Tag Archives: druidry at the end of history

Druidry at the end of history part 6

Conventional history, in schools and on our televisions encourages us to focus on the named and famous whilst imagining ourselves insignificant. There’s no reason to think one small person’s one small action makes any odds at all. You have to have money and power to change the world, don’t you? An army might help, or being one of the ultra-clever who invents something life changing. Everyone knows that, and we know if because we are primarily taught the history of power and wealth. We are not formally taught about the evolution of ideas behaviours and cultures that belongs to the many. We perpetuate the stories of our own insignificance.

Most of the time in our history, most people have bought into the ideas of their own powerlessness. History also shows us what can happen when we collectively realise our own power and potential. Revolution happens. Emancipation and equal rights get on the agenda. Peasants demand the vote. Uprisings happens. Cultural shifts take place. It must be terrifying for those who want to be in power and I’m sure they would much rather we used that collective energy to vote on which TV celebrity gets to be considered especially important this year. That kind of power, to topple nations and make change, is frightening for the majority too, because we’re encouraged to think, and we encourage ourselves to think that we couldn’t handle the responsibility. We can. We do, it’s just most of it happens unconsciously, which is not ideal.

We are society. We are culture. We are the ancestors of the future and the inheritors of the past. We are the life blood of tradition and, whether we do so consciously or not, we all contribute to shaping the present and crafting the direction the future will take. If we do that obliviously, we don’t get to do anything with our power. We let history and habit shape us and we leave ourselves open to being herded around by others. The politicians. The corporations. The media. Anyone with an agenda and the will to lure us into serving it, potentially. If we know who we are, if we think about where we want to be going and make our choices accordingly, then we do have power ad who knows what we might achieve, as individuals and as part of traditions.

Today is the end of history. The entirety of the past has been building towards this moment. Tomorrow is the future. It always was, and always will be. There is nowhere for us to stand but at the end of history. However, we have a great many options over what we might undertake to do with that.

 

(This is the final part of my regurgitating roughly what I said at the Druid Network’s convention last weekend. Part one is here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/druidry-end-of-history-part-1 . I am entirely open to speaking at pagan events, moots etc, in the UK. This piece was written to match the conference theme – Druidry in changing times, and with an eye to the Mayan 2012 malarkey. I’m always happy to contribute in line with a theme or topic. Queries are always welcome and if at all technically possible, I will say yes.)


Druidry at the end of history part 5

You can be an ancestor of tradition, sending thoughts and actions into the world that will live on into the future. I think people tend to assume that being a future ancestor of tradition means being famous and influential in both your lifetime and beyond. After all, without fame, how are your ideas going to spread? This way of thinking owes everything to celebrity orientated culture and nothing to the nature of tradition. A famous person is just that, but the effect of their influence is limited to their lifespan unless they have followers. That means either belong to, or founding a tradition. The life blood of tradition is not big names though. Traditions do not require famous people to keep them going. They need participants. Regular people. Us. Consider the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, or Oxfam. Organisations only outlive their originator if there are many participants to keep the project alive.

We all get to be part of that. In every ritual and moot, in every blog post and conversation we choose what to pass on, what to discard, what to tinker with. The act of sharing, one person to another, is the essence of a living tradition. Every time you interact with a tradition, you are helping to carry if forward, and you are being a future ancestor of that tradition.

I come from a folk background. While the writer’s name is attached to a song, it isn’t folk. Only when the originator cases to be visible, is it truly a folk song. All folk was once written by someone, and has been through a lot of hands. To be truly a part of the tradition is to have disappeared into it merging with the flow. Without individuals, there can be no great flow of tradition, either. We shape traditions and are shaped by them.

Most of history was not made out of famous names. Every big event, every new movement and cultural shift was not just about the famous few, but involved the hidden many. The invisible ones whose many hands and voices decide what is kept and what is discarded. When the invisible many at together, we get results. It may be Brian May who is remembered for Team Badger, but on his own, h wouldn’t have managed much.

 

(For anyne who missed what’s going on here, this is the talk I gave at the Druid Network con last weekend in bits, and the first installment is here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/druidry-end-of-history-part-1 )


Druidry at the end of history – part 4

First one is here, https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/druidry-end-of-history-part-1others are on the blog so if you landed on this one first, the history category is your friend!

Now we finally get round to the Druid bit of the title. At this point it would be nice if I could tell you how Druidry is the magic cure for everything and the solution to any risk of ending the world. It isn’t. Not on its own, at any rate. However, there is one concept from Druidry that I think could make a big contribution here, and that’s the concept of ancestry. Mostly because ancestry carries within it the idea that we too will eventually be ancestors. The answer to the end of history, is to be an ancestor of the future. In fact, if we don’t implode for 2012, we are bound to be ancestors of the future.

Even if we choose to have children, they might not reproduce. There are no guarantees that our blood lines will carry us forwards. Think about how much you know of your own blood ancestors. History teaches us that blood ancestry gets forgotten, unless you’re a King. Famous people may be remembered by their descendents, but that’s all about the being famous. Generations of quiet, uneventful lives disappear, forgotten. Staking your immortality on blood descendents is a dead loss. However, in terms of future impact, bloodlines should be the least of our concerns. That whole business with kinds and inheritance has slewed our culture towards prioritising blood ancestry and directed our perspective away from where the real influence lies.

We are all going to be ancestors of land. Every last one of us.  We’re making a future landscape every day out of our choices. The things we send to landfill. The roads that are built for us. The buildings we live and work in. The power stations we demand. Ancestors of waste and pollution. Ancestors of nuclear dumps and widespread extinctions. Ancestors of poisoned rivers and toxic farming methods. We are all part of this. It is our culture, our society, our motorways and our poison. Future generations will be hard put to forget us, because they’re going to have to live with our rubbish piles, depressing architecture and al the long term consequences of our short term thinking. Ancestors of land. What will the future make of us?

Take up that title, and the full horror of what it means should, if you are paying attention, put you on your knees and break your heart. Ours is the generation that has lost the Chinese river dolphins. We are not going to be the beloved ancestors of future Druids at this rate. We’re going to be the villains of the story.

I offer this not to demoralise you, but as a challenge. The enormity of all that is wrong out there can make action seem futile. It isn’t. The most important thing is to believe that your bit makes a difference. It does. Even the smallest choice counts. Every round of doing more and taking less, every move towards greater sustainability, helps. Be part of the solution. Be a heroic ancestor of the future.


Druidry at the end of history part 3

Part 1 is here https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/druidry-end-of-history-part-1

and this is part 2

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/druidry-end-of-history-part-2

The apparent obliviousness of the majority is one of the things that drives me crazy about people. Look at us, the way we consume and destroy, the rampant expansion of our species. We’re like a cancer, and less use than wasps. What we clearly need is a ice, big apocalypse to clear the air. Then, when we’ve torn everything down there will be room to rebuild, better. We can get it right, there will be utopia. I’m prepared to bet it’s a fantasy most people entertain now and then. Of course that one big apocalypse won’t affect me, or you. The people destined to die will all be somewhere else, somewhere I don’t care about full of people I never met. A tidy apocalypse that selectively takes out things and people I don’t like, leaving only the good stuff. We are, of course, intrinsic to the good stuff.

It’s probably quite natural to want all the bad stuff to disappear, it would be an easy solution. I think we all know that the fantasy of a lovely apocalypse, is at best, totally bonkers. It’s impossible. A real, full blown apocalypse would be awful, and we know that. For too many people though, it is the plan. People whose response to history is to want to end it. These are not people whose ears I am going to get to bend. But even so, we do need to challenge nice big apocalypse theory, because it’s lazy.

The world is people. Society is people. The human future is going to be people. We’re not going to get a magically clean slate to work with, there is no re-boot reality button. Imagining what we would do if only it were made very, very easy, it a waste of time. The only way to make a future, is by starting from here, with what we have, and knowing that we can start here and get to somewhere. We don’t need epic scale drama to jump start us, but realistic visions of things we can achieve and the will to make a start. Evolution ore than revolution, building not destroying.  Knowing where we’ve come from and where we want to go.  Knowing, we will be better placed to make changes. If that all sounds like a huge and daunting task, well, it is. But it’s not impossible.

You’ll notice I’ve been talking about process, not aims. I believe that if you really understand who you are and where you’ve come from, you can make better choices. People not thinking enough is the root of most if not all problems. So I preach a doctrine of thinking about stuff. If we thought more, we’d at least make new and interesting mistakes. You don’t need a nice big apocalypse for that, just a lot of people thinking about what, and how and why, ad what if?