Master of Druidism Essay
By Rev. Kevin John Gilhooly
The Druids were an ancient people, although there was a more modern version. The modern ones tended to converge on Stonehenge from time to time. That was about all I knew about Druidism when I began this course.
I have always been interested in a multitude of belief systems – I was raised Roman Catholic and went to Catholic schools, I attended Buddhist services after college, and I’ve looked at other religions, as well. It has not been a quest to find the “right” or “only” solution, but rather to find ideas that will help me along my spiritual journey.
I began my study of the Druids with very little preconceptions. I chose the course since my family is originally from Ireland and because it was a belief system born of simpler times, which I think would be one possible solution to some of the issues of today. (This was mentioned in the course, in fact, so I was not alone in this thought.) Other than that, I was a blank slate.
I appreciated learning that the Druids were a society more than a religion. There are some societies (AA comes to mind) which often bind their members much more closely than proper religions do.
It is unfortunate that it was an oral tradition, since much of the specifics are then recorded for posterity by those outside the society. Nonetheless, there are records which are quoted throughout the course.
Since it was an oral tradition, there was a specific portion of society (the Bards) dedicated to continuing the tradition and handing it down. There were also Ovates, who were the healers and the Druids, who were performed the rituals and were teachers. It sounds like the caste system was not what we would consider a caste today with different levels in a hierarchy but rather a progression of learning.
Druidism taught its members to honor life – in all its forms. This core belief could help people to realize that all their actions ripple throughout the Earth – affecting not just themselves, but people and other beings around them. If you can accept this core belief, then you can start to realize your place within the Earth and how what you choose has effected beyond just those entities directly around you.
The interesting aspect of this to me was that it is a belief that will help one to do right without the requirement of a Supreme Being who is watching and “grading” what you do. There is no real need for someone watching over you to see if you behave – you can determine your correct path by how it affects the Earth around you.
Like their ethical code, the Druidic holidays are also tied to the Earth. Their calendar is based on the seasons, which would be much more important to acknowledge in an agrarian culture, and also again grounds the people into the rhythms of the Earth. It is interesting to note that theirs was a solar calendar, rather than a lunar one.
I was glad to learn that there are actually practicing Druids today. While it may not be accepted widely, I do believe it has concepts that should be acknowledged and studied, since other beliefs can gloss over them.
It is unfortunate that some of the aspects of the Druidic system (magic, divination) are held to ridicule by those in the mainstream, which then causes them to dismiss the tradition wholesale. While part of the tradition, I don’t believe focusing on those aspects give a true picture of the system and how it can help modern people survive in a modern world. I also believe that the explanations of magic in the course would lead many to believe that magic is around us.
As the world becomes more automated and mechanized, perhaps all of us should take a moment and reflect on the traditions of the Druids, who were connected to the earth and to each other.
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1. Explain how I agree/disagree with the Course’s view on forgiveness: I agree with the Course’s view on forgiveness. I had never thought about the “forgiveness of destruction”, however, in my life and my interactions with others I see how the ego keeps us stuck. I know that when I become angry or hurt my ego puts my thoughts on a “hamster wheel” and the negativity goes around and around. I try to jump off the wheel only to find myself repeatedly jumping back on. Each time I jump back on I find justifications for why I feel/think the way I do. It is a relief to know that it is not myself that forgives but God that forgives through intercession of the Holy Spirit. I agree that I worry and blame myself at times for my flaws and at other times my ego inflates my “self-esteem” and furthers my justification for whatever I have done.
Once I justify what I have done related to perceived wrongs I am inclined to do those things again because it “is okay for me to act this way” but “it is not okay for the other to behave in this manner.” What a distraction! What separateness! Years ago I read many books written by an Avatar, Meher Baba. His explanation of life is that we “are all God in search of itself”. He taught that in the beginning God was everything and God was nothing and that life as an individual was created in order that God might know Itself in every way. Therefore, every experience was necessary. This philosophy taught that we need to let go of our mis-perceptions about who we are and to leave everything up to God. I think this week’s Course is underlining this. If we truly are God in search of Itself then it is God who forgives. It is God who lives through us. It is not about us it is about God.
2. Re-write one of my own prayers for forgiveness. “Lord, I have done it again. I have been angry and have lashed out at others. I feel badly about hurting others and yet feel justified at the same time. Please forgive my weaknesses and help me to refrain from hurting others again.” New prayer: “Holy Spirit, Please intercede on my behalf with the Father in granting forgiveness in this situation. Help me to re-member who I Am and to let go of negative evaluations of myself and others. Help me live in Love and Peace. Thank You. Amen.”
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I have enjoyed the Paganism course. As in the other courses I have taken, it was like someone was just reminding me of something I had forgotten. I did learn some new things. Those things just added depth to the knowledge that was already there. I am getting the same experience in some programming classes I am taking. It must be the right time for me to increase the depth of my knowledge.
The first thing that I learned was the Pagan Story of Creation. I have heard and read many different versions of creation from several different view points. This is the first time I had heard it as a love story. One thing it teaches is there is a balance of power. Ying without Yang, Male without Female, Dark without Light, is unbalanced. Another thing that the story teaches is that the greatest creations start in Chaos. If Chaos is guided it can create beautiful things. Left alone Chaos is just chaos.
It always amazes me that if you look at religions side by side, they all seem to have something in common. I have always wondered why people look for what is different rather than what it the same. A lot of religions have ceremonies around the moon phases. A lot have gods and goddesses. The gods and goddesses usually have multiple forms or faces. There are guides or helpers for good and demons or tempters for bad. I think it is a good thing to understand others. In understanding others, you learn more about yourself.
I enjoyed learning about the Pagan year and the using of the terms the Northern European Wheel and the Mediterranean Wheel. I had not heard these terms used with the Pagan year before and when I started doing research on the internet it was amazing how many these terms pulled up. It also helped to have the year broken down into the different festivals and moons. It is making it a lot easier to give things a name of what I am celebrating rather than just a description of why I am celebrating.
The thing that most impressed me was the listing of the tools and their uses in this course. I have seen each of things listed scattered among books and text but this was one of the better listing of tools in one place. I also appreciated the explanation on the Runes and their meaning. It helped explained why Rune reading is not my thing. Before I always thought it was something I was doing wrong.
I could go on and on about the things I enjoyed about the course. There were some things I do not see the same way as the course presented but that is the beauty of learning. As you take any course there are things that you agree with and things you disagree with. If you agree with everything that everyone says with you are a sheep and we can only hope that the person guiding you is a good person.
The last thing I would like to mention is that I am closer to saying I am a Universalist. I do believe that every religion has truth in it. Depending on how a person thinks is how a person believes. I have found no one religion or set of beliefs that encompasses all that I believe. I had a Tarot Reading about 10 years ago and something the lady said has stuck with me.
My question was will I ever find the religion for me. She said that I would never be happy if I chose one religion. That I was a Seeker and would find the truth in everything and that one day I would set up a place for others to teach and learn without adhering to one belief. I have found that reading coming back to me often. I am learning about all beliefs and one day I hope to open a place for all to come to worship and learn in whatever manner they wish.
I can’t wait to see what the next classes teach me.
Rev. Terri Greer
John Ozanich D.D.
“And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a and flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:17)
From the Old Testament, God describes to Moses the world into which He will deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. Dating the Exodus event has proven to be one of the most elusive mysteries of mankind. Current mainstream archaeology has surrendered to the notion that Exodus is a mythical story enamoring Jewish idealism and providing a creation mythos for the nation of Israel. Like all branches of science, however, opinion is in perpetual flux due to continuously incoming data and refinement in understanding. Two sliding scales particularly exacerbate the dating of Exodus with their continuous re-adjustment to newly discovered facts. One scale being the timeline associated with Egypt and the other being all timeline adjustments made regarding other cultures in the surrounding area. The Bible itself gives us no solid date reference on which we can rely in regards to the events of Exodus though some minor clues are given which have a bearing on dating. God’s description of the Canaanite area in which He promised to bring the freed Israelites in Exodus (3:17) describes a land in which Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites simultaneously occupied the region of present day Israel. This may be noteworthy due to the fact that the Amorite Dynasty is believed to have fallen by 1550 B.C. Numbers (21:13-27) tells of the Israelites putting the Amorites to the sword and overtaking several of their cities. This would seem to imply a continued strong dynastic presence and thus make the 15th century date relevant. Placing Exodus at or before the 15th century puts Exodus at the start of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt or before it.
Genesis 37:28 tells us, “Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And hey took Joseph to Egypt.”
Historical review of the going prices of slaves in and around Egypt at the time tells us that twenty pieces of silver for a slave would be the going rate around the 1500 BCE era. The price increased to 30 shekels around the last quarter of the second millennium BCE. This again places biblical reference any time during or prior to the 18th Egyptian Dynasty.
“And these are the names of he sons of Israel, who to Egypt.” (Exodus 1:1).
The Hebrew name for Egypt is Mitzrayim. The name is unusual because the –yim suffix is plural. Mitzar would be the singular form of the name. Around the 18th Dynasty of Egypt and the Hyksos occupation of Lower Egypt, the Egyptians themselves referred to Egypt as a plural, Tawy, due to the divided kingdom.
“And the Egyptians made the people of Israel serve with rigor. And they made their lives bitter with hard slavery, in mortar, and in brick, and in all kinds of service in the field; all their service, which they made them serve, was with rigor.” (Exodus 1;13-14)
Consensus among scholars is that there was no slave conscription before the 18th Egyptian Dynasty. No records exist of any such action. Prior to the 18th Dynasty, slaves were captured or purchased for domestic use. Forcing Israelites to serve as brick makers appears to have occurred uniquely around the 18th Dynasty.
The primary biblical clue cited for the dating of Exodus comes from Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.” Archaeological evidence places the construction of the Temple of Solomon at around 960 BCE. Back dating this by 480 years gives us an approximate year of Exodus around 1440 BCE – still within Egypt’s 18th Dynasty.
The most solid archaeological evidence we have in respect to dating is the discovery of the Merneptah Stele. It contains the earliest known Egyptian reference to the people of a place called Israel. The stele commemorates the victory of Pharaoh Merneptah (1213 – 1203 BC) over Libu and Meshwesh Libyans and their sea allies. The last two lines of the stele make comment that prior to defeating the Libyans, Merneptah also defeated Ashkelon, Gezer, Yanoam and Israel. The stele itself has been dated to around 1209 BCE. Thus, the nation of Israel was presumably firmly established by that time.
Frustratingly, Egyptian records offer no help. Thus far, no record found offers a comparative storyline to the Israelite claims of Exodus though it is believed that this is not surprising since it would be highly unusual for Egypt to record the defeat of a pharaoh as potentially embarrassing as Exodus claims. Additionally, Egyptian records are vague and difficult to correlate to what might have been descriptions of the ten plagues of the Bible, which God inflicted on Egypt for refusing to release His people. Natural events, which may correlate to the plagues have been identified and attempts made to correlate them to the plagues but none have been broadly accepted.
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Essay by Mara Fonseca
Essay by Mara Fonseca
‘Love is the Answer’
As I have meditated deeply on what captured my soul’s and heart’s interest in the twenty lessons in a Course in Metaphysics – Everyday Miracles, I recall one particular question and response that I asked and received from Dr. Loretta Siani:
In a weekly sermon from Brother Daniel on Beliefs, he says:
“…I really don’t want to deal with you or your situation because unfortunately like many thousands of instant ministers they labor under the delusion that miracles happen…”
I found the above statement to be a quite thought-provoking quagmire, especially after reading (and enjoying I might add) your various lessons on the medium of miracles.
His comment made me reflect deeply on who I am and what my belief system is. I am the vessel of ‘change to prosperity’ through acquiring inner peace and understanding of the laws of the universe. I also believe in the power of prayer, for it focuses me on the concept of ‘Prosperity Programming.’ (Prosperity Programming – a term used in Shakti Gawain’s book ‘Creative Visualization’ that means having the understanding, or consciously taking the point of view, that the universe is totally abundant. Everything you need or want is here for the asking; you only need to believe that it is so, to truly desire it, and to be willing to accept it, in order to have whatever you wish.
My question to you is thus:
Is it our belief in miracles that makes them happen, or is it our shift in perception when ‘miracles’ happen that changes our belief system?”
Dr. Siani’s response to my question was:
“It isn’t our belief in miracles that makes them happen. It’s our belief in Love and our ongoing faith that Love will prevail…”
Dr. Siani’s response not only answered my question, it also provided me with the tool for continued inner reflection, transformation, and confirmed resolution:
~ Love is the Answer.
~ When we believe in Love, anything is possible.
I have also experienced in my life that the greatest miracles occur when there has been a change in heart. When I love unconditionally and pray for that which will change my perception and bring more compassion, understanding and patience into my heart, a ‘miracle’ happens.
The ‘miracle’ that occurs is that when I open up my heart and believe that Love will prevail a true healing occurs. I no longer carry fear in my heart, for I know that I am a vessel of ‘prosperity’. I am a child of God. I no longer ask for circumstances to be changed in my life, but rather to ask that my perception of my circumstances change. I look at each challenge as a blessing in disguise, and to pray that I will become a better person in the end. I pray for forgiveness and that others may forgive any trespasses I have committed against them. I do not look behind me at what has happened or before me at what has yet to happen. I live in the moment, trusting that Love will prevail.
In summation, this to me is at the core of how miracles happen: When we believe in Love, anything is possible. Love is the Answer. All we need to do is BELIEVE. Ask in LOVE and thou Shall Receive in LOVE. This has been the greatest challenge, lesson, and teaching that I have received in this course and the course of my life. For this, I am eternally grateful.
In closing, I would like to share a poem that expresses my essay ‘in a nutshell’. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I do:
You have come here to remember love,
and as you heal,
you come to be a light that
others see and follow.
They see, reflected in you,
the light of their own forgotten self,
and in seeing this,
they too can heal and be healed.
When you join with the universe.
you see yourself in all things
and all things in yourself.
This is love in its highest form –
pure and unconditional.
It has no motive,
and it seeks nothing.
This is the Essential Love,
awaiting eternally for you to
embrace it so that
you might be embraced.
Love is the guiding light,
Love is You.
–Patricia Easton Graves