Words!

I was reading through the European Unitarian Universalists’ website and I found an interesting article called May I have a Word with You? (last article on the page).From it I saw a quote from Mark Twain:

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightining and the lightning bug.

There are many moment when I have read or heard something that made me think “I agree wholeheartedly… except for that one little word, which changes everything.” Sometimes I can overlook it, taking a “between the lines” interpretation, so that my own bias towards certain word doesn’t get in the way of communication. Other times I have to take a word seriously because it changes the sense of a sentence too much for me to ignore. Words aren’t just intellectual categories, they have instinctual and in intuitive aspects to them, too.

Words fascinate me for a number of reasons (or perhaps one reason dressed as many). I’ve written a lot of poetry, which I used as a device to express my inner process. As a writer, words gives form to my thought processes, so I can share ideas; it can also help me create whole new worlds and characters from the imagination. I am a student of languages, Spanish, French and Catalan, learning their similarities and difference (and a student of English – even though I’m a native speaker, there are still things I can learn about it), and a creator of others, inventing news vocabularies, grammars and pronounciations for my invented peoples.

In ecopsychology we learn of “verbalisation”, which has the scientific quality of sharing emprical data through language, and just as (if not more) importantly it has the psychological function of making the unconscious conscious, enhancing experience and impressions by giving it definition instead of letting it sink into anonymity and another thing that we “take for granted”.

Between the anonymity of birth and the anonymity of death there is life. But life doesn’t have to be anonymous, so long as we verbalise.

Today, through a mistake in Spanish, I learnt that emersion and immersion are opposites, where I’d been thinking of them as “immersion”. There’s little difference in pronounciation (or pronunciation for the orthographically correct); both can be /i-MUR-shuhn/, though emersion can also be /ee-MUR-shuhn/). I pronounce them both /i-MUR-zhuhn/ (zh as in viSion, Genre or miraGe), but who’s being picky, right?

Though just to be picky, I pronounce emersion /i-MURJ/ and spell it <emerge>. 😉

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The Christian Druid

My earliest religious experience was within the context of a Christian church, a “happy-clappy” Baptist church, an overall positive experience with singing, celebration, fun Sunday school games and the love of a benevolent God. It left me with a lasting interest in all things religious and spiritual. During my adolescence I identified with Spiritualist and New Age ideas, though continued visiting the local Christian youth group. I then discovered Paganism, rooting my idea of spirit in nature and ancestral Pre-Christian traditions. But Christianity, or at least Christ, was always there, and if I were to be consistent in recognising and honouring my ancestors, then I would have to look to Christianity as well as Pagan religions for inspiration and understanding of my roots. Perhaps the pre-Christian religions of Europe represent a long-forgotten “deeper” legacy than Christianity, but that doesn’t make Christianity’s impact on my life and culture any less true or relevant.
Modern Druidry has its own roots in Christian tradition, with specifically Pagan Druidry emerging in the 20th century. Some 18th century Revivalists saw in the ancient druids a precursor to Christianity, perhaps containing little or no differences in doctrine. At other times Christian gentlemen in long, white robes would gather at Stonehenge or other significant places to conduct “druidic” ceremonies, though for fraternal or cultural motives rather than the revival of ancient religion. And today there are still plenty of modern druids that identify as Christian, combining a faith in Christ with a druid-inspired nature-based spirituality.
I’m not a follower of Christ or a believer in Christian doctrine, but I recognise the impact of it on my life and the inspiration that the teachings of Christ continue to have for me. And I can say, as Columcille once said, that “Christ is my Druid”, seeing in him a model for being a Christian, a druid and a human.

Identity and Self-Knowledge

Three keys essential on the path to self-knowledge: acceptance, rejection and synthesis.
Acceptance of those elements that are ours but we have rejected; rejection of those elements that aren’t ours but we have accepted; a synthesis with a more adjusted sense of wholeness and centred in a more essential sense of self.

I’m a regular reader of Druid Life, which has interesting articles such as Know Thyself. Nimue Brown was also helpful in publicising the Vote for the Conservation of the Glorieta Stream. Occasionally I comment on Nimue’s blogs, like Know Thyself, which I share here:

Identity and self-knowledge are very interesting subjects, which are two different but related things. The former gives us material to work with, the latter, a means to make sense of it.
The ego is a fragment that thinks it’s a whole, but once it realises that the human psyche is higher, deeper and wider than it’s own limits, well, we have a whole journey on our hands!
The closest I come to a “pure self” is the “I” without identity, it is the conscious, directive element in the psyche, and around this has formed the baggage of the ego (i.e. identity – there is a distinction here between identity and identifier). Roberto Assagioli said: “We are dominated by everything with which our self becomes identified. We can dominate and control everything from which we dis-identify ourselves.”
Identity has it’s function, but it is less fundamental to my being than I often think. In studing Psychosynthesis, I’m learning that this “disidentifiying” has nothing to do with rejecting my identity (who I think I am), but simply changing my perspective of it as something that is not at the centre of the whole psyche. I “disidentify” from the ego’s box, which allows me to integrate and accept elements of the psyche that don’t fit in with the ego’s prejudices.
Sense of self expands and the process of psychic wholeness, or individuation, begins, moving the centre from the ego to the Self.

Here’s an article by Will Parfitt on Identification and Disidentification, and an exercise for it here.