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FROM WALDORF HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT TO PhD
Waldorf School graduates write and create projects instead of taking Provincial exams. While there are always some students who will use opportunities like this to achieve less, what Waldorf provides in such a pedagogical model is the chance for students to excel to a degree that breaks molds and demonstrates what hard work and persistence can do despite the circumstances of life.
Waldorf education gave me the courage to get the education I wanted; to walk into the right offices and stand up for myself to the right people.
For that alone I am forever grateful.
RAISED IN THE “NEW AGE“: 1981–1999
My religion as a child in the small fishing town of Steveston, B.C. in the 1980’s was the popular Yogic practice of Transcendental Meditation taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (it is also called TM; and yes, the one where they levitate and stuff like that).
As a child I didn’t understand prayer before meals, let alone Christianity and I was always surprised when other families didn’t have scheduled meditation times after school.
Despite my parents being poor, my mother insisted we attend Vancouver Waldorf School K-12. So we moved to North Vancouver where I was educated in the Waldorf school system that has flourished out of Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy.
1990’s: TEENAGE WICCA YEARS
After my parents divorced in 1991, my father got a new wife and so he could no longer have my sister and I even part-time as he was starting a new family. I became a fat, depressed Goth kid at age thirteen and got into Celtic mysticism and Wicca, largely through my mother’s pagan boyfriend and his friend who owned an occult shop in Penticton, BC: where we had our yearly week vacation with my dear, single working mother. A spirituality that met my aesthetic taste and wed with the Celtic heritage my mother instilled in me daily helped me pull myself out of an almost cliché atheistic-suicidal despair in life and helped me focus on becoming an A++ kind of student from grade ten onward. In Vienna I was a Strebe. It means “striver or one who strives” and is the root of the same English word. I was shocked after a few months to find out it was pejorative; especially since my German was Sch#!$e. Since the Austrian school day ended at noon I skipped most classes with the other exchanges to read in the cafe across the street til my host sister and her friends finished classes and we would all head downtown, or to musems or the heuriger (tavern).
VIENNA, WALDORF SCHOOL & HASIDIC MYSTICISM
I was exposed to Christian hermeticism through New Age reading, and the fact that for a while after the divorce my mom, sister and I lived with her boyfriend in North Van in an OTO household. He was very abusive to us and we eventually escaped.
When I spent most of my grade ten year on exchange (from selling off part of my 50k valued Magic: The Gathering collection) in the Vienna Rudolph Steiner School, I was truly introduced to Jewish Kabbalah by a Hasidic Rabbi from America lecturing on reincarnation and the Holocaust.
How Writing THE CELTIC MYSTERIES OF W.B. YEATS Changed My Life
As I moved from my troubled teen years as a pagan and into the very textual and philosophical land of Jewish Kabbalah and Hebrew myth, scripture and commentary, I wondered if there was a way to integrate the Celtic with the meditative practices of Kabbalah.
What I discovered was Yeats had already started the project. He just didn’t finish it.
As I was a weirdo even at Waldorf, I had no girlfriend and lots of free time on my hands (when I wasn’t playing D&D with my geek friends).
So I read and researched and lived the “Celtic Mysteries.” The project became my graduating thesis and replaced the need for me to write British Columbia’s Provincial exams.
I got the highest grades awarded (A+ on every aspect) and I went to college in the top 1% of Canadian graduates; however, I did not complete the year for economic reasons.
The National Post even called me, interviewed me and published eleven libelous paragraphs that blatantly lied about nearly everything I said in the interview. Hence my not doing any interviews since on esoteric or spiritual subjects.
Then, I went to college and used this same book to challenge the remainder of my BA and got into graduate school on probation. After a year of excelling in grad school I was accepted into my PhD program.
All of this from having written The Celtic Mysteries of W.B. Yeats at age 18.
I was accepted into my PhD without having technically been awarded a single degree.
The academic system is one of those human institutions that, while flawed, still has the power to reward the hard work and persistence of someone like me.
W.B. Yeats’ vision of a “Celtic Mysteries” is far from complete. But I am proud to offer another element of that project to those who find beauty and value in Yeats’ vision.
As I release this finally to the world, I added a Foreward as well as a Postscript to deal with certain issues of background and context for the non-academic reader who just wants to hear about Celtic culture, Irish myths, W.B. Yeats, or Kabbalah (Hebrew and Hermetic).
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