Fourth Mount Haemus Lecture: Question, Answer and the Transmission of Wisdom in Celtic and Druidic Tradition


The asking of questions and the giving of answers remains one of the most primal means of teaching and of learning knowledge. Questions arise from the place of our dark, needful ignorance: answers shed the relief of light into that darkness. Darkness and light, ignorance and knowledge, are the eternal poles of our forgetfulness and our recollection. Socrates, in Plato’s Phaedo, tells us: ‘What we call learning is really just recollection…what we recollect now we must have learned at some time before, which is impossible unless our souls existed somewhere before they entered human shape’ When asked about how that theory is proved, Socrates cites what happens when people are asked questions. ‘If the question is put in the right way they can give a perfectly correct answer, which they could not possibly do unless they had some knowledge and a proper grasp of the subject.

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Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

About The Author

Caitlín Matthews is a writer and teacher whose ground-breaking work has introduced many to the riches of our western spiritual heritage. She is acknowledged as a world authority on Celtic Wisdom and the ancestral traditions of Britain and Europe. Caitlín’s interest in druidism has brought a continuing association with OBOD since its reformation, when she served as co-presider. She was the recipient of the Mount Haemus Award in 2004. Caitlín appears frequently on international radio and television, and was the song-writer and Pictish language originator for the Jerry Bruckheimer film King Arthur. With John Matthews, her partner, who was historical consultant on the film, she shared in the 2004 BAFTA award given to Film Education for the best educational CD Rom: this project introduced school-children to the life and times of King Arthur. With John Matthews and Felicity Wombwell she is co-founder of The Foundation for Inspirational and Oracular Studies, which is dedicated to the sacred arts. Their FíOS shamanic training programme teaches students the healing arts as well as hosting masterclasses with exemplars of living sacred traditions. Caitlín has a shamanic practice in Oxford dedicated to healing soul sickness and ancestral fragmentation, as well as helping clients find vocational and spiritual direction. She teaches internationally. Caitlín’s books include Singing the Soul Back Home, Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain, The Psychic Protection Handbook, and The Da Vinci Enigma Tarot. She is co-author, with John Matthews, of the Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom and Encyclopaedia of Celtic Myth and Legend. Her books have been translated into more than fifteen languages from Brazil to Japan. Visit her website.


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The practice of Druidry used to be confined to those who could learn from a Druid in person. But now you can take an experience-based course wherever you live, and when you enrol on this course, you join the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids, and begin an adventure that thousands of people all over the world have taken. It works with the ideas and practices of Druidry in a thoroughly practical, yet also deeply spiritual way.