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Posts Tagged ‘Druidry’

I’ve been roaming the blogosphere lately, looking for new writers to read, and by curious chance (or perhaps divine guidance) I came across this post by Cat Treadwell, “Sacred Reading”. Cat, a Druid, writes movingly of reading a book about a woman’s stay in the Trappist monastery of Gethsemani in Kentucky, made famous by enclosing the writer Thomas Merton, and being struck by the ancient monastic practice of lectio divina, sacred reading. Lectio is a slow, ruminative, prayerful encounter with the sacred, primarily in the Christian Scriptures, but also, potentially, in other texts and other ways of seeking meaning.

I myself was struck by finding a pagan Druid writing of Christian monastic life and spiritual practices when I have lately been restless and unhappy after immersing myself in much the same sort of reading for months. Now I was seeking pagan bloggers, druid bloggers, new pagan books.

In early 2013 I transferred my church membership to a new parish (new to me, that is, not to the area) and had contentedly identified myself as Episcopalian, no qualifiers, for the past year. At least, that has been my story. I put books on magic and pagan topics in empty Amazon boxes, determined to give them away, yet somehow they never found their way out of the apartment. My New Hermetics pantacle, my Tarot decks, my tiny statues of Buddha sitting zazen and Isis on her throne lingered in my possession, along with books I never even considered giving up. And since the beginning of this year, more or less, the words of the Daily Office have withered, disconnected from the actual relationship I am having with Jesus, and I have been missing another deity I used to have a relationship with: Antinous.

I have said all along that I think Antinous pointed me toward my Episcopal church and said, “Visit one more time. You’ll see.” I felt that if I asked for his help again, politely, he would be inclined to give it.  He has this in common with Jesus: He does not turn people away, regardless of who they are. He excludes no one. (Jesus’s followers haven’t always lived up to that principle, but I think the Gospels are pretty clear that it was his modus operandi.) And the Bithynian Boy has indeed calmed my anxieties and helped to clear my mind over the past few days.

The truth is, while I’ve been an Episcopalian most of my life, I’m not sure I’ve ever been a monotheist. I remember having two children’s Bibles, one with simple crayon-like drawings and retellings mostly of the Gospels, the other with “religious” paintings of a Protestant kind in which Jesus was, quite bluntly, a blond-haired, blue-eyed hottie. I know I spent a lot of time staring at the illustration of Jesus, naked to the waist, standing thigh-deep in the waters of Jordan at his baptism.

At the same time, I owned or borrowed from the library numerous books on mythology, especially Greco-Roman and Egyptian, and on world religions. There was a lavishly illustrated Time-Life volume I borrowed many times that included a two-page illustration of the Hindu pantheon, done in popular devotional style; photographs of Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox liturgies; cool black-and-white photos of Zen monks, and chapters on Judaism and Islam as well. I always read far ahead of my grade level and quickly graduated to the mostly-text books on the adult side of the library, on comparative religions, archaeology, and the ancient world.

As near as I can remember, if you’d asked me what those Greek, Egyptian, Hindu gods were doing now that everybody knew Jesus was The Real God, I would have said something like, “They’re retired now.” They weren’t in charge of everything any more, because Jesus, but they certainly existed. I don’t think I ever doubted that they existed. Maybe all those color photographs helped me to understand that all those other people actually took their religions seriously, even if they weren’t Protestant Christianity.

A chance mention somewhere, on someone’s blog, most likely, led me to look up meanings for the placement of Jupiter in my natal chart, in the sign of Gemini. I actually suffered the old cliche of a sinking stomach as I read that Jupiter in Gemini can be a religious dilettante, attracted by everything, always hungry for new information, but not very likely to settle down with one particular path or practice.

I thought about this, and prayed about it, and finally said to myself, I’ve just turned forty-eight. I could live another fifty years or more. Instead of trying to fight this trait in myself, how about turning a bug into a feature? How about just going with the flow and see where it goes?

So tonight the triptych I made for Antinous, my statues of Buddha and Isis, my stones and feathers, rocks and shells, joined my icons of Christ, the Virgin of Tenderness, and the Trinity on my mantel and on the table below. My best photo of my grandmother is there, along with icons of Julian of Norwich, my beloved spiritual mother these thirty years, and Perpetua and Felicity, early Roman Christian martyrs whom I venerate during Lent. Incense is burning and tea lights are lit, offerings to the holy powers. Tomorrow I will go to church, sing Lenten hymns, hear the Word preached, and receive the body and blood of Jesus at his table where all are welcome. Tonight, I feel calm. In the midst of this topsy-turvy time of warmth and cold, longer days, Lent over here and Purim over there, Ostara and Holi and at last the crocuses are opening, the birds are singing, I finally feel calm.

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“The holidays are upon us,” I keep hearing, meaning Thanksgiving-and-Christmas, the season of spending large amounts of money on friends and family to prove our love for them and eating large amounts of food which we will be called upon to ritually repent in January.

“The holidays” are upon us, if I believe the advertising I see and hear, the jolly red-and-white covers of December issues of magazines that I check in at work, splashed with candy canes and cake recipes, and we are expected to rejoice. As for me, I’m always grumpy and refractory, this time of year. It’s still November and I’m thinking about the dead–my Aunt Margaret, whose birthday was yesterday; my father-in-law, whom I ought to pray to and for more often; my mother, dead 26 years on the 22d, who still in many ways haunts my life.

And I’m thinking about Advent, about apocalypse stories, about the Rapture and the great zombie takeover and what the Mayans did or did not predict. Just for the record, I don’t think they or anyone else predicted the End of the World on 21 December 2012. I definitely don’t think Jesus is coming at any minute to waft away all the True Believers and punish the rest of us with gruesome special effects. As for the zombies, well, we are the zombies, aren’t we? Mindless consumers who will eat everything in sight until there is nothing left, and we eat one another, and die off.

Well.

But it might just be the late-afternoon, early winter light making me feel this way, right at the moment. Remembering the beloved dead is not necessarily a sad thing. It’s remembering the not-so-beloved dead, like my mother and our problematic relationship, that is hard. And for an introvert like myself, the over-cultural exhortations to cook, eat, buy presents, spend money, drink egg nog, ho ho ho, ha ha ha, always make me want to lock myself in a dim room and listen to austere Gregorian chant until it all goes away. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal with family, or to exchanging gifts with those I love. It just means I want to do so in my time, not at the corporate world’s demand.

Long-term readers of this blog (if there are any–one or two) are no doubt used to my vacillating between religious labels: Am I a Druid, an Anglican, a Buddhist, or something else? Is there anything I haven’t tried and found wanting? Maybe I, myself, have been tried and found wanting, by the gods or the egregores of a tradition or at least by my readers. I was raised an Episcopalian, and I will probably always be able to quote the Prayerbook and sing hymns from the Hymnal 1940 with gusto. But the Christian tradition that in large measure formed my spirituality has done a lot in the past ten years or so to kill my love and admiration for it. Granted, it’s been helped along by the atrocities of a number of other Christian traditions–the Roman Catholic hierarchy protecting its pedophile priests, the right-wing Evangelical Protestants in the U.S. doing their best to control female sexuality and reproduction throughout the population–but I cannot hold the Anglican Communion blameless any more.

Nor can I ignore the fact that I just don’t believe any more. I don’t believe or accept many points of Christian doctrine, as a description of reality. I don’t believe in, trust, have any significant relationship with Jesus. Jesus makes most sense to me now as a buddha or bodhisattva, a fully enlightened human being, a teacher of wisdom and compassion who, like Amitabha or Padmasambhava, has his own pure land, the heaven he offers his followers.

I have failed to find a place in Druidry, or to make a druidry for myself. Nobody can say that I haven’t tried, but Druidry has been for me a very beautiful, very attractive garment, in all my favorite colors, that just Does. Not. Fit, no matter how much I squirm or fuss. It is a cloak I cannot wear, a house I cannot live in, no matter how much I like and admire those who can wear the druid cloak and live in the druid grove.

Buddhism continues to provide me with invaluable perspective on managing my mind, on the purpose of spiritual work, on ethical questions, on how the scattered branches of the Western tradition, like the scattered limbs of Osiris, might fit together again into a living whole. Yet it remains a school of practice that is not for me, perhaps because of its cultural contexts, perhaps for more individual reasons. I’m not certain I agree with Dion Fortune‘s dictum that Western people must follow Western paths, but it does seem to me that Westerners who genuinely “convert” to Buddhism, for lack of a better word than “convert”, often come from a background in which there was no significant religious commitment, a secular Jewishness, for example, or a twice-a-year mainstream Protestantism, not from deeply committed practice in a Western tradition.

So where does that leave me? Actually, despite my gloomy start to this entry, I am not left alone in the cold, dark winter night of an atheistic existence. (Getting dark where I am, at the moment, but not terribly cold or wintry.) I still have my training in the New Hermetics, otherwise known as That Thing I Tried And I Finished The Whole Course And It Worked Really Well For Me. I also have, unexpectedly, a new devotion–to Antinous, the Bithynian Boy, the beloved of the Roman Emperor Hadrian who was deified, in accordance with ancient Egyptian tradition, when he drowned in the Nile.

There are a lot of interesting connections between Antinous, Hermetic magic, and stuff in my life, which I think I should save for another post. As I contemplate that, I’ll also be contemplating whether to change the name of this blog, or start a new one, or just muddle on with the name recognition of “Confessions of an Urban Druid” while I blog about magic, Antinous, and my media intake. Cheers.

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When I was an English major in college (which I’m sure surprises nobody), I had a teacher who started every semester, every course, by going through a list of the literary terminology she expected to use and to hear used and giving definitions for all the terms. Her list ranged from things as basic as “image”, “simile”, and “metaphor” to more abstruse terms such as “chiasmus” and “zeugma”. (I can still remember the textbook example of a zeugma: “He has gone to the country to cultivate matrimony and his garden.”)

One of the more useful things I learned from Mrs. A. in college (I don’t get to sling around the word “zeugma” nearly as often as I’d like) was the idea of the controlling metaphor. The controlling metaphor is an implied comparison that runs through and organizes an entire poem or other work. The controlling metaphor of the first three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is simply, “High school is hell”. The twist is that the metaphor is literally, factually true. Sunnydale’s high school sits upon a hellmouth, and everything that Buffy and her friends ever say about how their teenage problems are The End of the World is extremely possible.

So one of my random thoughts in the shower recently was controlling metaphors for religions.

Christianity is a faith. Originally, that meant faith in the sense of trust, trust in Jesus and in the God he called Father. Nowadays, faith as trust in a person or deity has been almost entirely replaced by faith as belief in or assent to a set of propositions. “I believe in God, the Father Almighty” could be translated as “Somebody told me about the Big G, and I decided to go along with the idea.” The predominance of Christianity in the world has made “faith” a default metaphor for religion in Christian eyes.

Buddhism, as it is developing in the West, is a practice. Whether they are Zen or Tibetan Buddhists, Nichiren or Pure Land, Western Buddhists want to do more than show up at temple occasionally and put money in the hands of the experts, the way their grandparents did for church or synagogue. They want a religion which gives them something practical to do on a daily basis, something they can rely on in good times and bad.

Islam has submission built into its very name. I don’t know a lot about the African traditional religions, but the concept of house keeps coming up in what I read of them–the religion, the temple, the worshipper, the world being a house for the spirit beings. Many northern or heathen traditions use the word troth; the worshipper is true and loyal to the gods, the gods and goddesses are true and loyal to the worshipper.

What then is Druidry? Druidry is a path. That’s the word I keep coming back to myself. Path as a metaphor for spirituality, religious practice, school of magic is very common, very widespread right now, but when I think of Druidry, I think very specifically, visually, of a path that leads away from the village, the human settlement, the domain of culture, and into the forest, the domain of nature, where deities and spirits and larger truths can be encountered. And then, it leads back, to the village. The druid’s grove is the liminal place between the two, a human space shaped out of the forest, a place where nature and culture meet.

So Druidry is my path, not in the sense that it is my chosen or appointed route from Point A (ordinary me, unenlightened me, whatever) to Point B (super extraordinary me, enlightened me, no more problems me), but in the sense that it is my way through the world, my way from community to solitude and back again, my way from This World to the Other World and back again, and that it is always a path which takes me there and brings me, like Bilbo the hobbit, back again.

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I was a member of the Ancient Order of Druids in America for over five years. I attained the First Degree of three. I sweated and procrastinated and flailed a long time, wondering why I couldn’t get myself organized to study for Second Degree. I am no longer a member of the Order.

I have been a member of Ar nDraoicht Fein for a year three or four different times. I procrastinated and flailed some more, wondering why I never got my feet on the street and went to one of their High Day rituals, seeing as they had a permanent grove location not far off a convenient bus route. I’m not a member of ADF any more.

I’ve wanted for two decades to join the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids, but joining means subscribing to their correspondence course, and I’ve always been put off by the cost.

I have books I treasure by members of AODA, ADF, and OBOD. My druid practice looks like the unlikely offspring of AODA and ADF as reared in the forest like Percival by OBOD. I am grateful for all that I have learned from these disparate organizations and their traditions. But I practice alone.

Maybe that was the idea all along. Maybe I should have known. Ever since I discovered Julian of Norwich in my late teens, I’ve dreamt of the solitary religious life. I have often thought that if I hadn’t met my husband at the right time, I might have become a nun, or that if he died suddenly, I might enter celibate religious life rather than looking for another spouse.

I’m not so sure about that any more, but I am finally sure of this: I am a druid, and I am a solitary. I do best practicing alone, following my own path through the forest. Perhaps others will come behind me and use the path that I have cleared; if not, I know that when I return from my grove to the town, the fruits of my practice will be the gifts I have to give the world.

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I’ve been reading a lot of Aidan Kelly lately, ever since Jason at The Wild Hunt linked to a post on Aidan’s recently inaugurated blog. I’ve read every post on the blog; in addition, I’ve read Hippie Commie Beatnik Witches, his book on the formationof the NROOGD and his short novel Goddess Murder, in which he does what Dan Brown was trying to do in his most famous work, only better.

In HCBW, he records some of a group conversation amongst himself and the other people most closely involved in researching and writing ritual for the group. In this discussion the group talks about “having an intuitive sense of what our pattern is, or we couldn’t have looked at all the bits and pieces of traditional information and figured out which ones would fit into a pattern for us and which ones wouldn’t.”

This rang a bell with me, a bell which chimed again when in a recent blog post Aidan discussed  the intellectual discipline which advancement in the Craft requires and said, “You must read Murray and Graves and Gardner, for starters, as theology, not history.”

This work, the seeking that Aidan describes the NROOGD doing as a group in its fledgling years, the picking up of pieces from a pattern, the fragments of a jigsaw puzzle, the shards of a vase, is the work I am doing right now. It’s the work of creating a system of philosophy and practice, a system which will probably only ever be mine and mine alone, but which will be tested by experience and have enough internal consistency and practicality to be shared with other people. This system need not have a name, except “what Mam Adar does”. It will include magic and devotion and creative work; it will owe something to Wicca, Druidry, Buddhism, Feri, Northern traditions, hermetic magic, and the Prayerbook and Hymnal that taught me what religion and liturgy should look like and sound like.

One way that I am doing this work is by exploring the practices of one of R.J. Stewart’s more recent books, The Spirit Cord. The book teaches methods of working with one of the simplest of all magical tools: the Cord. I braided three strands of hemp thread together, good tough vividly dyed thread bought at my local bead shop, knotted off the ends, dripped a bit of beeswax on the knots, and I was ready. I have not so far done much formal sit-down work, except for the three rounds of three different dedications which Stewart prescribes as preliminary to the work, but as I have carried it on my person and slept with it under my pillow, my dreams have strengthened, my daily practices have stabilized, and I’ve begun to see, feel, and sense (to borrow one of Stewart’s favorite phrases) the pattern which belongs to me and into which my pieces fit.

The joyful part is that things are working, things are fermenting. The frustrating part is that I was clued in to this pattern some twenty years ago, and I got distracted from it, repeatedly, by a lot of different things. Stewart’s books are part of the pattern, and so are the works of John and Caitlin Matthews; the Druid Revival is part of it, but so is pre-Christian Celtic religion; Wicca has some pieces of it alongside Druidry, Buddhism has some pieces alongside Christianity (and Buddhism has been invaluable in giving me a picture of what an intact, complete religious/magical system looks like and how it works).

Is that eclecticism? is it syncretism? I don’t know and I actually don’t care. What I do care about is following the thread of this pattern, like Theseus in the labyrinth, and not getting distracted again, whether by my own fears and doubts, or by other people’s critiques of what I’m doing. The five feet and four inches of my slender hand-braided cord are my vow not to get distracted or derailed again.

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For as long as I’ve been able to read, I’ve loved to read about religion. Whether it was my own religion, Protestant (Episcopal) Christianity, or the more exotic forms of Christianity in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, or other religions entirely, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, it was all interesting. I started with picture-heavy tomes on Religions of the World, went on to children’s retellings of Greek and Norse myths, and branched out into adult books on archaeology, mythology, and comparative religion. For most of my life (I could already read when I entered kindergarten), religion has been for me one of the most fascinating things in the world.

When I discovered The Spiral Dance at thirteen, the same year it was published, what I discovered was not just that some people believed in a Goddess, or The Goddess, or gods and goddesses. I discovered that people like me believed in them, worshipped them, took them seriously, right now today. People who were Americans, who were brought up as White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, who weren’t ethnic or exotic or distant from in time or space. People like me.

As soon as I finished the book, I was quite certain I was actually a Witch, or at least a Pagan, and that I always would be. My observance took the form of writing a lot of bad poetry about spring and fall and my two favorite deities, Athena and Dionysus. Well, I was only thirteen. Then when I was sixteen, my grandmother died, after no illness and a massive heart attack and on my birthday, and within two years, I was back at my little Episcopal church, because there was a new priest there and absolutely no community, no support, in my solitary poetry-writing paganism.

In the last twenty years, I have identified variously as a Neopagan, an Anglican, a Druid, a Magician, and a Buddhist. I have been a member of two different druid organizations, trained in a Hermetic magical system, flirted with Greco-Egyptian syncretism, and taken refuge and bodhisattva vows. I have kept and abandoned and restarted this blog multiple times. I have read not only on Druidry, magic and occultism, and Tibetan Buddhism, but on Zen, Santeria, Wicca, Feri, Reclaiming, Asatru and the Northern Tradition, and Thelema.

In that same period of time, I have been happily monogamously married to one man, my husband, my best friend, my lover. Being sexually and emotional faithful, being true to the traditional Christian wedding vows we made, has not been difficult or challenging in the slightest. Admiring beautiful people and swooning over beautiful, talented actors has not interfered with my commitment to one person and our life together.

A lot of people find long-term sexual/romantic commitment difficult, even impossible. They cheat on spouses, adopt serial monogamy, or try the path of polyamory. Yet they might not have a problem adopting one spiritual path, one system of practice, and sticking to it. I know people who have been Wiccan or Heathen or Buddhist for decades, as contentedly as I have been married. If someone asked me for relationship advice, as somebody with a successful marriage, I would have no hesitation in giving it. But if someone asked me for spiritual advice, well, I have to admit, finally, that I remain in many ways a beginner, because I have never stayed the course and gone deep with anything.

Right now I’m reading Dedicant: A Witch’s Circle of Fire by Thuri Calafia. In the introduction, she describes her system of study in the Craft as a circle of five stages corresponding to the elements: Seeker (Air), Dedicant (Fire), Initiate (Water), Adept (Earth), and Master (Spirit). The Initiate, Adept, and Master stages correspond to the First, Second, and Third Degrees of coven-based Craft. Here is how Calafia describes the Dedicant:

The Dedicant becomes very passionate and fired up about this religion, and begins by learning to use his will as he learns about himself and the Craft.

And the Initiate:

The Initiate (in traditional Wicca, the first-degree) falls in love in a whole new way with her religion as she comes to understand how deep she must go to truly know and love herself and her gods.

Somehow, I have never crossed the threshold from the enthusiasm of the Dedicant to the commitment of the Initiate. I’ve gotten engaged a lot of times but never made it to the altar.

Why is it that a sexual, relationship commitment has been easy for me to make and maintain, but a spiritual commitment nearly impossible? Why does the grass always look greener to me in somebody else’s circle? I don’t have an answer, but this is a question I am going to be exploring for a while.

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Lent began on Wednesday the 22d. I said the Daily Office but did not attend any services. (I was amused and appalled that a local Episcopal church, my own denomination, described their service as “Ashing & Holy Communion”. I thought the heirs of Cranmer and Hooker could do better than that.) Will I engage in acts of fasting and self-denial? Probably not, although I may say the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross privately. Years ago I read in a Roman Catholic publication that the Lenten fast grew out of the conditions of pre-industrial living: Before factory farming and refrigeration, the winter stores of food that made the Yuletide so jolly were nearly exhausted by February, and new foods were not yet available. Beginning in early February (Imbolc/Candlemas), milk, butter, and cheese became available thanks to the birth of lambs; as the days got longer, chickens began to lay again. (Perhaps that’s why eggs are associated with the Spring Equinox–chickens would be laying reliably by then, if not sooner.)

Am I a Christian? I don’t know. I believe that Jesus was an incarnation of divinity and a great teacher, perhaps the most important teacher of the Western traditions. I don’t think he was the sole embodiment of divinity, but rather a model for what all human persons are capable of. I could say I believe in him, but I don’t really have much of a relationship with him. I have much more of a relationship with Julian of Norwich, whose writings I have studied in more depth and with more devotion than I have given any book of the Christian Scriptures.

Am I a Pagan, then? Again, I don’t know. I think many gods exist; I think many spirits or wights, beings neither human nor divine, angel nor devil, exist. I think some of them are benevolently interested in humankind, a few are actively hostile to us, and many are basically indifferent. But I don’t have much of a relationship with any non-Christian deity, either. I have gained strength and benefit from the practice of Tara and Medicine Buddha in Tibetan Buddhist contexts. I definitely have a relationship with birds, all birds, not just my own companions; anywhere I go, birds seem to recognize me, to know that I am a safe human, to come near to me. On the other hand, I have actually tried to cultivate relationships with some Celtic deities who seemed interested in me, and that situation seems to have resulted in FAIL all round.

Am I a Buddhist? No, as much as I admire Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, as much as I have learned from studying and practicing it. Perhaps Dion Fortune and her successors were right in saying Eastern methods are not for Western methods. Perhaps I just had too many years of Western religion and magic behind me, too many patterns formed, before I discovered Buddhism; I might be a thorough-going Buddhist if I’d made contact with it in my early twenties.

Am I a Druid, even? Probably not. I’m feeling like I’ve made repeated efforts, alone and as part of a group, to connect with Druidry, with the traditions of Arthur and Merlin and Taliesin, with faery lore, with bardic lore, with the Druid Revival and with more Reconstructionist systems, all to no avail. I’ve been banging my head against a wall, or possibly knocking at a door that just won’t open, and I’m exhausted by it. I want a holiday from all things Druidic and Celtic and Arthurian, except possibly Celtic music and episodes of the BBC’s Merlin.

What am I? I’m a married woman; a writer; a library paraprofessional; a singer, or former singer, specifically a chorister; and… a magician? a mage? an Adept of the New Hermetics? I trained with Jason Augustus Newcomb in the original New Hermetics course, in 2005-2006, and have completed all levels through Advanced Adept (equivalent to the Golden Dawn’s Adeptus Major). I have the certificates and the Rose Cross lamen to prove it. And for the last year, I’ve been trying to get my act together and undertake Jason’s revised version of the course.

I think about saying, “I’m a Hermeticist… I’m a Hermetic magician…” and the words just don’t want to come out of my mouth. I think about saying, “I’m a magician–” and my brain adds, “–not a priestess!” and follows it up with Bones McCoy growling, “I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer!” (I believe that episode, “Devil in the Dark“, was the first appearance of the Great McCoy Disclaimer, which has since been echoed by every other Starfleet doctor.)

Here are a few things I’m certain of:

  • I’m interested in religious and magical traditions and what I can learn from them, even if I never identify with or practice them. This has been true of me since I was a child and read the grown-up books on comparative religion.
  • The New Hermetics has worked better for me as a spiritual practice than pretty much anything else I’ve ever tried.
  • I am convinced of the rightness of the Mahayana Buddhist approach: To seek the fullest possible personal freedom and self-development in order to help other beings achieve the same thing. I cannot be genuinely free and genuinely happy while others are trapped and miserable; helping others is an essential part of my own fulfillment. Helping others may not look like anything more than doing my library job, keeping this blog, and helping individuals as opportunity arises, but it is still part of the Great Work.

So I’m thinking of changing the name of this blog to reflect… whatever I’ve changed into.

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