The age of the priest and the spiritual follower is nearing its end; we are entering the age of the magician, the alchemist, the scientist. But this is not the crude, mechanical scientist of the early Enlightenment; rather it is the more refined spiritual scientist, working on an almost mystical and esoteric level where philosophy/religion and science meet.
In astrological terms, we have spent the last 2,000 years or so learning to be fish, following religious (or political) leaders, immersing ourselves in whichever teachings carry us along, unaware of any other world but the waters in which we swim, unthinkingly switching directions according to the hopes, fears and demands of the tribe, nation or society we find ourselves in.
Now, from being immersed in water, we learn to become the water carriers, the directors of our streams of consciousness, of natural processes, of spiritual awakening. Emerging from the womb waters of the Piscean age, we are born into the empowering Aquarian world of independence, interdependence and personal responsibility - we start to grow up, to shape our own destiny.
While the fish accepts the world around it as all there is and "goes with the flow", the magician, carrying the waters of consciousness within, steps out of the ocean and channels the flow to create the world s/he experiences - and s/he knows that the place you do that is in the mind. The mind is the crucible in which we transform the base materials of everyday life into the gold of spiritual awakening. The fish learned to swim in universal consciousness; the water carrier learns that universal consciousness also swims in him/her. As above, so below. In the sub-atomic can universal patterns be found. As we think, so we become.
And what is the magician's secret - the truth s/he knows that leaves others spellbound? That everything is illusion. Nothing is intrinsically permanent or solid in its own right. Everything is a mental construction wrapped around collections of parts embodying emptiness. An illusion which we spend most of our lives trying in vain to grasp and control. The world is our mental processes made manifest. Heal the way we think, personally and collectively, and we heal the world. The medicine is simple, but in order for it to work we have to want to be well. And that means waking up from the dream, seeing the illusion for what it is, having a good laugh at ourselves, and taking responsibility for our own spiritual development. Others can guide us, but the steps must be our own.
So, why have I called this blog Druid Dharma?
As I have said in earlier blogs, labels must be used with great caution, but sometimes they are necessary in order to communicate. After all, most of language is naming things.
And it is in Druidry and Buddhism that I have so far found philosophies which are both ancient and new, rooted deep in the past while branching out into the sky and reaching for the stars. They respect and honour what has gone before but are not slaves to it; they are always growing, creating and re-creating, in touch with earth and the here and now in a way that makes each moment sacred. They are environmentally, scientifically and psychologically/spiritually sound; and open-minded, open-hearted and all-embracing, while holding true to a core of compassion and respect for all life.
The Awen of Druidry is the sound of creation arising from the cauldron of emptiness - the awakened mind of a Buddha. Or, mythologically speaking, from Ceridwen's womb is the song of creation born, and reborn, over and over again.
We are all of us expressions of that creativity; we are also all works in progress, tiny fleeting arrangements of stardust in a cosmos which is incomprehensibly, awe-inspiringly huge, creating and re-creating itself (and us along with it) into infinity.
It is the slightly anarchic nature of modern Druidry along with the Buddha's wish that we should try out his ideas for ourselves rather than just have blind faith which are, for me, among their attractions. These encourage personal responsibility, creativity and direct spirituality. Although in both Druidry and Buddhism there are highly-trained and experienced teachers from whom we can seek guidance, ultimately we are our own teachers.
This is the lesson of the new spirituality: we are no longer the followers but the creators of our own spiritual destiny. We have completed our schooling and are being asked now to step our inner development up a gear, to be more like magician's apprentices starting to use the skills we have been taught, for the benefit of all. Just as children have many things done for them and must learn to stand on their own two feet and to think for themselves as they grow into adults, so must we now grow into our spiritual adulthood, have the courage to show compassion and to live well for the good of all.
It is our duty as aspiring magicians to ensure that science (physical/psychological/spiritual) is a force for good in the world, that it respects life in all its forms and helps humanity fulfil its role (and each human fulfil their role) as an expression of universal consciousness.
It is through my ever-evolving practice and contemplation of modern Druidry and Buddhism that I have experienced something closest to what Albert Einstein called a "cosmic religion" - scientifically and psychologically sound, rooted in experiment and direct and shared experience, naturally compassionate, environmentally responsible and sustainable, open to creativity and new ideas, always evolving, and full of wonder at the magic of the universe and the minds that experience and create it. And able to see through the self-important illusion of our apparent solidity to the reality that we are both smaller and bigger than we can possibly imagine.
The water of love is in our hands - the more we pour into the universe, the more it pours into us.