Christian Druidry: God and the Elements

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by path_of_one, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I'm not sure where to post this, so mods feel free to move it around if you think it best. I am a Christian and a Druid. I follow Christ and am monotheist (actually, panentheist), but I also honor the spirits of nature. I've been finding a rich tradition in modern Druidry that gives me a framework to make sense of the large parts of my spiritual experience on which Christianity is silent- the communion with nature and animal spirits, the honoring of heritage and ancestors, the enchantment of everyday life. I've often pondered how my belief in God (as a transcendent, genderless all-powerful Being) fits with other elements of my spiritual practice and belief. How is the Divine One that I believe in tied to the trinity of Christianity? To God and Goddess? Is there a connection between the symbolism of the elements/directions/seasons and the aspects of God I have personally experienced? I have been meditating on and praying over these questions for some time, and then I suddenly saw the connections that, for me, tied it together and fit with my experience. I wished to post this and gain (hopefully) some thoughts from both Christians open to panentheism and/or the interrelatedness of God and nature, and also from sundry neo-Pagan folks. I would welcome any/all to critically analyze my thoughts from their own perspectives, both on the subject of God and on the elements/directions/seasons. That said, here goes...

    For those who have worked with the elements, seasons, and directions, they certainly make inherent sense. I've only studied in my particular way, so I'm not sure if/how they are different in other traditions, but they are very coherent in my tradition of Druidry. The North, from which winter comes, encapsulates the earth, with its cycles of death and rebirth. The East, the direction of the sunrise, is the place of renewal- of spring and also air, the life-breath of us all. The South, with the heat of being closer to the sun, is the direction of ripening and refining, of both summer and fire. The West, the direction of the sunset, is the place of rest- of autumn and also water, which refreshes and restores.

    What of God? My own experience has been that there is but one God- the Source, the All, the Ultimate/Absolute. Yet God manifests itself in various ways, or is perceived in various aspects. The one becomes two- God and Goddess- masculinity and femininity, and for me- the traditions of spiritual learning: knowledge/text and magic/intuition. (As an aside: I mean magic in a sort of vague, all-permeating sense here, a connection to the flows of Reality, to the dance/song of the cosmos in everyday living and not specific practices. By text I mean either oral or written sacred text that gives people spiritual knowledge.) In the union of the two, there is creation. This union foreshadows the unity of heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, the embodiment of the creative force and love, the beings that spring from Being.

    What of the trinity? Again, we find unity in multiplicity, and I think it is no accident that the ancient Celts emphasized the number three- that there were triple goddesses like Brigid, for example, as well as the three drops of the Awen and other such connections. In fact, the Celts originally had only three elements (earth, sky, and sea) rather than four.

    In terms of God, we have Creator, Word/Christ (eternal logos, generator of unity), and Spirit (divine inspiration).
    • One can conceive of the Creator as Father or Mother or both- but this is still only one aspect of God, an aspect that is beyond all that exists and unique in its eternal nature. Some modern Druids refer to this aspect, what most Christians would call the Father, as the Uncreated One. I think of the this aspect as Creator, both God and Goddess in union.
    • Yet there is also divinity manifest in creation, the immanence of God. The eternal Word of God, the source of our understanding. As a Christian, we have Jesus Christ, who unifies humanity and the Divine, arising from a tradition of law and scriptural wisdom. Yet we also have Mother Earth, who bears the "garment of God" for all to see, uniting all creation with the Creative Force behind it, arising from traditions of mystery, magic, and intuition. We have the Word of God (logos) uniting heaven and earth, and also humanity and divinity- eternally giving understanding and providing the path home to uniting with God and all beings.
    • Finally, we have the Holy Spirit, who gives us divine inspiration and is the spiritual connection between ourselves and God. In Druidry, we have the Awen.
    So is there an interweaving thread between the elements/seasons/directions and these aspects of God? I believe so. The elemental spirits are not God, and yet the symbolism is connected to the aspects of God I have experienced.
    • Jesus Christ is the "living water," refreshing and restoring us in our life journey. He offers to us the repose of autumn, and the sunset, the ending-point of our existence- unity with God.
    • Mother Earth is both literally and figuratively earth, offering to us the lessons of birth and death and the cycles of existence, enchanting us with the mystery of midnight and calling to our intuition.
    • Creator (Father/Mother/both) is the "breath of life," animating our spirit bodies as is told in Genesis, just as air animates our physical bodies. The Creator is the place of origins, the beginnings of new life in each sunrise and spring.
    • The Holy Spirit, the Inspiration of God, represented by the "tongues of fire" in Acts, the "fire in the head" of the Celtic shaman, the "rays of light" of the Awen, is the fire that refines our souls. The Spirit is the full light of noon and summer that blinds us with God's glory and then ripens us into spiritual maturity.
    And so I see, encapsulated in the symbols of the elements, seasons, and directions, the very aspects of God that I have experienced. There is the trinity: Creator/Father- holy origin, Christ/Word/Son- holy union/manifestation and Spirit- holy inspiration. Creator is both God and Goddess, just as the union of divinity and our world is present in the sacred wisdom of both Christ and nature. The Spirit, as a communicative force, guides us and inspires our own creativity. Transcendent and immanent. Being and Force. Ultimately, aspects of the mystery- the Divine One.
     
  2. earl

    earl ?

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    Wonderful stuff!:)
    Thanks, Earl
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Hi Path of One, Thank you for that. Quite a lot of thought there, and nicely organized. I also see the Creator as Father/Mother, although in keeping with my tradition I usually refer to God as He/Father. Too bad, in a way, because the language really does affect our mental imagery and thus can influuence our understanding of the character of our God. I like the way you tied your experience of God in the elelments and nature tradition to your Christian beliefs, too. Mother Earth/Father Sky, Jesus Christ/intangible Word or Logos and very tangible bread/water/wine, the Holy Spirit, also water to me, and fire. So, like my perceptions of the Trinity being made up of Three that flow into One, the elemental associations of each overlap and mix. In Christianity we are quick to point out that when God gave humans dominion over all created things what He really gave us was stewardship and responsibility, not the right to abuse and waste. However, somehow along the way, the Christian view has tended to alienate humans from nature and I think this is a tragic turn of events. And, from my knowledge of the Bible, I don't really see the reason this has to be. Probably related somehow to Augustine's theology of the Fall. Anyway, I think it would be healthy for Christians to reclaim our spiritual connections to nature, and many such as myself already do in an informal way.

    The Divine One, Creator, Father/Mother, God/Goddess, Trinity--all pointing to the same Ground of Being in my view, all correct but also all falling short. Earl had a post somewhere related to this, I think. What each of these titles points to is beyond Oneness, beyond our words and comprehension. We're just catching glimmers of it here and now. Actually, typing this out has reminded me that I have quite a lot of respect for traditions such as Judaism that keep the Name of G-d in such a sacred way, and also for Eastern traditions that refer to the Something More only in oppositional pairs (paradoxes), such as the created/uncreated, showing how the More is both and neither.

    My view of the Trinity is something like a pyramid, actually. We only see the two-dimensional Triangle, so to speak, each "corner" of the triangle is obviously distinct, but a corner is not a corner unless is part of a geometric figure. In the case of the Trinity, the third dimension that is not fully visible to us (except of course the Triangle Face of Father-Son-Spirit) is G-d. It looks flat, but there is Something More. :)

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  4. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Member

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    Hi, people I'm new here and I just started to research the Druid way of life. What I was wondering from you Christian Druids is that it seems that Druidry seems that it has a lot to do with witch craft and believing in many gods. Can you help me and see if I'm cut out for or should be involved in Druidry? Thanks!
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    There is a lot of intermingling between the modern Druid community and the modern witchcraft (specifically Wiccan) community. One of the reasons for this is that there are a number of people who have been formally involved in both communities. Isaac Bonewits, for instance, is not only one of the founders of the Druid group Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) but is also a Gardnerian Wicca initiate.

    Another reason for the cross-pollination is that Gerald Gardner (the man many people consider to be instrumental in bringing Wicca to light, if not the founder) was friends with Ross Nichols, who was a key figure in Druidism in the UK. Apparently Gerald had a ritual sword which was loaned to the Druids each year for rituals held at Stonehenge, and the cottage that Gerald used as his covenstead was purchased from Ross Nichols. Doreen Valiente writes about some of this in her book "The Rebirth of Witchcraft," and it's also mentioned in Philip Heselton's "Gerald Gardner and the Cauldron of Inspiration." There is also an article about the connection between Wicca and Druidry in Philip Carr-Gomm's "The Rebirth of Druidry."

    Druidry and Wicca do have very different ways to approaching spirituality and ritual work, so whether you choose to go with one or the other is largely a personal choice. But since there have been others who have and still work in both systems, I don't think it's impossible if you decide to pursue both systems. It might be a bit confusing, but it's not impossible.

    And knowing that there are a number of different Druid groups out there, I suspect that not all of them are specifically Christian so whether polytheistic outlooks will work well with Druidry will depend a lot on the specific Druid group we're talking about. I believe that Isaac Bonewits' ADF for instance is more of a Pagan Druidry rather than a Christian Druidry.
     
  6. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    Hi, I am also Christian, and have done my "homework" studying many religions, even have a minor in world religions. When I came across the many Druid websights, I found I identified with them as well, like you do. I see no problem with Druidry mixed with Christianity, they compliment and explain each other. You know that Christ alledgedly taught the Druids as he did his own temple priesthood back in Israel, when he was a child of 12. Apparently he visited England with his Uncle, Joseph of Aramathea. I love this story and believe it. I know Christ interacted with many cultures PRIOR to his advent of the first century. The Bible says that he was crucified and did other things from the "Foundation of the world", and that he was the "first born of creation" - he existed physically as Christ prior to all else and he did his work to completion prior to everything else - that is why Christ-like deities abound in so many pagan religions, such as Odin, and Balder and others. I believe that the Christian answer to the pagan God and Goddess question is that Christ, the Bridegoom is God, and that his Bride, the Church of true believers, is his Goddess - this makes me the Goddess, or in the Goddess position, and that is a very serious and important position indeed. As a Christian I do not worship the Goddess, I AM the Goddess, and as such I have a duty toward my God to bring new life to others in the cauldron of rebirth, through the contents of the "baptismal chalice", which is the Holy Spirit. I think that the ritual elements gracing a pagan altar can represent christ in a very profound way: The Athama, or double edged sword is spoken of in regard to Christ in the Bible - He holds in his mouth a two edged sword - that Athama is his word to us, and the double edged sword has many other symbolic meanings in the Christian Bible, as well as the Hebrew. The Chalice - it is the Grail, the Jewish 4th cup of redemption from which Christ drank at his last passover - it holds his divine blood, the source of life for all, and we, as human beings are asked to hold that blood: we are asked to become the ritual chalice for Christ and everything that he is. His blood is not only upon us, but in us to give us the new birth that is promised us in our pagan stories from the cauldron's of rebirth as well as the jewish aspects of being "set apart" for the religious life in the Mikvah ritual bath that became baptism for Christianity. The Wand, drawn on tarot cards as a blooming branch that has no roots or connection to earth? That clearly represents the images of Christ in the Bible, for he is referred to as "the Branch" which grew upon "dry" ground, or in actuality, an impossible place to grow, where no life was, no water, no nutrition - a miraculous life that should not exist. The Wand also represent's Aaron's rod, which, though disconnected from any tree, and having no connection with the earth, continued to bloom and was a symbol of miraculous life when none should exist. The Pentagram - the perfect five - there are many references to five in the Bible - the 10 virgins - 5 prepared and 5 unprepared - two sets of five that are opposites; The five loaves and five fishes, miraculously/magickally changed so that thousands could be fed. The five wounds upon Christ at his crucifixion - his head, hands, feet, scourging and side where the spear punctured him. Some astronomers (not astrologers) believe that the heavenly planets were in alignment so that a pentagram could be drawn between the main planets when Christ was born, and that this line up was during the month of March, which is Pices, the fish, a symbol Christ used and a symbol which came to represent the Christian era. We are leaving the "Age of Pices" and entering the "Age of Aquarius" or the Age of the Water Bearer, the time when Christ will return. The candle on the altar represents eternal light in all religions and with Christ as well. The elements of Earth, wind, fire, air and spirit - all basic elements of Christianity. The four directions? Spoken of directly in Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Nature? Very important to God, and the main act of creation is about nothing more than the beauty of the divine in nature. The trinity, a "3" is very important to Christianity and appears in Druidry. The "Seven fold spirit of God" is also very important in both. For me Druidry and Christianity are complimentary. Druidry helps you to focus on what God created, and takes you away from the commercialized forms of Christianity that has become a business and money making scheme for those in charge. I enjoy the idea that I can be a Druidess and a Christian at the same time. I fully believe that Christ himself was a Druid - the highest Druid around! I am glad to find another person out there who feels likewise.
     
  7. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    IN RESPONSE TO THIS QUOTE:

    I am a Christian and feel very drawn to Druidism as well, I fell I am a Druid although I do not belong to any official "group". I personally feel that you may be cut out for Druidry, and that you should definately NOT ignore Christ in that quest, because in my personal opinion, Christ is the SUPREME EXAMPLE of Druidism, and he is the ALL being sought the so many, only many do not realize this. "Witchcraft" in MY studies has shown the following to me:

    1) The word "wicca" is merely Old English, and it means "to bend or change in conformity with will". With this definition in mind, you can apply it to ANY religious path, for this definition merely describes any person who chooses to follow a spiritual path. Specific to Christ, it defines YOUR OWN bending and inner spiritual change in order for YOU to conform to the DIVINE will of Christ Triune. Once you have conformed your own inner spirit to the ALL-Father through Christ, then YOU will be used as a Chalice, a vessel to bring change outside of yourself, whether it is through your OWN will or through God's plan, or both.

    2) I personally believe that the belief in MANY gods stems from the story of Noah in Genesis 5-8. To understand this one must understand the deffinition of the word "god" with a little "g" in hebrew. The word "god" means nothing more than "ruler, magistrate, governor, priest, king, divine messenger". In other words, any person who has divine authority over anything else is a "god". If you have a pet, a job, a child, or any responsibility you are a "god" over that. Your authority was given to you BY GOD with a CAPTIAL "g" so that you could bring honor to him. The word God with a Capital "G" has a different meaning than the word god with a small "g" - it means, in hebrew, "self existant being, uncreated being, and also it means salvation - being who does all the saving". YOu can check out Strong's Exhaustive Concordance for word meanings in Biblical Greek and Hebrew. So while we worship an uncreated, self existant being who is the only being who can do any salvation type work (God with a capital "G"), we are given authority over his creation, and may act as "gods" (small g) in partnership with him, and rule, govern, and perform priestly acts and communicate with the divine on their behalf. This is not a position we "own" - it is loaned to us as long as we remain under the authority of God, the self-created savior. When we remove ourselves from Him, we remove ourselves from our authority.

    In this way, Noah is described in the Bible as having a human geanology (Genesis 5) AND a DIVINE geanology, DESCRIBED in the passage where the "Son's of God" married the women of earth and their offspring became the "heroes of old, the men of renown" i.e. Noah. His offspring would have also had such a heavenly geanology, and we, because we exist, have inherited this from him. We are divine AND human, just as all the pantheons before us. As Noah's descendants lived on that mountain and eventually took up residence in the valley beneath, they remembered Noah and his family and their magical abilities, and came to revere them as Gods instead of gods, hence a pantheon or worshiped deities arose, and people forgot that they themselves HAD that divine genetic code and "could" do the same types of miracles. After the tower of Babel story took place (Genesis 7 or 8), the language changes, causeing people to remember Noah and his family with different names - hence pantheon systems have similar deities, but the names very, sometimes alot. When Christ enters the scene he gives the secret to TURNING BACK ON THE MAGICK - "to them that believe will I give power to do GREATER things than I did upon this earth". Noah knew this for it says "he walked with God" - he had a divine connection, and because he ACKNOWLEDGED his heritage, both genetic and spiritual as a child and friend of God, he had access to his own miraculous/ magickal powers. You can turn on your own powers by turning on to Christ. Unfortunately Christians have watered this MAGICK down, making it a mushy, milk-toast religion where the ministers are often out to weaken you, make christ into a character with lace in his underwear, and take financial advantage of everyone. This is not the real Christ. This is not the the real Noah, and this is not our real heritage. We can access magickal power LIKE the gods and goddesses who have gone before us because WE ARE their descendants, and only need to turn on these powers by acknowledging the ALL powerful, through his physical manifestation upon earth: Christ.

    Don't worry about a pantheon - you are ALREADY "in" it - you are descended from it through Noah's family who had a genetic make up from the "Sons of God" and human beings. They lived through the flood and you are HERE TO PROVE THAT. They had "Son's of God" heritage, from a divine world and could bring about magick; they are memorialized in every island, mountain top and under-water pantheon that exists - Avalon, Atlantis, Valhallah, Mt. Olympus and etc. We are gods under God. He is "King of kings, and Lord of lords", and "God of gods". He (Christ) existed from before the foundation of the world, physically and appeared to all cultures to prepare them to meet with him and believe in him. He was the first born of all cration, literally, and was able to appear to all cultures, which is why he appeared as Jehovah of the Old Testament, and as Odin to the Teutons, hanging on the world tree, and as Balder, whose innocent life was taken by Loki. That is why so many pagan stories have elements of Christ or part of his story so clearly presented. It's almost like the Bible was taken apart, and each culture received "part" of the story to memorialize, and they did. But no one out there recognizes it now.

    Christ visited the Druids as a child with his uncle, Joseph of Aramathea. He taught them as he did his own priesthood in the Jewish Temple. Druids are very connected with Christ, for those who wish to acknowledge it. Wicca acknowledges that "magick" (i.e. miracles) can happen if only we use our powers actively and in a focused manner to bring them about. None of this is against God, or Christ. The only thing that comes up with Christ is that instead of WORSHIPPING the Goddess, you ARE THE GODDESS(as the Bride of Christ, who is the God). That is a great position, but it has alot of responsibility - for you must birth new spiritual life into the dead of spirit, and you must do so with what you have inside the cauldron of rebirth, (your own body) - what is in that cauldron? God's spirit, the spirit that gives life where none exists, the same spirit that created all things, nature, the universe, the things that Druids revere, and it is called the Holy Spirit.

    Yes, I am a Christian, and I am a Druidess. For me there is no other way to think of things. My main book of knowledge is the Bible, because it really does answer these questions fully, you just have to "understand" what you are reading, because there are so many levels of understanding it, that you may well "miss" the meanings of it, but that is ok, Druidry has come to recognize and understand the underlying meanings that Christ conveyed to the initiates. I really think you should make a go of it with Christ as your head Druid and Deity.
     
  8. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I just want to point out that this definition of "Wicca" is not generally accepted (Chalice's definition given here is the first time I've seen it described this way, and I'm a Wiccan who's been studying Wicca for over twenty years now.)

    My response regarding the definition and etymology of the word "Wicca" can be found in this thread here on Comparative-Religion.
     
  9. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Thanks for the input all, and interesting cross-religious discussion on the symbols on the altar, Chalice.

    As for Druidry, whether or not it is "right" for someone depends a lot on the organization and Druid path one studies. My own personal path is associated with the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, founded by Ross Nichols. It is a non-religious spiritual path. So under its organization umbrella there are Pagan, Christian, Buddhist, agnostic, etc. Druids. It's more about the journey than one's beliefs, and it's very open-ended on questions like the afterlife, deities, and such. There's a lot of lively conversation between Druids who all think rather differently. Some of us are more into magic than others; magic is a component for many/most Druids but is not necessary to follow the Druidic path. Some people simply worship, or enjoy the connection to nature, or the process of discovering something about their heritage.

    The ADF is more like a religion, by their own definition- having definitive concepts of polytheism and such. Which of course doesn't work very well for me, since I'm not a polytheist. There are other organizations out there, but the ADF and the OBOD are the two largest and most well-known. Some druids only belong to one or the other, others belong to both. Just depends on what you want to get out of Druidry and how you are comfortable practicing it.

    As for its association with witchcraft, and in particular Wicca, there is a good deal of overlap for the reasons bgruagach mentioned. Some people are both Wiccans and Druids, but the two really have a different "feel" to them. I've read the article in the "Druid Renaissance" on comparing the two and their history (which I believe was the reprint or was reprinted- can't remember which- as "The Rebirth of Druidry"). It gives a good outline. For the most part, Wiccans and Druids are very supportive of one another and have many things in common, but are really quite different in their path. Neither is "right," except in relation to the individual.

    Thanks to all who have contributed- very interesting.

    And an aside to lunamoth's discussing- the concept of Something More is very interesting. When I began to think of God as the Divine One, it was an attempt to have something to call the Great Mystery. There's a sense that there is always something further, beyond the glimpses that one gets.
     
  10. stevemb88

    stevemb88 Member

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    Thanks everyone for your imput towards my questions! It really does help!
     
  11. Blessed87

    Blessed87 A restored soul

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    Wow, I haven't been on here for quite awhile, but I found this thread quite interesting, Path. You've always made me long to spend more time in nature, just basking in the wonder of the creation and praising the Creator.

    I find it interesting how you connect your experiences with your Christian beliefs, Path. What we do and what we've experienced shapes our lives and our ways of seeing things, so I think it's cool how you try to see how the two can connect. Too many christian people believe simply what their denomination has taught them, rather than seeking on their own to define what they believe. It's a sad condition.

    On views of the connection between nature and God, I think nature is used by God for many purposes. First, God uses nature/creation to reveal Himself:

    "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." -Romans 1:20(emphasis added)

    Second, through nature, God glorifies Himself:

    "Let them praise the name of the LORD,
    for he commanded and they were created." -Psalm 148:5

    "Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
    everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made." -Isaiah 43:6b-7 (e.a)

    speaking of Christ:"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." -Colossians 1:16-17 (e.a)

    One of the main ways I relate to God is as the Soveriegn Creator and Sustainer. Creation gives me a glimpse of the greatness of God. Just think: the One Who made all this is even more beautiful, even more vast and so beyond anything on earth!
    "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!" -Romans 11:33
     
  12. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Hi--Peace Everyone:)

    Blessed 87, I have been missing you so much! I was about to address that on another thread in the lounge, but here you are. Yay!:cool:

    I can't believe I missed this thread as it was going on--I remember seeing the first post, and thinking about a response--I guess that I got distracted. I think I thought that I was going to do some reading and get back to it.
    Reading? Must make time to read...must....

    Path, thanks for starting the thread. There has been so much substance in the posts here that I cannot add much until I learn more (I have a strong feeling that what I learn will be what I already know).

    And dear luna--thanks for the illustration using the triangle--I think we have talked about it before--yes, The Trinity is real to me, but why would I assume to limit God?

    LOL--wish I had a long, philosphical presentation to present, but I don't, at present--Just dropped in to thank everyone here for a great thread. (<---I really did not write that on purpose--started to edit, but resisted;).)

    InPeace,
    InLove
     
  13. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    LOL, InLove. Couldn't think of a better way to use my 1000th post than to let you know you made me smile. :)

    peace,
    lunamoth
     
  14. InLove

    InLove at peace

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    Happy millennial (sp?) postmarker, lunamoth:cool: :) !
     
  15. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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    Hi there Ben, loved your comments and glad to meet you! I just visited an "old english" dictionary on the web, and looked up "wicca" for my own infor purposes, thought you might enjoy knowing the definition:

    wic means a dwelling place, lodging, habitation, house, village, town, castle or fortress.

    Wican is a verb meaning to yield, give way, or fall down.

    wicca is a noun and means wizard, magician, astrologer, soothsayer (i.e. one who brings about supernatural miracles)

    Wicce is a witch

    Wiccecraeft is a verb that implies the use of magic/miraculous and supernatural affects

    When I personally do a word study (usually with Hebrew or Greek) I dont just look the one word up, i look up all surrounding words and their meanings, and follow them all back in history to get a good sense of how they evolved from one central word or meaning. My "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance" gives me a very good sense of this, and I am sure that a good Old English dictionary from a university would do the same.

    In context of these many related terms, I still contend that wicca means originally to "bend or change in conformity with will", especially divine will, hence a religious path, what ever that path may be. In regard to this, a "wic" would be a place where this spiritual bending takes place, the "house" or "fortress" where one goes to learn to bend their spirit (christians call this a church). Wicca, Wiccce and Wiccecraeft is the person and practice inside the wic (house), and learns wican, the ability to conform their spirit so that it bends or changes to conform to divine will. Because wicca also means wizard, magician or soothsayer, I personally see this word as meaning a person who has learned to call upon the divine in order to effect supernatural change over the natural world. All spiritual-minded people attempt to do this, whether it is through prayer or ritual. Walk into any church, hindu temple, or Jewish synagog, and you will have people at prayer trying to heal a loved one, fix a bad marriage or get a job. Same thing happens at ritual in a wiccan or druid ritual. It is mankinds attempt to bring supernatural (possibly impossible) change to the natural course of events in our lives. There is no denying that Jesus was able to do all the supernatural things that most pagan communities strive for - he was truely magicKal. He did develop a "house/fortress" which was called a "church" in Greek, but could very easily be called a wic in Old English - and I am sure he referred to it that very way when he visited the Druids at age 12 with Joseph of Aramathea, his uncle. Christ definately did the "wican" thing, according to the definition, for he did ultimately "yield, give way, and fall down" to the will of the All-Father, teaching us to do the very same thing. He also yielded, give way and fall down" to his followers, for he became our servant as an example. As far as wicca goes, (wizardry, magician, astrologer, soothsayer, just read the Gospel - Christ did all these things perfectly - only christianity calls what he did "miracles". Christ did it all. And by the way, Christ was accused of "sorcery" (i.e. witchcraft) and of being in league with the Devil in order to bring about his supernatural acts (i.e. miracles or wicca) - the head religious authorities accused him of this and then had him crucified. This smacks of the witch burning times, dont you think? Only he was not burned or hanged, he was crucified, which is very painfull indeed. I think Christ has a great deal in common with Witches and Druids - I dont think he would condemn you at all. He was on your side, against the proud and hipocritical religious majority of his day. And he was not secritive about it either, even though he knew he would be killed for it (he had the gift of telling the future and knew this all in advance.)

    I enjoy going back to the "source" and original meaning of the word, so hanging out with me will be enjoyable, because I just love to know what the original intent of the word was. We had to do this alot in college when studying Old English for our Brit. Lit. I am by far no expert, but enjoy looking up words when I can. I am curious to know what your definition of wicca is, and what you base the definition on: is your definition modern, or do you rely on the ancient authority of the original meaning of the word, and why do you choose the meaning behind the word wicca? This is very interesting to me. Be blessed, and hope to hear from you soon.
     
  16. Chalice

    Chalice I am the Grail

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  17. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I pay quarterly and it's about $100 every three months. I feel like it's no more than I'd spend on other books (some of which I also wind up buying... I'm a book-lover, what can I say). I find the materials very helpful. There's a introductory package that's pretty cheap (I think around $20-30) so you can review the way they do the lessons/Gwersu and whatnot and decide if it's for you. If you pay quarterly you can interrupt it at any time and then restart where you left off. Also, I didn't try it, but I know they do scholarship programs for people who want to follow the course but don't have the $ to invest.

    It's a bit pricey, but I like that everything is on recycled paper and they plant more trees to replace the ones lost for the booklets and whatnot. :)

    By the way, if you have any friends that would also like to take the course, they have a thing where you can use a friend's materials for some nominal fee (I think it's like $30) and you get a tutor/mentor of your own. So if you know a friend that would want to do the course too, you can split the cost. :cool:
     
  18. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    This is an interesting thread, in that it brought to mind memories and feelings experienced whenever I camped in the Olympics of Washington State (specifically an area known as Hurricane Ridge). There was a sense of wonder, majesty and enchantment all around me. Even the air promised at energy. I remember thinking that if I remained still long enough, I'd catch sight and sound of Henry Hudson and his merry men, enjoying a game of ten pin in a glade. ;)

    My father, calls places like that "holy ground", where the veil between heaven and earth is thinnest or even non-existent.

    And looking back at some of my family's rituals, behavior and traditions, I would have to say that there is a healthy sprinkling of what could be deemed "druidic" flavor that flows right along with our "Christian" setting.

    LOL even as children our bed time stories were of Lugh of the Long Hand, Mannanan Mac Lir, The Arthurian tales, Roger Bacon...

    But I never put the two together, until now. ;)

    v/r

    Q
     
  19. _Z_

    _Z_ from far far away

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    Hi path of one, I am new here & am also a druid, but I don’t follow any particular religion. For me Druidry accepts philosophies from all sources thus I can equate it with my own universal approach. From what I have learned, the ancient British form of it had an understanding beyond personified gods and deities. The ‘annwn’ was the divine centre from which all things manifested had there origin except infinity and eternity which are always so.

    When I think of the notion of god, it can only be something not male or female but can be either in a primary manifestation. I perceive the Tao to be of the female & nurturing side of god the mother, interestingly the ancient Greeks thought of Buddhists as earth mother worshipers! In a way I can see their point – if one thinks of the Great Spirit & nirvana as ‘womb-like’. Its like the physical manifestation of this is space, then orbs [planets and stars] are the manifestation of the male principle. Our spirits also form according to this universal principle, we have the aspect that is un-individualised to which all things have the same centre [all are one], then we have our orb-self [like in the Tibetan book of the dead] or atom-self as I call it [because it is the irreducible essence of what we are], which is the individualised nature of the spirit. When this takes on a bodily form in eternity/Eliseum it is the soul! I could go on…



    Nice thread!:)



    _Z_ [z is a druidic symbol of eternity & the number 9 in numerology]







     
  20. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Love the thoughts- feel welcome to go on if you like! (And welcome to CR!)

    Yes- aside from the "glimpses" of God I get, I do feel that under it all is a Great Something that in my finite form I can't even begin to really comprehend... only experience through the glimpses, which are then even more adulterated by my culture and brain. But I do love the idea of the divine center of origin... I didn't equate this with the awen necessarily, but I do have that concept as part of my spiritual repertoire.

    Interesting thoughts on god/goddess and whatnot as well. I always thought of the Tao as pretty much both and neither, or the union of both- of balance. And stars for some reason seem feminine to me, not sure why. Well, I have an idea why but it's pretty much unrelated to anything relevant to anyone but me. I can readily see how the Tao would be considered feminine though.

    Interesting ideas about the spirit and soul- there's a thread (I think in B&S forum) on the spirit and soul with my ideas- I think it's somewhat similar to your own. I think of my spirit as my individual essence- the "me" that is eternally a thought creation of God. It was "me" before incarnation and perhaps will be entirely "me" one day again (I really don't know!). My soul is the "me" layers that stemmed from incarnations- past and present. Underneath my soul runs my essential self, my spirit.

    Neat thoughts and fun to find another druid! I too love druidry for its universal approach to religion. I don't really think of myself as being of any religion- just a "path of one" who happens to find Christianity and druidry, as well as myriad other bits and pieces from other religions, helpful to my path. :)
     

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