Common Ground: The Kinship of Metaphysicians

A syncretic approach to esoteric teachings - the golden threads that connect Pagans, Yogis, Rosicrucians and Masons.

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As many in our community have pointed out, we know very little about the original practices of Druids and Pagan priestesses; the only extant writings we have are propaganda pieces by their conquerors, Roman historians and Catholic clerics. Ours is a "reconstructed religion" based on whatever clues we can glean from other traditions of Goddess and Nature worship, such as Hinduism, Shinto and Shamanism.  

But if even a fraction of what their detractors claim is true, then my 21st century Neopaganism - a benign blend of John Muir, Mists of Avalon, J.R.R. Tolkien, Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson and Swami Vivekananda - has to be a kinder, gentler form of Mother Nature worship than that practiced by our ancient forbears. What's more, I feel that it is fitting and proper that it should be so. I may have lived back then, but I definitely live now. Thank God and Goddess that I can reconstruct my religion to suit my inner nature and the age in which I now find myself! 

There are many in the Pagan/Heathen community who have no qualms about the blood-letting of a dove or other sacrificial animal, who would have fought to the death against Roman legionnaires attacking their sacred places. But I am not made of such stern stuff; or rather, my sternness would have placed me in the ranks of Gandhi's followers, standing in protest before the onslaught but allowing themselves to be sacrificed rather than harming others. 

Here are a few examples of recorded Pagan rituals from around the world, which I truly believe should not be practiced today:  

Even if I were a king, I would not care to sodomize a mare in order to gain the favor of the goddess Epona.  (I might feel differently if I were hung like a stallion, but I doubt it. Such encounters are just not to my taste.) 

I have no desire to stand under an iron grating, to be showered by the hot blood of a bull slain in a Mithraic initiation rite.  

Nor would I want to contest a life and death struggle with the King Stag, killing him with my knife or being gored to death by his hooves and antlers.  

Blood sacrifice is repellent to me - including the Old Testament practice of burnt offerings, and the hot-button question of whether our Druid forbears slew human beings when they deemed it necessary. Most of us reject the image of our enlightened, white-clad Priests and blue-clad Priestesses doing any such thing; but it is almost certain that the Celtic "Lindow bog man" was sacrificed in a propitiatory attempt to keep the Romans from invading the Isle of Mona. Such a ritual was thought to be effective then (it wasn't). It would not be thought effective today. 

Then there are the Mayans, whose astronomical calculations were among the most sophisticated in the world but who made human sacrifices as a matter of course to keep their gods in a gracious mood. Not cool, man, in 21st century America. 

I even take exception to the supposed moral standards of the ancient Celts - or at least to those attributed to them by the Christian Church. According to the monastic scribes, great heroes like Cuchulain would insinuate themselves into the good graces of rival kings, convincing them to accept them as guests at their banqueting tables - only to rise up in the middle of the night and slaughter everyone in the hall, burning the place to the ground and taking the women and cattle back to their own king, to add to his wealth.  

Nobody today would consider such behavior an honorable way to conduct international affairs. If this is an accurate description of the morality of those times, there is no way that I would seek to emulate it now. 

Incidentally, this practice produced its own karma many generations later, when Christianized British leaders were slaughtered by treacherous heathen Saxons in what came to be known as "The Night of the Long Knives." It may take centuries, but what goes around comes around. You cannot escape the Wheel. 

I love my version of Goddess and Nature worship. But I am profoundly grateful that I can create it from scratch today, according to my own conscience and intuition. I have nothing against taking training in various schools - in fact, if I lived in England I would love to study with Joanna van der Hoeven and Danu Forest - but I rebel against being controlled by any established hierarchy of rituals and beliefs, be it Christian, Pagan or anything else. After all, such hierarchies were developed by human beings in the first place - so why shouldn't this human being develop his own?



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A student of esoteric traditions since the age of 16, Ted Czukor (Theo the Green) taught Yoga for 37 years until retiring in 2013. For 26 years he was adjunct faculty for the Maricopa, AZ Community Colleges, teaching Gentle Yoga and Meditation & Wellness. Raised in the Methodist Church but drawn to Rosicrucianism, Hinduism and Buddhist philosophy, he is a devotee of the Goddess in all Her forms. Ted has been a Shakespearean actor, a Masonic ritualist and an Interfaith wedding officiant. He is the author of several books, none of which made any money and two of which are available as .pdf files. He lives with his wife Ravyn-Morgayne in Sun City, Arizona. Their shared dream is to someday relocate to Glastonbury, England.


  • irene boyce
    irene boyce Friday, 22 May 2015

    Hi Ted,
    I really enjoyed this post. Common sense with added humour. :) It is interesting that you should wish to retire to Glastonbury too.

    The number 666 finds its home at Glastonbury, deemed evil by men who lusted power over others. The pyramid stage at Glastonbury music festival was positioned using sacred geometry. It has been said that Jesus may have been schooled at Glastonbury. Could Jesus have possibly been a human sacrifice to save mankind at this end of the age? Marion Bradley (RIP) wrote the following after much study of ancient books in Glastonbury. Look at all the stars who have performed at Glastonbury festival who have at one time or another been into the occult or the bible (Dylan, Ledd Zepp's Jimmy Page to name but two). I would love to discuss with you.

    The Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley.

    Chapter 9.

    On a spring day in the seventh year of the reign of Uther Pendragon at Caerleon, Viviane, priestess of Avalon and Lady of the Lake, went out at twilight to look into her magic mirror.
    Although the tradition in which the Lady was priestess was older than the Druids, she shared one of the great tenets of the Druid faith:that the great forces that which created the Universe could not be fitly worshipped in a house made with human hands, nor the Infinite contained within any man-made thing. And therefore the Lady's mirror was not of bronze or even silver.
    Behind her rose the grey stone walls of the ancient Temple of the Sun, built by the Shining Ones who had come there from Atlantis, centuries before. Before her lay the great lake, surrounded by tall, waving reeds, and swathed in the mist which, even on fine days, lay now across the land of Avalon. But beyond the Lake lay islands and more lakes, all through the whole of what was called the Summer Country. It lay mostly underwater, bog and salt marsh, but in the height of summer, the pools and some of the brackish lakes would dry in the sun and the lands would lie there, fertile for grazing and rich with grass and weeds.
    Here, in fact, the inland sea was receding, year by year giving way to dry land; one day this would be rich farm land...but not in Avalon. Avalon now lay eternally surrounded in the mists, hidden from all but the faithful, and when men came and went in pilgrimage to the monastery which the Christian monks called Glass Town (Glastonbury), the Temple of the Sun was invisible to them, lying in some strange otherworld; Viviane could see, when she bent her Sight upon it, the church they had built there.
    It had been there for a long time, she knew, though she had never set foot upon its grounds. Centuries ago-so the Merlin had told her, and she believed him-a little band of priests had come here from the south, and with them had been their Nazarene prophet for schooling; and the story went that Jesus himself had been schooled there, in the dwelling place of the Druids where once the Temple of the Sun had risen, and had learned all their wisdom. And years later, when-so the story ran-their Christ had been brought to sacrifice, playing out in his life the old Mystery of the Sacrificed God which was older than Britain's very self, one of his kinsmen returned here, and struck his staff into the ground on the Holy Hill, and it had blossomed forth into the thorn tree which blossoms, not only with the other thorn, in Midsummer, but in the depth of the winter snow. And the Druids, in memory of the gentle prophet whom they had known and loved, consented that Joseph of Arimathea should build, in the very grounds of the Holy Isle, a chapel and a monastery to their God; for all the Gods are one.

    The New Jerusalem.

    In John Michell’s book The New View Over Atlantis he states regarding the number 666…”The Puritans and those others whose opposition to the old magical practices brought about the Reformation, compiled their scheme to exclude the number 666. To them the beast represented some absolute principle of evil, irreconcilable with the iron rule of humanly created morality. The beast, like the dragon, had to be suppressed.”

    The importance of reconstructing the pattern on the floor of the Old Church at Glastonbury was repeatedly emphasized in Bligh Bond’s scripts. One of them said: You know that in this designing of the Floor lies the future prophesy of Glastonbury, together with the inward secrets of Christianity.

    Bond understood full well how significant was the pattern, here identified as the ‘New Jerusalem’ diagram, which his spiritually guided researches were revealing at Glastonbury. He saw in its emergence the rebirth of the Gnosis, that synthesis of religion, philosophy and mystical science which was inherited by the early Christians and later suppressed by the authoritarian Church. The Gnosis offered direct access to the mysteries by methods similar to those Bligh Bond was using to inform the archaeological work, and the philosophy associated with it was based on recognition and acceptance of all aspects of nature, irrespective of any moral conventions. For these reasons it became odious to the Church which, from the second century onward, set out to exterminate all relics of ancient knowledge and science as hindrances to its own moral law and doctrines. Bligh Bond did not merely dabble in ‘forbidden knowledge'; he openly advocated and furthered its resurgence. There was no reconciling his views with those of the new owners of Glastonbury Abbey, the Church of England, and his dismissal was inevitable.

    Typifying the nature of the misunderstanding was the matter of the number 666 in the Glastonbury dimensions.

    It's all in the sacred geometry.

    R.I.P. Andrew Kerr. R.I.P. John Michell.

    At Midsummer in 1971 a group of 12,000 people gathered on fields at Pilton in Somerset for the Glastonbury Fair, watching musical acts that included David Bowie, Arthur Brown and Hawkwind.

    Kerr was an enthusiastic follower of the antiquarian John Michell, whose book The View Over Atlantis had become a cult bestseller. Adopting Michell’s ideas, Kerr incorporated the concepts of sacred geometry into the creation of the Pyramid Stage, which went on to become such a lauded and central feature of the Glastonbury Festival.

    The stage was conceived by Kerr and the designer Bill Harkin as a one-10th scale replica of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Harkin told me, “I had a dream about standing at the back of a stage and seeing two beams of light forming a pyramid and took that as a message. Andrew gave me John Michell’s number and we spent some hours discussing it...”

    The stage location was chosen at what Kerr believed would be exactly the right spot, over a spring which he had found by dowsing, connected to the Stonehenge-Glastonbury ley line. The timing of the event, at Midsummer, was Kerr’s inspiration, aligning the festival to the pagan calendar. “What we were trying to do,” he explained, “was to stimulate the Earth’s nervous system with joy, appreciation and happiness so that our Mother planet would respond by breeding a happier, more balanced race of men, animals and plants.”

    Said John Michell..."The important discoveries about the past have been made not so much through the present refined techniques of treasure hunting and grave robbery, but through the intuition of those whose faith in poetry led them to scientific truth."

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Friday, 22 May 2015

    Irene, thank you for reaching out. In the Mists of Avalon chapter you quote, she mentions "the Shining Ones who had come there from Atlantis." Have you read Diana Paxson's Ancestors of Avalon, one of the books which she and Marion later added to the series? It tells the story of that earlier time, and it is my favorite book of the entire magical series.

    I just recently read about the creation of the Glastonbury Festival, and I have also read the story of the Chalice Well and the recently restored White Spring. Your research is extraordinary and your enthusiasm profound. I am honored that you wanted to share them both with me.

    There is such a rich culture surrounding those ancient, misty days that almost anything could be possible concerning them. As you indicate by your quote from John Michell, the best truth - in fact, the only truth that can ever really satisfy us - is the flash of inspiration which resonates within the intuitive heart.

    I see that you have treated me to a more detailed email, so I will have to take some time to read it and properly respond, out of respect for your time and effort.

    Blessed Be!

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