Of Druids and Philosophers

Give me my wand and my cloak. He will have his golden sickle.

Now what was it you were saying?

Regarding these Philosophers, words fail me. There is reason that they are called Atheists, but they call us Atheists, we Druids who know a deity in nearly every tree, we who keep the way of the gods from time immemorial.

The Philosophers make a new race, one which anyone can join, in which slave and lord are one, and all eat in table fellowship at one common table.

Now regarding the One: you asked earlier if he is worshiped as a god. I asked you more time to sift words, and words are sifting, but the best answer is incomprehension that we would connect worship of the gods with the reverence paid to the One. And the One is One so powerfully that many of the holy ones are as gods, but more and not less: they make much of the fact that there is no conflict ever among the whole family of the glorified. For there is a sect which affirms One but denies that men have real depth as actors: but the One held by the Philosophers is more fully One in a love poem between One and one.

If we hold the earth as a mother, she has parts and it is the whole collection which contribute to her. The Philosophers’ One is wholly present in every space, or better is more without parts than a needle’s point, and contains all that is made in one act. We remain close to wood and sea: they remain close to virtue and stay alive in circumstances we would find unfathomable. Their Philosophy works in whatever circumstance Philosophers may be in, a rejection of mediating proper function as human in “Oh, I need this,” or “Oh, I need that,” or “Things will really move when such happens.” There Philosophy is a plan for action wherever is Here, whenever is Now, and nothing else.

Do they have spells? In fact they have something greater. However powerful our spells, they are imperfect in this: our contact with the divine is a contact with something greater but domesticates it, and makes it less than our will. It goes under the banner of something greater, but it amounts to something less. Their prayers are not like this. They may be fixed words like spells, but they are meant to be an encounter between the Philosopher and something greater that expands the Philosopher towards the One rather than shrinking the greater to obey a Druid.

You wonder what needs the One has, and how it is that the Philosophers serve him. That is simple, or relatively simple: the One does not have any needs in himself, and the requests that he makes of men are not for his needs but ours. However, the One in whose image we operate has needs in the person of other men, and though the Philosophers see no possibility of benefitting the One in his own person, when you give something to another, it is for all purposes as if you had augmented the One. Though a father be perfect in his craft, if you give his boy a rusk of bread or a bowl of cider, a trinket or a bauble, it is to the Philosophers as if you had augmented the father.

The Philosophers are very difficult to follow on some of these points, but there is not a chink in their Philosophy. You ask, for instance, if they know cauldrons of plenty? The answer is that they find their fulfillment in their Cup of Plenty, by which men are nourished by a food you cannot imagine. Those who are of our College, who are from the Learned Brotherhood, who have gone over to them, have found it nothing other than the fulfillment of Druidry.

Truly, the Way of the Philosophers is wondrous.

Author: C.J.S. Hayward

C.J.S. Hayward is an Orthodox author and Renaissance man with master's degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC) and theology and philosophy (Cambridge). His most prized work is what he writes in Eastern Orthodox, Christian theology and apologetics. Readers of apologists like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Peter Kreeft, contemporary Orthodox authors such as Met. KALLISTOS Ware, and classic authors like St. John Chrysostom will find much food for spiritual reflection.