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by Searles O’Dubhain
This is an acronym for Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis or Unverified Personal Gnosis. As either of these terms imply, UPG is much like inspiration, imagination, visions or dreams. It’s an experience a person has that seems to come from nowhere without immediately verifiable reasons or supporting evidence to explain itself. UPG and imbas are a lot alike except that imbas is a directed ritual action on the part of Druids and Filidh to receive divine information and the knowledge of illumination. Divine inspiration and the “G” in UPG might be associated with one another or not. That’s where and when the “U” in UPG needs to be changed to a “V.” In Ogham this is simple. Just erase the left-hand scores (it’s a joke; the Ogham for U is three long scores across a druim while the Ogham for a V or F is three short strokes to the right of the druim).
Many people have been inspired. A small number have had visions. Druids have visions and experiences called imbas. All of these types of experiences may be personally overwhelming and impacting but without verification and understanding they represent only about 1% useful knowledge to anyone else. To uncover this 99% of useful knowledge to which inspiration and imbas can point, requires a lot of work; a vast amount of cross indexed information; an ability to overlay, to map and to correlate data into useful, testable and provable theories and hypotheses. Edison did his 99% of work through lab experiment and perspiration. Tesla did his 99% in the mind. amid facts, streams of logic and mental simulations. Each achieved new products and gifts from the creative mind, one through a physical process and the other through a mental process. Each was effective but the costs and prices were different and in different coin. This requirement to make imbas useful is one of the reasons Druids perfected their minds and memories while studying the knowledge base of tribal tradition and experience. Such a ready database allowed a Druid to link inspiration to what already works or through analogy to those things that can work better or in completely new ways for the benefit of the people.
UPG is nothing. VPG is everything. Everything is what is connected to a Druidic mind and spirit experiencing imbas. If one has a thimble at the well, then one receives a thimble’s worth of drink. If one has a tanker truck then swimming pools can be filled with the knowledge provided and returned. Processing these large amounts of inspiration and data is the work of long training and mental expertise. One must study logic and perfect memory to not waste the opportunities of imbas. Sometimes the best filters and resulting products of imbas can be had through trying one’s explanations and new understandings on a scientific community, a community of Druidic or philosophical peers, or even on a group of skeptics and scoffers. All of these trials of logic and explanation will drive out the fallacies in one’s reasoning while preserving and honoring the gifts of imbas, the blessings of knowledge, and the gnosis of being one with an idea that is divinely inspired.
What remains after the fires and forges of hammering out the relationships in inspired knowledge are the jewels of life and the gifts of the gods. These innovations and new ways are like the sword that is made from the products of the stone rather than just being pulled directly from it as in the age-old fable of Arthur. The gifts of imbas and VPG are very good and fit for a king. They are the Truth of a King. Modern science and technology have provided us with tools that rival Druidic minds in some respects. We can simulate entire systems. We can correlate and test designs before spending huge sums of money to fabricate them or to test them through trial and error. Regardless of the advancements in the tools of testing, the rarest gift is still the ability to be inspired, to have vision, to have a dedication to excellence that leads one to bring a gift of spirit and mind into the physical world to benefit all. The keys are to seek, to dare, to know and then to make it happen. Verifying and dreaming go hand in hand in the world of a Druid. They are the parents of knowledge and wisdom. UPG can happen to almost anyone. When a Druid has a flash of inspiration or imbas, then that is the beginning of a long road of investigation and study to replace the inspiration with verified facts. The goal is to evaluate the personal aspects of gnosis against the background of established knowledge. The brilliance of inspiration can, in those cases, lead to new and substantial knowledge for the world.
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