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A tough day yesterday. I visited the prison after a month and a half of not being able to attend (due to work). Everyone was so glad to see me. One newer man to the group did his dedication to the Wiccan path. He stumbled over the words, couldn’t recall the meaning of things, was thoroughly nervous. So I helped him by asking, Why this path? What is this path about? What do you hope to gain? Basically he responded with simple clarity that is was a “natural” path. It made me realize that so many people just want to get back to living in a natural manner, integrated, connected with a sense of place and purpose. They may not have the intellect or education to express it clearly but the desire is there. And it hit me this way of being is exactly the opposite of what we have built today and the consequences are huge on the individual and global level. This is why the prisons are filled.

Here is the nature of the paradigm and its consequences.

When we live a natural life, one integrated into the ecosystem, where each and everyone of us, all souls human and non-human, have their place, their function and purpose are clear. All needs are met. There is no hierarchy. There is in a sense perfect equality. The brilliant and the mentally challenged all walk in perfect equality as both are essential parts of the whole. This is lost today. We instead have built a system of winners and losers. Those who are not up to the challenge of competition have no place, not just a smaller place. Their value is lost, discarded and never realized. Humanity is less for this. The Earth is less for this. All of Nature is less for this. We are all equally important in the context of the whole. Yet, due to our reductionist mindset and culture, our souls are filled with a sense of self-worth unto ourselves. And for those who aren’t the winners, those who aren’t as smart or good looking, there is only a sense of self-hatred and self-denigration. Where one has no place or purpose in the tribe or in the greater ecosystem, one has the impossible task of trying to find spiritual connection and integration in a vacuum.

I received a call from a friend yesterday. His family experienced the loss of a four-year old niece from a car accident. In the midst of all this, they are dealing with job loss, debilitating disease and great financial stress. Our culture has built itself to an every-one-for-themselves paradigm. So my friend is faced with dealing with all this stress pretty much alone. Where are the neighbors? Where are the structures in the State to help take the stress off people when so much is piled on at once? How come we allow so much to be piled on people that they break? Where are the systems to relieve burdens when people are given too much to carry? As a simple priest in such a dynamic, I feel completely out gunned. I feel the like the sheriff in the movie, “No Country for Old Men”.

My entire being is just so sick of the paradigm of our culture. Why is someone more valuable than another? Why is someone’s time more valuable than another’s? My eight hours of work is just as valuable to me as as CEO making 500 times my wage. My life means just as much to me as his does to him. People will respond to say, well they have more responsibility, they have more credentials, they worked harder. That is true. But it doesn’t address why someone is treated as more valuable. Why should I get paid double what someone else does just because they aren’t as mentally astute? Also it speaks clearly to me that the paradigm that allows such responses is totally removed from the natural world. If we as a society lived in an animistic manner, integrated into ecosystems, awake to our function in it, awake to the flow of the whole, no one would be considered more “valuable”. The lion doesn’t get paid more than the mouse. All needs are met or the ecosystem breaks down.

Sure Nature is merciless. Sure Nature has death. But the value of the prey and the predator is equal. Today we call the cycles of life the “food chain”. We view it as a hierarchy when in fact that is an illusion, a snapshot in time, yet Nature is a continuum. Which is higher, the tiger or the ebola virus. Put in such way, the hierarchy fails. There is no separation in Nature. All human structures need to follow suit. It is the great challenge of our generation to re-weave our societies back into the ecosystems of the natural world. We cannot not continue to see ourselves as outside of Nature. That illusion will be exposed to everyone eventually.

Much of my frustration isn’t that the very basics of food and shelter aren’t being met. Humans are a keystone species and we aren’t living up to that responsibility. We are failing in the realms of meeting the spiritual and psychological needs of our human brothers and sisters. We only seem to honor the aggressive intellectuals that win in the worlds of financial and academia. The man who made his dedication gave me answers that lacked precision in word usage, correct grammar, and verbal grace. But the answers he gave spoke to me of a deep understanding of what sort of life he wanted to have and why that was so important to live a “natural” life. If I posed the same question to the CEO of the company I work for, or to the head of the departments at our respected universities or to our financial geniuses on Wall Street, I doubt very much I would have received answers that had such deep understandings. This prisoner is no less valuable to Nature than the billionaire or genius.

We must find that sense of perfect equality in our culture. I believe Paganism and Permaculture offer us a way forward. But we must guard against elitism. We must refrain from hierarchy. We can’t allow the winner and loser mindset to be a part of what we build. All needs must be met or whatever we build will break. I have my doubts. Organic seems to be only for those who can afford it. Permaculture only for those bright enough to digest the language we use to discuss it.

So I sit here angry. Angry at the situation we humans have created, angry at the social injustice, angry at the deference we pay those who are the winners, the smart people, the highly competitive, the beautiful people. It is sick, very sick and we simply must begin to build an inclusive society where each of us has a place in the ecosystem, and no one is simply left out. In Nature there is no such thing as waste. Why do we humans leave a trail of it everywhere we go? And in that waste, endless sad tales of wasted people and human potential. I am very sad today.

I awoke this morning with these thoughts in my mind. One of the greatest rewards in life is to inspire others. It is our obligation to honor the gifts  our ancestors have passed onto us (no matter how meager we may think they are) and share our creativity. The world doesn’t need more corporate product passed off as art. It needs you to be you, me to be me, expressing our soul’s truth. Remember you and I are the creativity of the Earth. It we hide ourselves, the Earth suffers. If we are lost or drowned out in the corporate media blitz of politics, distraction, mono-culture promotion and consumerism, the Earth suffers. We must stop all the self-negation, find the inspiration inside of us and gift our creativity back to the world. This is the only way we will begin to heal the damage we have done and continue to do to this planet. When we damage the planet, we damage ourselves. There is no separation here.

I just returned from seeing a documentary on the Amish peoples. It was presented by the Portland Permaculture Meet-up Group. The film was quite interesting on many levels and inspired a lot of discussion, curiosity and questions.

Most of us realize that our modern way of life isn’t sustainable. It is destroying ecosystems around the globe and has cultivated a society that doesn’t support us on many levels. Humans are inherently tribal creatures, yet our modern way of life works counter to our having healthy families and communities as we chase economic opportunities around and spend our time engaged in jobs that have little or nothing to do with our local environment. Many of us feel disconnected, isolated, and insecure about our future. We feel alone to fend for ourselves. We don’t know our neighbors. We are facing global economic decline and the harsh realities of peak oil and global climate change. Everything about our way of life is dependent on systems out of our control and beyond our local environment. Our ancestors didn’t live this way and we know this isn’t going to work in the long-term. In response, many of us are looking for ways to build a more resilient way of life utilizing permaculture principles and harnessing the power of community.

The Amish in many ways have already accomplished what we are looking to build in our own communities. They have a way of life that recognizes the value of community. They consciously set aside many aspects of individualism for the benefit of the whole. They purposely look at the technology they use and ask the questions, “Is this technology serving the community in the long run?” and “Does this technology devalue the individual?” Efficiency and profit are not their goal. Holding their close-knit communities together is. They have built-in resilience due to a low technology lifestyle. No one has to worry about the basics of life (food and shelter) or about how their family will survive should something happen to them. These big worries that weigh on most of us are pretty much non-existent for them.

What ties the Amish community together is a very powerful and strict religious code. And here lies the aspect of their lifestyle that doesn’t work for most of us. We are not fundamentalist patriarchic Christians (and we don’t want to be – even if it would bring us a sustainable resilient lifestyle that brought us close to the land). Most of us wouldn’t want to live in a strict fundamentalist pagan community either. We value our self-expression.

In the discussion after the film, most people admired what the Amish have been able to build for themselves – beautiful farms, useful crafts and sustainable businesses. We admired their questioning new technologies instead of just blindly following the greater society. But we all had a hard time with strict religious doctrine running our life and being a prerequisite for living in a conscious community. With the Amish, if you don’t accept the strict religious doctrine, you are ousted from the community. Someone asked, “What else can hold a community together other than a belief system, whether religious or political?” My thoughts are these.

What can bind a community together is recognition (not a belief) of the sanctity of the local landscape (a.k.a. Nature). This to me is one of the three core principles of paganism.

How this recognition of sanctity can hold us is as follows; when one really engages with the landscape in a sacred manner, one realizes that we are not separated from the ecosystem. We are not masters of it. But rather, we are an essential and perfectly equal part of the whole. This is an animistic point of view. And this is radical thought for most Americans, in fact for most modern humans. Awakening to this realization changes everything. We know our place in the world and we find acceptance for and value the other souls in our landscape. This point of view being recognized and openly embraced by a community can build lasting ties.

Opposite this way of life is consumerism. We live a consumer lifestyle because we are thoroughly able to export the consequence of our choices. Garbage and pollution are sent elsewhere. Poison from manufacturing dumped into the environment happens in other countries. The suffering and exploitation of human resources is out of sight and out of mind. To me this is the exact opposite of paganism. Paganism is totally and thoroughly local spirituality. Paganism teaches engaging soul to soul with Nature exactly where we are at. Paganism is the practice of this kind of engagement. And when we do this, it radically influences our choices.

So as I explore how to build a better future, one that is sustainable with built-in resilience, I see Permaculture as a way forward. It is a systems approach to working with the landscape that is build on three fundamental ethical ideas, Earth care, People care, and Fair share (Fair share means sharing the abundance with all the souls in the landscape, human and non-human – everyone’s needs are met). Check out Permaculture on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture. Permaculture teaches deep and sustained listening to the local ecology, one that respects and honors all the creatures in a place from the invisible bacteria deep in the soil to the tallest tree, to animals that dwell there to those that migrate through. To me, Permaculture is sort of the new Paganism as it is an expression of engagement to the immediate environment based on respect and equality and listening. It is a beautiful expression of the ideals we hold as pagan people – one that is completely tangible having nothing to do with mythology, religious doctrine or theology.

But permaculture isn’t enough to build interdependent sustainable human communities. Communities need more to bind them together than a systematic (although a brilliant one) approach to working with the landscape. They need a shared vision that speaks to the spiritual as well as physical needs. And that is where I think the true potential of paganism lies. As my teacher Bobcat told me many years ago when we first met, “Paganism was the first religion and it will be the last”. And I fundamentally believe this to be true. If we as humans fail to realize the sanctity of Nature on a deep level, we will not survive the radical change that is happening on the planet. Paganism offers us a vision of life immersed in the sacred, one that is built on experience, not doctrine. And this vision can carry us forward. With the pairing of Permaculture and Paganism, I see a way out of the current economic, ecological and social disaster that is our current paradigm of life.

I invite you all to join in the conversation about building a way of life for you, your family and your community that is truly sustainable and honors the landscape. It doesn’t matter whether you are a climate change denier or really believe that competitive capitalism is the best way for humans to build communities. I think we can all agree that our current way of life isn’t working for many of us. And I think we can all agree that destroying the environment for the economic prosperity of the few, isn’t ethical. So I invite you to think deeply about the kind of life you would like to live and discuss it with your friends and neighbors. Let’s ask the questions and begin to try to find ways to move forward, to build vibrant communities that offer a sustainable and honorable way of life.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Blessings of the New Year,
Snowhawke /|\

I will be presenting a workshop and facilitating an open forum at Eastern Maine Pagan Pride Day on October 13th in Old Town, Maine. Hope to see you there.

Blessings,
Snowhawke /|\

Through the Veils – Death and Dying from a Pagan Perspective
Please join Druid priest, Snowhawke, for a workshop on death and dying. This informative workshop will cover a wide range of ideas and information including: death, dying and the grieving process, the role of pagan clergy, preparing for one’s own death, pagan last rites, funerals and legal issues, Death and the soul from a pagan perspective, what Nature informs us about death, and the gift of Samhain and Pagan year-end observances. He will share a recently revised edition of the Death and Dying Handbook written specifically for the pagan community.

Weaving Our World – An open forum on building community
Paganism is diverse, promotes individual expression, direct experience of the Divine in Nature and personal freedom. Yet humans are tribal creatures. We recognize our shared roots of heritage and spiritual philosophy, and honor our thorough interdependence and connections in the web of life. But our day to day world is one of increasing disconnection, distraction and economic instability. Please join in an open discussion on the value of community – Do we need community? Do we have obligations to community? Do we even care? Let’s share our thoughts and idea as we explore where we have come from, where we are at, and where we are going as a people who share a common spiritual tap root.

I recently completed a week-long course in timber framing at the Fox Maple School of Traditional Building in Brownfield, Maine. It was a very demanding and intense six days of learning and hard work. Although it was exhausting, I am so pleased I took it. The inspiration I have from participating in such an event is remarkable.

The idea of natural building methods and traditional timber framing construction has always appealed to me as it expresses a sense of ethics that fits perfectly into my spiritual practices and ideals. Our lives must become more local. Our work, our home materials and our food, need to come from where we live. Extracting resources from far away places, shipping them around the globe and buying them from people who don’t live in our community presents a real ethical dilemma. If our existence is based on our engagement with our local environment, then we will find a balance where we live with concern for our ecosystem, and from that concern we won’t cause unnecessary harm. When we extract resources from an abstraction (that place far away where things come from and we don’t see the damage), we will use resources without having to deal with the immediate consequences. This allows excess. This way of being has to end. Local living is the only viable path. How do I know this? All of Nature lives locally. Yes, some animals migrate. But their passing is part of a known pattern of Nature that is life enhancing rather than life negating. We have mimic to Nature in order to live a sustainable, viable life. Any problem we have, Nature has already solved.

So anyway, this timber framing course has sparked an idea and a passion in me. I recall being in England where I saw a sign on an old stone and timber frame building. It said something to the effect of “England’s oldest continuous inn. Established 981”. So this building has been an inn for over a 1100 years. The original frame, foundation and walls are still standing. And I thought, why don’t we build everything to last. Why isn’t our work a gift to the next generation. A house I build will be passed on to someone who won’t have to spend time or use resources to build a house – or be a slave to a job to pay for it. It will be free. If I build something that will last, build it with materials that are local, crafted with a sense of permanence and beauty, it will be respected. And if it is respected, it will endure. Our ancestors did it with crude tools and no electricity. And these buildings are still in use today, hundreds of generations later. We can do the same. It is a matter of choice.

The other part of this course perfectly illustrated something I have been, for lack of a better word, preaching about for a long while now, the power of community. Twenty-two of us showed up for this course. No one had timber framing experience. Most of us were not builders or carpenters (I was in this category). And yet, in a few days we went from a stack of timbers and pile of ignorance to framing and erecting a two-bent saltbox with a great room with a beautiful hammerbeam bent. This frame will eventually stand on someone’s property for many hundreds of years.

Now imagine if we as a community where already skilled and that we joined together to help each other build lasting, efficient and beautiful homes all built from local natural materials. What a difference we would make in each other’s lives – a small or zero mortgage, living in environmentally friendly houses that will last, to be passed onto the next generation. Imagine if we had inherited such a thing, growing up knowing that we have a home and the only cost is that we respect, care and maintain it. Imagine if we had shared skills for all aspects of our lives: food, shelter, creativity, learning and religious practices. What if we as a community dedicated eight weekends a year to helping others build homes or put in gardens or create community events to support our local artisans? Can you imagine such a way of life? I can and I do and I dedicating my life to building it.

As a side note, the word mortgage comes from Latin and is built from roots that mean, “death obligation”. In other words, it is an obligation that you carry until you die. When it comes to our homes we need to shift the meaning from “working a job for thirty years to pay a bank twice the value of a home” to “while we live in this home we are obligated to care for and maintain this remarkable gift of our ancestors who built this beautiful lasting structure with craftsmanship, vision and love. And for as long as we do, we have home.”

I am skilling myself and I am ready to pitch in and rebuild my local community, one lasting green building, one edible forest garden, one annual celebration at a time. Any volunteers to join in?

Blessings of honor and beauty,
Snowhawke /|\

The Artist

I attended a graduation ceremony this past Saturday at the Maine College of Art, in Portland. I found all of the speakers deeply inspiring. They spoke of the value of the artist and the art they create. They also spoke from experience about the power of exploration and creativity, reminding me not to worry about the end result but rather focus on the process of finding inspiration and letting it flow. As someone who views Druidry as a religion of creativity, so much of what was shared rang through with beauty and truth.

After the ceremony concluded we went to a view the senior thesis works at the Porteous building. I have to say I was blown away with most everything I saw. The sheer newness and beauty and truth in the artworks on display was greatly heartening – so much courage on display! It was a good reminder that the best work isn’t hanging in the famous museums. It is being crafted right now by some unknown artist caught up in the flow of awen.

It was well understood by the faculty, staff and students that the artist has never been valued less in this society than now. Funding is being cut everywhere. Society doesn’t care about anything unless it is marketable. Our whole economy focused society seems to be about maximizing the short-term gain. We manufacturing things in the least expensive manner, giving no thought to making something that last. There is no thought of the next generation. In fact redundancy is built in so things have to be replaced. This is where we find ourselves. And the role of the artist has never been so important.

Today’s artist present the truth of the situation, exposing it in a way that bypasses the filters we all use. They give us vision to lift us out of this unsustainable anti-human system we have built. They give us inspiration to build a better world. They remind us what it is to be a human being and not a machine. The work of the artist of today is the most relevant of all works of art.

Across the country, colleges and universities are under attack from the forces of Capitalism. The Humanities are being cut in favor of degrees that are glorified job training programs. What does is say of a society when it doesn’t value the Humanities? What kind of world will we live in when their is no one left who knows History; can read the ancient languages; understands the processes of the human mind and our collective philosophies; who have the ability to gain perspective and look to the long term? There are very serious consequences for forgetting where we’ve come from. And so much of what we know of the past is from the works of the artists from those times. Their work gives us insight into the thoughts, desires, social attitudes, religious convictions, hopes and ideals of our ancestors. What will our future generations know of us if we cease to support creativity and the study of it? What will they know of us if the only “art” is that of an advertisement?

Support your local artist and crafts-people. Theirs is a sacred role of both being a mirror and a telescope. They need our support almost as much as we need them.

Change

Yesterday was the 29th annual Beltane on the Beach at Popham Beach here in Maine. It is our yearly  gathering of a few hundred pagans to celebrate Spring and dance around the maypoles on the beach. Each year that I’ve attended it is always striking just how much change has occurred – in the landscape, in the community and within myself.

Beach erosion is amazing to witness. The relentless movement of the tides, the unstoppable storms and the steady winds along the coast of Maine keep the sands shifting. The land itself losing ground each season to the ever encroaching sea. Our dance has moved up and down the beach from year to year as we seek dry sands to plant our Maypoles. Someday there will be no beach there to dance upon. The echoes of our passing will be drown beneath the cold salt water.

Each year I look forward to seeing the greater pagan tribe, to catching up with familiar faces and sharing our old stories. And yet each year, the faces grow less familiar as our community grows. There are more young people attending, finding their roots in paganism. Some of the pagan children are suddenly pagan men and women. And I wonder, “when did that happen”? Equally striking is the absence of some of our elders who can’t make the journey anymore. The new generation can’t feel their absence. And those of us with a longer history look around hoping to see someone who isn’t there.

And each year I find myself asking, “who am I in this place at this time”? Last year’s difficulties or victories have long since lost their hold on me. I look in the mirrors all around me, those of us who have been walking this path for a lifetime, and I see the wrinkles and grey hair. I am not alone. And while the dance has continued, I find my relationship to it has changed. I see my sense of the land has shifted as the sands have shifted. I find the song of my own soul has modulated, old harmonies falling off as new harmonies and discordance have come into the music that is my life.

Some day I will be one those who can no longer make the journey. All of us share this same commonality. As I said, the echoes of our passing will be drown out by the sound of crashing waves. And that is beautiful and fitting.

The Wheel turns and change is the only constant. Such is the nature of Nature. Such is the truth of relationship. We have nothing to hold to but the moment. And yet, we can find certainty within the change. We have our traditions. We have our gods and the inspiration they share with us as we commune. We have each other and the beauty we craft along the way. And that is no small thing.

Beltane blessings,
Snowhawke /|\

On Being Pagan

Today I offer up this poem. A blessed Alban Eilir to you all…

On Being Pagan

Whether by chance or choice we walk a road unlike any other
There are no side roads on this route – it only leads forward
If we turn around, it disappears and we are lost

Most dare not even look down this path
Uneven, cloaked in darkness,
Root and stone, eyes in the night,
Shadow claws

They banish the darkness with Light
The place where they dwell is brightly lit,
but the scene never changes
And they sit,
Waiting for the story to come

We are different

Leaving the fire behind,
We step through the doorway and out under the open sky
Opening our arms to be embraced by the Night

We walk,
We stumble in the dark,
Tripping over tangled root, slipping on wet stone,
Falling,
Only to discover each time a new root, a different stone
With our ears close to the Earth, they share with us their stories,
new stories beyond the simplicity of good and evil,
stories of wonder,
of knowledge,
of inspiration,
fear and movement,
danger and intelligence,
violence and truth,
love,
lust,
joy,
birth and death,
Nature tales

In the darkness we find the stories,
And the stories illuminate
Before our eyes, light burst forth in rays of inspiration
Shining onto new vistas, new lands that few have seen
Lands filled with beauty beyond all imaginations.

Ever onward we travel down this road whose only sign post says,
“To Freedom”.

By Snowhawke /|\

This is a re-post from a few years ago. It seemed applicable for where my mind is at today…

Yesterday I spend a wonderful late afternoon walking through the woods down to the Saco River with my English Animist grovemate. We had a very fruitful talk about action, about living our Druidry as compared to practicing our Druidry.

In all religions there are theological concepts, rituals and traditions. Once one has thoroughly ingested these, what is left? What is Paganism outside of the seasonal and lunar rites? Outside of the rituals, folk magics, myths, stories, legends, poems, and music? Outside of our traditions? What is at the heart of it all?

I practiced a martial arts that had a lot of mystique, cool outfits and unique weapons. It was so cool working out with a group where everyone had a uniform and gear. Over time the mystique wore off and I questioned myself, “What is left when you take all the reference of tradition and the class away, the uniform and the gear?” That is the same question I now apply to my Druidry.

When people get involved in Pagan traditions, I think the mystique is something that feeds them on a deep level. They aren’t in Kansas anymore. The incense, smudge, altars, ritual clothing, and all the other mysterious ritual tools, songs, chants, etc. take them to a state of mind that is different from the norm. The goal being to stop and take the time to open our awareness to the sacred, to become aware of our own soul and to sort out where it fails and succeeds in relationship. We find healing. We find connection.

Over time this state of being is easier to get to. The tools and ritual aren’t needed. It is a matter of stopping our busy minds and taking a breath. And there we are, in a state of presence recognizing the sacred, finding connection on a soul level to land, the community, and the gods.

And then things shift again, we find these periods extend. It isn’t a practice anymore. It is a way of being in the world, every moment. Presence is about the moment, not the activity. I think the goals of Druidry and Zen are very similar. Bobcat once told me not to think of these things are skills but rather as potentialities. I think this very wise. And that simple statement opened some doors in my mind. A skill is about the individual. Potentiality is about relationship.

So the conclusion that my grovemate and I came to was that we need to live this. Our spiritual ideals have to be integrated into every activity we do during the day. Time set aside for ritual, celebrating the 8 major festivals, and the moon cycles etc, are important but they can be a distraction from the real point of it all. And the “point”, well that is up to the individual to decide, but for me it is this; to be fully alive, living in the freedom of the moment, finding inspiration through my connection to the land, the community, and the gods.

We decided is this; our grove gatherings should not be about taking time out, but rather for doing things, to further engage. We want to have our grove get out and do things, like cleaning up the side of the river where people are dumping trash, helping each other garden or make repairs around our homes. These activities should be every bit as much a spiritual experience as our Samhain rituals. We need to carry this into every activity we do, from corporation to the deep forest. Chop wood, carry water. We have moved past the mystique and more into the heart of our paganism. It is time for our practices and expressions to shift with this new paradigm.

I watched a red wing black bird this morning and wondered at the magnificence of its life. It is living completely integrated into Nature. There is no separation between its spiritual ideal and that way it lives in the world. That is what I am working towards.

Ethical Consuming

I have been meditating on the ethics of consuming. We as living beings have to consume to live. It is in our nature to use tools, to feed, to create art, to procreate, to preserve and pass on knowledge to the next generation. We are part of the cycle of life. We consume. It is natural.

That said, as a species, our consuming is creating massive environmental disaster. Currently, the rate of species extinction is 100 – 1000 times higher than what we see in the fossil records. There is no place on Earth where the affect of humans isn’t felt. The human population just keeps growing. In my short life of almost 46 years, the population has doubled! Three and a half billion is now seven billion! And everyone keeps consuming. As I said, it is in our nature to live – and living requires consuming.

So where do we draw the line ethically speaking when it comes to consuming? Obviously we can’t continue as we have. Within a few decades we will reach the limits of Mother Earth, and then will come the inevitable collapse (and it will be ugly). So how to live now? What is okay and what is not okay? What is the ethical question we need to ask when we consume? My mentor posed this question: “Would it be okay if everyone was did what I am about to do?”

Think on this in all aspects of your life. What if everyone bought what I am about to buy? What if everyone took out of the environment what I am about to take? One quickly realized that almost everything we consume is unethical.

So how do we live? That I can’t answer for you. Sometimes I wonder if we should live at all. Obviously Nature cannot support the current population; much more the geometric growth we are achieving. But to me, while I have something to offer, while I can make a difference, living is the ethical choice. When I don’t have these things anymore, it is time to stop living and give my body back to the Earth.

We as a species need to fight our own nature when it comes to consuming and procreation. We can do this. We do this all the time. The sex drive is huge. Do we sleep with anyone who says yes? No we don’t. We negotiate relationship. Most everyone is monogamous. We control the instinct. So I know we can control the urge to consume. We need to separate need from desire. And the most important place we need to do this is in the desire to have children. There is no need to breed. Giving the current state or our beloved Earth, we have to stop procreating. We can do this consciously or we can let Nature do this cataclysmically. Either way, we will have to lower the population. All ethics aside, we have no choice.

These are heavy truths that most people just do not want to think about. We do everything in this country to avoid talking about it. We still have fertility clinics for people whom Nature has said, “don’t breed.” And we interfere. We add more people when all over the globe there are millions and millions of children who need a home. We have a cult of life in this country. People spend endless resources to prolong life. This time is paid for by the environment. We fear death so much, we sell off our children’s future to avoid it. It is time for this culture to stop making death the enemy. Death is a friend that allows the cycle of life to continue. I forget who said this but it is so wise, “Life shouldn’t be measured by the length but rather by the breadth”.

Why I am writing this depressing stuff? What does this have to do with Druidry? For me is has everything to do with my spiritual life. Learning to live in sacred relationship to the Earth is what this is all about. And the Earth is telling me something. I think we as pagans can lead the culture in establishing a new paradigm where we walk within the bounds of Nature; considering our actions; considering the future generations; working to restore the ecosystems; ending consumerism; and honoring all aspects of Nature as sacred (especially the importance of death which is currently the enemy of the cult of life). We can do this. We as people whose entire religion is based in Nature, should lead the way forward. If we don’t, who will?

Blessings of peace and simplicity,
Snowhawke /|\