Professional Writers Toe the Line of Publishing Format Standards

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You’ve written, retooled, and revised. Now it’s time to turn your manuscript over to an editor to be refined before you submit it to the “critical eye” of a publisher. You want to ensure that your content is error free and compelling, of course. But you also want your manuscript to be formatted using generally accepted industry guidelines. Otherwise, the publisher may not even consider it.

Your editor will check both content and format. However, you’ll come across more professionally and save your editor time (and thus yourself money) if you’ve already formatted your manuscript according to industry standards. These guidelines aren’t carved in stone, but they’ve been gleaned from acquisition editors, various printed sources, and two major publishers:

• Put only one space between sentences. Two spaces is a holdover from the days when writers used typewriters. Computers use proportional spacing, eliminating the need for two spaces between sentences.

• Double-space text, and use a 12-point serif type (such as Times New Roman, which is standard).

• Leave about seven line spaces before each chapter head.

• Use a centered # or an extra line space to indicate a topic or scene break.

• Make margins a standard 1inch left, right, top, and bottom. The default for MS Word is 1.25 inches for the left and right margins, so you’d be wise to change the default to 1 inch.

• Set the alignment flush left, ragged right; never justified.

• Indent five spaces on the first line of a paragraph rather than putting a space between paragraphs.

• Don’t center titles using tabs or spaces; use the centering function.

• Use all caps sparingly; they’re hard to read.

• It’s more common to use italics than bold for emphasis. Avoid underscore-it looks amateurish and can be confused as a hyperlink.

• Learn to use the automated Table of Contents function. It’s a tremendous help as you add and update chapters. To do that, you need to embed Styles into your headings. That function is worth learning on Word. So is Insert Footnotes, View Headers/Footers, and many others. Take a Word tutorial or class, if necessary. You may discover functions you weren’t aware of that will save you time and help you to work more professionally.

• Show an ellipsis as three periods with a space both before and after and between each period. Add a fourth period when you want a thought to trail off at the end of a sentence.

• When you print out your document, use only one side of the page.

• Put your name, the working title of your book, and page number in the header at the top of each page. In the footer, include your phone number or email in a small font size in case pages get separated from the title page. Some authors add the copyright symbol and year.

These format guidelines are basic good policy if you want to submit your manuscript to a publisher as opposed to self-publish. Your editor will appreciate your professionalism, and a clean, consistent manuscript is easier to read and polish to a shine.

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Never Waste a Good Crisis – Gulf Oil Spill + 2012 = A Raising of Human Consciousness?

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Never Waste a Good Crisis
Gulf Oil Spill + 2012 = A Raising of Human Consciousness?

Hillary Clinton is of course famous for saying “Never waste a good crisis”. She was paraphrasing Rahm Emanuel who had earlier stated “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”. They were both referring to the economic crisis. They were both members of the Obama administration at the time of their remarks. And they both got soundly trashed for making those respective statements. People get suspicious when the government uses the excuse of an emergency to put through pent-up legislation that had zero chance of passing prior to the crisis. Post 9/11 legislation underscores the justification for such concerns. But setting aside the possible motivation behind Rahm and Hillary’s remarks, the idea of using a crisis to get something done that folks hadn’t been up for -until reality smacks them in the face- does have merit in certain circumstances. The thesis of this article is that there may be just such an opportunity looming with regard to the ongoing crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.

Wait. I’m not referring to the idea that an out of control deep sea well underscores the need to get off fossil fuels. I mean, sure, but that’s too easy a call. I actually have something else in mind to share with you. To do so, we have to start with the year 2012 and work our way backwards.

With all the gloom and doom stories in the media regarding the pending arrival of the infamous 2012 date, most people I know have starting  questioning, to one degree or another, just what 2012 may have in store. I’ve been asking myself that question for a few years now. I tripped onto 2012 while doing investment research of all things. While seeking to enrich myself financially vis-à-vis an understanding of how the future was likely to unfold, I started to realize that the next few years likely have potent ramifications not only financially, but economically, socially, environmentally, spiritually, and you-name-it-lly.

I can’t point to the year 2012 specifically, because there appears to be no conclusive evidence that 2012 itself has a punch-line whereby a confluence of events will draw a distinct before/after line in history. But I have come to believe we live in a change of ages. Can’t prove it. But I do feel it to be so. What pushed me over the top into accepting that there may actually be something to the whole “2012” brouhaha was hearing evidence that a significant number of indigenous peoples and ancient traditions have long prophesized earth changing events in this general time frame. We all know about the Mayan calendar by now, but prophesies regarding epic changes at hand are referenced everywhere from the folklore of North and South American Indigenous tribes, to Hindu texts, and other mystic texts such as the kabbalah. These prophecies range from ‘End of Days’ type predictions, to a great storm of events preceding a golden age. Who knows for certain what will happen, if anything. Yet it does seem the times they are a changin’, and we might want to be paying attention. Case in point; the ancient prophecies of the Native American Hopi contain no specific dates, yet the seventh of nine Hopi prophecies states “You will hear of the sea turning black, and many living things dying because of it“.


But the 2012 concept that most attracts me is the idea that a sea-change in human consciousness is at hand. We may be on the verge of an awakening. An awakening? Who’s going to be awakened? That would be us. People. Human Beings. The theory is we’ve been asleep. Asleep to the understanding of who-we-are. Asleep to the concept that we are creator-beings. That we are cause in our experience. That the world we live in is not something being done to us, but rather that we ourselves create our reality…both personally as our own lives manifest, as well being part of the global consciousness that collectively manifests the cosmos. So, call it waking cup, getting enlightened, raising our vibration, achieving a higher level of consciousness, or whatever other popular phrases that have earned their way in to the lexicon… all these terms point toward the concept of discovering our true nature… of realizing who-we-are.

If we are asleep though, how and why did it happen? I don’t know. And quite frankly, I’ve never seen absolute proof that the concept of self-created reality is in fact true. To a degree I’m taking it on faith that it’s not just God doing it to us. That it’s not just the devil screwing with us. Yet, I do deeplysense thatself-created reality is a core truth. And, I have had a few glimpses behind the curtain of day-to-day reality that demonstrated my existence in this 3-dimensional world is in fact me doing it to myself.

The concept of self-created reality of course throws a wrench into many (Western) religious philosophies, because, almost by definition, it means the divine force of creation resides within us, not from outside ourselves. But, religion (as opposed to god or spirituality) is mostly about control anyway, with guilt and punishment being the prime levers of control. The idea of self-created reality is in direct opposition to systems for controlling masses of people. It’s no wonder we haven’t been more exposed to the concept. However, whether or not one believes in an inner-centered reality may not matter much. It is what it is, regardless of what we perceive it to be.

And the oil eruption in the gulf is what it is. It’s just another in a series of calamities we’ve been hit with the past few years. Or is it? Is this crisis just one more in a long line of catastrophes that we somehow or another always manage to get over? Is this just a case of yes, there is death and destruction for some, but somehow the planet will shake it off and continue with business as usual?

Perhaps. Or perhaps we have just been handed a global opportunity to… wake up. Within this crisis of uncontrolled hemorrhaging of crude from deep within the planet may possibly lie a screaming opportunity that should not be wasted. You see, humankind may be so deep in its slumber that we must be shaken awake. The crisis in the gulf may be a planet wide alarm clock going off with the message: “Hello? Wake up! You have control over your destinies. This is your planet, and it’s your reality that’s brought things to where they are. You need to wake up in order to realize that you (humanity) are at the helm. You are steering the course of events unfolding, and if you don’t make a course correction pretty soon….well, there’s a really nasty shoal over there and you’re headed right for it”.

You know there are those who would suggest that the alarm has been going off for some time… but, that we keep hitting the snooze button. Result. The ringing gets louder and louder until we finally respond.

Here’s the point. It might turn out that British Petroleum cannot bring its Macondo well under control. And it might just be that the government is not going to save the day either. We as citizens of the planet may have to get involved. I’m about to cite some reasons as to why, but do you even need to hear them? Think for a moment about how truly greedy and callous it was to drill somewhere that many said up front was a place that should not be drilled. BP cares about ONE thing. And the company is only one Chapter 11 filing away from limiting its liability regarding the spill. Now think about the paralysis and dysfunction that has consumed government. The Feds were supposedly on oversight duty here. If you have any remaining faith that an oil company and/or our government are going to solve this problem, I give you this anecdote from history; When the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in 1989 (the last worst environmental disaster in U.S. history), then Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner stood before the American people and told them not to worry because “they (Exxon) said they would ‘take care of it’. Effects of the spill, and the lawsuits, continue to this day.

But even if government and the oil industry are cross-their-heart-hope-to-die serious this time about cleaning up the mess, here are a few reasons why a solution to the gulf oil spill may be out of their hands:

  1. There is a body of evidence suggesting that crude oil is “abiotic” in nature, meaning it’s not just created from fossilized plants and dinosaurs. Instead, oil may be created continuously from within the magma of the planet. Key word: continuously. If this is so, BP may have hit an artery. They may have tapped into a system of deep channels that route this abiotic oil throughout the planet.
  2. Abiotic or not, it’s pretty clear we have tapped in to the mother of all oil wells, and the hemorrhaging could continue for a remarkably long time. At an extreme rate. Notice how the one remaining ace up BPs sleeve – a relief well- is not being touted as a sure thing? Because it’s not. It’s a long shot. A line from Tolkien seems appropriate here: “The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad-dum… shadow and flame”. An unfortunate –if not poetic- example of life imitating art, eh?
  3. In spite of the massive PR / disinformation campaign set in motion by BP, it is leaking out (excuse me) that a series of fissures have been discovered in a multi-mile circumference around the well. It appears that massive pressures are building in the area to the tune of perhaps 100,000 PSI or greater. Such pressures exceed the current technologies of mankind to contain.

We can’t afford to let this thing blow. Nor can we allow the oil to continue pouring out of the seabed. Estimates of the current leak rate have been raised to 100,000 barrels (4.2 million gallons) a day or more. Yet, it may reach a point where it will appear BP is powerless to stop the flow. There is a potential building here. A potential for a disaster of literally unprecedented proportions. I have listened to geologists and scientists describe this potential. Credible individuals who are not all being heard in mainstream media. They describe possible effects ranging from destruction of coral reefs, to massive releases of carbon dioxide, to historic extinction of ocean species, to further warming of the oceans, to the melting of the ice caps, to the release of poisonous Hydrogen Sulfide gas (H2S), to potential methane gas explosions over populated areas. And that list does not entail the eventualities of an actual eruption of the oil-gas volcano building under the sea. Scenarios are being put forth that an event of that sort could trigger a doomsday scenario.

Understand however that this essay is not a disaster or scare piece. I am not suggesting that all of these nasty things are going to occur. We know from history that worst case scenarios do not always unfold. Remember back when the other “gulf” crisis ensued -that being the Gulf War of 1991- how some were suggesting that if Saddam Hussein lit all the oil wells on fire it could ignite the atmosphere. He did. It didn’t. No, what I am simply suggesting is that credible evidence is emerging of the potential for epic disaster to occur if we don’t cap the situation. The thing is what if this time around we find ourselves fresh out of get-out-of-crisis-free cards? What the hell do we do if this emergency du jour grows beyond our technological ability to control it? What if the relief well doesn’t work? We can’t just stick our heads out the window and call for Superman. Or wait for space aliens to save the planet.

Alright. Now let’s connect the dots. What does this all add up to? We have an approaching tumultuous time frame predicted by a variety of disconnected ancient traditions portending a new age is upon us. We have a rising call around the planet for people to raise their consciousness. And we have a potentially uncontrollable crisis at hand with apocalyptic destructive potential.

Is it all a coincidence, or is it possible that this confluence of events has purpose… that out of it all we will wake up… then rise up, and give credence to the idea that humans actually do manifest reality, by sealing the crack in the bottom of the gulf. Yes, us. We the people of the world. Not BP, not the government, not alien intervention.

How would we do such a thing? With our minds, that’s how. Or perhaps more accurately, with our hearts. Or both. Sound kind of kooky? To many, yes. Yet modern Quantum Physics suggests that the world is not objective, as had long been thought by science. Rather, the world is subjective. You might say that a subjective universe does not exist (at least in material form) until it is observed. The latest science informs us that Human consciousness and the physical world can no longer be regarded as distinct, separate entities. This was demonstrated anecdotally years ago by late-night radio talk show host Art Bell, who conducted a series of mass consciousness experiments in the 1990s. Art asked his million-plus person audience to all focus at the same moment on a clock he had placed in his studio, and to imagine that the clock would slow down. Indeed, the clock lost time. At other times he had his audience focus on bringing rain to particular cities. It rained each time. He stopped the experiments after his audience steered a hurricane away from its expected path, only to have it veer into another populated area and do damage. These experiments became known as the ‘Art Bell’ Effect.

More recently, and in more controlled environments, Author Lynne McTaggart has performed hundreds of mind over matter experiments, documenting the results in her book “The Intention Experiment”. Many researchers around the world are seeing evidence that indeed, thought is the basis of reality.

Consciousness raising might just be an idea whose time has come. The notion that humans have direct control over their destiny might just be ready for mass consumption. And what better way to demonstrate it then by having millions of people work together to send focused mental (and heart) energy to stabilize the seabed around that broken well.

How might such a call go out? How would everyone be cued as to when to participate in this huge mass consciousness endeavor? I don’t know. But I do think it would be wise to tune in to the possibility that such a call may go out. Fact is, it has already has gone out in some circles. But this idea may need to really catch fire. The call may or may not surface in mainstream media. It might take the form of a request for prayers. Or perhaps words like intention, or meditation, or focus would be used. It might be a call to dream. Whatever form it takes, it will be a call to join with others to create the energetic objective of healing Mother Earth (Gaia). To send healing energy to the gulf that will seal the rupture.

So at the end of the day who knows? The government may indeed get BP to plug the well. But if not, and if things get desperate, and you happen to get that call about participating in a focused healing event, you might just want to participate. What have you got to lose?

The End. Feedback to

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Pesonalities I Admire: Bertrand Russell

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Bertrand Arthur William Russell (b.1872 – d.1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. His most influential contributions include his defense of logicism (the view that mathematics is in some important sense reducible to logic), his refining of the predicate calculus introduced by Gottlob Frege (which still forms the basis of most contemporary logic), his defense of neutral monism (the view that the world consists of just one type of substance that is neither exclusively mental nor exclusively physical), and his theories of definite descriptions and logical atomism. Along withG.E. Moore, Russell is generally recognized as one of the founders of modern analytic philosophy. Along with Kurt Gödel, he is regularly credited with being one of the most important logicians of the twentieth century.

Over the course of his long career, Russell made significant contributions, not just to logic and philosophy, but to a broad range of subjects including education, history, political theory and religious studies. In addition, many of his writings on a variety of topics in both the sciences and the humanities have influenced generations of general readers. Describing philosophy, Russell wrote:

“Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales. It is not good either to forget the questions that philosophy asks, or to persuade ourselves that we have found indubitable answers to them. To teach men how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.”

Concerning Justice which is a prime concept for many philosophers, in an essay titled ‘On Israel and bombing‘ written in 1970, Russell says:

“…The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East. We are frequently told, “We must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis.” What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy. Not only does Israel condemn a vast number of refugees to misery; not only are many Arabs under occupation condemned to military rule; but also Israel condemns the Arab nations only recently emerging from colonial status, to continued impoverishment as military demands take precedence over national development.

All who want to see an end to bloodshed in the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long-suffering people of the Middle East.

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The Christian Challenge: The Druids, The Templars and The Woman Pope

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by W H Uffington

Ten years ago I began a story based on the historical King Arthur. I wanted to start the book with Joseph of Arimathea bringing the young Jesus to Britain, so that I could show how Celtic beliefs might have influenced Jesus, whose in turn eventually influenced Arthur. I immersed myself in Celtic history and mythology but once I looked at early Christianity I found something that shook me to the core. I came across a book called The Jesus Mysteries, which told me that Jesus was a myth and the Christianity I grew up with was a lie.

These revelations hit me hard, I was shocked and stunned and felt betrayed. I felt a rage at the Church’s deliberate lies, for someone must have known the truth, and even worse, I felt fury at the way unscrupulous people had used religion to control — frightening children with threats of eternal torture by demons in hell for committing sins is just another form of abuse. The Christian Church had built a religion on its greed for wealth and power. It had deliberately tried to eliminate the truth.

The Celts, on the other hand had developed their Christianity on the foundations laid by the Druids. I found links with the Druids in the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly the Book of Enoch and the Essenes. As the Celtic Christian monks battled with Rome, it became apparent that they communed with fairies too and knew much of astrology, astronomy and mathematics as the earlier priests of Egypt and the Gnostic Mysteries had done.

The Druid link to both the Egyptians and Greeks is recorded in stories of Pythagoras. Some of the reports even insist that much of Pythagoras’s philosophical knowledge was not learned in Egypt but came from the Druids. Pythagoras stated that ‘the Druids were the wisest men in the world.’ Pythagoras’ successors also made mention of the Druids: Aristotle said, ‘philosophy began with the Druids’ whilst Herodotus said that, “the Druids had a knowledge of the heavens which was proof of the depth of their scientific thinking.”

When one thinks of Druids, the image that springs to mind is bearded, long–haired men in floor–length robes, standing amidst the vast pillars of Stonehenge, one of them raising a dagger over a terrified sacrificial virgin lying on a altar slab, awaiting her hideous fate. There is even the extreme thought of a burning giant wicker–man filled with its screaming victims. The dreadful portrait painted of the Druids is totally unjust and without foundation. The Druids were anything but the bloodthirsty savage priests, depicted by Julius Cæsar.

Too many historians support this view. Too often, their tunnel vision does not permit them to consider real evidence. This is evident when, with no proof, they link almost everything in the ancient world to religious worship of the sun/nature spirits/mother goddess and wherever possible, animal or human sacrifice. This odd guessing game seems to stem from a desire, even fear, that causes modern man to dismiss and demean his ancient predecessors as foolishly superstitious and primitive. The possibility that they were our equal, or worse, that they were superior in some ways, is viewed with abhorrence as such an elevation would be a slur upon our achievements and ascent.

In the same manner, when they encounter a priest, cult practice or ritual sacrifice within the Celtic world, they assume it is a Druidic one and indicate their ignorance. There is no single piece of conclusive evidence to link the Druids to bloodshed. That there were other religious cults about appears not to trouble the thoughts of historians, who jump to unsubstantiated conclusions whenever the remains of a ‘ritual killing’ are unearthed. To call the Druids priests is not even correct, but rather one should think of them as sages, in the manner of the Greeks. The Druids would have taught about the One God, but probably only to their students. They would have officiated at certain ceremonies because of their position as lawgivers and judges. Blood sacrifices would not have been part of any Druid ceremony. If priests had been involved in sacrifices, they would not have been Druids, since Druidic philosophy was opposed to blood–letting and violence.

Within Celtic Christianity, we find the footprints of the Druids. What seems almost certain, is that the ancient Druidic centres of learning, the colleges, were transformed almost overnight into Christian monasteries. Causing the Church of Rome to complain that British monks had their heads shaved in the manner of the tonsure of the Druids. They also found the role of women in the Celtic Christian Church unacceptable: St Brigit was leader of a Christian community in Ireland and her monastery was mixed, with both sexes having equal rôles. Within the Druidic world, this was quite normal and these practices were transposed into the new Celtic Christianity. Unlike the rest of the Christian world, in Britain females were practising priests who conducted the Mass and gave Baptism — much to the wrath of Rome. Celtic Christianity had a humanistic doctrine that was in opposition to that of Rome; it retained many elements of Druidism and this was because Druids shared the same fundamental philosophical beliefs as the Gnostics.

In the fourth and fifth centuries, Celtic Christianity became known as Pelagianism, taking its name from a British priest who argued against the belief that man was born ‘sinful’, a notion that probably started when Christians still believed in reincarnation. Pelagius stated that it was man’s duty to accept responsibility for his actions in this life in order to achieve salvation. There were certainly other profound matters over which the two churches clashed, foremost amongst these was the disagreement over the Apostolic Succession. The Celts rejected the right to of the Roman Popes to rule just on the claim that they had a direct line going back to Peter. The Celts of Britain and Gaul thought that there was an alternative line of succession. Unfortunately, there is no documented record, so we can’t be sure with whom this alternative line starts, but it seems likely that it must refer to Paul as Gnostics elsewhere believed that he was the only true apostle.

In 380 CE Pelagius set out for Rome to put forward his religious viewpoint but, not surprisingly, he was unsuccessful. He was allowed to put his argument and in spite of dangerous theological differences Pelagius seems to have been treated with great respect. By 416 CE, however, the Church had proclaimed Pelagius’ teaching a heresy. This had little effect in Britain and Gaul where the Celtic Church continued to ignore the papal decree. In 425 CE the Emperor Honorius, persuaded by the Pope, ordered the Pelagian bishops of Gaul to renounce their heresy or face severe consequences; this finally forced their capitulation. Since the Romans had now left Britain, the British leader Vortigern gave no heed to its decrees — in Britain it was Celtic Christianity as usual.

So in western Gaul and the British Isles — the old lands of the Celts and Druids — a form of Christianity had developed which was unacceptable to the Church of Rome. The religion became known as Celtic Christianity but it has far more in common with Gnosticism than what we know as Christianity. How it became established in Britain is unclear, but the likelihood is that once Rome started its forceful promotion of Christianity, the Druids chose to support the intellectual Gnostic version, whose spirituality they could readily accept. Roman Christianity, with its inability to develop spiritually, would have been abhorrent to the educated Celts.

Celtic Christianity certainly did not start with Joseph of Arimathea — the myth was invented by much later monks of Glastonbury with an eye to profiting from the fame it brought. William of Malmesbury wrote a history of Glastonbury in the early 12 century and made no mention of Joseph, nor of any of the Arthurian legends associated with the place. Glastonbury acquired its legend at the end of the 12 century when the monks sought to raise funds to rebuild the burnt–down abbey: attracting pilgrims meant making money. Another obvious indication of the myth is that in the time when Jesus was supposed to have lived, there was no place known as Arimathea and none has been found since.

The Celtic Church was almost entirely monastic and had inherited its base from the Druidic colleges. So without the large churches and the worldly, ambitious, power–seeking bishops and priests that infested them, the isolated and self–contained monastic system suffered from a lack of the centralisation necessary to mount an effective defence against the Church of Rome’s continuing pressure. The former Druids were, after all, interested in spiritual development not political progress.

Over the next three centuries, up to around 800 CE, western Europe was broken into small kingdoms ruled over mainly by Celts and the Germanic and Scandinavian tribes. The Church in Rome saw a potentially dangerous fusion of Druidism and Gnostic Christianity and even worse, one that questioned and denied papal authority. The Celtic monks were unworldly creatures with no interest in such things as wealth or status, nor of following strict religious doctrines. They were, like the Druids, given to living in remote retreats away from the cares of life and even worse, they were footloose and given to wandering without plan to wherever the mood took them. This was coupled with the Celtic disposition to being wilful and no great respecter of authority. That Irish missionaries were sailing eastwards into Europe and founding their own monastic centres would have been of particular concern to Rome, fearing that from these new outposts, the Irish might spread their own version of Christianity.

Columbanus (543–615 CE) is a good example of how the Irish monks expanded their influence into Europe and why they persisted in the defence of their beliefs. He set up monasteries in France, Switzerland and northern Italy. In letters written by a monk thought to be Columbanus, the author refers often to philosophy and the need to avoid confrontation. He uses quotes from Paul’s Epistles and even explains to Pope Gregory that he could come to Rome to discuss his differences of opinion with him, but would not do so in case it led to disagreement. In all of his letters he refers frequently to Christ, but rarely to Jesus. His polite and tactful letter sets out his argument with the Pope, which is not theological, but philosophical. His first two letters mysteriously did not reach Gregory, but in the third Columbanus insists that the Celtic Church’s calculation of Easter, which he argued from a philosophical and astronomical view in the previous letters, derives from generations of previous teaching. As this was not the Roman teaching, in order to go back a long way, it could only have come from the Druids. What really shows that he is following an older teaching comes at the end of the letter. He reminds Pope Gregory of a decision made at the first synod called by Emperor Theodosius in 381 CE.
“Farewell, Pope most dear in Christ, mindful of us both in your holy prayers beside the ashes of the saints, and in your most godly decisions following the hundred and fifty authorities of the Council of Constantinople, who decreed that churches of God planted in pagan nations should live by their own laws as they had been instructed by their fathers.”

The scientific teachings transmitted by these Irishmen posed another major concern to the Roman Church. Some of the knowledge they possessed could only have been learnt from the Druids. An Irish missionary named Fergal, later known as Virgil, arrived in Salzburg Austria, around 746 CE on the death of the local bishop. He became Abbot of the monastery there and Bishop three years later. Virgil was well educated, interested in the arts and had a strong knowledge of geometry, mathematics and astronomy. He knew so much geography that the monks at his abbey in Ireland had named him ‘The Geometer.’

For the Church of Rome, Virgil’s knowledge and personality formed a dangerous combination. Outspoken and in a position to influence, before he arrived in Salzburg he had frequently crossed intellectual swords with Boniface the papal legate of Bavaria, the state in which, at that time, Salzburg was. Boniface asked the Pope to tell Virgil that he must re–baptise a lot of converts as a poorly–educated priest had been overheard baptising them with incorrect Latin: “Baptiso te in nomine patria et filia et spiritu sancta.” Virgil argued that God would know that the priest did not really mean, ‘I baptise you in the name of the fatherland and daughter and Holy Spirit’ and therefore the baptisms were valid. When the Pope heard Boniface’s complaint he sided with Virgil. Some time later Boniface found a more outrageous reason to tell on Virgil. He was shocked to overhear Virgil teaching of ‘other men’ who lived in ‘other lands, under the earth.’ The charge he made to Pope Zachary was one of heresy as these ‘men’ were not descended from Adam. He also charged Virgil with teaching a heresy that the Earth was a globe that circled round the sun. Virgil was duly summoned to Rome to answer the charges, which Zachary duly discounted; he sent him back to Salzburg, later awarding him the rank of bishop.

Virgil continued to flourish, opening schools for priests throughout Bavaria and sending missionaries out into the surrounding lands. After his death in 784 a new bishop was appointed and a new wave of Catholicism replaced his. But Virgil’s words about the men from the ‘other lands beneath the earth’ will strike a familiar chord to those familiar with Celtic religion, for the residents of the Otherworld are the Fair–Folk, as Celtic legend tells: the angels who were known as the Nephilim.

Virgil’s story shows us that the Celtic Church still continued to spread its teaching far and wide. The final battle for supremacy had already been lost, shortly after the time of Columbanus. It took place in 664 CE, at the Synod of Whitby in Yorkshire, where the clergy of Britain met supposedly to agree on the dating of Easter, yet in reality to fight to retain independence from Rome. The truth was that the matter had little to do with religion at all. The most powerful ruler in Britain, Oswy, King of Northumbria, had called the synod. Oswy knew that if the independent Celtic monasteries had to comply with the Church of Rome the people around them would have to accept his rule. Oswy came to favour the Catholic Church over the Celtic Church for pragmatic not spiritual reasons.

To the Celts, the matter was far from done and dusted. The influential monks moved away from Oswy’s control and continued to ignore Rome. Cadwaladr, the king of Gwynedd, who upon the death of his wife had become a monk was another of the Synod of Whitby delegates who argued against unification with Rome. Infuriated by the decision, he left for Rome, to continue the protest. His objection was against the claimed authority of Roman Popes. He died mysteriously on arrival, no doubt murdered on the orders of Pope Vitalian. Cadwaladr was not to be the last king from Britain who was to meet his end in Rome.

Some two hundred years later, King Cyngen of Powys undertook a mission to Rome. Cyngen considered himself to be a direct descendant of Magnus Maximus, Emperor of the western Roman empire, who had left Britain for Rome in 383 CE. Magnus Maximus had the ambitious intention to take the eastern throne as well but was defeated and killed. Back in Britain, the family of Maximus had not given up their claim to the throne of Rome. It was around 854 CE, when King Cyngen and his entourage went to Rome to dispute the right of Charlemagne’s successors to the Imperial throne. To validate his claim, he took with him the Imperial sceptre of Maximus. Cyngen failed and was executed by the Holy Roman Emperor, Louis II and the imperial sceptre of Maximus disappeared. Linked to Cyngen’s mission to Rome, is the story of Pope Joan. There are numerous accounts of this and there is some discrepancy over dates, but it seems that Joan was Pope John VIII, who reigned from around 872 CE but the exact dating of Popes around this period is uncertain. There is an account by Marianus Scotus, a Benedictine monk who when writing about the year 854 CE says “Pope Leo died, on the Kalends of August. He was succeeded by Joanna, a woman, who reigned for two years, five months and four days.”

There is much dispute about its authenticity and the date is far too early for the papal coronation, but coincides with Cyngen’s arrival, so it might be the date when Joan arrived in Rome. The dates of Popes in the lists vary and at times there are two at once, so we can’t say there was never a Pope Joan and need to consider who she might have been and how she might have been elected to the rôle. Only males were allowed to be priests and thus Pope in the Roman Catholic tradition, though females had equal roles in the Celtic Church. Naturally Vatican records will not show a female Pope, but the few stories that survive, do tend to be consistent.

The story of Joan says that she left Britain accompanied by her father. Joan arrives in Rome, though her father is no longer given a mention. The common thread in the tales, tells that she had strong religious inclinations, but being frustrated by the restrictions imposed against females, she disguised herself as a monk. Once in Rome, she set up a school and acquired such a great reputation that she was elected Pope. Allegedly, she became pregnant and the inopportune birth led to her discovery. It seems that shortly afterwards, she died under mysterious circumstances, so is assumed murdered.

The Catholic Church naturally denies that the events ever occurred, however after the death of Pope John VIII, the papal electoral process was reformed. It is not known when the specific procedure started, but up to the death of Pope Leo X in 1521, the elected pope had his genitals examined to ensure he was male. The chair on which he sat until the inspecting Cardinal declared, “Testiculos habet et bene pendentes,” was donated to King Louis XVIII by Pope Pius VII and is now in the Louvre Museum. This leaves many people to deduce that the practice was introduced in response to such an extreme incident that it must never be repeated. Clearly this specific rule change was to ensure that a female passing herself off as a man could never be elected as Pope, but why would you think it was something you needed to monitor, unless it had happened once before!

Though this is not proof, it would be an exceedingly strange coincidence that King Cyngen and his daughter and Joan and her father all left Britain and arrived in Rome in the same year: one pair to claim the throne and the other the papacy. These two recorded sets of a father and daughter arriving from Britain at the same time have surely to be the same two family members who believed themselves the true claimants of both the Imperial and Apostolic lines. Although the Catholics deny there was ever a female Pope, Pope Joan was much mentioned around the time of the crusade against the Cathars in the 13th century. The founder of the Dominican order, Dominic Guzman attacked the Cathars’ female priests and specifically mentions that they claimed their spiritual ancestor to be the female pope, whom Guzman calls Joanna Aquila or Joan the Eagle.

The subject of the Templars is complex and cannot be debated fully in one essay, but it is important to mention the various pieces of evidence which indicate that the Templars inherited some far older Celtic Christian traditions. The Templars were founded by the Cistercian Bernard of Clairvaux. The major cathedrals built by the Cistercians are on former Druidic sites. Whilst the Roman Church was systematically eliminating the Cathars, who received protection from the Templars and Bernard of Clairvaux, the Cistercians built 88 monasteries built on Druidic sites in Britain that was more than two a year. It seems that Cathar Gnostic beliefs could feel safe in Celtic Britain.

The Pelagians, those Celtic Christians who were active in Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries, culminating with the infamous Pope Joan/John VIII in the 9th century incorporated more ancient Celtic traditions, such as the symbolic honouring of the severed head. For the Templars the severed head of John the Baptist had particular symbolism too. This connection with the ancient tradition is apparent in the day chosen by the Christian Church to commemorate St John the Baptist. June 24th is also the day that the Celts celebrated their Queen of Heaven, Danu the Celtic Isis. How many coincidences does it take to form a fact?

The image we have of a Christian Church whose word was spread by the Church of Rome is certainly not the one that was familiar to the Celts. They were monks not priests, they had Abbots not Bishops and most of all a prominent place for women. The biggest difference of all was their interest in spirituality not power. Perhaps the saddest aspect of the Literal Approach to Christianity is that unlike Gnosticism or Celtic Christianity, it leaves no room for independent thought and therefore limits the spiritual development of its followers. Had we had a Druid Celtic Priestess on the Papal throne a thousand years ago, who knows what wonderful things the world might have learned. It would certainly have been a less miserable place than it is right now.

The full account of this research can be found in The Greatest Lie Ever Told, Workhorse Publishing, 2011.


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Henry G Bohn, 1853
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Freke, T and Gandy, P., The Jesus Mysteries, Thorsons, 1999
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Rolleston, T W., Myths And Legends Of The Celtic Race, George G Harrap, 1911
Walker, G S M., Letters of Columbanus, CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts, 2008

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