COMMENTARY ON THE CALENDAR OF SAINTS AND SAGES FOR AUGUST 28

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Here is my commentary on the Saints and sages for 28 August. This includes Robert Owen, Ramanuja and St Augustine (about whom I have some critical things to say for his dark views of the afterlife)  and many other interesting figures. Here is the total list of thinkers covered in this talk:

Owen, Robert

Shinran (1173-1262) founded the Jodo-Shin Denomination
Shinran uses the term Jodo-shinshu to mean the true essence (shinshu) of the Pure Land (jodo) teaching of his master, Honen. His successors, however, came to use it for the name of their school, with Shinran as the founder, thus distinguishing it from other Pure Land schools that also claimed to succeed Honen’s teaching.
Ramanuja

Mondrian, Piet (1872-1944) Dutch painter, painted in many styles including Fauvism and Cubism

Aspasia

Shahrastani 1076-1153, author of the Book of Religious and Philosophical Communities (Kitab al-milal wa-al-nihal) which comprised a vast study of the history of different religions in the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and South Asian worlds up to his day. He also wrote on theology (The Culmination of Demonstration in Scholastic Theology).

Luria, Alexander 1902 Russian psychologist

Wu Ch’eng-en 1500-1582, Chinese novelist from Shan-yang, Kiangsu, who collected foktales that went to make his long novel “Record of a Journey to the West”, which was based on the historical journey to India undertaken by the Buddhist monk Hsuan-Tsang 602-664 to retrieve sacred texts Jivan Singh, scholar and editor of Khalsao Sevak of Amritsar

Mounier, Emmanuel 1905-1960

Le Chapelier, Isaac 1754-1794

Montgomery, L.M. 1874-1942, Canadian authoress of Anne of Green Gables

 

A short address to all those planning not to vote at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017

Here I make a short address to all those planning to not vote at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017. I explain why this is a vital election in which it is certain that, if Theresa May gets elected again with a majority, it will lead directly to the break up of the UK forever. So we should be talking about BREAKUK. because that is what it will be. Once Brexit is implemented by the Conservatives (with Labour support) the Scottish people are going to demand a second referendum and this time the Scottish independence lobby will win a majority. I am saying this based on having lived in Scotland for 7 years until very recently and having a sense of the way the wind is blowing. Do you care about the break-up of the UK? I appreciate the noble tradition of anarchism in political thought, but the trouble is, this divorce will not be pleasant or tidy or cheap. It will lead to endless bickering and political fighting between Westminster and Edinburgh, and only lawyers and politicians will benefit. If you perhaps didn’t vote at the last election, or indeed didn’t vote during the EU referendum and have been disheartened at the slump in the pound, and the increase of food prices in the shops, then be warned – it is going to get a lot lot worse once Scotland breaks away from the UK. But it is not too late to stop all this nonsense. You can vote for a party which has consistently opposed Theresa Mays policies on Brexit since day one. By doing do, you can literally help save our country from imminent self-destruction, and years to come of pain, regret and wasted opportunities. So please, if you can’t normally be bothered to vote, listen to this – and hopefully, it might make you register and then go out and take part in this essential ritual of democracy.  In this brief talk therefore, I give my detailed reasons why, if you are a non-voter, at this election, uniquely, you should actually vote this time around.  I am speaking not as a party activist of any party (or even a member of any political party), but merely as a philosopher and political scientist, and warning that if we get a Conservative government majority back in power again, the UK is going to cease to exist. Never mind Brexit – we are going to get BREAKUK. I just recently  lived in Scotland for 7 years so I know what I am taking about. Please listen in and think this thing through carefully. This is the most important General Election of our lives.

 

 

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A short address to all those planning to vote for the Green Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017,

Here I make a short address to all those planning to vote for the Green Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017, in which I give my own history of encounters with the Green Movement and the Green Party over the years. I founded the Global Green University in 1991 and used to be a regular speaker at the Green Gathering, as was. I am something of an eco-philosopher and have been running Philosophers and Historians for Peace since founding it with John Francis Phipps in 1984, who went on to found the Spirituality Working Group in the Green Party. I used to be an on-off member of the Green Party for years, first joining when it was the Ecology Party, and I was living abroad in Canada in 1979. Anyone with any sense can look around the world at situations like Fukushima, or Chernobyl, and realise we need to re-establish more harmonious relations between humankind and nature and the environment. Instead of seeing nature as a resource to plunder for profit, we should work along with nature in all her complexity and co-create amazing life experiences for all of us, from all realms of nature (including the supernatural or divine realms, but that’s another story). The American Native peoples protesting the Dakota Pipeline, who insist we honour the earth mother and recognise our duty to protect the landscape for future generations, including our mountains, our rivers, our plains, our seacoasts, our forests, our animals, our trees,  and all the other magnificent bounty of nature, have it about right, whereas Donald Trump and his pepper spraying men-in-black have it all wrong. However, having said all this, I am asking people who are thinking of voting Green at this coming election, for once, not to do so. I am asking Green candidates to stand down, as the Liberal Democrats have done in Brighton so Caroline Lucas can get back in as MP, and give their votes to the Lib Dems – just this once ! I am drawing attention to the sad fact that if the pseudo-Conservative Party under Theresa May gets back into absolute power, and they implement their hard Brexit nightmare, this will probably be the last election we ever have as a United Kingdom. The UK will cease to exist if that happens, because the Scottish people are going to call a second referendum for independence and this time, they will succeed in winning it. Some people in the Green Party both in England and Scotland maybe think this is a good idea. Let the UK break up; let localism prevail. I don’t take this view. In the face of an increasingly dangerous predatory world, a broken up UK will be at the mercy of the great powers of today (China, Russia, USA) and already our energy sources and infrastructure are being swallowed up or sold off to them. How green are these international energy corporations likely to be ? About as Green as black, if you figure it out. Do you really want a new nuclear power station at Hinckley Point under Chinese control ? What planet are you from  ? (ok don’t answer that). So, the situation is dire. UK about to be broken up, and our beautiful wise country, that has stood together (more or less) since the crowns were united in 1603, is about to jettison our inter-connected karma and go it alone, The fighting and legal wrangling that will accompany all this will last for years and years and our best minds will be tied up with sorting out the nightmare caused by a simultaneous BREXIT and BREAKUK (breakup of the UK). So against all this, I am pleading, for just once, for Green Party voters to vote Liberal Democrat as they are the only party who have consistently opposed Brexit since day one. If elected, a Lib Dem government would absolutely undo this nonsense, and  hold a second referendum under more inclusive terms to sound out the actual wishes of all the UK citizens. Do we want to stay together and work all this out in a spirit of amity and wisdom ? Or do we want to simultaneously break out of the EU and break up the UK ?  Please, if you are thinking of voting Green, listen to my short address, and think about it – long and hard. We can choose at this coming election on June 8th – do we want to remain as one united and loving country, at least with itself, and part of a vibrant and amazing continent, full of deep thinkers, greens, social activists, explores, inventors, peaceful people, wonderful human beings, or do we want to continue on down the Brexit fantasy route and break up the UK forever… I am also speaking in this short talk as an Archdruid and as the Peace Druid of Britain, and as someone who has been involved with indigenous people’s rights at Stonehenge and other sacred sites in both the UK and throughout Europe – the Celtic people were a pan-European people who have left traces all over Western and Northern and Central Europe, and who reverenced nature as as a manifestation of the Divine. We have a duty to future generations, and also to the spiritual and ecological worlds,  to get this right.. If we can stay together as the UK, and stay inside the EU, we can act as a reforming leaven within he deadened bureaucracy of that organisation, which means well, but sometimes needs to lighten up a little. We should be worked to transform the EU from within, not running away in fear.. So this is the Odyssean path I’m suggesting. Lets stay and work with the Trojans after all…

 

 

 

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An address to all those planning to vote for the Labour Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017

Here I make a short address to all those planning to vote for the Labour Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017, in which I give my own story of encounters with members of the Labour  Party over the years, and what I think are the authentic Labour values that the party was founded to defend. The willingness of Jeremy Corbyn to insist on supporting a Brexit policy for the UK, as implemented by the Conservative Party government under Theresa May, is an act of political folly commensurate with Tony Blair’s support for the Iraq War. Labour Party voters who truly believe in a United Kingdom should be aware that by voting for labour under Corbyn they will be returning a mandate to proceed with hard Brexit under May, since Corbyn has proved unable to oppose her policy on this most crucial area. Once Brexit is implemented the Scottish people are going to demand a second referendum and this time the Scottish independence lobby will win a majority, I am saying this based on having lived in Scotland for 7 years until very recently and having a sense of the way the wind is blowing. Does the Labour Party not care at the break-up of the UK ? Or is it already resigned to that happening, and only cares about ensuring that some working class voters remain faithful to it in England and Wales, since it has already “lost Scotland”? If so, this is complete dereliction of one’s duty as a political party, which should be to care for the well-being of the entire nation as a whole. I explain why breaking up the UK (BREAKUK) will be disastrous for everyone concerned and lead to years and years of legal and political wrangling that will be going on in parallel to Brexit. It will be a lawyers and politicians delightful bun feast, but for ordinary people, with falling wages, a collapsing pound, and fewer employment opportunities, it will be a nightmare. I give my detailed reasons why if you are a Labour Party supporter or voter, at this election, uniquely, you should not actually vote for the Labour candidate this time around.  I am speaking not as a party activist of any party, but merely as a philosopher and political scientist, and warning that if we get the  Conservative government back in power, backed up by Corbyn’s Labour, it will lead directly to the break of the UK forever. So we should be talking about BREAKUK, because that is what it will be. My views put forward here based on a lifetime of thinking, teaching and writing about history, philosophy, political science and religious studies. I once taught religious studies and philosophy at Adams Grammar school, where Jeremy Corbyn was educated, but he got really bad A level results. Go figure… Maybe he simply doesn’t care about the future of the UK? Who on earth is advising him one wonders? Of course, Karl Marx hated the UK, even though we have him shelter for years, almost as much as he hated Russia. He actually wanted Germany to wage war on Russia (which they did finally in 1914). Both Marx and Engels were great advocates of militarism to advance their cause, as they saw it. So Marxism doesn’t really have a huge moral compass to offer, which is why mainstream Labour Party thinking rejected this kind of hard line approach years ago. But perhaps Corbyn secretly wants the UK to self-destruct so he can step in and reap the whirlwind? If so, that is a revolutionary strategy masquerading as democratic politics…  Listen in please and see if you agree with my analysis. I’ve lived in Scotland for 7 years, as well as England and Wales, so I know what I am taking about… Please think this whole thing through carefully. I wrote to Theresa May recently explaining that her policies were going to break up the UK forever. Meanwhile, I am appealing to every single member of the Labour Party in the entire UK (and voters based abroad) to listen to this short address and to act accordingly for the good of our entire country. For once we have to put our love of the nation as a whole above love of party.

 

An address to all those planning to vote for the Conservative Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017

Here I make a short address to all those planning to vote for the Conservative Party at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017, in which I give my own story of encounters with members of the Conservative Party over the years, and what I think are the authentic conservative values that the party was founded to defend. The current pseudo-Conservative government under Theresa May are, in the author’s opinion, betraying those very values by threatening a policy (Brexit) which will lead inevitably to the break up of the United Kingdom (BREAKUK) which is the exact opposite of everything the Conservative Party was founded to protect. I give my detailed reasons why if you are a Conservative Party  supporter or voter, at this election, uniquely, you should not actually vote for the Conservative candidate this time around.  I am speaking not as a party activist of any party, but merely as a philosopher and political scientist, and warning that if we get this  Conservative government back in power, it will lead directly to the break of the UK forever. So we should be talking about BREAKUK., because that is what it will be. Yet the Conservative Party is supposed to be the party that stood against political extremists of all kinds, whether in the days of the French revolutionary terror, or the Nazi attempt to invade the UK, or the darkest days of the cold war. Yet now, the political extremists of Brexit have infiltrated the very party of moderation and common sense and are threatening to destroy the UK forever from within.  How can we possibly allow this cabal who are running the so called Conservative Party to get away with it ? My views put forward here based on a lifetime of thinking, teaching and writing about history, philosophy, political science and religious studies. Listen in please and see if you agree with my analysis. I’ve  lived in Scotland for 7 years, as well as England and Wales, so I know what I am taking about… Please think this whole thing through carefully. I wrote to Theresa May recently explaining that her policies were going to break up the UK forever. She hasn’t replied yet. Meanwhile, I am appealing to every single member of the Conservative Party in the entire UK (and voters based abroad) to listen to this short address and to act accordingly for the good of our entire country. For once we have to put our love of the nation as a whole above love of party.

 

An address to all those planning to vote for UKIP at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017

Here I make a short address to all those planning to vote for UKIP at the coming General Election on June 8, 2017, in which I give my own story of encounters with UKIP, right from being taught European history  at the LSE by one of its founders, Dr Alan Sked, to campaigning alongside UKIP against the Labour government’s foot and mouth mass culling policy. I give my detailed reasons why if you are a UKIP supporter or voter, at this election, uniquely, you should not actually vote for your UKIP candidate this time around.  I am speaking not as a party activist of any party, but merely as a philosopher and political scientist, and warning that if we get a Conservative government majority back in power again, it will lead directly to the break of the UK forever. So we should be talking about BREAKUK., because that is what it will be. Yet UKIP is supposed to be the UK independence party. How can that ever happen if the UK breaks up ? So delay Brexit, think that through again, and meanwhile, save the UK | Listen in folks and see how it goes. I lived in Scotland for 7 years so I know what I am taking about.. Please listen in and think this thing through carefully.

 

Saints and Sages for 21 April recorded at the European Peace Museum daily prayers and meditations, 21/4/2017

Every day at the European Peace Museum, we spend about an hour in deep prayer and meditation, invoking peace, justice and wisdom on the whole continent of Europe, including the UK and indeed the entire world. Our intellectual focus at the Peace Museum is comparative global philosophical harmonisation and the reconciliation of often warring faith paths. On the day before this was recorded an Islamist terrorist opened fire on the Champs Elysee in Paris, and killed a policeman, only three hours travel from our base. Whilst some people are trying to disrupt and dis-harmonise interfaith relations, we are working in the other direction,trying to use higher education, philosophy and wisdom to bring people together. On this day we celebrated St Anselm and Ignatius of Llanthony for Christianity, Parmenides for Paganism and many others. Have a listen in and join us through the ethers of cyberspace. . Better still come visit and join in the peace meditations in person.. or do you own where you live.. (: Prayer and meditation does make a difference to the “objective world”. This is the gathered consensus of both modern science and also ancient spiritual practice. So if enough of us take time out to pray and meditate for peace each day, this world will be healed of its current “demons”, just as Mary Magdalene was, back in the day. And don’t forget our Mary Magdalene conference coming up on July 22, where we will be remembering her life and witness with a special event scheduled for that day here in France, at the European Peace Museum.

 

 

An address to the people of the UK regarding the forthcoming general election on June 8, 2017

In this audio talk I am giving my response to the forthcoming election on June 8 and also revealing some behind the scenes correspondence I have had with both the Prime Minister and the other leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury and former Archbishops of Canterbury. Having lived in Scotland for 7 years I am convinced that the enforcement of Brexit by a new Tory government, if elected, will result in the swift break up of the UK with the exiting of Scotland from a union which has withstood the test of time since 1603. I explain my reasoning in depth in this talk and also suggest a remedy to prevent this disastrous situation from occurring. I am speaking not as a party political activist, but as a philosopher, a teacher, a political scientist, a Christian and an Archdruid. The imminent break up of the UK is an emergency situation which I am addressing directly in this talk, whereas the media, largely dominated by crass ignorance and commercial interests, are ignoring utterly this probability. This address is intended to reveal to the people of the UK the real issues at stake in this coming election. So whatever your political views, be it Conservative, or Labour, or Green, or Liberal Democrat, SNP or Plaid Cymru, or UKIP,  before you decide how to vote on June 8, please take time to listen to this two part talk. There will be a shorter presentation following shortly on You Tube on our IIPSGP1 channel – so watch this space !

 

Poem to celebrate Winter Solstice, December 21,2016

I have been writing poetry since about the age of 12.. and early on in my life I knew that what I wanted to do when I grew up was to “be a poet”. My earliest poems, written between the ages of about 12 onwards, grew in depth and intensity over the years, and now, in 2016, I have written and published over 900 poems on a wide variety of themes. Robert graves, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, would say that all poetry has only one theme. The journey of the Bard as they learn the hard craft of diction at the hands of the Muse.

But the delight I took in poetry was a deep, not a trivial thing – this poetry, I decided, was something to live and die for, it was the very word of life – it was a probing into the secret fires of existence themselves. At home, our family library shelves were stocked with more exotic fruit, and I feasted deeply: Rilke, whose Duino Elegies I stumbled on about aged 13, simply blew me away, they sounded like I was thinking, I couldn’t explain them, but I understood them in my depths. T.S. Eliot, whose 4 Quartets and other poems became a constant reference point, and whose work I couldn’t help but aspire towards, especially in my early oeuvre,  was to me a complete revelation – even though he also introduced a note of weariness and cynicism into the mental pool – and he showed me that the Romantic tradition had matured, and become more sophisticated, and more critical. At school my favourite teacher (the English master) confirmed to me to the wonders of Shakespeare, Keats, Shelly.. Wallace Stevens was another early love, and I treasured my Collected edition of his poems, finding much there to delight in; Arthur Waley, whose translations from the Chinese continuously gave me food for thought;  Yeats, whose music and depth entranced me;  Hart Crane, who impassioned sonnets of euphoria and despair, thrilled my ear and mind; Dylan Thomas, whose abilities with language caused me to applaud and wonder; Gerard Manley Hopkins, another master of that genre, who had the ability to stretch the tongue and soul into new perpendiculars… And then modern world poets, Pablo Neruda, Zbiegnew Herbert, and so many others, in those wonderful Penguin editions, and the French (for my mother was a French teacher) – Rimbaud, Lamartine, Verlaine, whose works slowly became comprehensible to me (in part) not least because I spent every Easter as a boy in Paris, staying with a wonderful family of friends, in Orsay, and being immersed into the life and literature of living French culture. Indeed, it was here, in Paris, that I began my career as a poet. Somewhat prematurely, perhaps, aged 13, I decided, in all solemnity, that I was in my soul a poet, and that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I had it all decided, I would write some truly extraordinary poems (nothing but the best you understand) and then die, triumphantly, probably before the age of 18. Wasn’t this what poets were supposed to do ? And so I set to it, I wrote, feverishly – I stayed up countless nights till dawn, I went for long walks,  I fell in and in of love (never out), and all this before my 18th birthday, which in my mind was to be my formal cut off time. Given this, I had not enough time for formal schooling, even though I loved learning, so I left school early to “become a poet” and travelled throughout different parts of Britain to pursue my Muse. I gave a poetry reading at the Arts Centre in Kendal, and nearly settled in Grassmere. I spent some weeks in Cornwalll working as an archaeological assistant. Poems came forth constantly. I ended up living in Devon, in a delightful village outside Exeter called Thorverton, in a beautiful thatched cottage, entranced by the beauties of nature, by the stream gushing at the back of the house. Nature had long been the most reliable and constant source of inspiration: whether it was the vistas of the Gower peninsular in Wales, which we visited at Christmas to stay with my aunt and uncle, or the rolling hills of the Long Mynd in Shropshire where I went to Summer camp and where I remember walking all night and through into the mists of dawn, or the magnificent scenery of the Isle of  Arran in Scotland, whose beauty astounded me, and where I also first encountered the living Muse as the goddess of death and ecstasy both, or the beauties of the Sussex downs, which we explored constantly as  a family, or the deep countryside of rural Auvergne in France, where I went with my French family one wonderful Easter, and saw the truly vast myriads of stars for the first time – all of these vistas and scenes were etched not simply on my sight, but on my soul – confirming in me the wonder of being, the magnificence of creation.

Then my father died, (when I was 17, he beat me to it) and I returned to live in Sussex to be with the family again, and I decided to review my life. I swore an oath on his dead body that I would dedicate my life to finish his own work of trying to sort out the chaos the world was in, because by then I had realised what he himself had been trying to do – as a philosopher of management, working at senior levels in industry. So I decided to go back into formal education – for one thing, for by then I had discovered my second great intellectual love of my life, namely, philosophy. I had discovered Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Epicurus, by studying for an Ancient History A level. I marveled at those early Greek thinkers. I had been reading about Spinoza – about his life and devotion to ultimate truth, his uncompromising love of learning and his belief that it might be possible to work out a logic for being, in which everything, all time and space, all nature, all that is, could be comprehended within one great scheme of being, and that God himself/herself might be so encompassed, as a rational living reality, beyond the God of the tribe or national deity that we seemed to have reduced God to, and also even beyond the God of atheism, that atheists so fiercely rejected yet paradoxically sustained (for atheists too have their God, the one they don’t believe in). It seemed to me that philosophy offered the possibility of a middle way, a rational spirituality which could be intellectually coherent and also spiritually satisfying. But to me, philosophy was therefore an extension of poetry – it was the same urge, the same design – to paint a schema  reality that could explain itself to itself; it was an art form, in which the stakes were enormous, no less than the universe itself.

Henceforth, my life story has been the tale of these two loves the one poetry, my first and earliest love, and the other – philosophy, which I came to later. By philosophy I am meaning the term in its ancient sense of the quintessence of learning and wisdom, the Queen and goal of Gnosis, thus to me it includes history (always a deep  passion of mine – for history is the route to true philosophy), the humanities, the social and natural sciences etc.  I have told at length the story of these love affairs, and the many and diverse places in the world to which they have led me, in the volumes of my autobiography, so the details need not detain us here. Suffice to say, however, that in my later intellectual pursuits, as a teacher and scholar of philosophy, religious studies and peace studies, I have never forgotten my first calling, my first Muse. Indeed, were I to die tomorrow, I would ask that the words Poet and Philosopher be inscribed on my tomb, in that order, not due to a differentiation in my relative estimation of their significance, but simply out of due respect for the order of their first inhabitation in my heart.

Now to this poem.. it was channeled, for I know not another word to describe it, on the evening of December 20, 2016 – and arose after long mulling over in my heart about the significance of Druidry, which has become in my later years, another of my passions and delights. As a Peace Druid, that is, one devoted to the revival of the ancient skills of mediation and reconciliation which was essential to the work of Druidry from the earliest times, I have founded an order devoted to this work, called the Order of Peace Poets, Bards and Druids. There are many Druid orders around the world, many in Britain and Ireland, in Wales and Scotland, and some in France, and I have met friends from them in diverse places, for ritual sharing and mutual edification. Often Druidry is an individual calling, and one practices alone or with a small group of like-minded friends. Many Druids combine Druidry with the practice of Christianity, but it is an esoteric form of Christianity they take delight in. Others will combine elements of Sufism, or Qabalah, or Tantric Buddhism and Yoga, or other ancient pagan and primal paths. Ultimately these paths all stem from one source, as Sir Isaac Newton pointed out, just as colored light stems from white light.

OPPBD however is essentially a new / old initiative taken to advance the cause of peace, to help uncover the wisdom of the ancient world at its best, to help usher in an era of harmony between men and women, between science, spirituality and technology, and between humanity, nature and the divine worlds. Druidry is an open ended religious and spiritual faith which puts love, freedom, beauty, kindness, and an emphasis on oral teaching above the worship of scriptures, texts, liturgies, buildings, rituals etc. Druids tend to worship the Spirit of Wisdom out of doors surrounded by the mystery of the sun and the moon and the stars, and above all by the wisdom of the natural world of trees, plants, animals, landscape temples and stone circles. It is the ancient and eternal religion and philosophical teaching of the early inhabitants of the British Isles and the rest of Celtic Europe, which at various times has stretched throughout Gaul, Switzerland, Northern Italy, Spain, Portugal, Central Europe, the Northern Balkans and as far as Anatolia. Later Druidry has spread worldwide with British, Irish, French, European and Celtic civilisation.  Celtic spiritual teachings concerned the nature of reincarnation, non violence, truth, honesty, loyalty, love for the beauty of nature, the celebration of life in the arts, in music and dance, feasting & the enjoyment of loving sacred sexuality. Druids were forbidden from serving in battle, or from carrying weapons or fighting or striking an enemy. They sought to use gentle means of persuasion, of song, or example, to turn people to righteous actions.  Druids served as mediators, lawyers, judges and counsellors to the Celtic Kings and nobles. Druidry lived on until the Roman conquest of Gaul and Britain all but extinguished it. The key Druid schools of Mona (Isle of Anglesey) were attacked and largely destroyed by the power of the sword. Druid teachings were enshrined in the Bardic schools of the Middle Ages and the legends of King Arthur and the search for the Holy Grail. It lived on in the work of Feinius Farsaidh, Amergin, Bladud, Abaris, Pythagoras, Plato, Taliesin, Myrddin, Ossian, & played a role in the rebirth of philosophy and learning in the early renaissance: Abelard had Druid links. Many Druids accepted Christian esoteric teachings as a continuation and confirmation of their own sublime teachings on peace and non violence. Druidry always had at its core a strong commitment to healing. Druid philosophy largely went underground during the religious wars and tribulations of the Medieval and early modern period of history, but something resurfaced in the work of the great seers, poets and bards of Britain, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Brittany, France, Europe, Russia, America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, India  and elsewhere. Druids believe their views to be in harmony with universal theosophical and philosophical traditions at their best worldwide: Buddhism, Sufism, Kabbalah, Taoism, Vedanta, Tantra, Wicca, Magick, Slavic, Balkan, Baltic, Asian and Germanic spirituality, Amerindian traditions, classical philosophy, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism: all have an overlap with Druid teachings, which is not surprising since they all seem to derive from one ultimate source. OPPBD believes that ultimate source wants peace on earth and that the time for peace is now.

In the Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic & Modern periods, Druidry resurfaced in the writings and life’s work of figures such as Dee, Postel, Bacon, Fludd, , Sir Philip Sidney, Shakespeare, John Aubrey, John Selden, William Lloyd, John Locke, Hupay de Fuvea, William Stukeley, John Toland,  Thomas Paine, Chevalier Ramsay, John Anderson, Elias Ashmole, Sir Robert Moray, Wilkins, Thomas Jefferson, William Blake, Nicholas Bonneville, Iolo Morganwg, Robert Owen, Godfrey Higgins, Mathers, Gardner, Bailey, Gandhi;  poets and bards like Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Yeats;  philosophers like Hegel, Herbert; Hume;  esotericists & historians like Keating, Graves,  Nichols, Hyde, Steiner, Gurdjieff, Bennett, Shah;  scientists like Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Jung, Fleming, Marx, Bell; women mystics….. such as Annie Besant, Anna Kingsford, Dion Fortune, Blavatsky, Alice Bailey,  Flora Tristan, Beatrice Ensor & Doreen Valiente, the women behind the Golden Dawn such as Mina Bergson (Moina Mathers), Annie Horniman, plus Olivia Robertson, Doreen Valiente,  and  ecologists such as Robert Hart, H.J. Massingham, Richard St Barbe Baker, Ruskin, and Thoreau – all have contributed to the evolution of Druid philosophy.  Freemasonry, alchemy and various schools of theosophy and esotericism have also contributed to the revival of Druidry but tended to become too secretive and restrictive in their practices. The revival of Druidry was accompanied at this time by a rejection of religious and social and economic corruption and a heartfelt appeal to peace, wisdom, the celebration of the beauties of nature, and a reaffirmation of the wisdom of the eternal feminine and masculine energies working in harmony. Womens’ rights were advanced by the return of the Goddess traditions and the campaigns for the emancipation of women, socialism & human rights was supported by Druids. Communism was also connected to Druidry but it sadly left out the spiritual dimension with catastrophic consequences, although wisely stressed poverty alleviation and the advancement of gender and racial equality.

OPPBD was founded in the UK in the last decade of the second millennium to regather and focus the commitment of Druid traditions to the advancement of peace in our own troubled world. With the troubles in Ireland not yet completely solved, and many communities and individuals in Britain and Europe, the Commonwealth, the Americas and worldwide, continuing to experience violence in their lives, whether overt physical violence, or subtle mental and spiritual violence, OPPBD seeks nothing less than a non violent revolution in the way that our society functions. We have always urged the transmutation of our weapons of war into the tools of peace; the establishment of a UK Ministry for Peace, an Inter-Parliamentary  Network for Peace and Reconciliation in the Commonwealth and in other world parliamentary bodies and the strengthening and democratisation of the United Nations.  We have also urged the European Union to found a European Union Mediation Service. OPPBD looks forward to a time when the ancient wisdom of peace will shine again as a force for truth, freedom and nonviolence in the world. OPPBD also campaigns for a more spiritual and holistic approach to health and medical healing services and for the availability of spiritual healing, medical herbalism, naturopathy, therapeutic massage, hypnotherapy, past life regression and other ancient Druidic healing arts on the National Health Service and other equivalents worldwide. We advocate a reform of the world of work and the introduction of a citizens wage and the ending of unemployment and poverty, war and the arms race and the dedication of the peace dividend towards education, healing, social justice, alternative energies and an end to reliance on fossil fuels for energy – for which we urge the best minds of the scientific and technological community to work for alternative energy solutions.  We urge a non-violent, ecological lifestyle based on love and social justice, an end to fear, terror, ignorance and violence, and an acceptance of an ethic of peace, pleasure, wisdom and Joyism instead.

So with that as my manifesto, so to speak,. this poem speaks to the question of what actually is a Druid – how does one become one ? It outlines the various stages, ways and paths that one might become a Druid by. but it is a paradoxical poem. It is a door, an opening, a hypnotic visualisation, a channeling…

I hope you enjoy it, at this magical Winter Solstice time, December 21st, 2016.

And above all let us pray for a more peaceful world in 2017 than we have seen; let us pray that the conflicts in the Middle East get sorted and that the continuous terrorism going on around the planet falls away as when one awakens from a bad dream and the false ideologies that are causing these outbreaks become quietened and restored to wholeness. Some terrorism groups derive from a form of pseudo-gnosis, as if their practitioners have the right to destroy others to impose their own views. For these I have coined a new word: Esoterrorists.. But truth is never like this, in the famous words of St Paul, love is kinder, gentler and more patient than the use of violence indicates. Whoever uses violence to advance their creed, has not found yet the true creed. This is the teaching of the ancient Jains, as of the Buddhists and the Yogis of India, and it was also the teaching of the Ancient Druids, the Celtic priests and priestesses of Ancient Britain, Ireland and Europe. Ankara, where the Russian Ambassador has just been shot, was originally a Celtic foundation. So was Berlin, and many of the other great cities of North Western Europe where terrorist incidents have been occurring. We have to replace the faith of the esoterrorists with than of esojoyism – the taking delight together in the secret beauties of Existence and Being. So let us share this wonder of life together, the sun, the moon and the stars – and not destroy each other’s chance to live, just because we peer into the dark halls of ultimate reality through a different window…

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LAST SERMON AT THE CASTLE OF THE MUSES, NOVEMBER 6, 2016

This is my last sermon at the Castle of the Muses, recorded today on November 6, 2016. A great deal of the conflict and violence in today’s world is identified with binary logic, either/or, this v that.. the violence of the USA electoral rhetoric, of the pro-Eu or anti-EU debate in the UK, of Yes or No in the Scottish independence quest, or the ruthless life and death struggles going on in Syria – all these issues are addressed in this short sermon from a spiritual and metaphysical perspective. Teachings from the Druid, Christian, Qabalist, Sufi, Platonic, Hegelian, Pagan and Buddhist perspectives are presented in a clear and accessible way.  A solution is presented and a way forward to healing, peacemaking and reconciliation. Gratitude is given to all those who have come to the Castle for short or long visits in the last 6 years, and a welcome to all those who will visit Le Musee des Muses in Limousin, France, where this work will be continuing. We hope to open the Museum to visitors by January 2017. Our work to find a usable philosophy of peace for humanity will continue from there.

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SAMHAIN GREETINGS FROM Dr. THOMAS DAFFERN, 2016

Here is my latest audio message, recorded on Samhain eve, October 31st, 2016, at the Castle of the Muses in Scotland. In this short talk I address many issues of contemporary concern, from a spiritual and philosophical perspective. Samhain is the Druid new Year, and marks the final end of Summer and the beginning of the colder season (in the Northern Hemisphere). I hope this short talk appeals not only to my fellow Druid friends, but to a wider sphere: philosophers, students, qabalists, esoteric thinkers of all sorts, and policy analysts, peace experts and peace and conflict researchers. Among other things, I address the following topics: Sophiaphobia and the suppression of wisdom, the protests of Standing Rock by the water protectors, the round up and imprisonment and sacking of academics and journalists in Turkey, the fighting in Syria and Iraq; the future of NATO and Russian-NATO relations, the need for a well thought out peace policy on all fronts for all nations, Jain and Druid and Christian teachings on truth, Dharma and non-violence, the spiritual meaning of ahimsa, the false apocalypse being peddled by violent apocalypticians who would have us fight  destroy and kill in order to usher in a return of the Golden Age, and the true apocalypse of Enochian thought and advanced philosophical mysticism, which requires of each of us individually to find our inner enlightenment place… This is only a brief summary of the contents of this talk, which I hope will be of value in these dark and disturbing times we are living through as a planet. Individually, all we have is one small voice each. Together, if we unite our voices into a choir or a harmony, we can sing out the music of peace. So my message is finally optimistic, as  a call to reflection and deep thought, so that we can together figure out a way from the current mess, by first inquiring how we got into it in the first place.