Letter from Cressida Pryor
March 18, 2017
Spring Equinox 2017
It’s St. Patrick Day and I am sitting in Winchcombe with an incessant drone of Cheltenham Gold Cup traffic passing the door. We have been blessed with enough sunshine to raise hopes and spirits and the daffodils nod their approval too.
Last month I attended a conference and was inspired by a Dutch theologian and minister who used the philosopher Ken Wilber’s Spiral Dynamics to understand and guide future developments in religious liberalism.
Let me unpack that last paragraph a little...when I was there I knew I needed to step back and reflect on what these ideas were, what they might mean for the FOI and whether they did have any useful relevance. I concluded that they did!
Wilber’s ‘Spiral Dynamics’ has been used now as a way to understand levels of conscious functioning both for individuals, businesses, wider societies and cultures. Many of you are probably already familiar with these ideas. I don’t know if Olivia was aware of them but she certainly was familiar with the phenomenon of ‘Indigo Children’. She often spoke about their higher consciousness and the descriptive use of the rainbow’s colours to distinguish these ‘levels’ with indigo the ‘highest’ non- dual, freed state.
Wilber studied many religious and philosophical approaches and found a series of stages of consciousness that people, irrespective of their tradition, almost always run through rarely skipping a step.
The ‘early’ archaic red level he describes as ‘magical-mythical’ where honour, self interest and principals are most important and defended against the evil of the outside world; very much an ‘us and them’ approach. Something that seems to be emerging again in the current ‘popularist’ political movements...a culture dominated by this consciousness was that of the medieval knights or in more modern times by contemporary dictatorships. A place where you are either ‘with me or agin me’...and the latter is a dangerous place to be.
Next comes the ‘amber’ level describing mythical, conformist and traditional cultures where people want to adapt to their environment using their stories and myths as the only highest truth.
This moves into ‘orange’ which is more rational, scientific, modernist and pragmatic...where ethics are based on universal principles, a time in our history of progressive thinking and science, the enlightenment...this applies to those groups within organised liberalism who ‘dip’ into other traditions but when it comes to the crunch still do so only from their own safe enlightened identity.
Then comes a shift into ‘green’ functioning which has pluralistic, post modern and multicultural awareness that even if people are rational they can disagree and be fundamentally different and that this is OK. The single Christian story can be considered next to other stories and sources of inspiration. The UK and the Netherlands (especially since the recent election results, thank the Goddess) are predominantly ‘green’ level dominated cultures. I would hope the FOI is at least at this level. The founder’s vision saw, I believe, beyond the silo of ‘pagan-only’ membership and opened the door to the pluralism of multi faith and interfaith inspired richness.
Beyond green consciousness lies ‘blue’ holistic and integral functioning searching for a new holistic vision of the world; and integration of both mind, body and spirit...how this new step can be made from a fragmented Green world into integration is I believe our current task. How do we lead the honouring of the feminine divine into the future? Healthy openness and spiritual searching is an important part of this ongoing process of unfurling growth and development we are all part of.
At each stage the previous stages are not denied but incorporated, integrated and transcended...I see our goal therefore in the FOI is to create an internal supportive climate in which this quest for optimal maturity of individual’s consciousness can take place for the ultimate betterment of wider society and the planet.
Mystics and seers have insight and direct experience into this integrated consciousness and are beacons to light this path for the ‘rest of us’. According to Ken Wilber few people have indigo functioning except perhaps at the end stage of life when there can be surrender into a process of non-dual unitive consciousness.
In the FOI there is the acceptance that everyone can open their ‘inner eye’ to these eternal truths and gain access to them through the process of the oracle. These are then shared for the greater good of those listening at the festival.
Inevitably there will be people at different stages at different times in particular Iseums or Lyceums and there needs to be a collective responsibility to support each other‘s particular journey and process. The safeguarding process should provide a system and structure to ensure those who might be at a vulnerable point in their growth are not taken advantage of...we all have times when we need support and holding, whatever our ‘level’ of functioning.
So thinking of the FOI broadly, where do we fit in these stages of consciousness and spiritual maturity? I hope we can loosen our dogmas so we don’t get trapped in one image of the divine feminine or a fixed set of rituals or ideas. Our strength is to be able to adapt and access a continuous process in which we can trust. After an age of over-individualism the importance of fellowship and community is discovered again...
The FOI founders created a structure and manifesto that allowed for growth and an ongoing process of development that is something we can really celebrate now just a year after the 40th Anniversary gathering. For guidance we can draw from their wisdom but also the other great sources of truth that are ancient, universal and contemporary. An exciting and challenging time to be alive. Glory be.
And in the words of an African prayer:
O love and hatch us
We dwell in thy kingdom
Our hen of heaven.
In fellowship and Equinox Blessings,
FOI Letters & Correspondence
(Our gratitude to Cressida for her letters!)
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