I have worked previously in the Middle East, mainly in Egypt, Israel, and Jordan. In one particular project I travelled extensively in all three countries. I have worked with official counterparts and I have made social contacts there also. I have chosen this as my first project in applying druidic ways of working  for two main reasons.

Firstly, I met many people in Israel and Jordan whom I believe are seriously interested in peaceful development of relations between them, but the ongoing animosity and suspicion at official and also at community levels and local levels, are hindering any progress. In Jordan, many of my work associates and personal friends are of Palestinian origin.

Secondly, there was a strong emphasis in the ancient Druidic role of intervention in conflicts. The methods were quite different to the methods now used in modern peace negotiations. It is recorded that Druids often stepped between rival armies and such was their influence that they could ask for a truce to avoid injury and death being caused to non-combatants. They also used their powers to influence from a distance.

In today's world, it is understandable that neighbouring powers, and especially the major global powers, should be involved in the negotiation of peaceful settlements of disputes. Unfortunately, their perspective is long-term, left-brain dominated, logical, sequential, and legalistic. Again, I have no problem in accepting that because they are aiming to produce a settlement, a contract, that involves many aspects and conditions. Nevertheless, such results are usually based upon compromise and the influence of powers that deal with commercial, trade, and legal issues. It takes a long time for the results of such settlements to reach successful conclusions. We need only look at my own country, Ireland, to see the ongoing arguments and disputes over items most of which were never on the original peace negotiation agenda, even though all involved would have been aware of these issues. Because these items are symbolic, emotional and essentially human, they were not coped with and addressed during the logical, left brain, peace negotiations.

I believe that both approaches are necessary and that one without the other is very likely destined to fail. The first approach, the modern one, primarily endeavours to set in place legal structures with procedures and sanctions to support a peace process, as well as promoting and underpinning modern political and economic priorities. Sadly, they do not address the root causes of human conflict which all too often arise from fear and instinct, and inhabit the heart. Instead the formal peace negotiations effectively force the people into new structures which are neither designed nor equipped to operate in the real world of the aftermath of conflict. The efforts to win the populations concerned comes later, and sadly is very often poorly managed and inadequately supported by institutions or governments, leaving the root causes of the original conflict unresolved. The Druidic approach was embedded in a culture that recognised people as more than mere flesh and blood, but also as people with minds and spirits that had needs, with traditions and ancestors looking over their shoulders.

This is why I believe that there is meaning and intent in this project. Druids and shamans often work at a distance, using their skills to promote peace but from right and left brain activities. I shall explain these in more detail, but today (11th August, 2014) , I would like to draw attention to the celebration of Tu B'av in Israel. This is occurring after the recent celebration of Tish'a B'av at the end of the Fast of the 17th  Tammuz. The Fast commemorated the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem, whilst Tish'a B'av commemorated the destruction of the Temple. Today's feast, Tu B'av is celebrated in Israel as a Feast of Love.

I sincerely hope that as it falls in a time of temporary truce, it will enable the people of Israel to savour the happiness of love in its broadest context, and at the same time, give the suffering people of Gaza a hope that love will eventually conquer over fear and hate. In mentioning 'love', I have in mind what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once wrote: "Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction". We should never forget that "Shalom", "Salaam", and the Irish word, "Síothcháin". all mean the same thing - organised peace.

Peace and Blessed Be.