Enough

There are times when I feel very disconnected from my spiritual path. I have been through a significant time of disconnection in the past several months. However, as I have been reflecting on this year, from Imbolc through today, I feel as if my prayers at Imbolc have strangely had an effect on my life during this time of disconnection.

In my path through druidry, I felt during my first year or so of study, very connected with learning through experience. My Being connected with the life force of Nwyfre, the beauty of the Awen. I felt grounded through Earth, inspired by Air, blessed and refreshed by Water. My inner Fire that had been extinguished was ignited with the flame of the Goddess Brigid. I met Brigid, felt the guidance of Ceridwen, made offerings to gods and spirits of the land where I live. I prayed for my dead relatives out by the river, illuminated by the stars. I composed poetry, music, and tended my altar daily. I started writing in my journal and blogging. All of this was new, but felt so much like coming home and connected with the Universe in ways I never knew were possible.

Then life hit me hard. I had a situation with my work where I made a mistake. Something about this brought up underlying PTSD that had plagued me all my life, trauma that I had never dealt with. The flashbacks and triggered responses became severe. I felt lost, scared, and ran from the quiet. I could not sit in meditation, as the inner pain was too much to bear. Distracting myself in my phone replaced my times in nature and at my altar. I had just started Ovate studies through the druid order OBOD. I could not connect with my studies anymore. All of this began around Imbolc, and I prayed to Brigid for the gift of healing through this cycle of the year.

As I ran from the severe discomfort when I tried to quiet my mind, I became disconnected from my druid practice. I stumbled through attempts at reconnection, but the more I tried, the more I felt like a failure, like I was not enough. I began to search through books, through other opinions or approaches to paganism, desperately trying to find the secret that would get me back into my spiritual practice. Desperately trying to find the right approach, the right deity, the right devotions to make me feel enough. But, the more I tried, the more confused and ungrounded I felt. And suddenly, I am nearing Lughnasadh…what happened to my intention, my prayer to the Goddess at Imbolc?

During this time, I was fortunate enough to find professional counseling. During this time where I have not been faithfully engaging in my daily practice, I have been working hard on dealing with the PTSD. I have seen how much this has affected my life…my daily life…how I am in the world. I have realized that I tend to dissociate and never feel safe outside of my home. It has been crazy and eye opening. I am still working on this, but feel determined to deal with my PTSD — to heal as much as possible.

As I reflected this week on things, I felt like I was not really a pagan anymore. How could I be without right practice. Realizing how much of the year has gone by with me disconnected from regular druid practice did not help. Then a phrase came to mind. “I am enough.” I felt a moment where I was able to settle. The frantic musing to find the right devotional practice, the right altar setup, the right books to read in order to find my way back to being a good pagan — all this dissipated like a morning mist. I sat and breathed into the earth, feeling settled, feeling my energetic roots extend deep into the earth. I realized that in a way, even though not through a druid practice, my prayer to Brigid — my intention at Imbolc — has been coming into fruition. The Goddess has been guiding me, not in the way I had envisioned but in a way that my inner Being has needed for years. The Goddess has indeed been guiding me and giving me strength in order to find healing through this cycle through the Wheel of the Year.

My practice from the outside looks very non pagan-specific. It is mindful yoga and meditating — grounding into the earth — feeling into Nature. It is wading in the river, being present to the feeling of the water flowing past my body. It is going to counseling, staying hydrated, prioritizing care of my body, trusting in life. I have not made much progress in my Ovate studies. This is not what I think a distinctly pagan practice should ideally look like, but it is where I am now. As I look back on the year and settle, I feel in a way that I am actually still on my journey — that this is actually part of it — part of my path to connect more deeply with Nature and with spirit. It is enough. In a strange way, this may be the most profound part of my pagan journey that I have experienced.

Gods and Goddesses

I have spent a great deal of time contemplating deity on my spiritual path. It has been difficult. Experiencing deity is a very personal thing. This is not meant as an authoritative essay, but as an expression of my journey.

I grew up with a set way of looking at the concept of who and what God is. There is a set visual that I absorbed of an actual being, a white-haired man, sitting on a real celestial throne, light emanating from his presence. It was to this being that I directed worship and prayer. It was from him that I attempted to find favor. My view of the divine was concrete. It was a physical reality. Until it wasn’t.

Through life experiences and through my eduction wherein I developed a greater knowledge of science and of other cultures, my belief in God became difficult to sustain. I was unable to reconcile the experience and knowledge of the world with my religion. Breaking up with the idea of a real divine being felt intellectually honest. Atheism was a mental relief.

However as time passed, I began to have a growing sense of something greater in the universe, compelling me to search for a higher spiritual force. I felt a spiritual lack. This is the point of the journey where things became very messy.

As I began my pagan path, the disconnect between the God of my past and scientific reality crept back into my consciousness. But now, this intellectual disconnect was accompanied by a compelling sense that there was divinity in nature. The idea of a big person with unlimited power was so married to the concept of divinity that I did not, I could not, reconcile the reality of gods with my sense of intellectual honor. Yet, I felt the Gods.

Attempting to connect, I began to study druidry. Through druidry, I experienced a greater connection with the natural world and with myself. But, sitting at my altar, I felt there was a barrier. I wanted to call to divinity but did not know how, or more specifically whom to call upon.

I read… and read and read until my head was spinning. There were so many views, all seeming a bit different, but every one so sincerely held. Desperately, I began to “try them on.” It became so much of an obsession that it began to drive me away from spending time in meditation. My spirituality became academic. The time at my altar felt frantic. I needed to find the right answer!

I searched in ritual. I am so glad that I did! I had an experience where I sensed that I walked into the Otherworld. A horned figure approached me. He told me to listen for the gods. I would find them if I listened.

I spent time in nature. Lying on the ground one night, I watched as the clouds passed by, gradually revealing a sky full of stars. The feeling struck me again. The gods are here, whether you can see them or not; they have always been here.

I began to give offerings to “the Gods” at my altar, praying to this unnamed collective. One day, I had a sudden realization that changed me, allowing me to connect with a specific God or Goddess without feeling dishonest.

The Gods are not intellectual curiosities, beings to be quantified or categorized. They are not meant to be separated out in their component parts, in order to have the correct and unalterable view of who and what they are. They are not meant to be “believed in” but experienced.

One way I can express this thought is by considering magnetism. You do not need to believe in or to visualize magnetic forces in a particular way. They are just there. You can spend the time thinking about magnetism, doing calculations, but that does not make it any more real. What makes it real is the fact it exists, that it can be experienced.

In dogmatic religions, there is the need to “get it right.” Believing the wrong thing about God is heresy. Sure, you can experience the divine in these religions and many do, but belief is given a sense of primacy. Once I divorced myself from the need to have a right belief, my sense of intellectual turmoil disappeared.

The Gods are real. They can be experienced. There is no “getting it right,” no right belief that one needs to adopt in order to be saved. There is no fear in being lost if you have the wrong visual of the divine. What matters is that you experience and interact with the divinity that you feel.

As best I understand it, the ancient ancestors did not spend their time worrying about the hairstyle or facial features of their Gods. It was the function, the essence of their Gods that mattered. For me, it is okay that I do not know exactly what a Goddess is or what the Gods look like. I can feel the protection and power of Thor in a thunderstorm without worrying about getting the beard right.

In my reading, some have said that the physical world is a reflection of the Otherworld. Perhaps the forces of nature are reflections of the Gods. Whether this is true or not, I can connect to the Gods in this way. Experiencing the reality of the forces of nature, I can call to the Gods of my ancestors. This is not rigid belief but an opening of my being to what is already there.

Cleansing

It was my first ritual. I had been reading an introductory book on Wicca and decided to try casting a circle. I nervously followed all the steps for the rite. Step one was a cleansing bath. Sitting in the water, I felt the nerves melt away and a sense of deep relaxation. As I rose out of the water, my racing thoughts were washed away.

That was my first experience of pre-ritual cleansing. Through my subsequent rituals, I have kept the act of cleansing before performing a rite, either with washing my face or taking a ritual bath. It remains meaningful to this day. However, as time has passed, I’ve noticed the racing thoughts of the “monkey mind” have become more persistent. The thoughts keep popping up like mental whack-a-mole. It requires a fair bit of chanting to achieve a sense of focus.

The “monkey mind” is only natural, but what is disturbing is that I get increasingly carried away by these thoughts. I am reciting the words of my ritual, but my brain is somewhere else entirely. Discouraged, finding less meaning in my devotions, I withdraw even more. Recently, I’ve felt rather empty.

On a rainy day off from work, I spent some time down by the river, lying on the bank in utter silence. I put my headphones in my pocket. It was just me and the Earth Mother, connecting. In this time of meditation, I had a sudden moment of clarity.

It’s 5 AM. My alarm goes off and I roll out of bed. I grab my iPhone, tiptoeing out of the room so as to not wake up the baby. Drinking my morning tea, I cruise mindlessly through YouTube, trying not to think of the stressful day ahead. And then it’s suddenly decision time. Do I go to my altar or just get dressed and begrudgingly go to work?

It’s 7:30 PM. I’m back from an exhausting day. The realities of the pandemic and the dysfunctional medical system have drained me dry. So many patients, in so little time, as I cover for colleagues pulled to work in the hospital wards bursting beyond capacity. There are so many grieving, anxious, angry patients, back-to-back in ridiculously short appointments. There is no time to emotionally recover. Finally back home, I disappear into a fantasy world of TV shows, between the baby’s crying sessions, until exhausted, I crash into bed.

I look at my screen time on my phone and am shocked! How did I have this much time left in my day? I realize all this screen time is spent with an endless barrage of voices, music, news, information coming at me. My brain is bombarded with small, ever-changing chunks of data, not just at work, but also in the time I disappear from reality to escape. And when I come up for air, to try to connect at my altar, all the face-washing in the world cannot cleanse my spirit for the work ahead.

There is a type of cleansing that Gerald Gardner and others of that era never needed – a cleansing from the cacophony of the smart phone. While washing my face before ritual is important, I am not fully cleansed. I am desperately in need of a mental cleansing as well. There is a saying from Wicca that hit me hard. As without, so within.

And what of the pagan life. Devotions at an altar are important to me, dedicated time to connect with the gods and spirits. However, this is not all I want for my journey. I wish to connect outside of ritual as well. I’ve been impressed in my Lughnasadh meditations this year that the gods are real. I will find them, if I listen. But here was my riverside eureka moment. If I am to listen for the gods and exercise devotion in my life, both inside and outside the ritual circle, do I not need to be able to hear the voice of the Otherworld? How can I ever hear the Otherworld when I am bombarded with endless information and emotions through my smart phone?

Cleansing is important, both inner and outer cleansing. But, in my opinion, the cleansing that needs to be emphasized is not a pre-ritual bath. The cleansing we need is mental. The cleansing water is silence. The vessel is time. Even in my busy life, the time is there, like an empty bath tub. I know, because my screen time app tells me so! I must fill the time with silence. Immersing myself in the silence, this is my cleansing bath.

By the River

I saw the seasons change.

As a Great Blue Heron stalked its prey, I laid

beneath a maple’s turning leaves

resting in the shade.

The clouds came in so quietly.

Nature dimmed the light to a grey glow

as a mother tucking in her sleepy child

then stealing away on tiptoe.

I am not depressed but hushed

slowly rocking in nature’s cradle.

The seasons shifted as I Iaid

beneath the Big Leaf Maple.

I knew it was coming

as the leaves grew weathered and frail.

But it happened so quickly and yet

so subtle, like a timeworn veil,

it caught me by surprise.

I thought I would miss the summer sun

the cool, lazy current of the river

before the late salmon run.

But that light is gone.

Yet all I felt was magic, not grief or dismay,

as the sun was covered by an otherworldy mist,

as Summer and the Great Blue Heron flew away.

Look past the machines: Lughnasadh 2021

Standing on a hill, I overlook the ancient fields of my ancestors. Barley is being cut by scythe as the village gathers together to celebrate the harvest. This is the season of the harvest, a celebration that life leads to death as death leads to life again. An old witch tends her garden, her hands in the soil, asking permission of her herbs to give their leaves for an ancient spell. A group is making its way through an orchard, plucking the ripe apples from the trees. I see some have fallen to the ground, their seeds to be swallowed by the earth to sprout into new trees, to bear fruit again as the seasons past. The cycle of death and rebirth that sustained my ancestors long ago is seen in all directions.

I watch as the the seasons pass, as the wheel turns through years, decades, centuries. Now I find myself overlooking vast uniform fields lying in a grid, like agricultural graph paper. On this soil, I see harvesters rolling over grain fields and cropdusters raining pesticides from the sky. The noise, the dust, the machinery obscures my view. Looking to my right, plastic bags of uniform, sliced bread appear on metal shelves. I don’t see the cycle of life. All I see are check-out stands. Where is the mystery?

I turn and find myself overlooking the harvesters once more. Beside me an antlered figure silently watches. “Where is the mystery?” I ask. He replies in a calm, measured voice. “Look past the machines. It is there John Barleycorn is dying to give you life. Look into the dirt, into the overworked fields. In this soil, he remains.” “But I am so removed. How can I connect?” “Look past the machines. The Earth Mother is there. Look under your shoes. She is there. Touch her, skin to skin, child to mother. Feel the energy, the unspoken bond. It has always been there.” As he speaks, I look down at my hands. I am in my garden, placing seeds into the ground, moist dirt under my fingernails. I feel it. The transformation of death into life, of detritus into loam, death and creation in the depths, in the cauldron of the Earth Mother. Is this not Awen? It was there all along, whizzing by me as I drove to work, under the soles of my shoes, deep under concrete.

“Look past the machines.” I turn to him in disbelief that he is actually there. I have felt his antlered presence in the forest. Was this my imagination? Was that wishful thinking? He shouldn’t be there. Am I going crazy? “And what of the gods” I ask? “Look past the what you can test and see in a lab. Look past what you can analyze. We are here. We were always here. You merely need to look into the otherworld and listen. We will come to you. Just listen. Listen. Listen.” I feel a profound sense of relief and peace. “Your ancestors connected with the land, as they connected with their gods; connecting with the gods, they connected with the land. Learn from them. Feel them. They are in you. Your forebears lost sight of them over the years. You are here now and so are we. Honor the land. It is the first step of healing. Honor the land. Feel. Notice. Look past the machines. Listen.” I watch as the antlered figure fades from view. The light of a candle burns on my altar, carpet under my feet. I stand, turn and walk through the gateway from the otherworld.

As I write these words, I look to the river and see an otter running upstream. Were I binge-watching TV, I would not see the otter make its way past. Yet it would be there, just the same. I sit at the bank, looking at the river bottom. I see through the clear water, crawfish hiding under rocks next to a group of clams, their small white tongues peaking through rock-colored shells. I realize the time I have spent on my smartphone vastly outweighs the time I have spent by the river, connecting with the land, breathing in the energy of the sky. They have always been there. All I have to do is look past my default activities and notice.

My Road to Druidry

In my life, I have spent time focusing on the mental aspects and responsibilities of life, while neglecting or postponing self-care: both physical and spiritual. The reasons for this were many. My upbringing was in a fundamentalist Christian community that followed a small group of preachers that were deemed the only true servants of God in a world of apostasy. In this environment, one needed to be perfect in order to be “saved” from the physical urges that lead to sin. All the while, a blind eye was turned to child abuse in the name of forgiveness to perpetrators. As I grew up, the endless guilt and sense of anger I carried deep inside led me to emphatically and aggressively remove myself from Christianity.

I eventually wound up being a materialist. A clumsy way of explaining this is that the only acceptable truths were those that could be found in a test-tube. I was furious at those that believed without evidence. Eventually, I found my way to a version of Buddhism divorced from the religious beliefs, endorsing the science of mindfulness. This was a way of finding some spiritual self-care that was far-enough removed for me to participate in this practice without the anger I carried towards religion.

Ignoring my body’s signals in the name of avoiding temptation to eat the wrong foods or have sexual thoughts, I became at war with my physical nature. This led me to see the body and mind as two separate things. I could ignore my physical health and focus purely on mental projects through schooling. I did have a LOT of schooling. I wound up over the years becoming a medical doctor. As I went from medical school through residency, working sometimes over 100 hours a week, I always told myself that once I finish residency, once I get settled into my job, then I would work on my health. Honestly, this was how I was able to survive the crazy job of being a medical resident. To complicate things, it turns out that I had undiagnosed and untreated major depression and anxiety. (I would fully appreciate this later on after finishing my residency.)

The funny thing is that the mindset of putting off self-care becomes eternal. There was always something to do that was more important. That’s the way it goes in life — on autopilot, priorities rarely change. My meditation was sparse. I was sedentary and obese, not connected with my body’s sensations on when I was hungry or full. I felt terrible. It’s been a little over two years now when it all came crashing down. My health was very poor; I lost multiple members of my family, including my mother to a terrible neurodegenerative disease. My mental and physical health were at a breaking point. I became suicidal. I put on an act at work, while taking care of patients that were depressed and suicidal themselves, patients addicted to opiate medication screaming at me to prescribe them pills, patients dying of cancer and other chronic diseases. At the same time, I was planning my own death. My body and soul would not let me push through or squash things down any longer. Scared at the dark thoughts I was having, I sought medical help and wound up on a medical leave. It was very strange to be a patient, a helpless place, unable to ignore or postpone my physical and spiritual health any longer.

As part of my treatment, my mental health professional suggested that I spend time outside. So, trying to be a good patient, I planted a row of honeysuckles in memory of my mother. This became a living memorial to her. From that project came many other projects in my yard, planting trees, digging up river rock to make new walkways in the yard, clearing out brush and debris to clear a path down to the river that runs behind our property. Something about having my hands in the dirt was very healing, the smell of the earth, the moist gritty soil, the cool smooth texture of the river rock. I wound up sitting by the river one evening looking up at the stars. I felt the grandeur of it all, that there was an immense power, an energy. I imagined my ancestors, all the humans throughout time that looked up at these stars. There was a sense of wonder, of something huge and profound, but I was unable to put it into words. There was a growing sense of emptiness in my materialistic world-view.

As I began to research spiritual paths, I was surprised to learn of neopagans. My hatred rooted in my experience of Christianity drove me to click on a website that discussed neopagan paths. I was introduced to “nature spirituality.” There were many paths, such Wiccan traditions (of which there are many), heathenism, hermeticism, ceremonial magic, druidry. It was very overwhelming. As I read many books and listened to a plethora of YouTube videos that are available, I became introduced to a way in which to describe the energy and immense power I feel in nature in terms of the Goddess and God of Wicca. From there, I explored deity in different ways, such as pantheism and polytheism. They view deity in a different light than the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-perfect God of the monotheist religions. I came to know deity as both masculine and feminine, both tender and full of fury, flawed and full of passion, in harmony with the reality of nature and ourselves, seen in many forms. In my search, I discovered druidry as my personal path, a path that emphasizes a sense of grounding in the physical world and integration with the otherworld (I clumsily explain this as the world of spirit), an acceptance of the carnality of human existence, an integration of masculine and feminine parts of my being, of my drive and passion with the mental, emotional and practical physical qualities of my nature, a path that sees life and spirit in nature all around us, that provides a connection with the spirits of the land, sea/river and sky, a path that makes us part of nature and not separate from it. The integration of my self, of my spirit, soul, mind, heart and body, and the integration of this self with the living Earth, has been grounding and healing. It has provided a connection with the universe that I never knew was possible. This path has felt like coming home to a home I never knew I had.

I suspect there are many meandering journeys that those on Wiccan, heathen, druid, and other paths could share, and it was very cathartic and meaningful for me to put word to webpage as I reflect on my path. I hope it is interesting.

One other thing to share. If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the national suicide hotline which is available 24/7.

The national suicide hotline: 800-273-8255

The Element of Water, the Cycle of Death and Rebirth

In the stillness of the meadow

peaceful sounds of melted snow

crisp through the fresh spring grass 

Winter letting go


From mountain pass an icy stream

against the earth is helpless

Yielding to its pull, carving

through ancient rock, relentless


Thundering through river gorge

to placid summer plains

Rising on the wings of fire

released as falling rain

Never having its own plan

it follows nature’s will 

Not terrified of crashing waterfalls 

nor bored of standing still 


Drifting out to westward sea

where we both have been before

Struggling against the waves I tire

and let go of the oars


Smothered in a thick fall mist

as I release the till

Blind yet I know where I am 

as we drift westward still

Words of Wisdom

Triads are short wisdom sayings in Druidry. The druids seem to have been fond of threes. There are old wisdom saying or triads that are kept alive in modern Druidry, however, as a living and changing spirituality, new Triads are also very much a part of the continuation of the search for wisdom. I would like to share one of mine.

Three gifts of the river: connection, sustenance and rejuvenation.

Just as the river has connected humanity historically and continues to do so in the present day, so it brings life and sustenance to plants and animals within and surrounding it. It connects the Salmon as it leaves the place of its birth and returns at the end of its life to give birth to a new generation. The river connects the realms of land, sea and sky by way of the cyclical flow of life-sustaining water, as vaporized seawater falls from the sky to land and flows back to the sea. Sitting beside the river, it provides a rejuvenation to the soul, just as it rejuvenates the land and life that live along its path.

Thoughts on the element of Earth

The power of the element of earth lies in grounding and in nourishment, not only grounding on the earth but grounding in the earth. We are made of earth, the stuff of dirt, minerals, decomposing vegetation. So, in grounding in the earth, we are grounding in ourselves— our bodies, our minds, our hearts, our spirit. Our bodies, both organic and energetic are nourished by the life force of the earth, what is known in various traditions as Qi, Nwyfre, Spirit. Like being born of our human mother, and being nourished by her, so we are born from the Earth Mother and nourished by her life force. Just as we are part of a family, so we are a part of the communion, the family, of nature. As we are of the Earth Mother, so are the minerals, the plants, the animals. As we are nourished and filled with the life force of the earth, so too are they. In this sense, we are one, connected. Our energetic body is in communion, connected with the fellow offspring of the Earth Mother. We are not separate but one. This is the beautiful gift of connection with the Earth Mother, of connection with the element of earth.

Fundamentally damaged: thoughts on Christianity’s “original sin”

Every day, I woke up filled with guilt. After all, I was born into sin. Going through my chores, my schoolwork, even my dreams were all laced with sin. Some irritation or anger, a lustful dream, an overindulgence at the dinner-table, were all merely manifestations of my underlying state. To quote a Biblical phrase, the carnal mind was at enmity with God. The underlying state of humanity was essentially evil and sinful.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian framework. This was a framework that believed in, not strictly original sin (the natural state of humanity as evil or sinful) at the moment of conception, but the onset of being in a sinful state shortly after birth with your first selfish act. This was usually selfishly putting your needs before others. The example usually given was the baby screaming for a feeding because of selfishness and impatience. It was putting its needs to be fed right that instant over the needs of others. (Looking back at this, the idea of this being separate in doctrine from original sin seems inconsequential.)

This teaching shows in a blatant way what I experienced growing up. My body was evil. I could escape this evil body by being saved by a god that was going to give me a new one after death if I was perfect in this life. In order to be perfect in this life, I needed to ignore what my body was telling me, to tune it out. Listening to the natural urges or inclinations of the body was inherently sinful and imperfect. Falling short of perfection, known as sin, was not only my underlying state, but the longer I stayed in sin, the greater was the sense of hopelessness and degradation to my physical body, as well as the mind. Sin was cumulative.

Looking to the afterlife, the outlook was also bleak. The more sins you collected, the more were recorded by God to be used against you in the final judgment of humanity by God. The more sins you collected, the more violently he would be destroyed at the end of time. After all, with so much sin, you would not even want to be in heaven. Heaven would not be fun for you. Clearly annihilation was better. Once your sinful self was annihilated, all would be right with the universe again.

With this perspective on the “original sin” and the results of “cumulative sin” on the physical body, ignoring the senses, ignoring your body’s signals — essentially putting on the mute button — was the only way to have a chance at salvation, the only way out of deep guilt in this life and profound fear of the next life. From this, I learned to shut out my body’s subtle signals. This has ended up causing unhealthy outcomes in my life. One brief example is the outcome of obesity. If you never listen to what your body is telling you, shutting it out, you cannot tune in to how your body feels when it is full or empty. If you spend all your energy focusing on not eating foods that will “inflame the passions” and whether the external eating rules are being followed, you lose a sense of your natural internal body cues.

So where did this idea come from? It seems that this started early on in the Christian church as it was consolidating and expanding across the old western Roman empire. It was not unopposed. One early Christian from the British isles known as Pelagius was a proponent of another view, namely that humans are essentially good. He believed this as they were created in God’s image with the capacity of choosing good. The pangs of conscience when hurting another human were seen by Pelagius as proof that humans were not essentially bad or evil. He was also a proponent of women learning to read the Bible, as he did not view women with the temptress/lust complex as some of the early celibate church fathers. He believed that sexuality was not an inferior expression of humanity that those not strong enough for celibacy needed to navigate with great trepidation. These views got him branded as a heretic and exiled.

Why? For one, St Augustine was not happy with this viewpoint, which was the opposite of his own. Perhaps the answer though lies in Pelagius’ haircut. Most of the Roman Catholics were shaving the top with a party on the sides. Pelagius, coming from the British isles, had the haircut attributed to the newly eradicated/assimilated druids of the pre-Christian era, short of the sides with a party on the top. Much like his hair cut, Pelagius’ view that humans are essentially good as nature is essentially good, is also seen in Indo-European pre-Christian traditions. My pet theory is that “original sin” (the nature is bad concept) was a reactionary teaching of the early church in order to distance themselves from “pagans.” After all, it is difficult to subjugate a group of people with whom you share a similar worldview.

Whatever the reasons, Christianity has retained this teaching of original sin and cumulative sin in various forms through the years, with these ideas creeping in to Protestant teaching and continuing in Catholic circles to this day. We continue to attempt to subdue what we see as sinful. We continue to hurt ourselves and others in the process. Why? Like trying to dam up the wind, denying our true nature and attempting to control it is a futile task. Perhaps a better approach would be to listen to nature, to our physical bodies, as allies and not as adversaries. Maybe this would help us follow the direction of our physical bodies to healthy and joyful expressions of our earthy, grounded and good nature.