Robert the Bruce got a yawn from the curators at but he continues to fascinate many of us.

Robert the Bruce got a yawn from the curators at but he continues to fascinate many of us. “The Brus was written by John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, in about 1375 and covers the Wars of Independence waged by Robert the Bruce. Its centrepiece is a stirring and bloody description of the Battle of Bannockburn, in which Robert Bruce, King of Scots, faced down the English army led by Edward II.”

Impact of the Golden Dawn…

Not many people today know what a profound impact the Order of the Golden Dawn had on mysticism in the European tradition. Coming out of Mormonism it seemed like an obvious path to me.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which originated in late 19th century London among a small group of Masonic Rosicrucians, remains the most influential and well-known occult society in Western history. Its story has been told in a number of popular books, and its prominent members—Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, William Butler Yeats, A. E. Waite, Dion Fortune, and Israel Regardie—are icons of esoteric lore. Yet countless Neopagans and New Agers, along with those who dabble in esoteric practices like Kabbalah, Tarot, astral travel, and visualization, have no idea that their spiritual beliefs and practices are pulled directly from the pioneering work of this magical secret society.

Forging Identity

So often I run across people who are either engaged in a process of forging their own identity. Less often with someone living with the fallout of a parent or grandparent having done it.

Brando Skyhorse’s mother told him his father was Paul Skyhorse Johnson, a Native American political activist. Really, his father was, like his mother, Mexican. “His mother, Maria, dreaming of a more exciting life, saw no reason for her son to live his life as a Mexican just because he started out as one.”

I think we’re just in the beginning phase of learning to respond to stories like this one. In an homogeneous, traditional culture the problem can hardly come up. Everyone has the same background, and if they don’t their tie to whatever it is will be stark and simple.

In our modern world, not only can identity be a problem but it can also be more complex. For example, Skyhorse being “really” Mexican means in all likelihood, that he still has a substantial quanta of indigenous ancestry. Not only from his father but also from his father. When his mother gave him a different father, she didn’t eliminate his indigenous ancestry. She gave him an indigenous ancestry north of the border rather than south of border.

Then too, the idea of identity malleability seems to be almost uniquely American. There is an underlying essentialist view. If I can find a genetic link to another culture then I can claim that identity, no matter how far back it was. If you point out that I haven’t changed anything about my own history as a middle class WASP, well then, you’re just a hater and have obviously missed the entire point of tolerance and diversity.

I don’t think we’ve found the answer, even though many of the people I know have strong feelings on the subject. I suspect the answer, when we find it, will center around personal history and participation rather than biology. My sense is that somehow this subject will turn out to be analogous to adoption. In every meaningful way, the adopted child is the child of their adoptive parents not their biological parents.

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