the perspective of peace and conflict resolution work, the current author has served as Peace Officer to the Council of British Druid Orders and been involved in mediating, or trying to mediate, many conflicts and disagreements within the world of Druidry, and wider political and social issues and concerns, since about , when Douglas Lyne requested his involvement in this work.
In addition, in the current author also initiated with the late George Firsoff, an independent pagan priest, the founding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Stonehenge, which went on to hold many meetings in Wiltshire to which English Heritage, the police, the National Trust, Pagans, Druids, eco-warriors, travellers, Christians, and concerned local citizens have come along and given testimony about both the history of the conflicts over Stonehenge, as well as the positive vision of what the monument should be like in the future.
Much of this work has been recorded and filmed and written up and is a matter of public record. To date this work is the only attempt to hold a public inquiry into the events known as the Battle of the Beanfield. From there the author went on to found the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Britain and Ireland, to investigate and hold meetings hearing testimony, aimed at healing the long sad conflict of Northern Ireland, involving the clash of Protestant and Catholic cultures, British and Irish identity, and nationalist and republication political sentiments.
This work was undertaken in the belief that as Druids we have something unique to contribute towards the healing of the conflicts of Northern Ireland, since much of the conflict has been framed in the sense of a narrow choice between possible identities, whether one is Catholic or one is Protestant.
As both a Peace Druid and a lay Anglican, the current author takes the view that this stark choice is far too simplistic, and that elements of both Catholicism the wonder at universalism and the love of universal truth and Protestantism impatience with injustice and corruption can be found in most of us; and this perspective gave the impetus to set up and run the TRCBI.
This body has so far met in Holyhead , Dublin and Belfast with further meetings planned, and a DVD has been made of its work. Not surprisingly, several senior Druids attended these meetings and the awareness that Druidry has something to offer as a way out of the schizophrenic split in Irish politics has perhaps been acting as a stimulus towards peacemaking behind the scenes . All along, the author was also completing a doctoral thesis for the University of London sketching out how transpersonal history can be useful as a methodology for understanding conflicts and advancing peace in the contemporary world .
The invitation to write up this Mt Haemus lecture has therefore been a most opportunity moment to bring several of these lifetime concerns into focus. Thank you everyone involved! We have seen then, on this short voyage of ideas, how transpersonal history has arisen as a new methodological step in academic historiography, from combining scientific historical scholarship with an awareness of the findings of modern transpersonal psychology, but also including many insights and approaches from the history of religions, comparative religious studies, and from the history of comparative and global philosophy.
We have seen that this new sub-discipline has a great deal of potential to shed light on different aspects of Druid history. But we have also seen, more widely, how it can open up dialogue between pagan and primal traditions as a whole, and revealed and text-based traditions. We have also seen how it can contribute to perhaps mediating in the clash of ideas between modernists and eco-savants as the relationship between man and nature moves to centre stage in political and intellectual debate. We have seen that transpersonal history is a methodology, which works partly as an adjunct tool to psychotherapy, and that the healing of rifts between nations and cultures and religions is its primary goal and focus.
In that sense, its practitioners are no more value free, or neutral and objective, than a good doctor should be when confronted by patients being brought in on stretchers after an earthquake . We have seen furthermore that it is in the arts that a constant witness to the power of Awen is still flowing through the veins and arteries of the being of mankind.
The first and primary duty of the transpersonal historian is to work out what is going on behind the scenes in history, in the collective unconscious, in the collective minds and spirits of mankind — why this or that group hates this or that group so much, and then try, through learning, scholarship, mediation, education, meditation, prayer, spells, magic, and therapy, to heal the situation, in whatever way works best in any given situation.
The ultimate goal being to resolve conflicts and violence between warring parties, whether internal conflicts going on inside a single mind, or actual conflicts going on in communities, and to restore a state of balance, calm, peace and wisdom to the individual or community - in short to restore health, in the full and vibrant sense of the meaning of that term.
But this all sounds suddenly rather familiar: Who sought to heal and reconcile disputes and act as mediators ? Who sought through learning and teaching to advance the best prospects of the next generations? Who sought through ritual and ceremony and prayer to bring a sense of beauty and spirituality into our everyday lives? Who sought to use their historical understanding to bring living wisdom to the present generations, and to teach personal responsibility for all our actions and thoughts?
Someone who could do all this, and then turn it into a song or a poem? I suspect there are lots of lost Druid termas  still to discover lingering around the sacred sites of our landscapes — now there's a job for the transpersonal psychohistorians of the future! It was left to others to walk further along the road he pioneered.
Transpersonal history however is concerned with the scientific study of universal esotericism, East and Western, North and South. Perhaps all true transpersonal history is universal in scope. Study and prayer are not dissimilar, the one dealing with working from the particular instance through to the general principle study and the other from the general principles to the still wider universal sources of being in the ultimate stratospheres of consciousness prayer.
Interestingly, this linkage between study and prayer has always been acknowledged in most spiritual teachings worldwide, for example in Judaism, as the following quote makes clear. Study and prayer, or better study-prayer, was the most potent mortar in Jewish life. It lent meaning and purpose to the most difficult and desperate of existences. It ennobled, inspired, redeemed. Both require, and repay, serious study. This paper could be said to be based on the practice of over 30 years of study-prayer. Much of the thinking behind this paper was first undertaken when living at Llanerfyl in Powys, besides the River Banwy, where there was a magnificent pool suitable for swimming and gazing in; often I would sit in to the dusk skimming flat stones across its surface, sometimes they would skim 10 or 15 times, if the stone lodged at the right angle to the water.
Just outside Llanfair Caereinion, in my imagination, this was the very spot where the young Taliesin would have sat to muse. This paper is likewise as it were a skimming stone approach to transpersonal history — and alights on the water some 17 times, as in the several sections of this talk. It could equally have landed at other angles and other topics, and I could have included sections on Druidry, transpersonal history and legal history, on the history of love and marriage and sexuality, on Druidry and the history of cosmologies, astronomy and knowledge of the shape and size of the universe, plus a very detailed look at Druids and the history of the magical arts, or Druidry and the history of witchcraft, or Druidry in relation to wider pagan currents, or Druid history and medicine, or Druidry and the hermetic tradition, or Druidry and the details of the history of the fine arts.
My job has been to point out the pool exists, and to gauge something of its length and breadth but it would take a much longer work than is possible here to plumb its depths. Atavism is the tendency to revert to ancestral type. In biology , an atavism is an evolutionary throwback, such as traits reappearing which had disappeared generations before. In the social sciences , atavism is a cultural tendency--for example, people in the modern era reverting to the ways of thinking and acting of a former time. Atavist and atavistic are derived terms. Cartwright, Brian Baker in: Manage research, learning and skills at NCR Works.
Create an account using LinkedIn to manage and organize your omni-channel knowledge. NCR Works is like a shopping cart for information -- helping you to save, discuss and share. Wikipedia has an article about: Look up atavism in Wiktionary , the free dictionary.