Tag Archives: future

Druidry and the Future

Back in April, I did two talks at Pagan Federation events – one in Wakefield, the other in Edinburgh. I went in to both expecting to talk to at least some degree about how to use your Druidry to cope with what’s going on in the world. At Wakefield I had a lot of conversations with people who were struggling, and I ended up devoting a lot of my talk to the power of working together and my own involvement in the Transition Towns movement. At Edinburgh I’d been asked to talk about self care and I ended up talking a fair bit about how self care is also planet care.

I came out of these two events with a bit of a fire in my head, feeling that I needed to say more about how to dig in with the Druidry. I started writing. I pitched myself to Druid Camp in the Forest of Dean and went there to talk about Druidry and what we can usefully do. I’ve been writing this sort of content in my Quiet Revolution column at Pagan Dawn for some years now, as well. I’ve come to the conclusion it’s really important to give people hope and options rather than yet more handwringing. What I write about isn’t speculative, it’s stuff I’ve tested. It’s all about what we can crack on with right now – this is why I love the Transition Towns movement. It’s not about waiting for laws to change or other people to act.

I’ve written a book that I hope will help people in their personal resilience, will help people make changes, and stay sane.

If you would like a copy of this book, there are a number of options. I am selling it – because it took me a lot of time to write it, and I do not live in a household that has a high income. I am not going to make vast sums out of this – I get less than a pound per copy for the Kindle edition (the rest goes to Amazon) and slightly more on the Amazon print version (the rest goes to Amazon) and a couple of quid if you buy from me directly (because the rest is eaten up by the printing costs). I mention this because I am happy to give away the ebook version and I want people to have a context for thinking about that. If you can afford to buy a copy, I would really appreciate you buying a copy. I am at the income level where a few extra pounds here and there does make a difference.

If you want a copy but can’t afford one, message me on any of the platforms I use, or leave a comment here – that will give me your email address and I’ll get in touch. You do not need to tell me if you are asking for a review copy, or just can’t afford one, I am not going to ask. I will simply trust you all to think about this fairly. I don’t want anyone excluded on the basis of not being able to pay.

If you’d like to make it easier for me to invest time in work that I give away, I have a Patreon account and a Ko-fi page.

If you’d like to do any book promoting things with me then also drop me a line. I’m generally up for interviews, writing blogs and articles and so forth.

If there’s any sustainability topics you’d like me to write about here, also please tell me.

Druidry and the Future on Amazon – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Druidry-Future-Nimue-Brown-ebook/dp/B07WJX6CYH 


Druidry and the Future – cover notes

Here’s the cover for a small book I’m self-publishing. The reason I’ve gone it alone for this one is that there’s a good 9 months of lead time doing anything at Moon Books, and I felt this needed to move now. I’ll be sorting out ebook versions in the next few weeks.

The cover came about in no small part because Tom Brown (my co-conspirator in most things) has been thinking a lot about hope punk recently. Hope punk was coined as a literary term to offer some kind of alternative to grimdark. However, the notion of hope punk really lends itself to visual expression. What would a restorative, regenerative, generous sort of future look like? If we can dream it, we have a much better chance of making it happen.

We tend to associate Paganism with rural settings, although most of us live in more urban areas. So, here’s Druidry in an urban context. It’s an explicit visual statement that Druidry does not belong ‘away’ in some wild and remote place, but belongs where people are. Look closely at the city and you’ll see the roof gardens, the trees, the plant pots, and also the birds in flight. Nothing says hope to me like the image of a sky full of birds.

This is a project all about hope. I don’t see any point doing anything else. Misery and hand wringing changes nothing. I’m most interested in the kinds of changes I can make personally, and by directly engaging with other people.


Applied Druidry

Back in April, I spoke at the Pagan Federation Wakefield conference and it was a striking experience for me. I had a lot of conversations with people about climate change, about what we do and how to keep going and say sane. It shaped how I talked at the Scottish Pagan Federation conference a few weeks later, and after that I realised I needed to write about what I know. I’ll be at Druid Camp this summer in the Forest of Dean talking about ways of working your Druidry for the sake of the future.

The short of it is that there’s a great deal within Druidry that lends itself to helping us live sustainably and cope with both environmental and social chaos.

I’m currently thinking about how best to put that out there. Much of it draws on things I’ve already said here on the blog and also in my Pagan Dawn column and at those talks – but, I’ve written it as a single, coherent piece rather than a drip feed of fragments. As new things occur to me I’ll keep doing that drip feed here. In the meantime, the question is – how I do I most effectively put this out? I’m planning on doing a small print run so I have copies for events. I’m thinking about doing an ebook for ease of access, and keeping the cost there very low.

Part of me feels that I should just give this away to make it as widely available as possible – but that means I can’t do a print run because I can’t afford to buy everyone a copy of my book. Charging a small amount for an ebook would help offset the cost of a print version, potentially. There’s also the question of the amount of time I’ve put into this and my own economic sustainability. If I give everything away, the time I have to put in is much reduced. It’s a dilemma I face all the time, as a self employed worker also doing a lot of voluntary work.

If I could get patreon up to a level that supported me sufficiently, giving away ebooks would be easy. I could afford to do that and afford the time to keep writing. (Patreon account here – https://www.patreon.com/NimueB )

I feel very strongly that poverty should not be a barrier to inclusion, so I need to figure out an answer to that as well.

If you’ve any ideas about sites you’d like to see the ebook on, do leave me a comment. I don’t really want to use amazon because there’s so much I don’t like about how they do business.


The dangers of normality

Anything we understand as normal, we tend not to question. We are more likely to pick on things we think are abnormal about us as places to seek change, than to work on the things that make us the same as everyone else. We are less likely to challenge any feature of our lives that is a dependable constant. Thus the person who has been gently subjected to escalating patterns of abuse won’t feel there’s anything odd at all about being hit. This is why victims stay, and people who have not been victims struggle to understand why anyone would hang around for such abnormal treatment.

If I challenge directly over something you consider normal, the odds are you will become defensive. ‘Normal’ is our baseline for how reality works, so having it challenged is always uncomfortable. It feels threatening, so the desire to protect it is both strong and entirely natural, but that makes certain lines of though almost unthinkable. So let’s do one, by way of an experiment.

If you want to have a happier, richer, more rewarding life, live greenly and generally be a better Pagan, get rid of your television.

I know perfectly well that for many people, the television as been a lifetime companion. The defences – that some programs are good, that it is entertaining, comforting, sometimes educational will leap to the forefront of your mind. This may well be true of any number of programs, but once it turns into a conversation about how Star Trek inspired you to live a better life, what we don’t get to do is talk about television as a wider issue. The social and psychological impact of television is considerable. It’s now normal for young people to feel that they could not live without one, or without their beloved phones.

Television is a good case in point because if you watch regularly, you also get the daily normalising of our unsustainable culture. You’re looking at other people’s houses, loaded with certain kinds of stuff. You’re hearing about products, and seeing them sparkle. You’re seeing how people dress. All of these things create and reinforce your reality. It is a reality of unsustainable consumption, but we’re carefully not telling each other that so as to be able to keep doing it. Around you, everyone else is seeing the same TV reality and manifesting bits of it in their lives, dialogue, consumer choices etc. Music goes to number one in the charts because of TV, sometimes because of adverts. TV supplies content for our conversations (as a non-TV person, I really notice these).

We have lives full of material riches beyond anything our ancestors dared to imagine, but we’re not happy. We are consuming resources at a rate this planet simply can’t support for the long term, and the odds are that in our own lifetimes, there will be radical change forced on us and we will have to learn to live very different lives. Are you ready for that? Do you know how you would cope? Do you have the skills, the emotional resources and the intellectual flexibility? Can you imagine what it would look like?

If the world without television in it seems like a threatening idea, that’s a thought to spend some time with. If the idea that in the future we might not be able to cope with the energy expense of television seems outrageous, do ask yourself if you would feel differently had you’d watched a program recently envisaging how television might be impacted by a low energy future.

It’s a lesson with implications far beyond the television. You can play the same game with your emotional responses to any piece of technology. Your phone, your car, your computer. I know perfectly well how much I would struggle without access to the knowledge base and people the internet gives me. If I had to choose one piece of technology to save for the future, I would give up every other 20th century device for the sake of computers and the internet. Which one would you pick?


Inspiration for a Greener World

On Friday night I went to the book launch for Storytelling for a Greener World. Having loved the book, it was fascinating to get to see and hear some of the people who contributed to it. Having had some encounters with Forest Schools via the boy, I was really excited to get to meet Jon Cree, one of its founders. I’d not heard Anthony Nanson storytelling before, so that was lovely, and Jonathan Porritt, with his imagined future historian, talking about how we saved the world, was really inspiring. There were many other participants and great moments, but name checking everyone and talking about everything I liked would take up a whole blog.

What touched me most over the evening came from Alida Gersie. Alida was an editor for and significant contributor to the book, and I had not heard her speak before. She talked about her work with terminally ill children, and the importance of thinking about what we do now. Thinking too much about the future, doesn’t work, she pointed out.

Lights came on in my head. I’ve taken a few days to really sit with this and think about it. I spend a lot of my time on how we get there. Politically, especially, but also practically, there seems to be an alarming amount that needs to happen to get us from this mess of greed and climate change, to a compassionate and sustainable future. The right wing around the world seems to be getting ever more crazy and psychotic in its pronouncements and activities. This scares me.

I could spend every waking hour of my whole life doing everything I can think of to make a greener world, and still not make enough difference. This haunts me. It gnaws at my guts in the early morning. It eats into my hope, and undermines my faith in my own work. Got to try harder, got to do more, got to make changes, got to push towards getting there… what happens? I get ill, exhausted, demoralised, as do a lot of other activists.

I wish I could quote Alida word for word, but I was so busy being struck by what she said that I did not manage to commit it to memory. There is no point focusing on the future. What we have to do is focus on now. What can we do today? What can we do in the next ten minutes? How can we change the small, day to day things for the better?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days, much of it yesterday afternoon on a hilltop in the quiet company of other Druids. How would I be living if we were there already? If the political and social changes had been made, to change our collective direction. If we had already transitioned to a more viable, sustainable, compassionate way of life, what would I be doing with my time? Not working and worrying myself sick, for a start.

I made a decision. I do not know how it’s going to work in practice because figuring this out is going to be a day to day sort of process. As I find out more about how it works, I’ll come back and talk about it. What I’ve decided is to live like we’re already there. To imagine the life I would have in a post-transition, rational, politically sane, carbon neutral bio-regional economy of the necessary future, and then to live that as best I am able. One thing I am certain about is that it involves days off and changing my relationship with money. The rest, is going to be an adventure.


To those who will inherit the earth

I had one of those parent jobs this morning, the sort that you know is coming, but dread. There are so many things in this world that it is horrible to have to explain to a child. However, I don’t believe on fobbing them off with half-truths. Once a person is able to ask a question, they need to hear an answer. This morning it became necessary to point out that the world is not an inherently fair or just place, and that the people, bodies, institutions we should be able to rely on to treat us fairly, are not always reliable. It didn’t come as a shock to the lad, I think I was confirming what he’d already suspected, but it’s better to talk about these things.

So we talked about institutionalised racism, which he thinks is crazy because people are people and judging them on skin colour is stupid. Allow me a moment of happy pride over this. We talked about the history of laws, and where they come from. Because go back a few hundred years and in most of Europe, there wasn’t much legal protection for poor people against rich ones. The UK was better than average. We talked about the way in which the crimes of poor people still seem to be taken more seriously than the sneakier financial and environmental crimes of the wealthy. We didn’t get round to huge corporate tax dodgers, but we could have done. We talked about libel laws, and how your likelihood of being taken seriously depends on how rich and famous you are. To be poor and maligned is still to be maligned. It is a life no less damaged.

There are a frightening number of things around us that I can point to, to illustrate institutionalised stupidity and unfairness. Of course he needs to know, this is the world he is poised to inherit, the one he’s going to need to survive in. The odds are increasingly stacked against the poor. The desire of consumerism still gets priority over the needs of the environment.

What I feel is overwhelming shame. This is the world I get to pass on to my son. Ugly with corruption, cruelty, and systems that cannot be trusted to deliver fairness. And ok, most of this I have not created, or planned or supported in any way, but how much time have I spent trying to make it better? Not nearly enough. Every day there is something in the news where the short-sightedness, the inhumanity, the greed and horror of human choices shocks me. And no doubt my child too, because he’s listening. A bus full of people who, between them, didn’t have twenty pence to save a girl from a ten mile walk at three in the morning. She was attacked as a consequence, by a guy high on cocaine. The small evils we commit against each other on a daily basis go to make up such wrongs.

The latest one to be grating on my nerves is this: Plans that mothers who defy court orders over access to their children, be punished by having their passports taken away. On the grounds that it’s not fair to the child to be denied access to a parent. If a guy doesn’t want to have anything to do with his children, he’ll still have to contribute financially, but he can walk away. Never see them. There are no suggested sanctions to make reluctant fathers see their kids. It’s not a gender thing. Reverse who has the kids and it still holds up. We collectively abuse the parent who undertakes to do the parenting, and let the one who is disinterested do as they please. That’s no kind of fairness or justice.

The temptation is to keep my head down and not fight the many wrongs that I run into. The fear that I live with is that by protesting, I will draw adverse attention. What, after all, is to stop any of these systems from crushing me? If I call a government body out over unjust behaviour, what is to save me from unjust treatment at their hands? And yet, to stay silent, to refuse to notice, to keep my head down, is to tacitly support any wrong I turn a blind eye to. We have a conspiracy of silence. All of us. For the sake of a quiet life, an easy life. We don’t complain, we don’t draw attention to ourselves, we don’t invite the unfairness we know perfectly well is out there, to come round and pick on us for a change.

Dear children, this is the world we have contrived to make for you. We are poisoning it, and many of its structures are corrupt. Close your eyes and ears, pretend it’s all shiny and happy. Don’t look at anything that hurts. Play this game instead. Watch another TV program. When you get older, you can use alcohol to blot it all out.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Looking forward, looking back

Janus is the Roman god of doorways. Two headed, he looks to the past and the future at the same time. I mention him because that’s a really good image.

It occurred to me yesterday that no amount of examining in the past will enable me, or I suspect anyone else, to move forwards. What happened to me along the way got me to here. Looking back, I might be able to unravel and make sense of some aspects of that. I might find any number of reasons, explanations, excuses and justifications. How useful is that?

The cliché of the therapist asking about our childhoods is an obvious one. Did anyone have a perfectly functional and happy childhood? Of course not. The process of being alive is full of disruption, challenge and upset. If everything was perfect, we’d come out of childhood with no idea how to cope with setbacks, and we could tell the therapist all about how ill equipped we are…

I could look back and find/invent any number of reasons for why I am the way I am. There are things I don’t know how to do – therefore I didn’t learn them when I should have done. It would be easy and tempting to go ‘I can’t help this, it’s because of my upbringing, it’s the way I am.’ Psychologists talk about nature and nurture in shaping personality, but they don’t talk about choice. We are not merely the accidents of youthful experience. We can choose who to be. The more time you spend looking back, the less time you spend looking forwards. Life is lived somewhere between the two, mostly.

How do I go forwards? How do I become the person I want to be? Not by looking backwards. There are no answers in my past. There’s the potential for explanation, but that only tells me how I got here, not how I continue.

I think it can be useful to understand how we got to where we are – easier not to repeat the mistakes of the past once you know about them. Easier to see the patterns, recognise assumptions for what they are, see the scope for change. But to change it’s also necessary to let go of that history, to decide not to be led by it any further.

There are other answers that lie ahead rather than behind. Answers that we craft for ourselves, that we work towards, rather than being driven by. And as soon as it crossed my mind this could be so, all the possibility opened up. The answers I want aren’t behind me, they are in front. I will find them by going forward. I don’t know who I am any more. Fine. I will not learn that by looking at who I have been and what has been done to me. If I can go forward, living, doing, finding my own way, who I actually am will emerge over time if I give myself space. If I explore how I feel and what I want, then that will tell me about my preferences. All the past can give me is the clarity that not feeling free to want or express was not very helpful.

How much does the past dictate the future for any of us? How many patterns are inescapable once set in motion? How many choices do we never get to remake? The more I think about it, the more certain I feel that most of the time, there are second chances if we look for them. There is scope to go a different way, to reject old assumptions and experiment with new ideas. All it calls for is the belief that there can be change. Things will not always be the same. If we can hold that idea of change within us, then we have the scope to make it real. Nature and nurture may have got me this far, but it’s choice and decision that will take me forward.