From a talk given at the College of Psychic Studies, 1967

I don’t know how many of you know what a Druid is, but if you do not you can take comfort from the fact that there are many who wear the white robe who still don't know either. To me, the Druid is a kind of caretaker.  They look after the things worthwhile until somebody wants them. They do not propagate, they do not sell, they do not form groups, they just look after. If you destroy the world and have to start again, it will be a Druid that comes out of his corner to tell you when to sow and when to reap. If you have learned that sufficiently so that you have time to spare they will teach you to follow· up with arts and crafts, and when your civilisation is once more developed they will go on to the sciences and religion. That's Druidry. And when you enter into persecution and feudal wars they just vanish again.

We are a religious body but we do not have a religion. It is all one to us whether we have a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, Shintoist or a shaman - we take them from there. We do not believe in conversion. Conversion is equivalent to asking you to get from this [upstairs] room to the street without going down the stairs. It is not practical. If you want to get to the street, you first rise from your seat, walk from your seat to the door, it is no use telling you how to manoeuvre in the street until you get there. So if we have a Hindu or a Muslim we take them within their own faith and enlarge them in their own right as a human being until they outgrow their faith, if they outgrow it. And should they outgrow their faith to which they were born they will find the next step immediately in front of them just as you will when you reach the door - the next step takes you out to what is the other side of it. That is our method.

We are concerned with people. With people in their own right, and people in their totality. We are just as interested in your bodies as we are in your minds or in your souls or in your spirits. Your spirits are not much use in the material world without a body. You need the body to manifest and to function in this world and you need the links between. So we are just as interested in one part as we are in any other part.

Spirit, mind and body

Our job is to increase our ability; to increase our knowledge and skill of manifestation. So, then, we are concerned with the competence of the body to function. We are concerned with the quality of the brain that's handling the body in its functioning. We are concerned with the mind, as distinct from the intellect, which pertains to the brain. We are concerned with the soul and we are concerned with the spirit. There is a connection between each of these in a proper sequence. We try to investigate the sequence, we try to investigate what are called the various bodies or various vehicles of expression. We try to experiment with the links between, but in all our work we begin from the one place where we're most highly developed, and that is the physical body. The physical body is the most highly developed vehicle you've got. There is a vague impression generally held, once you're free of the body you have a great and noble spirit, liberated from its hindrances and its contaminations. The thing that has to be learned is that it's not very far away from the body before you become an innocent thing -  innocent in its proper sense - a thing that doesn't know. The spirit as such is innocent, it doesn't know. The whole work of manifestation is to bring self-consciousness into being. The state of not knowing, the state of ignorance is not a desirable state. To pass from the state of not knowing to the state of knowing you have to go through living experience.

The wish and the will

You have the trees in the garden of Eden within your own body. There is the one tree down the centre, which is the spinal column - it represents the will and is the instrument through which the spirit hopes to work. On either side of it you have another tree, one on either side the full length of your spinal column - the sympathetic nervous system - we call that the wish. It's very necessary for material life that you have the sympathetic nervous system - it is through it that the skills of the body are acquired and applied. There is often conflict between the wish and the will, a conflict between the two is evidenced in every activity. You have, when the wish runs contrary to the will, activity between the sympathetic nervous system and  the cerebrospinal system. It results in chemical secretions of a given nature and these chemical secretions are either helpful or hurtful and these secretions appear in the body and they have to be disposed of, either through use or otherwise; it is better through use. Out of the conflict between the wish and the will we get our physical discomforts and our physical diseases. Confusion of the mind, or rather confusion in the brain, arises the same way from the conflict between these two. The Druid is concerned with this because to bring them into line is to give the spirit greater power of expression through the body.


Our meditation exercises involve getting to know the situation between the wish and the will; the situation between yourself and the body. It's designed so that you will learn at first hand that the body has a life and a will of its own and that that life and will can be in conflict with your own will. It's only when you learn it at first hand that it really means anything to you. We teach you to balance the breath. If you can, so groove the brain that you acquire the habit of balancing the breath.

Sometimes it's convenient to put power and punch behind a point, but it's one thing losing your temper and another thing to choose it as a method of achieving an end. In one it happens to you, in the other you cause it to happen. You can release energy designed to serve a purpose and the benefit of doing it that way is that you are yourself not angry, you're directing your energy to the point that you have chosen. Sometimes that procedure is necessary to get a point home.

Waking and sleeping

We have another series of exercises. They are concerned with the gap between going to sleep and waking up. You hear a lot of stories about people’s experiences during the night and you hear a lot of nonsense talked about it as well. But most of it, even where there has been an experience, is to our thinking pointless and of no more value than dreaming. The difference between a dream and an experience lies in this: when you are dreaming things happen to you, you do not cause them to happen. At the present moment you could get up from your chair and shout at the speaker, you could say "I've had enough of this, I'm leaving” - you can initiate movement. In dream things happen to you. The task that lies before you in that field is to acquire the power of volition, that which will change you from vacant lots to conscious beings, because once you leave the body and you are subject to things happening to you, you are in the situation of the village idiot - they are not as common as they used to be but at one time every village had an idiot. He was a pleasant individual, the only thing wrong with him was that he was not there. The bulk of humanity is in that situation the moment they lose their physical body.

Now, by the slow process of evolution, development has transferred by induction from the physical vehicle to the next one and from it to the one after that, to a rapidly reducing degree. The only vehicle you've got that you would yourselves call sensible or useful is your physical body. The slow process of evolution has worked for millions of years, bringing it to the stage that you're at. You already have the possible centres lying waiting for development, for cultivation, for improvement. You have now reached the point when you can take a hand in the work. Up till now it has been done for us, the way we do things for domestic cattle. Now you have a chance to take a hand in it yourselves. The rate of progress will speed up unbelievably. The amount that can be achieved in one lifetime by conscious activity is beyond the conception of the ordinary man. And we begin by the period between sleep and waking, so that we steadily endeavour to retain self-consciousness as we move out of the physical body. You have, when you do that, the ability to become self-conscious, a creature with volition, that can make a decision, perform an act of will, and carry it out.

Your ability to take the memory with you there and back depends on the degree to which you have cared for the memory in daily life. You will remember easily outstanding things and you will forget a lot. The memory in the physical body has to be cared for if you want more than an ordinary type of memory, with all its omissions, when you come to deal with what happens during sleep. So you have to develop the ability to take your consciousness with you, to retain self-consciousness; and you have to cultivate the memory.  It's only after learning to be conscious between going to sleep and coming awake that we deal with the question of the consciousness between the grave and the cradle. If you're absolutely blank from night till morning, how on earth can you hope to be otherwise from the grave to the cradle? So your time is far better spent on the thing that you have the chance to practise. After all you can practise the work during the hours of sleep seven days a week. and you can't practise from the grave to the cradle very often, not in our scale of time. That's some of the kind of things that we go in for in the way of activities.


Our outlook is that you always have been somewhere and that you always will be somewhere. This one point In that somewhere you call now. We say that you are what you are because of what you have been, and what you're going to be depends on what you do with yourself now. And when we say that you are what you are because of what you have been, we mean it in a literal sense. You haven't a curve or an angle or a wrinkle or a gland that isn't part of your story. You have yourselves created it. The creation story in the Bible is to us the creation story of every person; that they are God in their own world, that it's their spirit that broods over the mighty deep which is their own chaos and everything in that chaos is carrying their own brand and they are steadily working on the substance of their own world and developing it. Your height, your width, your shape, your looks, your abilities, everything, is what you have created, it's the result of your activities. And you're changing it now - you're changing it blindly until you realise the pattern. Once you get a grasp of the scheme you can start fashioning things so that the future will be more to your liking. Fortunately in the early stages of that you won't be very good at it. I say fortunately because when you begin that class of work your likes and your dislikes are, to put it frankly, childish by comparison with what they're going to be even five years after you've done that work. So you have ideas and ideals and you start to fashion them. You can shape the present like soft wax so that the future may be thus controlled. The future is in your hands now. Now is the only time you have. You can't function in any other period than now and it's what you do now that affects the future.

Religious leaders talk lightly about the realm of the spirit. Quite bluntly they do not have a first - hand experience of it. If they did they would talk differently. They are talking out of secondhand information. You might quite well talk to your guide but how many of you could say "Look here, I don't agree with that." It's only when you have that type of relationship that you get the right kind of realisation. You have an entirely false attitude when you're working at second-hand, so you want to create the ability to look and see if it's true, to investigate for yourself. The guide tells you something, well, go and find out, do not just accept it at that.

The person who is best able to communicate with you is the person next door, the one that is just one removed from you. They are near enough to be comprehensible. They are near enough for you to be able to communicate with some degree of understanding.  So you speak to the one next to you, and they speak to the one next to them.

We have what we call the golden chain of the Druid succession - like a lot of our things it has two meanings. One is the true form of the succession which goes down through the chiefs, a genuine form of apostolic succession where something is transmitted from the one to the other down the line, that is unimportant. The true golden chain of the Druid succession is the organisation that we have built up through the ages, so that those who have died have retained their contact, and when their contacts died they retained their contact; so we have a long line of such contacts, reaching up to the realms where some of them have almost forgotten what it's like to be in the material incarnation.

You have the opportunity to practise being conscious when you are asleep and in a state of recollection when you return. These two things have to do with you and your body, not with anything else - neither religion, spiritualism, philosophy or science - just you and your body. You have to acquire it by personal effort. If you think the goal is worthwhile then you will put in the necessary effort. You get nothing whatever in this world for nothing. You can't even grow a corn without earning it. You can't have an accident without earning it. You've got to work for everything. You have worked for every hardship, and you earn it before you get it. It's good to know that and remember it sometimes because then you can cut down your earnings in that direction and perhaps then you'll have more time to increase the earnings in other directions. The other directions are much more fun.


The highest ideals that you can conceive of in the present day, if worked for until they are achieved, will become commonplace. You will then have another ideal lying ahead of that, and as you move towards the next ideal today's ideal will fall behind, so that it will become one of the things that you are not involved in.  And as you move further ahead it will become an unpleasant thing to do and you will look down on people who do it. For the people coming up behind, where it is still in front of them, it is an ideal and they are still to be encouraged to work for it, even though you look upon it now as degrading. It will become degrading to them once they've passed it. So remember that your ideals are only ideals as long as they are ahead of you. They are commonplace when you catch up with them; they are degrading when you have passed them. So make allowances for the person who is coming up behind.

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