Although this event took place March 19–22, you can still experience it! Links to the entire Retreat Series Videos appear after the Introduction below.
From the time I was a teenager in Ireland, the Celt in me wanted to weave a triple-knot story reminiscent of the standing–stones petroglyphs of the Druids and the illustrations of The Book of Kells. And so, I have spent the last 60 years interlacing my studies of science, psychology, and spirituality into one holistic thread.
As part of this thinking, I have striven to liberate spirituality from the reductionism of religion and the concomitant abasement of scriptural revelation to mere literalist, fear-based dogma.
And I’ve attempted to set science free from an outdated monist–materialism which, in spite of over a hundred years of study in the field of quantum mechanics, still pretends that matter is all that exists, and that consciousness is an illusion.
And so, some years back, I invented the term, “Mysticists” to mean a hybrid group who are both mystics and scientists. I believe that this is the next phase of human evolution.
So, in the 2023 Retreat – God willin’ an’ de creek don’t rise – I plan to focus on the two parts of my book, “Setting God Free,” which were not covered in last year's retreat - “Setting Science Free” and “Setting Spirituality Free.”
And I’m REALLY looking forward to hugging a whole lot of people!
Tír na nÓg
Zoom Retreat — March 21 — 23, 2022: Imagine a court case in which Yahweh is put on trial for crimes against humanity. The very books that have immortalized this caricature of God are loaded with evidence that He and His primary accomplice Moses could end up in the slammer for all of their treacherous acts.
Only when we break down systems long in place can we begin to understand how we know what we know about anything, much less the mysterious creator figure many of us call God. Whatever name we use to describe the divine reality we seek, we must begin by separating the god we have constructed in our own image and likeness from the God in whose image and likeness we were created. And by dismantling the false gods which our species has held hostage for millennia, I hope to set God free. This was my objective in writing this book and my hope for our retreat.
The book is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Setting Spirituality Free
(A) The Evolution of God
(i) God is not
(ii) God talk
(iii) Three kinds of gods
(iv) The Five Eras
(B) The History of Religion
(ii) Ascending Religions
(iii) Descending Religions
(iv) The Double-Helix Dance
(v) Focus on the Celts
(C) From Religion to Spirituality
(i) Wisdom Gathering
(ii) The Journey
(D) Forming Spiritual Families
(i) Forming Community
(iii) The Mission
Zoom Retreat — March 15 — 17, 2021: The oldest and most vexatious conundrum humans have ever faced is “The Problem of Evil” – what theologians call, ‘theodicy’.
Over the years, I have devoted individual sermons to wrestle with this issue; and, recently, in a series of three homilies (1/31, 2/7 and 2/14), I attempted to dig a little deeper. However, even in three 30-minute talks, there was no way I could do justice to the topic.
So, on March 15 – 17, we held a Zoom Retreat. And, even if you missed it — or want to re-live your experience — now you can watch the six lecture series videos here.
Sources of Evil – My Theory
Definition of Evil:
(A) Angering the gods (ones we’ve created in our own image!)
(B) Personal and Collective Karma
(i) Dimension One: Basic - Cause and Effect
(ii) Dimension Two: Practical - Did it Work?
(iii) Dimension Three: Moral - Is It Good or Bad?
(iv) Dimension four – Spiritual - Beyond Good and Bad
(v) [Note: There is a fifth dimension to karma, but I’ll hold it to Lecture V.]
(C) Influence of ‘the powers of the heavens’
(D) Free Will Allied to Advancing Technology
(E) Loss of Spirituality
(F) Evil as An Emergent Phenomenon
(G) Evil as Service-to-Self
(H) Evil as Projection
Awakening: Working in the Heavens
(A) The Ten Rules of Evolution
(i) We are eternal beings.
(ii) We volunteer to incarnate.
(iii) On planet Earth we reincarnate hundreds of times.
(iv) We tend to reincarnate with the same soul pod.
(v) We can choose to insert ourselves into any period of human history.
(vi) All of us on planet Earth right now volunteered to be here at this time.
(vii) Our objective is three-fold.
(viii) Violence never serves this evolutionary trajectory.
(ix) Darkness/evil is the result of several factors.
(x) This darkness has hijacked and corrupted all major human institutions.
Zoom Retreat — March 11 — 13, 2020: The mystic-poet, Rumi, wrote: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” I want to paraphrase that and say: “Out beyond ideas of feminine and masculine, there is a field. I'll meet you there.”
For the West, gender is a battle; and this extends to our spirituality which traditionally divides “feminine spirituality” (the Earth/Nature based “descending religions”) from “masculine spirituality” (the Heaven focused “ascending religions”). For the Celts, the goddesses were archetypes of Nature and the gods were archetypes of Culture. Their relationship was a marriage dance, not a battle.
But now it is time for us to transcend even the Celtic notion, in an Ascension project that births a spirituality beyond gender; a project that makes sense of (a) each individual incarnation, (b) the entire concatenation of incarnations of each unique soul, and (c) the evolutionary trajectory of the cosmos itself.
Let’s meet in that field.
Zoom Retreat — May 11 — 13, 2020: Early in 2020, when we were planning this retreat, members of COJ were asked what topic they wanted as its focus. Lots of suggestions came in but the top three had to do with the Celts, Gender, and the Future of Humanity. So, I decided to try to amalgamate those into the above title.
There are two lectures for each of those three topics – and the overall objective is to create a cosmology and a spirituality which can transcend partisan, sectarian religion and help you liberate the God inside yourself while recognizing the God in all other beings.
Rediscovering the Feminine Face of God
(A) Woman as Priest
(iii) Early Church
(iv) Seder Meal
(v) Relationship of Priesthood and Eucharist
(i) The Jewish Priests
(iii) Schizophrenic Attitude
(B) The Damage of Anger – Lead Us Not into Temptation
(C) Jung on the Anima and Animus
The Ascension Project – Individual Journey
(i) Three Tracks
(ii) The Journey of a Single Lifetime
(B) Versions of the Stages
(i) Four-Stage Model
(ii) Six-Stage Model
(iii) Multi-Stage Model
(C) The Importance of Karma
(i) Aspects of Karma
(ii) Karmic Timelines
(iii) Levels of Karma
(iv) Dimensions of Karma
The Ascension Project - Cosmic Journey
(A) Many Lifetimes
(i) The Last Three Sacraments
(ii) The Secular Face of Ascension
(iii) The Spiritual Face of Ascension
(iv) Original Sin
(a) The Biblical Version - Genesis Chapter 3
(b) The Theological Version - St. Augustine
(c) My Own Theory of Original Sin
(B) The Ascension of the Cosmos
(ii) The Bodies of Gaia
(iii) Cosmic Laws
The Bishop's Ranch, Healdsburg, CA — March 17 — 20, 2019: About 2,400 years ago, Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Some 400 years later, Jesus added his own version of that (excuse my edits!) when he said, “If the householder (consciousness) knew at what time the thief (the unconscious shadow) would break in and steal (do something stupid!), he would not go to sleep (lapse into mindless behavior.)” Most of us are asleep most of the time, driven by an unconsciously acquired (thanks to “education”) and an unconsciously accessed (knee-jerk reactions) cosmology (philosophy of life.) If you think that our world is "going to hell in a hand basket”, isn’t it time for you to choose an alternative destination and a better mode of transport? This retreat/workshop will afford you the time and the companions to undertake that odyssey and create your own GPS.
What is “Life”?
(A) Life – Some Synonyms
(B) The Origin of Life
(C) When the Created Become Creators
(D) There Is Only One Life
(E) Life: Separating Illusion from Reality
(ii) The Structure of Reality
(F) The Stages of Life
(G) Life – Excerpts from the Prologue to John’s Gospel
What is “Evil”?
(A) Theory One - Satan as Shadow
(B) Theory Two - Satan as Cosmic Service-to-Self
(C) Theory Three - Satan as The Devil’s Advocate
(D) Theory Four – Evil as an Emergent Phenomenon
(i) The Meaning of Emergence
(ii) The Theory of Evil as an Emergent Phenomenon
(a) A Jigsaw Puzzle
What is My Mission?
(i) The Levels of Mission
(B) Individual Mission
(i) Emotions: Virtues and Vices
(ii) Two Kinds of Gifts
(iii) My Mission
(C) Global Mission
(i) Patriarchy, Matriarchy and Hate-Triarchy
(iv) From Gender to Androgyny to Soul-self
The Bishop's Ranch, Healdsburg, CA — March 26 — 29, 2017: There has never been a significant evolutionary shift that has not been precipitated by a major crisis. This is true in geological history e.g., the huge 1.5 billion–years–long crisis that single–celled protozoa — the first lifeforms on our planet — created, when they began extracting hydrogen from water, thus releasing oxygen, which was a deadly poison to them! Or the excess of calcium the planet was excreting which threatened to overpower it, until it found creative ways to solve the problem e.g., make coral reefs of it, build exoskeletons for shell fish, make endoskeletons for the vertebrates.
It’s true in interpersonal relationships; and — as I’m sure you can verify from personal experience — it’s true in your own life journey. Crisis properly navigated is the key to psycho–spiritual growth.
And today — as has happened many times in human history — the world political, economic and military situation presents us with issues of mammoth proportions. Hence, it bears within itself evolutionary possibilities of even greater proportions.
This retreat, and these seven lectures, is an attempt to understand the root causes of this crisis, its invitations and its hidden blessings. It looks fearlessly at the real data, not the fake news, propaganda or fear–mongering, and goes on to identify the mindset, soul–set and practices needed to turn our times towards Christ Consciousness on a planetary level.