Druidry and destruction

One of nature’s lessons is that new life depends upon the collapse, death and decay of the old. Destruction and creation go hand in hand and are mutually dependent. Nothing grows forever unchecked – even the cancer will have to cease expanding when the host dies.

We tend to celebrate the growth and the up swings. Partly because they make us happy, but I suspect they also make us happy because they are socially reinforced. To be in a decay stage, falling apart, diminishing, withdrawing, and the such is associated with failure. Our stories link progress with growth, expansion, accumulation and increase. Therefore if we’re going the other way, there’s something wrong with us and we should hide it and feel shame.

I’ve spent my adult life with phases of burnout, meltdown and full-on collapse. I’ve spent a lot of time hiding them, and I’ve spent time dealing with how uncomfortable some people are if I even admit I have problems. Gods help you if you want to work with the falling away, because then you’re self indulgent, wallowing in it, feeling sorry for yourself. When did we mostly agree that being relentlessly cheerful and progress-orientated was the way to go and that anything else is suspect?

Breaking down is part of the process of being alive, and it is utterly necessary. You have to break open a seed before it can shoot. You have to break down the old leaves to make new soil. Changing our minds, feelings, world view is a big process and you can’t do that without dismantling the self. These are the autumn and winter parts of the soul’s cycle. Our Wheel of the Year stories do not tell us to howl, go mad and burn our house down. They tell us to rest, to be still and quiet through the gentle darkness, not screaming and rending.

There is a needful place for the tearing and yelling, for the breaking of things, of self and mind. Those lovely fluffy chicks of spring do not get to hatch unless they can savage the egg they are in. Consider what that might be like, when you’ve lived inside an egg your whole life and now you have to destroy the egg, or die.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Druidry and destruction

  • Robin

    I think it’s been going on at least since the 70s, with the whole Positive Thinking movement and all that upbeat Californian codswallop. I know a few people who simply cannot handle unhappiness or despondent moods ~ neither their own nor other people’s. It’s not a healthy way to be and the friendship they offer is decidedly of the fair-weather sort.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    As I am 68, with expanding health issues, I know a lot about decay and break down. Now the strange thing is even though I have limits and they likely will increase, I have more fun at this stage of life partly because the restrictions and pressure of living have mostly disappeared.

    I have done most of the thing that I was expected to do. I no longer have to care near as much what other people think or say about me or what I do or don’t do. I can be silly again and it is expected do to my advanced age. In fact I can at any time use age as my socially acceptable excuse for anything that I do or don’t do. [grin]

    Be cause i under go change often swiftly, I have bee forced to learn how to adapt, to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t do. If time moves a hell of a lot faster, it means bad times also move faster and I am out again. I no longer seem to delay things as much as I did when I was younger. I do have one exception on that delaying bit, but then I don’t have to be perfect either. I also have more excuses to do whatever I want to and let go things that I don’t care to do like doing housework. I can tidy up instead of do a full cleaning, a bit of dust or even litter in small amounts is excuse now due to age.. Meanwhile I can spend more time on the Internet, reading a book, or I can decide it is time to take a nap, or goof off.

  • Lycia Pearson

    Interesting, your chick analogy, I’ve been thinking similarly, but with the snake shedding it’s skin.

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