i can’t sleep

Just been reminded of this and thought I would share it here:

it’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?

as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?

what did you do
once
you
knew?

The full poem by Drew Dellinger is here.

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Finsbury Park

I was pleased to see a statement of solidarity, albeit a very short one, from The Druid Network yesterday following the terrorist attack against Muslims in Finsbury Park. https://druidnetwork.org/london/

Driving home last night, one commentator said that an attack on one faith is an attack on all faiths. We have to stand with people of other faiths, some of us will have experienced various level of discrimination and hatred towards our beliefs – this happens towards every faith and is one reason that I am keen on interfaith worth.

Recently I was in contact with my local Imam to offer a message of solidarity and I would encourage others to do the same. My non-Druid friends have had to do that very Druid thing of standing before an army to support our Muslim friends when the fascists have twice turned up outside the local mosque in the past 6 months. A huge act of bravery in the face of thugs – my only regret is that I didn’t arrive in time to stand with them.

As Druids we must show leadership against acts such as the London attack and a significant aspect of the this leadership is solidarity and love towards our brothers and sister who have been hurt.

May there be peace throughout the land.

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Three Druid actions in a dying world: responsibility, leadership and education.

The world as we know it that is dying. The planet will survive, life will survive, but it will be a tough future for those human and non-human animals (and those non-animals) that are around to experience it. So what can we do to lessen the pain?

JMG suggested that we should collapse now and avoid the rush. Simplifying life, reducing expenses to a bare minimum, growing our own food, getting out of debt etc. are all wise moves but is there anything else we should do? For me it is three connected things leadership, personal responsibility and education.

Firstly, eco and political activism require leadership. These are easy outside of a Druid context and I am always involved in a range of campaigns, but my Druidry gives me that sense of a whole picture, helps me join the dots and gives me that drive to carry on. It helps me really understand why I do what I do. It also motivates me – my commitment to the Earth and the gods drive me forward. I can’t rest or become exhausted while there are huge injustices and injuries to our fellow animals, plants or the Earth.

I think too that there is far more that I should do in terms of Druid ritual. I’ve led one small rite as part of the Warrior’s Call and I particularly like their mantra of Action as Ritual, Ritual and Action. I’ve led other occasional rites but I ought to do far more and seize opportunities to do these (it occurs to me that I missed an excellent opportunity last weekend).

Secondly, I lead a C21 lifestyle – it is almost impossible not to – but within that there are red lines that I won’t cross. These are the most polluting and destructive activities, for example I won’t fly or eat meat.  As an avid reader of John Michael Greer, there is a whole bunch of things that I toy with doing from his work on green wizardry and voluntary poverty explorations, its often very hair shirt though and doesn’t always go down well with my family!

But we are not going to lead a C21 lifestyle forever. Energy will become scarce in the future and those who are most dependent on it will suffer more than those who live on less. Learning the skills that our fathers and grandfathers had will see us well for the medium term and it will help preserve those skills so that we can pass them on too which leads us on to…

Finally education! Personal education, learning skills and how to cope but also teaching others. I was at a great Pagan festival last weekend and the workshops were superb: beekeeping, fire making etc. – real skills that society has largely forgotten but will be essential as things get tougher. We need to ensure that people can learn the skill they will increasingly need and that means that those of us who can, teach (and those of us who can’t, teach PE… to quote a great film ;-))

So my triad is complete… Druid actions in a dying world: responsibility, leadership and education.

Inspired by a discussion at The Druid Network

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The wrong gods

Western society has been worshipping the wrong Gods and those Gods have gotten too strong.

The Gods of Progress, Growth, Greed and Personal Interest have been worshipped through much of the past 2000 years but subservience to them has increased to a point where they are all powerful and dictate the actions and ethics of the majority. How can they be stopped and which are the right Gods to follow?

I don’t know if those Gods have a name, perhaps they do but I know they exist. JMG talked extensively about the religion of Progress. He looked at how civilisations rise and fall, each one focusing on progress, growth and greed as they grow only to decline again as they overshoot their capacity to sustain themselves, either environmentally, socially or politically. I hear people talking about progress when they mean growth and greed, I see actions taken in personal interest overruling the need to cooperate and I see the corporations fixated by greed and profit.

We have created our own monsters too. Those corporations whose overriding requirement is to make profit for shareholder. Joel Bakan talked about the psychopathic nature of corporations in his book and film of the same name. They might think they have other requirements but at their core every corporation has to make money for its shareholders, all other goals are secondary.

But I worship the Gods of nature, the seasons of the year, the every changing but ever present landscape. In nature I find cooperation, oneness, a simple ease but yet harshness and death too. These Gods don’t demand that I put my interests first, they don’t ask that I make money at the expense of others – and of course Gods of many other religions don’t either. My Gods focus on balance, on flow, on creativity and on wholeness.

Every 6 weeks at the time of each of the eight Pagan festivals of the year I have a crisis of some sort or another. I may feel particularly low for a day or two, have a blazing but stupid row with someone and so forth. The timing of these may be self induced, may be a case of confirmational bias or it may be my gods and goddesses demanding attention. On the basis that it is probably safer not to ignore the gods and goddesses, I make time to be with them – to worship them.

For me acknowledging the gods is a way of sharing my energy with them and diffusing the pent up energies and conflicts that bring me into that 6 weekly crisis. While those energies and conflicts are a key source of creativity they can be hard to deal with alone. My rituals and subsequent meditations are my way of restoring balance.

Sadly the worship that many do in shopping centres reinforces the need for more, the prayer books of capitalism and hate – the red top newspapers – drive the divisive thinking, and the subservience rituals to the corporations ensure the destructive attitude to the world of which we are integral.

 

 

 

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Beltane: the passion and the fight

The twin fires, the explosion of life, the joy of youth – an ecstatic time in the wheel of the year. Time to grow and grow quickly, both physically and spiritually. A time of birth, of new life, of passion, of seedlings bursting through the soil. A time where we forget the troubles of the world as we dance the Maypole and call to the gods and goddesses.

But as we dance and sing this year perhaps we should not forget those for whom spring didn’t come and those for whom summer will bring more misery. People whose suffering increases year on year. Like those refugees from Syria who are persecuted at Calais for wanting to join their families in the UK by persecutors who are complicit in making these same people become refugees. Like those starving in East Africa as the rains fail again and again as climate change hits their lives head on. Like those who sleep rough on the streets of the richest countries while our governments refuse to help them.

I spent the winter volunteering in a homeless shelter, one night shift each week, a shelter organised by local Christians. The stories that I heard during the early hours when they struggled to sleep were difficult to hear. Their homelessness was caused by circumstances that could happen to any of us.

We Druids are far smaller in number and do not have the resources or person power to run shelters with 200+ volunteers, so how do we reconcile the privilege that allows us to see the colourful exuberance of life at Beltane with those who are stuck in permanent winter?

We can start by including them in our prayers and rituals, every prayer and ritual. As the Warrior’s Call says: Ritual as Action, Action as Ritual. We can fight the causes of their suffering, the warmongering of our governments, the fossil fuel burning that has brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe and the refusal by politicians to tax rich corporations while claiming there is no money is available for the most vulnerable. And at a very personal level we can start to try to live as though there is one planet.

So let’s make Beltane a time to renew our fight against violence and injustice, a time to grow our passion towards our mother Earth. a time to dance around the fracking rigs to stop the rape of the Earth, a time to break those chains and a time to try to live in harmony with the Earth. Let’s make Beltane an ecstatic explosion of life.

 

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For Alban Eiler

For Alban Eiler:

Do you not hear the approaching storm?
Do you not feel the hot, arid wind burning your cheek?
Do you not hear the cries of those who are suffering?
Do you not know what you have done?

Will you not stop the choking pollution?
Will you not end the pointless wars?
Will you not fight for justice and freedom?
Will you not learn to live as one with the Earth?

Not my happiest poem but it came to me complete during my meditation this morning and given that it is Alban Eiler and this blog is about green activism and magic it seems appropriate to share!

 

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Awen and Nwyfre, Will and Mind, Intention and Tao

Change is life. The great unfolding says Ken Wilber and for me the Great Spirit is driving and possibly is that unfolding, that change. both the entropy and the negentropy, the yin and the yang.

As I recounted a few weeks ago, I see the ‘mind’ that Bobcat describes in Animist terms and the ‘will’  (and representation which seems to be the mind element) that Schopenhauer describes, as fundamentally the same even if the semantics of both are unhelpful and the manifestations are different. For me they are two sides of the same thing. The will to exist as an atom, the mind of a mountain, the will of the superego, the reptilian mind and the will of the weather to rain on our parades all are expressions of the mind-will, just on various levels and therefore with different manifestations.

For me the mind as life force, as memory, as yin, as the force that provides stability and pattern is in Druid terms, the nwyfre. Awen is will, it is yang, inspiration and intention, it grows things and changes them, it is magic. They are different but the same, they are both flow but manifest in different ways. Together they are the Tao.

Science regards matter as energy but I see mind-will as the other key constituent of matter (and all levels of life). What is it that organises energy into matter? How does a fertilised egg know which cells become a pancreas when all the cells start the same? Rupert Sheldrake describes them as morphic fields, perhaps this memory, mind and will leads the growth of life. There is mind and will at every level of existence but I suspect the mind-will can exist outside of matter too. Just as energy can exist outside of what we perceive as matter as well as being a constituent of it, there is no reason to expect mind-will to be confined to material things.

The universe / nature is organised on planes: physical matter, plants life, animal life etc. and the mind-will exists at all levels but with increasing complexity – in line with the complexity of the object. The mind-will can override mind-will at other levels to some extent, e.g. magic, changes in consciousness at will.

But these changes to the mind-will, how do they happen and what impact do they have?

In my 20’s I studied Therapeutic Touch (TT), a form of Reiki. There are a range of randomised controlled trials that show how pain and anxiety are lessened by TT (over and above the placebo response). The basis of TT is intentionality, the therapist has to intend to have an impact on the patient and the patient must be willing to receive the therapy to benefit from it. The key is intention, i.e. will.

Just as JMG has been discussing will in recent weeks, A Druid Way posted this great piece a few days ago on intention where he describes: “intention does invite a flow, form a mold, shape a potential, and let us exercise our sacred gift as transformers of Spirit”. He describes his intention of travel being disrupted by a snowstorm. For me the intention of the weather was more powerful than the intention to travel, a battle of magic that had a predictable outcome.

So we have intentionality causing changes in consciousness and we have magic battles of wills that we may lose. The pragmatist in me asks how we can tip the odds of winning those battles even more, how do we use our gift of magic in a more effective way.

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