How was it that the wisdom of Saint David was able to include the ancient Shamanic mysteries of the honeycomb, the fish and the stag without collapsing into paganism? How was it that symbols from the ancient wisdom of Druid Britain were embraced by elders like Saint David and the saints, his spiritual offspring, without betraying Christ and the Spirit? Their answer was that the wisdom of Christ and the Spirit, which was the joy of the Father’s heart, was able to embrace ancient Druidic wisdom because it was able to include it whilst transcending it. It was not a divisive but an integral wisdom that embraced ancient wisdom wherever it found it, including instead of excluding it. Elders like Saint David were filled with the Spirit in their love of Christ, so they embraced ancient British wisdom because it spoke to them of Christ. Indeed, it was Christ in ancient British culture that was now explicitly inspiring Britain’s embrace of Christ, so they said YES AND rather than NO, NO WAY, as Saint Silouan the Athonite once put it. Saint David saw Christ in the ancient icon of the bees with the primordial mystery of the honeycomb that spoke of unity at the heart of multiplicity, countless bees but one united hive, buzzing and dancing their profound wisdom of unity in difference. He imparted this wisdom of the bees as the wisdom of Christ in the Spirit, because Christ was actually present as prophecy in this ancient British icon of unity in difference, as bees busily imparting God’s deifying wisdom long before the arrival of Christianity in what we now call Wales.
Christ’s mystical wisdom of transcendence and inclusion was also speaking loud and clear in the ancient British mystery of the fish, teaching the wisdom of Christ long before Christ was preached and received in the sixth century, by Saint David’s Age of Saints. Indeed, ‘Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour’ spelled ‘fish’ in Greek, IXTHUS, so the Patristic tradition of Saint David confidently saw Christ in the iconic symbol of the Holy Fish that had long flourished in ancient British Druidic wisdom. In the timeless seas of uncreated glory, the Holy Fish was totally at home and did not drown, as those who excluded wisdom drowned. Christ, the Holy Fish, swam radiant and free in the seas of infinite wisdom and glory, well able to reveal how wisdom includes, as it transcends all that went before. The Holy Fish was a name of Christ, the timeless LOGOS in his pre-Christian glory, well able to speak of Christ through the logos of the sacred being of the fish, without betraying Christ. The iconic fish was discerned by the Spirit as deified, Christly freedom, swimming in the timeless seas of uncreated glory, not a rival to God, but a messenger of God, not a pagan enemy but a wise, prophetic friend, welcoming the revelation of Christ in the Spirit-filled Age of Saints.
The regal stag was revered in ancient British Druid wisdom because its antler points pierced writhing serpents, enabling the deadly venom of snakes, when transfixed by wisdom, to be transformed into wholesome medicine, curing all forms of spiritual death. This extremely ancient wisdom icon spoke to Saint David of the wisdom of Christ’s Holy Cross that overcame death with death, a living witness to the truth of Christ long before Britain was literally baptised into Christ. Wisdom recognises wisdom because the Spirit recognises Christ as the LOGOS speaking of Christ’s wisdom in ancient iconic logoi, such as the royal stag. Elders in the Age of Saints were filled with wisdom that transcends and includes these ageless icons, and Saint David was no exception. They were filled with the Spirit that bore witness to Christ in the stag, not seduced by the demonic spirit of exclusion but agreeing with the Holy Spirit of inclusion. That is how British elders were able to embrace Druidic mysteries without collapsing back into divisive, ethnocentric paganism. That is how Saint David was able to embrace the wisdom of the ancient Druidic stag, without descending into pagan betrayals of Christ crucified. The antlered crown was a crown of glory singing of Christ in the Spirit, not a rival to Christ that sought to crucify him. By transcending and included the stag, the wisdom of Christ embraced British Druidic wisdom as prophecy that spoke of Christ before Christ. Saint David became the patron saint of ancient Britain that we now call Wales, because his wisdom was Christ’s graceful fulfilment of all ancient prophecy.
The Baptism of Britain was Christ’s inclusive wisdom work, which Saint David was given as an elder and a saint, embedding Christ in Druidic Britain by uncovering Christ in the honeycomb, the fish and the stag of ancient British Druid wisdom. It was not a betrayal of Christ, because it was a Spirit-filled discernment of Christ in the bees, the fish and the stag. In this respect, Saint David’swisdom was totally Biblical and also Patristic, including whilst transcending, rather than excluding and murdering. This holy fact is profoundly disturbing to contemporary exponents of exclusion, who are scandalised by the wisdom of Saint David, as their forebears were scandalised by Christ (John 8:58). But the honeycomb is the work of countless bees who act as one in their work on the honey and the comb, serving their queen who births bees in their numberless multitude to serve unity in their differentiated, creative co-inherence. This spoke to Saint David of the mystery of Christ with his communion of saints in the Church, a mystery of unity in difference that cures division. Long before Jesus was born of the Virgin, Christ as the LOGOS was bequeathing these ancient logoi as prophecy that bore witness to the wisdom of Christ among ancient Britons, now confined to the land we call Wales. Saint David is therefore the patron saint of this ancient Britain that later embraced England, Scotland and Ireland as the long-forgotten heart of Great Britain, always remembering it was wisdom that made this spiritual Britain great. It is still wisdom that makes this Britain Great, and makes it Great again, not the many deceptive parodies that subtly usurp wisdom. By transcending and including ancient wisdom, Christ’s wisdom in saints such Saint David is truly integral in this and every age, though what integral means in each age changes as we change.