Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians
Connecting the esoteric teachings of Rosicrucians, Theosophists and Freemasons with Witches, Pagans and Heathens
Uncovering My Real Roots
Having passed (by quite a few) the required number of years and an appropriate series of experiences, it appears that I have become a sage. I can now look back over the events of my life and connect the dots.
As a young man I felt that I was a reincarnated sage who was constantly seeking reconnection, through my vague but compelling memories, to my former wisdom and power. I now see clearly that it's silly to split hairs over titles. Druid, hierophant, teacher, bard, yoga philosopher - titles are just signposts. They indicate a certain type of calling that can never be fully encompassed by words.
Words are wonderful tools, but truth lies beyond them. And, in a bad way, a title can be restrictive and can exclude all manner of similar folk who do not fit exactly within its prejudicial confines. When that happens, it's a shame. It doesn't benefit any of us.
I cannot remember which name came to my childhood ears first - Jesus or Mother Lakshmi. I welcomed both, but in different ways. Long before my first day of Sunday school, my senses had been drenched in newly mown grass, the cool shadows of magical evenings, the sight of trees and the smell of herbs and plants on the fresh California air.
In Sunday school they taught us the song, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus." The words were true; I did love to hear about him, and his love for all of us little children - it sounded so right. Yet, even then, my imagination was captured most by the words that described being with him outdoors - "scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea" - and I visualized lying under trees, sitting on large sun-drenched boulders and walking next to the Sea of Galilee under blue skies and white clouds. At that early stage, they didn't tell us the somber side of his story; I didn't even know there was going to be a somber side to life!
But when my mother read me the wonderful book, Gift of the Forest by R. Lal Singh and Eloise Lownsbery, I identified with the Hindu boy Bim and his animal companions and jungle habitat. When she first uttered that beautiful name "Mother Lakshmi," my heart almost leapt out of my body in recognition. I was a five year-old American child, but for some reason I knew that name! The Divine Mother Goddess was someone I had forgotten upon coming into this world, but the merest mention of Her Name was enough to spark my memory.
When I was around 4 years old, I remember regular conversations I had with two disembodied Voices - one male and one female - whom I trusted absolutely to guide me through the adventures of a strange new existence. He or She never failed to answer me. It was an ongoing discussion in which I asked questions and received answers. Sometimes the answers aligned me immediately, and sometimes they prompted me to investigate further, to figure things out for myself. It was the most natural feeling in the world.
In my teenage years, even though I considered myself an evangelical Christian - serving as president of our church's Methodist Youth Fellowship and attending spiritual weekend retreats - I now perceive with more experienced and honest sight that my "Christianity" had a very Pagan flavor! For example, although I was familiar with all of the Biblical injunctions against extramarital sex, my youthful hormones convinced me that if I truly fell in love with a girl and we couldn't wait, "Jesus would understand." What church would support that idea? It's not good Churchianity at all - but it is great Paganism!
Those same 16 year-old hormones led me to romp around naked in the dark, on the dewy midsummer night grass of our country vacation home. I only did that a couple of times, as I would have been mortified to get caught - but Mother Nature will not be denied.
As a boy of 11 or 12, I had spent summer days sitting in solitary bliss reading books on a large moss-covered boulder by the brook on my family's same New England property, my back supported against an ancient tree, and my senses convinced in every cell of my body that this was the ideal place for any human being to be.
I also remember, with shame, the day several years later when as a teenager I had taken to throwing knives and a hatchet into that same tree, and others - perfecting a "survival skill" that I had seen in movies but did not really need.
She had finally had enough. Her voice spoke inside my mind, telling me that no further harm to Her trees would be tolerated. She was responsible for them, and they were hurting.
"Okay," I remember thinking (not being at all surprised to have been spoken to in such a way), "but just one more throw - not the hatchet, just the knife. I want to prove that I can hit a much thinner tree, at a distance."
"No," She said. "No more means no more."
I threw my knife anyway. It missed the tree completely (thank goodness), and was lost forever in the underbrush. I searched for an hour that day, and looked again the next day and the next, and even on a day three months later, when the season had changed and the undergrowth was thinner. But the Lady had taken the knife that my headstrong callousness had proven I did not deserve to have.
In those days I had two good eyes and excellent depth perception. In the 1980's I suffered detached retinas in both and underwent several surgeries, leaving me with fairly decent vision in one eye but with the other of not much use. I am grateful that Mother and Father have allowed me to keep the vision I have!
When I was in college, I took wonderful solitary walks around the Northwestern campus at midnight when the weather was good. I would stop and commune with certain trees, being drawn to them like old friends.
The most enchanted spot in Stratford, Ontario, where I spent my early twenties as an actor, was on a little island in the middle of the Avon River, in the presence of a small, multi-branched tree that was spot-lit at night from underneath. (Artist Anne Sudworth recreates the effect in her "earth light" paintings.) I felt the presence of Shakespeare's elves and faeries there, though I was only dimly aware, at the time, that the fabric of his play A Midsummer Night's Dream is Celtic Paganism.
I spent the first fifty years of my life following the God; now I need to give equal time to the Goddess. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf says "I am a servant of the Secret Flame." When I recently saw the beautiful nebula chalice designed by Oberon Zell, I thought "YES! I am a servant of the Sacred Chalice - the Goddess!" In confirmation of that, the Yoga classes I have taught since 1976 are attended 90% by women.
I have always aspired to be an old wizard, guru or wise philosopher, and now that I'm in my 60's I can actually lay claim to some of the qualities that come with age and experience. It has been revealed to me that my Pagan name is Theo the Green.
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