The Fellowship has established a system of personal development and training through concentrated work with Deity projection. The central teaching of the Fellowship is that the Deities provide a repository of esoteric knowledge, as well as a means of connecting with and internalising transformative spiritual energies and experiences. The Fellowship seeks to preserve the old wisdom that allowed people to live simply and well, in harmony with nature and their neighbours, and to seek fulfilment of their human potential. As well as spiritual, magical, and esoteric dimensions, there were also practical skills such as crafts, herbs, gardening and wild crafting, natural building methods, smithing, brewing; the making of fabrics, twines, ropes, dies; livestock raising, dancing, fighting with staffs and swords; and many other areas of craft and skill. The Fellowship encourages the preservation of such crafts and skills as living knowledge, passed on from person to person. The emblems of the Fellowship are the tree, symbolising the world tree, the subtle human body, and the commitment of the Fellowship to working with nature, particularly to preserve forests; and the dragon, representing the dynamic primordial forces of Earth and Sky, the twin serpent energy that may be cultivated in spiritual practice, which transforms and awakens, and the ethereal beings themselves, who ward the dragon power. The central teaching revolves around the sacred marriage of male/female, Goddess/God, Moon/Sun, which links the practitioner with the primal creative powers of the universe, and brings forth the child of promise in pursuit of their destiny.
- Basic principles of esotericism
- The Four Elements
- Celtic Deities
- The Stag and the Flame
- Contacts on the Inner Planes
- Basic Practices
- Mythic Foundations – Graal Mysteries, Mabinogion, Folk Lore
- Sources of Knowledge
- The Four Seats
- The Great Work, the True Work
- What is healing
- The sun and moon wheels of manifestation.
- Merlin and the dragons
- Working with Earth Energy
- The Chakras
- The movement of Attention
The introductory training gives a broad overview of the teachings, direction, and feel of the Fellowship. The student may then decide whether it is something they feel drawn to pursue further. If so, they may request a dedication ceremony. Once dedicated, a person becomes a probationary Fellowship member. They then undertake a cycle of self-transformative magical training, focussing on the Great Work.
The Great Work
Upon becoming a dedicant, a Fellowship member undertakes a cycle of study entitled the Great Work, which focusses on how to discover and pursue one’s calling in life, sometimes called the True Work, or the work of the Soul Self. The soul calling links one to the collective being of the planetary organism, and techniques are learned to work consciously with it, through development of the capacity to occupy various seats of consciousness. The consequences of ignoring the calling are explained through the Arthurian mythos in terms of the wounded King and the Wasteland that develops around him. The cycle focuses on broadening the horizon of self perception, so that one comes to understand oneself as a greater self capable of occupying many different seats of consciousness, rather than the single limited seat of rational knowing that is prevalent in Western Society at this time. Upon completion of this cycle, the dedicant may request full membership of the Fellowship, and upon acceptance, is elevated to a Warden of the Fellowship. Wardens may then work through one or more of the Deity Cycles outlined below. The cycle of the Great Work should always precede the Deity cycles, as it imparts the fundamental skills and knowledge which are necessary for the successful completion of those cycles.
The training of the Fellowship revolves around the courting and projection of Deity. During the training cycle, which, like a hand fasting lasts a year and a day, the student focusses their spiritual and magical life around a particular Deity. During the year and day, the student commits themselves to the work of the Deity, learning to work with His or Her energies and attributes. This is a fundamentally transformative experience. At the end of the year and a day, the student may choose to renew their commitment, becoming a priest or priestess of the Deity (or renewing their vows if already priest or priestess) or they may step back in order to work another Deity cycle. The Fellowship works primarily with eight Celtic Deities, drawn from Irish, Welsh, and British traditions – Lady Arianrhod, Lord Oghma, Lady Brighid, Lord Merlin, the Lady of the Graal, Lord Mannanan MacLlir, Lady Epona and Lord Cernunnos. It is expected that wardens will work through three or more training cycles focussed on three different deities, at least two of which are the Lady Brighid, and the Lord Cernunnos.
A Deity cycle begins with a period of instruction about the Deity, including symbols, associations, mythologies and traditional material. An empowerment and transmission of practices follows. The student then works with the practices given, with regular contact with a mentor. After a year and a day, a completion ceremony is conducted, which allows the student to step back from their concentrated work with the Deity. A period of reflection follows this ceremony, usually at least three months, before a further Deity cycle may commence, with the same or a different Deity. During this time, the student ought to take up some of the reflection time practices recommended by the Fellowship.
Each Deity cycle leaves its mark upon a person. After one Deity Cycle, a warden is called a Warden of the First Mark. The giving of this mark is usually symbolically incorporated into the completion ceremony. After completing a second Deity Cycle, the warden becomes a Warden of the Second Mark, and so on. A Warden of the Third Mark is considered to have sufficient experience, maturity and understanding to fulfil any ceremonial or administrative office of the Fellowship.
Fellowship members are called wardens because it is their task to Ward the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to them, and to ensure that the Ancient Wisdom is passed on to new generations, not as dusty knowledge or formulas, but as living experiential knowledge. Thus they must guard against any corruption or diminution of the way, and embody in themselves the path.
Currently, the following Deity Cycles are available: Lady Brighid, Lady Arianrhod, Lord Merlin and Lord Cernunnos. Unless there are special circumstances, students are encouraged to begin with a cycle to Lady Brighid, as this will help to clear up many issues and heal problem areas which are best addressed before working with other Deities.
The Cycle of Brighid
The Cycle of Brighid consists of working with the Goddess Brighid to learn the techniques of energy healing, and to begin the work of transforming the self. The dross and accretions of life must be burnt away and/or transformed to allow the true self to reign. The dedicant works with the three flames of Brighid, the flame of healing, the flame of inspiration, and the flame of transformation. These are visualised at the brow, the heart, and the belly. Techniques are provided for cultivating the flame, through visualisation, gentle physical movements, and invocation. The student learns to cultivate the presence and energy of the Goddess, and to work directly with Her presence and energy. Methods are given for transforming situations, for working with energy healing, and for working with the flowing energy of the inspired state. A key part of the practice of this cycle is the use of the flame of transformation within the crucible of Self to transform negative habits, attitudes, and beliefs within oneself. The flame of transformation is used to dissolve these negative and limiting self constructs, so that the soul self can begin to work more freely in one’s life.
The Cycle of Arianrhod.
The cycle of Arianrhod is very much a cycle of warrior-ship, which may be manifested in a number of different ways. Some may opt for martial arts training. Others may prefer to take on a particular cause in the wider society in order to develop their warrior potential. It is equally a cycle that comes to terms with Death, and the fear of death, and all the fears related to it, such as fear of loss, fear of embarrassment, fear of appearing stupid, and so on. The key to these issues is the opening of the inner window, through which the true vision may manifest. The spiritual vision reveals that all life is connected, known as the web of the weaver. It is a cycle for coming to terms with one’s fate, or destiny, which far from controlling one’s life, empowers one to achieve one’s inner purpose, and so find the deep fulfilment that many crave but cannot find. Practices focus on work with the third eye and opening the inner window, on the disciplines and mental attitudes required for warrior-ship, and on service to a worthy cause. In this cycle, the wisdom of the body’s instincts and reactions is cultivated, and the student learns to trust their body and bodily impulse, learning to move their sense of self from normal mental self-awareness, to bodily awareness, and to visionary awareness.
The Cycle of Merlin
The Cycle of Merlin revolves around the processes of spiritual maturation, and the challenges this confronts one with in the course of one’s ordinary life. During this cycle, the student is encouraged to withdraw into contemplation of nature, and to seek healing for the wounds inflicted by the madness of life – a madness that is sometimes so close to us that we lose the ability to recognise it as madness. During this cycle, the student works with practices based on establishing communication with animals, birds, trees and plants. Simultaneously, the student is given practices to awaken the dragon power, and to work with the sacred union of the two primal forces of the universe, the man’s seed power of the white dragon, and the woman’s blood power of the red dragon. The awakening of the dragon power energises and excites the higher faculties, leading to surges of inspiration, prophecy, creativity and deep and immediate insights. The dragon power may also be used in healing work for others. The Cycle of Merlin is considered to be a key cycle for Fellowship wardens, and all Fellowship members are encouraged to work through the Merlin cycle.
The Cycle of Cernunnos
The cycle of Cernunnos revolves around the sacred marriage, and the use of the male seed power. A man working through this cycle projects and manifests the presence of the Deity within himself, while a woman working through this cycle courts the presence of the Deity outside herself. For a man, it is coming to terms with a positive expression of masculine sacred sexuality, which is tender without being weak, strong, without being over-bearing, and powerful without being hurtful. This sacred sexuality has a physical side, and a subtle side, as the student learns to see opportunities for the sacred marriage within all the situations around him. For a women, the Deity energy may be brought into situations where it is needed, or it may be brought into herself, to awaken and call forth the essential feminine nature, the Goddess Herself. During this cycle, the student is confronted with several tests of character, revolving around how they choose to use this primordial power. These tests are unique to every individual, and must be overcome before one can successfully move on. The story of Gawain and the Green Knight is studied during this cycle.
Non-Deity Cycles of Learning
In between Deity Cycles, wardens are encouraged to take up a cycle of study focussed on some aspect of inner development that is not specifically focussed on Deity projection. Cycles include Tarot, Runic Lore, magical development, healing, herb-lore, numerology and other practices of the Fellowship. As the Fellowship is a teaching Fellowship, it is expected that Wardens be actively involved in a cycle of learning or guiding other members in a cycle of learning that they themselves have completed. Not withstanding this, there are times when Wardens are encouraged to take a cycle to lie fallow, without actively pursuing any study, but continuing their practice in the way presented to them by their own inner being.
Other Programs of Study
Other programs of study and self development may be opened from time to time, and wardens are expected to pursue their own spiritual path and development, which may take them on journeys of learning and experience outside the Fellowship. The Fellowship provides a foundation of practice, but each warden must build on this in their own unique way, based on their own inner work and Deity contact. Wardens with special or professional skills which are relevant to the work of the Fellowship are encouraged to pass on skills and learning to other Fellowship members through formal or informal training and cooperation.
The Fellowship works with the Tarot as a storehouse of traditional esoteric knowledge and wisdom, as well as a form a divination. Wardens are encouraged to to take a cycle of study on the Tarot at some time within their studies. This may be through the Fellowship, or through external studies with a reputable teacher or organization. Completion of a cycle on the Tarot does not entitle a warden to be raised a mark.
The Preservation of Traditional Skills
Wardens are encouraged to apply themselves to learning, preserving and developing at least one other traditional skill set, such as traditional healing methods, herbal knowledge, building methods, arts and crafts, metal work, smithing, brewing, gardening, dowsing, divination etc., which represent both a link to the past and which are to be safeguarded for the future. The Fellowship teaches that these old ways will be needed again at some time in the future, and undertakes to preserve living knowledge. When a sufficient level of expertise is reached, wardens may elect to pass on such knowledge to others within the Fellowship. Emphasis is on learning by doing. The ethic is to respect the methods, knowledge and wisdom of the past, to seek to understand and preserve the old ways, and to appreciate the reasons why things were done as they were done. Wardens approach it as a spiritual practice and discipline to work with the old ways, and connect with the wisdom of the past in their esoteric practices to recover and reclaim that which has been lost to the exoteric record.
Working with Personal Deities
While the Fellowship has a number of Deities that wardens may elect to work with, wardens are free to work with their personal Deities as well. This personal work may be recognised by the Fellowship by working through a Deity cycle, with a Fellowship tutor, based on one’s personal Deity. Because the student will have to define and develop their own practices, based on their own research, both externally and internally, a certain amount of experience and maturity is called for. This option is therefore available only to wardens of the second or higher mark. The Deity Cycle is worked in exactly the same manner as the Fellowship Deity cycles, with a period of instruction, followed by the working of specific practices, and a completion rite. However the student develops their own instructional material, and their own practices, based on their research and intuition, with guidance and input from their mentor. At the completion of the cycle, the warden is raised a mark, just as with completing the Fellowship Deity Cycles, except that a warden won’t be raised a mark for any personal Deity cycles that equal or exceed the number of Fellowship Deity cycles completed. The student may then, if they wish, make their personal Deity cycle available to others to work through, at first only to wardens of the third mark, and after refinement and experience, to wardens of the second mark.
This provides a mechanism for wardens to work on deepening their relationship with personal Deities with the support of the Fellowship, while at the same time encouraging them to work with the Fellowship Deities which are the prime methods for magical transformation used by the Fellowship.
Events for the General Public
The Fellowship may facilitate various events for the general public from time to time, such as healing circles, public rituals, courses in practical or esoteric skills. Wardens are encouraged to participate in such events where circumstances allow.
In common with many Neopagan paths, including Wicca and Druidism, the Fellowship celebrates the eight festivals (spokes) of the wheel of the year: Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Eostre, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnasad, and the Autumn equinox, as well as the full moons. Wardens may celebrate as solitaries, within Fellowship circles, or within compatible groups outside of the Fellowship.
Other Aspects of the Fellowship
While the prime aim of the Fellowship is to teach the unlocking of human potential, on both a personal and collective level, which involves the mastery of esoteric practices and skills, we must remember that we are also faced with meeting the challenges of living simply and well, of creating good cheer, and providing for our needs for food, shelter and clothing in an ecologically sound way. While the industrial society enmeshes us in a web of high energy consumption, the Fellowship teaches that human needs are fundamentally simple, and that great joy can be found in using practical skills cooperatively to meet our simple needs. Along these ends, wardens are encouraged to have or to acquire some skill with music, rhythm, and recitation of poetry or story telling, which is another aspect of maintaining the old ways, creating shared understandings, building camaraderie, and taking charge of our own entertainment, rather than allowing ourselves to be bombarded with the offerings of the mainstream which so often habituate the mind to destructive and negative patterns of thought or perception.
Wardens are encouraged to develop skills and handicrafts and produce items which may be traded within the Fellowship for the mutual enrichment of all. This may take place in a traditional marketplace and bartering setting, or directly between Fellowship members, with or without the exchange of money. It is a way of keeping alive the old skills, and working together to enrich each other, by exchanging the products of our labour.