Matholwch - Resident Druid of this Parish
Welcome to my page on h2g2.
You may have guessed from my 'title' that I am a practicing druid. I am also proud to be part of a lively, small, but growing group of pagans in this community.
My reason for being here is to learn from all gathered here and to add to my little pot of wisdom. I am always happy to share what little I have learnt in my life and believe passionately that each person must walk their own path to the divine. Thus you need have no fear of me trying to convert you .
For purely sadistic reasons I also publish various pieces of dodgy doggerel in my journal, feel free to ignore them .
The following is an essay I wrote some time ago in order to give me some clarity on what I should aspire to. It is based upon twenty years of practice and life as a person on a druid path. Please take it as a personal statement, not dogma, for each of you must find your own way.
Honour is an odd concept. Like respect it cannot be taken, only given. You earn it by your actions from the world around you.
Honour has been a cornerstone of the cultures of many of the greatest civilisations in history. To have it was everything, to lose it was to lose everything. Samurai would commit seppuku, Romans would fall upon their swords, Celts and Vikings would commit acts of suicidal bravery in order to restore their lost 'honour'. In medieval Europe honour became the basis of the notion of 'Chivalry'. A code of fairness and courtesy.
However, I do not feel entirely happy with these 'famous' interpretations of the concept of honour. To be honourable, in my opinion, takes more than manners and a fanatical regard for your reputation.
Honour for me breaks down into three philosophies:
To be honest is to make your actions and aspirations transparent to yourself, to others and to the gods. To mask nothing with deceit, especially self-deceit, and to be prepared to accept the consequences of your actions.
Honesty is not about obeying the law of the land. Strangely, psychopaths are often extremely honest, as are many professional criminals. Their actions may be morally reprehensible, but they understand them and their effect, and do not deny them.
Who do you harm when you are not honest? Well primarily yourself. You add another mask to your soul, another burden to your life. I know this for I was once an accomplished liar. For me it was a defence mechanism against bullying in school that became a habit. It took me many years to cast aside the many masks I wore and to see the real me staring back from the mirror.
To walk naked in front of the world is very difficult. Deceit is easy as most people want to trust you. To be regarded as an honest person is possibly one of the highest compliments you can aspire to.
This does not, however, give you the right to dispel the illusions of others. Some call this being 'brutally honest'. I call it 'assault'. Sometimes you will need to burst another's bubble, but it must be done with care and compassion. When it comes to honesty, start with yourself.
This does not mean being 'humble' nor 'obsequious'. True humility comes from three things:
1. Having a sense of perspective about your place and effect upon the world around you.
2. Accepting the frailties and ignorance you possess, and have seen in yourself by being honest.
3. Accepting that there will always be those whose wisdom is deeper, and experience and knowledge is broader than your own.
Humility is a positive trait when it leads you to listen to others, to accept their wisdom and celebrate their achievements with as much energy as you would do your own.
Having a sense of humility does not mean you may not also be proud. Satisfaction with a job well done, a hard earned achievement or a goal reached is good. Indeed it is necessary in order to build up your self-esteem and enable you to reach for your next level of development.
The willingness to share your wisdom, hearth and heart with others. Amongst the many ancient cultures that have contributed to ours (especially the celtic and norse) a person's greatness was often measured by their generosity.
Hospitality is a realisation that all ownership is false. You cannot own the land or an idea any more than you can catch the wind. You have, at best, temporary stewardship of it. I am promoting neither communism nor anarchy, but if you realise this concept you will understand what I mean by hospitality.
By the grace of the gods, by the sweat of your brow, or the luck of your birth, you have gained both material and spiritual wealth. If you wish to become an honourable person you must be willing to share these with those who have not been so fortunate.
That which is given freely and with a glad heart shall come back threefold.
Another odd concept, but this time one that must be accepted, never imposed. Again it is a cornerstone of 'civilised' or social behaviour.
Duty relies on three philosophies:
Unless you a truly aware of the consequences of your action upon yourself, upon others, upon the world around you and upon the divine source, you cannot understand your duty.
This lack of awareness of consequences is very apparent in the rush by many new pagans to get to the 'good stuff'. Many pagan organisations and their web sites are besieged by new pagans demanding access to power and magic. These people are not 'bad', they just want what is advertised on TV.
A good touchstone for the worth of a pagan web site or organisation is in how they respond to this. If they publish endless 'books of shadows' containing spells, rituals and potions, then they are no wiser than their audience. If instead they attempt to guide the querrant onto a path of self-discovery and awareness they are possibly worthy of further contact.
It is worth stopping for a moment before any major life decision and jotting down the positive and negative consequences that will stem from that decision for yourself, your family and friends, other people, the world around you and the divine source. You may well surprise yourself.
This is hard. You must learn to take responsibility for every step you make along your road. For every decision you make or avoid. For every mistake and misstep.
Responsibility means accepting the effect you have had upon the world, upon others and upon yourself. If you wish to deny your effect then leave this place now, for you are self-deluded, and seek out the essay above on 'Honesty'.
It is a total concept, there are no half measures. Responsibility can be shared, but it cannot be divided. If two people accept a duty, the amount of responsibility is doubled, not halved.
Fear is a natural emotional and bio-chemical reaction to danger. Without fear we would not survive a day in this world. Fear is good, it activates reactions within us that fuel us to fight or flee.
Courage is the ability to accept this fear and to maintain a balanced state in the face of it. Never mistake a fearless person for a courageous one. Fearless people are dangerous both to themselves and others, for they do not learn.
I am a pyrophobic. I have a fear of fire. Every time that I must face fire, I also face a test of courage. Most of the time I handle it, I fight it when I would much rather flee from it.
Often to do one's duty it is necessary to face our fears. Fear of failure and fear of embarrassment are our frequent companions. A dutiful person courageously overcomes these fears and completes the task that they have accepted.
Love is possibly the most misunderstood of all three concepts. The reduction of the concept of love to an individual projection of passion is one of the greatest tragedies of western civilisation.
One of the main problems we encounter is the mistaking of 'passion' for 'love'. We are in 'love' with someone, we must be near them, we must own their heart....... can you hear the pain? Passion is an overwhelming desire to know that someone else cares for you. It is obsessive, and ultimately self-destructive. We have lost the true meaning of 'love', and are now desperate to have it.
Many relationships founder because of this mistaking of passion for love.. Passion is generated at the beginning of the relationship by desire, both physical and emotional. This bio-chemical reaction overrides all sense and the two people 'fall in love'. Passion, however, is very difficult to maintain for any length of time. It simply consumes too much energy. Soon it begins to fall away to a more easily-maintained and much lower level. Then the two people have to maintain their relationship with whatever is left. if they were not friends beforehand, or have not become friends, then there is precious little to work with.
Unfortunately this last century, through the growth of the media and popular culture, this pursuit of 'love' has become an obsession. In earlier times people often married those they knew well. Courtship could take years, and as a result many relationships were founded on the bedrock of friendship and mutual respect. indeed those that undertook an obsessive quest for 'love' were seen as sick or demented, to be pitied or cured.
Now we live in a society with precious little real love and a surplus of disappointment and bitterness.
Love, in its true form, is (as I said before) not an individual feeling or an emotion. Love is a way of life, a way of presenting your 'self' to the world and the people/beings you interact with. To understand this better we need to examine the three main tenets of Love.
We all crave acceptance. We want others to like us for who we really are, not for what society dictates we should be.
To accept someone is to see them as they are, and say 'no problem'.
There is nothing worse than saying they you 'love' someone, and then setting out to change them into a form acceptable to your own self-image. Many of the main stream religions do this to those they convert. It is also the source of the nagged husband/wife.
The key to acceptance is the realisation that each person walks a different path. You can neither walk it for them, nor direct their path to your choosing. To do so is to assault their freedom of choice.
To place your head in the mouth of the dragon. To trust is to invite betrayal. Not to trust is to be alone. What a quandary!
To be trusted is a great feeling. I can think of no greater compliment, for instance, than to be trusted with another person's child. Of all the Christian traditions I have examined, one of the most touching (and thus worth preserving) is the position of God-parent.
Some say that you must earn trust. What nonsense! It can neither be earnt nor taken. It can only be given and accepted.
The Celts knew this and it is a component of their concept of Geasa.
Called 'empathy' by some, this is the ability to walk in another's shoes. To understand, at the very core of your being, the joy and the pain and the confusion of another being.
Compassion demands that you share a part of your soul or spirit with another, in order that you may be able to help shoulder their burden, if only for a few steps down their road.
To show compassion to another is a great thing, for it is fraught with danger. I seem to remember that it was the Chinese that believed that if you saved a person's life you were then responsible for all that they then did from then on.
For as you help them on their road, you may also influence their decisions, what turnings they will take, and thus what the future holds for them and any others they encounter.
For those who just have to know about Matholwch the man the following has been said of me and is thus consensus reality:
1. He's as mad as a bag of weasels.
2. Pleasingly plump.
3. Tall enough to see in crowds.
4. Middle-aged, married and kidded(3).
5. A minor bard in Brython.
6. Proud to be Welsh.
7. Je suis un european.
8. A master of dodgy doggerel.
9. He just won't let it lie...
10. Tree hugger (but not without the tree's permission).
11. Only half as wise as he thinks he is.
12. Almost sexy in a certain light (ultraviolet).
13. Not entirely stupid, possibly.
Blessings upon you all,
|Messages left for this Researcher||Posted|
|Missing you…||Jan 9, 2013|
|...druidry||Oct 20, 2009|
|A brief visit||May 15, 2009|
|Catching up||Feb 22, 2009|
|Megalithic Monuments||May 27, 2008|
|Conversation Title||Latest Post||Latest Reply|
|Sometime - BC||Jan 2, 2006||Oct 16, 2020|
|Exams!||No Posting||May 4, 2018|
|I don't do Christmas||No Posting||Jan 3, 2018|
|What happens when you leave washing on the line during an ex-hurricane?||No Posting||Dec 26, 2017|
|TCD Centre for Deaf Studies student outing this evening, in a couple of pubs||No Posting||Oct 3, 2017|
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