Chicken-Flavored Soup for the Druid’s Soul

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Having said that, the coal-mouse flew away.

The dove, since Noah's time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for a while, and finally said to herself, "Perhaps there is only one person's voice lacking for peace to come to the world."



The Window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn't seem fair.


At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window - that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.

Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help.

Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button, which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence - deathly silence.

The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall!

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Wanting God

A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him.


"Master, I wish to become your disciple," said the man.

"Why?" replied the hermit.

The young man thought for a moment. "Because I want to find God."

The master jumped up, grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, dragged him into the river, and plunged his head under water. After holding him there for a minute, with him kicking and struggling to free himself, the master finally pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed up water and gasped to get his breath.

When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. "Tell me, what did you want most of all when you were under water."

"Air!" answered the man.

"Very well," said the master. "Go home and come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air."

Plant Your Garden Today

Plant your garden today

First, plant 3 rows of peas;

Patience

Promptness

Prayer

Next, plant 3 rows of squash;

Squash gossip

Squash indifference

Squash criticism

Then, plant 4 rows of lettuce;

Let us obey the good laws

Let us be Loyal

Let us be true to our Obligations

Let us be unselfish

Finish, with 4 rows of turnip;

Turn up when Needed

Turn up with a Smile

Turn up with a Vision

Turn up with Determination


A Persian Proverb

He who knows not,

And knows not that he knows not,

Is a fool - shun him.

He who knows not,

And knows that he knows not,

Is a child - teach him.

He who knows,

And knows not that he knows,

Is asleep - wake him.

He who knows,

And knows that he knows,

Is wise - follow him.

The Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars and you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

On Responsibility

Responsibility is the ability to fulfill one's needs and to do so in such a way that one does not deprive others of the opportunity of fulfilling their needs. A responsible person does that which gives him a feeling that he is worthwhile to himself and others. Acquiring responsibility is a very complicated, life-long, process. This ability must be learned.

If a person is not involved with others who care enough about him to give love and discipline, then he will not learn responsibility. Children "test" with irresponsible behavior. Through discipline tempered with love, the child learns someone cares. Before an irresponsible student can accept discipline, he must feel certain the teacher/counselor cares enough to show him the responsible way to behave.

The teacher/counselor often must suffer the pain of the student's intense anger by firmly holding the student to the responsible course of action. If firmness is not constant, the student will repeat his patterns of irresponsibility. A person gains self-respect through discipline, closeness to others through love. Discipline must contain the element of love, which says, "I care enough about you to confront you to behave in a more responsible manner."

Reflections Of The Sky Nation

The Thunder-beings were busy giving birth to new clouds, sending them to dance in the blue playground of sky. Grandfather Sun provided the glittering sunbeams, which acted like jump ropes for today's newborn white, puffy Cloud People.

One of the most curious little clouds wandered off on the winds. She decided she was going to have a talk with Sacred Mountain. "Grandmother Mountain, I've come to ask you if your forests need rain today," she said. "I want to be of service, and so I thought I had better find out what is needed most."


Sacred Mountain told the little cloud that there was plenty of moisture today, but the little one could help in another way. Sacred Mountain taught the little cloud how to understand the thoughts and questions that the human beings were having. It was fun for the little cloud to capture the waves of human thoughts rising from the Earth and to answer the humans' unspoken questions by becoming shapes that formed a series of ideas. The needed answers were found through the linking ideas.

The little cloud approached Sacred Mountain at the end of the day with another question that caused Cloud to have a heavy heart, "Grandmother Mountain, I've worked all day to reflect helpful answers to the Human Tribe, but now I have one very important question. How can we get them to look up and pay attention?

Walking on water

Three monks decided to practice meditation together. they sat by the side of a lake and closed their eyes in concentration. Then suddenly, the first one stood up and said, "I forgot my mat." He steeped miraculously onto the water in front of him and walked across the lake to their hut on the other side.

When he returned, the second monk stood up and said, "I forgot to put my the other underwear to dry." He too walked calmly across the water and returned the same way. The third monk watched the first two carefully in what he decided must be the test of his own abilities. "Is your learning so superior to mine? I too can match any feat you two can perform," he declared loudly and rushed to the water's edge to walk across it. He promptly fell into the deep water.

Undeterred, the third monk climbed out of the water and tried again, only to sink into the water. Yet again he climbed out and yet again he tried, each time sinking into the water. This went on for some time as the other two monks watched.


After a while, the second monk turned to the first and said, "Do you think we should tell him where the stones are?"

The first monk said, “What stones?”

Wise Blind Elephants

Six wise, blind elephants were discussing what humans were like. Failing to agree, they decided to determine what humans were like by direct experience.

The first wise, blind elephant felt the human, and declared, "Humans are flat."

The other wise, blind elephants, after similarly feeling the human, agreed.

The Other Side

One day a young Buddhist on his journey home, came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher "Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river"?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back "My son, you are on the other side."

Reality?

Location is an art gallery.

Artist: That, sir, is a cow grazing.

Visitor: Where is the grass?

Artist: The cow has eaten it.

Visitor: But where is the cow?

Artist: You don't suppose she'd be fool enough to stay there after she'd eaten all the grass, do you?


Falling Hazelnuts of Wisdom

These were collected by RDNA Druids and published on my web page between April 2000 and July 2002.


Cats in the Corner

from Alyx in CO

There was a master in a monastery that had about thirty disciples. They used to

conduct meditation, prayer, and other spiritual exercises. The master loved cats, and therefore had a cat in his monastery. During meditation, the cat would run around disturbing the meditation. The disciples complained to the master, so the master tied the cat in the corner of the meditation hall during meditation time, in order that it would not cause a disturbance.

Thus, things went on. During meditation, the cat would be tied in the corner, while at other times it was free to roam. Several years later the master died, but the cat remained, and the disciples continued to tie the cat in the corner during meditation.

Eventually, the disciples changed; the new disciples did not know why there was a cat inside the hall during meditation, but they nevertheless continued to tie it in the corner at the appropriate time. And when in time the cat died, they went and bought a new one, and tied that one in the corner during meditation time, too.

As time went by the group grew and founded new monasteries. The new master, though he did not know the origin of the cat in the corner, said that it helped the meditation and therefore declared, "Let us have a cat tied in the corner during meditation time in all our monasteries." So in all of their monasteries, there was a cat tied in the corner during meditation time.

Soon many learned treatises were being written about the spiritual importance of tying a cat in the corner during meditation. Some disciples even wrote that it was impossible to meditate properly without the cat.

And this is how Theology and the Philosophy of Religion are created.


Zen Duck

by Gayla Paul in Corn Grove, Iowa.

Duck walks into a bar and says to the bartender, "Got any bread?" Bartender says, "No, no bread here." Next day, the duck walks in again and says, "Got any bread?" Bartender says, "No, sorry buddy, still no bread." The very next day the duck walks into the bar yet again and says to the bartender, "Got any bread?"

Bartender is getting annoyed at this point and says, "No! We do not have any bread here! No bread!” N-O! NO bread!" But again, the very next day the duck is back, and again the duck says, "Got any bread?"

The bartender just about throws a fit and says to the duck, "I have never had any bread, I will never have any bread and I don't have any bread now, AND if you EVER come in here asking for bread again I will nail your feet to the bar!"

Next day, duck walks into the bar and says, "Got any nails?" Bartender says, "No." Duck says, "Got any bread?"

Sigil Thinking

Forrest Stephen Gott on May 2002

In closing, I will offer a personal interpretation on the Sigil (or should I say misinterpretation?) Life is a road of many paths, and the two lines for me are a path, surrounded by a circle of love. It has no physical representation, and it extends beyond the circle for no particular reason other than showing that parts of that path may not always be safe, but can lead to a new circle of love/friendship.



Microcosm

by Robert M. Pirsig,

"Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance"

The application of this knife, the division of the world into parts and the building of this structure is something everybody does. All the time we are aware of millions of things around us - these changing shapes, these burning hills, the sound of the engine, the feel of the throttle, each rock and weed and fence post and piece of debris beside the road - aware of these things but not really conscious of them unless there is something unusual or unless they reflect something we are predisposed to see. We couldn't possibly be conscious of these things and remember all of them because our mind would be so full of useless details we would be unable to think.. From all this awareness we must select, and what we select and call consciousness is never the same as the awareness because the process of selection mutates it. We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.


Religious Society

Faith & Practice: London Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends. Submitted by Don Morrison

The life of a religious society consists in something more than the body of principles it professes and the outer garments of organization, which it wears. These things have their own importance: they embody the society to the world, and protect it from the chance and change of circumstance; but the spring of life lies deeper, and often escapes recognition. They are to be found in the vital union of the members of the society with God and with one another, a union that allows the free flowing through the society of the spiritual life, which is its strength. Such words as “discipleship,” “fellowship,” “brotherhood,” describe these central springs of religious life…

Sufic/Druidic Connections

Submitted by Richard Shelton

from Idries Shah’s “The Sufis”

The poets were the chief disseminators of Sufi thought, earned the same reverence as did the ollamhs, or master poets, of earl medieval Ireland, and used a similar secret language of metaphorical reference and verbal cipher. Nizami the Persian Sufi writes: “Under the poet’s tongue lies the key of the treasury.” This language was a protection of thought only proper to those that understand it, and against accusations of heresy or civil disobedience. Ibn el Arabi, summoned before an Islamic inquisition at Aleppo to defend himself against charges of nonconformity, pleaded that his poems were metaphorical, the basic message being God’s perfection of man through divine love. He had, for precedent, the incorporation in the Jewish Scriptures of the erotic Song of Solomon, which was officially interpreted by the Pharisee sages as a metaphor of God’s love for Israel; and by the Catholic authorities as a metaphor of God’s love for his Church.


In its most advanced form, the secret language uses Semitic consonantal roots to conceal and reveal meanings; and western scholars seem unaware that even the popular “Thousand and One Nights” is Sufic in content, and that its Arabic title Alf layla wa layla is a code phrase indicating its main content and intention: “Mother of Records.” Yet what seems at first sign Oriental occultism is an ancient and familiar Western habit of thought. Most English and French school children begin history lessons with a picture of their Druidic ancestors lopping mistletoe from a sacred oak. Although the Druids are credited by Caesar with ancestral mysteries and a secret language, the lopping seems so simple a ceremony, mistletoe being still used in Christmas decorations, that few readers pause to consider what I mean. The current view that the Druids were virtually emasculating the oak makes no sense.

"Now, all other sacred trees, plants and herbs have peculiar properties. The alder's timber is waterproof and its leaves yield a royal red dye; birch is the host of the hallucigenetic fly-cap mushroom; oak and ash attract lightening for a holy fire; the mandrake root is anti-spasmodic. The foxglove yields digitalis, which accelerates the beat of the heart; poppies are opiates; ivy has toxic leaves and its flowers provide bees with the last honey of the year. But the berries of the mistletoe; widely known in folklore as an "all heal,” have no medicinal properties, though greedily eaten by wood pigeons and other non-migratory birds in winter. The leaves are equally valueless; and the timber can be put to few uses. Why then was the mistletoe singled out as the most sacred and curative of plants. The only answer can be that the Druids used it as an emblem of their own peculiar way of thought. Here is a tree that is no tree, but fastens itself alike on oak, apple, poplar, beech, thorn, even pine, grows green, nourishing itself on the topmost branches when the rest of the forest seems asleep, and the fruit of which is credited with curing all spiritual disorders. Lopped sprigs of it are tied to the lintel of a door and can invite sudden and surprising kisses. The symbolism is exact, if we can equate Druidic with Sufic thought, which is not planted like a tree, as religions are planted, but self-engrafted on a tree already in existence, it keeps green though the tree itself is asleep, in the sense that religions go dead by formalism; and the main motive power of its growth is love, not ordinary animal passion or domestic affection but a sudden surprising recognition of love so rare and high that the heart seems to sprout wings. Strangely enough, the Burning Bush from which God appeared to Moses in the desert is now thought by Biblical scholars to have been an acacia glorified by the red leaves of a locanthus, the Eastern equivalent of mistletoe."


[-Shelton: Thought you might be interested in this. Graves, as always, must be taken with a grain of salt, since his intuitionistic leaps far exceed anything warranted by documentation. But this time he may be close to the mark, or at any rate, it would be nice to think so. And it does ring true. This book by the way is a good introduction to the ideas behind Graves’ White Goddess – which is absolutely the most frustrating book I’ve ever tried to read.]




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