Cruce Celtica 3

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Cheryl Anne recently commented:

In the mornings, after I have prayed at my altar (which is in the East), I trace a Celtic Cross over my heart, then rise and take the candle from the altar, bow, then make my way sunwise round to the North and sing a prayer/blessing for the Directions: “May the Life and Hope of God, May the Light and Peace of Christ, May the Love and Healing of the Holy Spirit, be in the North…then South…West…East…bowing again to the altar in the East, then turning to face the Center…be throughout the Whole World”; then extinguish the candle for the spreading of the Light throughout the world. Carlo Carretto (1910-1988) wrote of the Trinity as Life, Light, and Love. I have found this way of understanding the Trinity to be very helpful and beautiful as I weave a Way of Being which honors all that is meaningful to me. I am very happy to have found your writings!

This is a wonderful illustration of finding ways to personalize what we do, and how we walk our paths. You can feel it as you read it.

“To honor all that is meaningful to us”: a piece of the Great Work each of us is called to do.

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To those who find Christian imagery and language a useful guide, one might see in Cheryl Anne’s practice a concrete demonstration of the “priesthood of all believers”, practices that reflect a capacity for devotion and service. The phrase “priesthood of all believers” itself is one that some have developed based on 1 Peter 2:9. While the Wikipedia entry for “universal priesthood” highlights this belief and practice as something that’s more characteristic of Protestantism than other traditions in Christianity, one need not see priesthood as an “either-or”. Dedication, service and devotion are definitely not the exclusive possessions of any one tradition or practice.

A Druid, for instance, might well perceive that when we are in right relationship with Others, all beings, human and non, have the potential to minister to each other, to serve as the hands and feet and eyes and mouth and heart of Spirit. And we’ve all had experience of such harmony, though often only briefly. At our best, we mediate light and love, life and law to each other, four forces traditionally associated with the Four Directions. And at our worst — well, we know all too well what we’re capable of at our worst. One tradition I know asks its clerics to be intentional about displaying outward symbols and signs of their position. When they’re not at their best, they’re asked to remove any outward signs that mark them as clerics, until they’re able to honor the call once more. Priesthood in this sense is a renewable aspiration, and an ongoing opportunity for discernment, for re-dedication, for service.

The topic of priest(ess)hood comes up from time to time in Druidry. We may already know our formal and informal leaders. Some are authors and speakers and workshop leaders. Some are priested, and some are not. It can be easy to confuse charisma, or a gift for teaching, or leadership skills, or learning, with a call to priesthood. It’s helpful to remember that many priests, perhaps most, work in the background. So if I imagine myself as a priest, let me apply the first test of our crap detectors, the test of ego: does the appeal, the romance, the glamour of “priesthood” drop away, if no one else ever knows about the call I’ve answered? Does the call still sound its voice inwardly?

As Druidry develops, it will find appropriate tools to assist those with various spiritual calls. Christian training for priesthood begins with a process of discernment. Is what I’m experiencing in fact a call? Who is calling? Is the call still alive a year from today? How have I responded to the call, if at all? What practices do I have in place that may focus or scatter my awareness of the call, my commitment to respond? What do I imagine will happen if I ignore the call? And so on.

Here, too, is an opportunity to practice the “as if” principle. If I am a priest/ess right now, how does my life demonstrate that spiritual fact? Can I serve as a priest starting this moment, without the need for the label, the bling, the recognition of others? If I can and if I do, what does that look like in concrete terms?

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