Please join us in welcoming Leon Jenner as October 2011 Author of the Month. Leon Jenner is a builder by profession. He was born and raised in Eastbourne, Sussex, England. This is his first book. In his book he imagines himself wholly into the consciousness of a great Druid priest at the time of the Roman invasion. By his magic powers this Druid is able to turn the tables on Julius Caesar and set in motion the train of events that will lead to his assassination. This novel is an extraordinary feat of the imagination. At the end of the novel the narrator’s consciousness shrinks down again into that of a modern day bricklayer. The reader is left to decide whether or not the central character really was a Druid in a previous incarnation or whether he is in fact a nutter. Leon originally published this book as an audio novel on the net, where it was a cult hit, scoring over a quarter of a million downloads. Two YouTube videos are available to peak your interest and we hope you’ll join the monthly discussion on the AoM Message Boards
Imagine if you had your own personal Jesus. Not just a distant ambiguous figure in a book, but someone a mile or two away who you could drop in and visit.
What if he or she could sit opposite you and mix humour with the deepest wisdom, know with certainty how to heal you if you are sick, how to direct your mind and tell you where you are going to go when you die.
Imagine that this class of person, who could be either young or old, a gifted child even, could nurture the consciousness of your nation, the world, the universe.
Imagine a life where there are no unanswered questions.
This was a Druid.
Someone gifted with mind-blowing insight. Kings of Kings, Queens of Queens. Living in an age where their purity of mind could be believed in.
But we can be cynical now. Christianity and popular culture can see them as dark and manipulative.
But the truth is they were the shepherds of our dynamic, evolving human consciousness. They defended it against terrifying blows.
But every shepherd of old had to contend with the wolf and this wolf came from within.
It is curious that Victorian Britain, so wrapped up in being the new Roman Empire, should create the popular vision of the Druids. Old men in white robes with golden sickles, cutting mistletoe from an ancient oak.
These snippets, seized upon by the Victorians do have a precedent in the texts of ancient authors, including Julius Caesar who had direct experience of this European culture. But these apart, we know virtually nothing.
Caesar wrote that the Druids had to learn a great number of verses over a period of 20 years. It could be more likely that this period of time fitted within the lunar cycle, for example the lunar standstill, which happens every 18.6 years and may have acted as an initiation ceremony.
I believe that human consciousness is a dynamic, evolving force and I think that the ancient Britons lived by an idealistic or feminine philosophy. This shaped their consciousness as much as the Roman mind was shaped by their masculine, materialist philosophy.
It is clear to me that this Roman mind-set conquered far more that just the territories of Britain. Our own ancestors are exotic and alien to us, so much so that we now feel more comfortable in the institutions and lifestyles that have their roots in the Hellenistic world. With this in mind, there is no reason to suppose that a Druid couldn’t also be a woman, or even a gifted child.
I believe that Rome, unique in the ancient world for its paranoid aggression, created a jolt to this evolution of human consciousness. And the Druids, guardians, shepherding along this ancient consciousness, had to stand by as the Roman wolf devoured their sheep.
It is curious though that Britain was the springboard for this Roman consciousness so many centuries later.
The only druid from antiquity known by name is Diviciacus or Divitiacus of the Aedui. Not be confused with the king of the Suessiones also known by the Latinised name Diviciacus. The name means "avenger”.
The time of his birth is a mystery, but he was a man in the late 60s BC, and a senator of the Aedui. He escaped a massacre by the forces of the Sequani, Arverni and Germanic troops under the Suebian leader Ariovistus.
Pro Roman, he supported the alliance between the Aedui and Rome. In 63 BC he spoke before the Roman senate to ask for military aid. While in Rome, he was a guest of Cicero. Julius Caesar, who knew him well, speaks of him several times in his Commentarii de Bello Gallico, noting his diplomatic skills.
Diviciacus had a brother, Dumnorix whose name may mean “King of the World”. He was passionately against Rome. Dumnorix was executed on the orders of Caesar. It is said that he shouted the words "I am a free man and a citizen of a free state"
Cicero speaks of Diviciacus and other diviners in the world:
And this kind of divination has not been neglected even by barbarian nations; for the Druids in Gaul are diviners, among whom I myself have been acquained with Divitiacus Aeduus, your own friend and panegyrist, who pretends to the science of nature which the Greeks call physiology, and who asserts that, partly by auguries and partly by conjecture, he foresees future events. Among the Persians they have augurs and diviners, called magi, who at certain seasons all assemble in a temple for mutual conference and consultation; as your college also used to do on the nones of the month. And no man can become a king of Persia who is not previously initiated in the doctrine of the magi.
There are even whole families and nations devoted to divination. The entire city of Telmessus in Caria is such. Likewise in Elis, a city of Peloponnesus, there are two families, called Iamidae and Clutidae, distinguished for their proficiency in divination. And in Syria the Chaldeans have become famous for their astrological predictions, and the subtlety of their genius. Etruria is especially famous for possessing an intimate acquaintance with omens connected with thunderbolts and things of that kind, and the art of explaining the signification of prodigies and portents. This is the reason why our ancestors, during the flourishing days of the empire, enacted that six of the children of the principal senators should be sent, one to each of the Etrurian tribes, to be instructed in the divination of the Etrurians, in order that the science of divination, so intimately connected with religion, might not, owing to the poverty of its professors, be cultivated for merely mercenary motives, and falsified by bribery.
The Phrygians, the Pisidians, the Cilicians, and Arabians are accustomed to regulate many of their affairs by the omens which they derive from birds. And the Umbrians do the same, according to report.
On divination/Book 1:41 Marcus Tullius Cicero Translation by C. D. Yonge (1853)
The date of Diviciacus’s death is unknown; Cicero speaks of him in the past tense in 44 BC.
I find the rivalry between Diviciacus and Dumnorix curious. Who was really the Druid? Were they indeed both Druids on opposing paths?
Diodorus Siculus wrote;
‘Frequently, during hostilities, when armies are approaching each other with swords drawn and lances extended, these men (the Druids) rushing between them put an end to their contention, taming them as they would tame wild beasts.’
This indicates the power of the Druids as an order higher than warring kings. No doubt they have crept into our modern consciousness as the archetype manipulative advisor. Such an institution that can steer the minds of rulers must have been incredibly vulnerable to corruption. Maybe our tribal consciousness remembers this betrayal, putting it ahead of a golden age that existed before, it reinvents it through the typewriter of George Lucas.
But why the betrayal? What made them steer the people towards materialism?
If we look at it from the point of view that mankind is heading for an ultimate conclusion, something that is inevitable, a pinnacle of our evolution that must be obtained. Then we can see the possibility of impatience forming amongst some of the priests. This impatience leads to betrayal, maybe towards the elders, and by elders I refer to the higher keepers of the druidic faith, not to be defined just by earthly years. This impatience defined by Goethe’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
It is clear that much of mankind is in turmoil. We are disconnected from nature, more now than ever before. There is turmoil in our inner dialogue, wants created by amnesia of who we are. We try to fill this black hole in our memories with materialism and a dreaded fear of anything that opposes this mindset. Our lives wander in disarray, unguided, without a shepherd, but hope can be found in our longing for inner peace and the need for conformation of our instincts.
All of the messages we receive are mixed and we cannot define any camp as right or wrong. Entwined messages are present in every facet of knowledge and doctrine, the right and wrong paths are twisted into one.
This is why the narrator of Bricks is filled with turmoil, not knowing if what he is exists in truth or madness, his attempts to create idealism from materialism tire him and send him deeper into confusion, much as it does for all of us.
He rallies passionately against the ‘institution’ or rather its concept and emergence as a thoughtform. He sees this as a defining weapon of the materialist Romans.
If we see the institution as a thoughtform, what drives it? Such is the power of human will and of our conscience; the vast majority of us will act with good intentions. All it would take is a quantum of madness in the minds of a million people to produce evil. If you were to take those who were not like the vast majority of us, or who had a weakness for power, then this evil could circulate around them and intensify. All would follow them in the form of the institution. The goodness in people, for some reason sits more in the individual than the group. Caesar wrote, that banishment was the greatest punishment for the Gauls, and it could be said that Rome’s fear of destruction, as a whole was the grounding for its zealous quest for survival and conquest. So, to follow your own true thoughts takes the greatest courage and courage is the only vehicle that brings you back to freedom.
This battle for the human mind has raged since the Neolithic, maybe with subtle beginnings far before. But the last crushing blow in this war happened when one of the worlds most successful city-states came into contact with Britain. An island protected by the most damaging effects of materialism by the Druids. A society that may in effect model an advanced society of the future. Existing without the nation state, yet able to defend itself. The institutionalisation of materialism was foolishly met with the institutionalisation of idealism and the power of the Druids ebbed away.
The Roman contact with Britain is maybe the most crucial element in this philosophical war, for it was from Britain that the ideals of Rome, still wrestling with the ancient British consciousness, would take firm hold in the world. It continues today predominantly through America.
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was a Roman General who played a large part in the conquest of Britain in 43AD. His son in law Tacitus wrote of him in his first published work, The Agricola. In it he describes the sorry end of the freedom of man and the arrival of a new consciousness:
“The following winter passed without disturbance, and was employed in salutary measures. For, to accustom to rest and repose through the charms of luxury a population scattered and barbarous and therefore inclined to war, Agricola gave private encouragement and public aid to the building of temples, courts of justice and dwelling-houses, praising the energetic, and reproving the indolent. Thus an honourable rivalry took the place of compulsion. He likewise provided a liberal education for the sons of the chiefs, and showed such a preference for the natural powers of the Britons over the industry of the Gauls that they who lately disdained the tongue of Rome now coveted its eloquence. Hence, too, a liking sprang up for our style of dress, and the "toga" became fashionable. Step by step they were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance they called civilisation, when it was but a part of their servitude.”
Who in there hearts among us wants to see a forest give way to an airport, even if we enjoy cheap foreign holidays? What man doesn’t want to be a warrior, what woman a goddess?
Were there once magical beings who held sway over the collective human mind? Was there once a golden age, longed for and still faintly remembered by us?
Was there once a race of people who had the power to guide that ultimate force of the universe, our consciousness?
I dare to think so.