My Labyrinthine Path
Biblical Christianity (of the literalist sort). Eucharistic liturgy. Spiritual direction. Roman Catholicism. Humanism. Buddhist meditation and practice. Yoga. Massage Therapy. Tai Chi. Creation-centered Spirituality. Modern Druidry. Unitarian-Universalism. These are all a part of my path. In fact, they represent major turns and major stretches along the way. I have a BA in Biblical Literature (Hebrew and Greek). I have an M.Div from a liberal Christian seminary and the equivalent from a Catholic seminary. I hold a PhD in Latin and Roman Studies. The path of my life is like a labyrinth. I have come to trust it even while others look at it and sometimes see confusion. My path takes me to my center. This is a picture (left) of the first labyrinth I built. My son (age 4 at the time) and I built it during Holy Week, 1998, in our back yard of Alabama field stone. In "The Path" my blog on this site, I write and reflect on these various views into life that each part of my path has given and continues to give me.
When I was a child, growing up in the hills and woods of north Alabama, there was a spot that I used to go to: a large stone mostly buried at the foot of a giant pine, overlooking a small stream. When I look back on how often I went there, intuitively, to ponder and listen, I recognize my Druid roots, the memory of the ancient Celt deep inside me that calls me to nature, to mystery, to interconnection in all things. In my Druidry pages, I have a collection of things that I am working with in various groups that are Celtic or Druidic in nature. To the left are some ogham discs that I made from a Holly tree that I had to remove from my yard. I pledged to the tree that its wood would be used for sacred purposes.
The Three Cauldrons
One of the most important and exciting things that I have found on my Druidic path is a way of viewing the human being as three energy centers called "the Three Cauldrons". In this section of my website, I am gathering works about the Three Cauldrons as well as my own work with them as a form of personal meditation. What makes these "Celtic" is that early Celtic writers refer to them. What makes them exciting to me is that they describe a universal set of human experiences, rooted in the body. To the left are three Tibetan bowls that I use when doing Three Cauldron meditation, one for each Cauldron, and a set of prayer beads that I made for this purpose, as well.
All of my life, I have found that how people gather around Spirit can be very transformative. Gathering around Spirit in ritual or liturgy can be done really well and really badly. I consider this an art and craft and one that I have long been devoted to. When a ritual or liturgy draws people, almost beyond their ability to describe why, I believe it is because that ritual or liturgy has tapped something very deep, and likely universal in the human being. Crafting ritual, like painting a painting, never reveals its effect, it's power, until it is finished. Ritual on paper is just the start. The "end" is how the gathered community experiences it this time.
So, of course there has to be a section for labyrinths on this website. They are a wonderful tool for working with one's life. I did my first public working with Labyrinths in 2000. I was a theology teacher in a Catholic school. I invited a friend to come and talk to our whole student body about the history of labyrinths within and before Catholicism. Two teachers and I built a huge labyrinth on the grounds with field paint. A few parents spread the word that we were involved in witchcraft, but the local bishop, to our amazement supported us and came out and blessed the labyrinth. Over 1000 students and faculty walked the labyrinth that year. To the left is a giant painting I did combining the labyrinth formed by the Wisteria vine, the four seasons and the elements of air, fire, water and earth.