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Posts Tagged ‘Seasons’

On my way to work this morning, I saw buds on the tulip magnolia trees by the Episcopal church. It’s a funny thing: The tulip magnolia buds in November, and the fuzzy buds endure the whole of winter, rain snow sleet and hail, before they open in April. When they bloom, the flowers are on the trees for two, maybe three weeks, at most, if the weather is perfect. The buds wait all winter for their two weeks of glory. I wait with them because I know how splendid it will be.

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*opens the windows, dusts off the place, looks around*

Happy equinox, autumn, harvest, Alban Elued, Mabon, Sukkoth, and what have you.

Looks like I’ll be moving back in here for a while.

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See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
(I John 3:1-3)

I went to Mass yesterday for the first time in months, for a number of reasons. First, so that we could take my mother-in-law to brunch afterward; it was her birthday. Second, so I could be present for the baptism of a friend’s child. And third, so I could hear the choir sing Tomas Luis da Victoria’s “O Quam Gloriosum” Mass and motet, and William Harris’s setting of “Holy Is The True Light”, which I quoted yesterday.

During the sermon I pulled out my journal and pen. I have heard many sermons over the years; few preachers can say anything which I haven’t already heard, and to them, I will listen, but in the meantime, it never hurts to think about the readings for oneself. As always, my attention was caught by the lines from John’s first letter that were read as the Epistle of the day.

We are God’s children now; we don’t know yet what we will be, but we will become like Christ when he reveals himself. How? why? We will become as he is because we will see him as he is.

This is mysticism, this is contemplation, this is theosis. Who are the saints? They are those who have realized that they are to become as gods, not on their own merit, not by grasping like Adam and Eve, but by letting the light of Christ their God shine through them. “Turn to him and be radiant, and let not your faces be ashamed,” as Psalm 34 says, as the Prayerbook Office for the day assigns to Evening Prayer.

Not grasping, not clinging, but emptying oneself to be filled by the Christ nature. Not grasping, not clinging, uncovering the obscurations to discover the radiant Buddha nature.

Holy is the true light.

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Holy is the True Light, and passing wonderful,
lending radiance to them that endured in the heat of the conflict,
from Christ they inherit a home of unfading splendour,
wherein they rejoice with gladness evermore.
Alleluia!
from the Salisbury Diurnal by GH Palmer

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I may try to ignore it, but I feel the energies shifting around me.  It hasn’t really been summer for weeks.  We had three weeks of our worst heat and humidity at the beginning of August, after a comparatively mild summer; when it broke, driven away by tropical storms drifting up the Atlantic coast, I began to see feathers on the sidewalks, the first sign of fall.  Pigeons, sparrows, mourning doves, mockers, they’re all finished their breeding season and had begun to moult.  My own companion parrots have been cranky for weeks as they moult along with their outdoors neighbors.

Today is wind and rain and chill.  Temperatures in the low sixties feel chilly when it’s raining and the wind is pushing the wet underneath your umbrella, into the recesses of your hood.  Walking under the pin oaks near the swim and tennis club, I saw red-bronze leaves blown down and slicked to the ground next to tumbled acorns.  The children have returned to school, the birds are moulting, leaves are turning red, and Mercury dances backward across the sky for the last time this calendar year:  It’s autumn.  I celebrated the harvest last weekend by a trip to the state fair, where I ate locally produced food, saw local livestock compete, admired local 4H projects, and gazed rapturously on a tamed turkey vulture.

It’s autumn.  A few weeks ago, when it was still summer, the founding lama of my Buddhist sangha came to town to give teachings.  In addition to leading a lot of meditation sessions, many of them on the back porch of a member’s house while dogs yapped, bugs sang, and neighbors partied, he taught on the practice of Green Tara and gave the bodhisattva vows.  I formally took the vow to seek enlightenment in order to help all sentient beings.

I have said that same vow every time I sat down to practice with my sangha.  I have said it repeatedly in private meditation.  I made a vow very similar in spirit when I reached adeptship in the New Hermetics.  The difference, when I took the vow in August, was that I made it as a Buddhist, witnessed by a teacher of my tradition and by fellow members of that tradition.  I made it as a significant commitment to the Mahayana path.

I still rather squirm at identifying myself as a Buddhist.  I have consciously refrained, for some time now, from identifying myself as a Druid.  But I have no qualms whatever about identifying myself as a Mahayanist, as someone who believes in working on the self for the welfare of all.  Reginald Ray, whose teacher was the great Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, puts it best when he says simply (in his teachings on Buddhist Tantra), “You can’t pursue a spiritual path just for yourself. You really can’t.  It doesn’t work.”

That is the core of what I believe and seek to practice.  I find it most clearly explicated in the teachings of the Buddha; I also find it in the teachings of Jesus, if not always in the Church’s teachings *about* Jesus.  I find it buried in the teachings of the Western magical traditions; I see it coming to the surface in various traditions of Neopaganism.  I think I had better start looking for it in the traditions of Druidry, and bringing it there if I cannot find it… because the wind is changing, the equinox is approaching, and it appears I am still a Druid, somehow.

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There is a large chessboard laid out on the floor in the central court of the library where I work. The chess pieces are three or four feet high.  Two men are playing a game, while a couple of others stand watching.  I think this is for National Library Week.
I keep reading on our local weather blog that much of the state is in borderline drought conditions.  It seems to me, however, like we have had constant rain for weeks, or at least, constant cloud cover and occasional drizzle.  My neighborhood is bursting with daffodils and hyacinths, flowering pear, ornamental cherries in bloom, and fresh green grass; it doesn’t look or feel like drought conditions to me, but I’m no expert, I only go by what I see and smell and feel.
The smell of a single pot of hyacinths fills our shrine room and overwhelms all but the richest of incense.
I’ve been hiding in my virtual hermit shack for a while, experimenting with other blogging sites and other names.  But I find myself back here, even if I’m no longer sure what I’m confessing, or that “druid” is a right name for my spiritual practice.  Yesterday was the first anniversary of my Taking Refuge as a Buddhist, with a lama of the Drikung Kagyu tradition.  In that year I’ve learned I can no more be a Good Little Buddhist than I managed to be a Good Little Anglican.  I’ve also learned that I’m still an Anglican, to the extent that I still have an Anglican sensibility and a relationship to the tradition, fragile and imperiled as it is, and that I am and will continue to be a Buddhist.  I’m also a magician, a pagan, and possibly even a witch.  Oh yes, and a druid–a member in good standing, if not a very active one, of a Revival Druid order.
Buddhism, you see, gave me the key to understanding the spiritual path, what it’s for, what it’s all about.  It gave me The View (to use the Buddhist term–I don’t mean the ladies’ talk show!) from which to look at my experiences of religion, magic, and spirituality and see them as a whole.  As Isis reassembled the scattered pieces of Osiris and made him whole, so Buddhism, for me, has reassembled the scattered pieces of Western Dharma, in Christianity, paganism, Gnosticism, and magic, and made them come to life–even if, like Isis, there might be a piece here and there I have to create for myself.
So right now I’m reading about Buddhism, still, mostly from Zen abbot John Daido Loori, rebuilding a New Hermetics practice, and starting to work with teachings from Thorn Coyle, whom I had the privilege of meeting and hearing speak last Friday night (which deserves its own post).  And watching things bloom, hearing mourning doves call, wondering about that dog who seems to be always in the yard and never indoors, and, at the moment, about to have lunch.  You’ll hear more from the hermit shack later.

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