What Did You Do?

A powerful poem by Drew Dellinger:

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 whilst the planet was plundered?

What did you do when The Earth was unravelling?

Surely you did something when the seasons started failing, as the mammals, reptiles and birds were all dying.

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

What did you do, once you knew.”


Your own personal tipping point

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil,
but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
~ Albert Einstein

Everybody has a ‘tipping point’, don’t they?

You know, that point where an issue becomes so important that you have to do something. That point where you can no longer talk about it, blog about it, be concerned about it, sign petitions about it, but you actually do something.

I guess throughout your life, you may have various tipping points; the point when you can no longer resist asking someone out on a date, or when you end a friendship because they keep stepping over the line too often, or when a job becomes too much grind, that you decide you have to leave and get another – life is full of tipping points, some small and some big.

But what about when the tipping point is really big? Our governments continue to espouse economic growth as the panacea to all crises, and now we’re told that large ‘green’ projects and infrastructure need the economic growth so we can ‘afford’ them, as if they are some kind of luxury. Banks have been creating money from debt at an alarming pace over the past 20 years, and it’s come back to bite them (and us) on the bum, but still we are told growth is key, and growth will only come from increased money supply, and that will come from debt, and so the spiral continues!

And with the growth we apparently need, will come even more environmental destruction, more pollution, more inequality. Yet by being in the ‘system’, am I not encouraging this cycle to continue?

I think my own personal tipping point is very close. I don’t know where it will take me, but me, and many more people need to be going there.

For some inspiration, take a look at this great blog. The lady who writes it, returned from London to her native Ireland and bought a small cottage in 3 acres in an inexpensive part of Ireland – I realise not everyone can afford to do this, but what she has done with the land and the way she’s virtually cut herself off from the money system is an inspiration:


Rise and Root

Rima Staines is a wonderful British artist who keeps an incredibly interesting blog about her life, her paintings and her thoughts. Whilst she is not a prolific blogger, with Rima, it’s all about quality and not quantity. My only criticism is that the comments left on her blog are incredibly ‘gushing’, but maybe that’s a reflection of the love people have for her and her work?

In her latest post, she talks about a dream and how she saw a symbol which she interpreted as an Ogham symbol. This led her onto creating the above image ‘Rise & Root’. Both the images and the words are incredibly powerful for me:

Rise: against blandness, shopping, concrete, conformity, the pricetag on your days.
Root: in beauty, wild imagination, black earth, stories, otherness, your old heart.

Rima wants the ‘Rise & Root‘ image to be shared far and wide, so please copy it and post it around. Get it printed on t-shirts or whatever – it’d probably make a great tattoo as well!

Travel advice for the aspiring student of druidry

Travel advice for the aspiring student of druidry

A beautiful poem by Daniel MacKenzie.

I can’t find a website for Daniel, so I transcribed this from an OBOD (Order of Bards Ovates & Druids) podcast. When I first transcribed the poem (July 2011), I tried to contact Daniel to get permission to publish his work, but all avenues proved fruitless. I hope I’ve transcribed it correctly!

Bluebells in Clowse Wood, Earlswood

Step onto the path into the forest.
The path that is completely new, yet so familiar.

On the first clearing, you will meet an old druid and he will tell you a story.
Remember it well, it will guide you back.

When you meet the crooked old one, give her something.
Be compassionate towards the ugly one, he deserves it.
Be cautious towards the pretty one, she can be treacherous.
Listen to the experiences of the blind old man, but be prepared to make your own.

When you scold your finger, lick it.
The earthly confinements of your body will set you free.
Your watery tears, both of laughter and of loss will drown you if you hold them back.
Your airy thoughts are starved by others and nourished by their absence,
and the fires of transformation hurt, so good.

When you emerge from the dark, damp silence,
stand in the morning light and let the sun shine on your brow.

Celebrate your birthday and create yourself a gift to share.
And then go on, go deeper into the forest if you dare.

Take heed of the songs of way worn weeds, for they are mostly unemployed and love your attention.
Some might clean for you, some might heal you, and some might bless you.
Recruit them as you wish, but don’t over tax them or they will unionise and bring you down.

Keep a journal. For all that’s worth, keep a journal because the clearer your dreams get, the more hazy your recollections of the waking world will be.

When a tree gives you a gift, keep it. But give something of yourself in return.
When you make a first approach, make an entrance, but a gentle one.
And know that most farewells need to be done three times before you can really set off again.

In a round clearing, the seasons sit in circle, having a feast. Join them as often as you can and learn their stories. Spring is secretly in love with autumn, but don’t tell summer, she will only gossip and worsen winters mood.

Mind your manners when you meet with the deceased. Know that long-dead relatives can be as loving as live ones, but also, sometimes, as much a pest.
When a skeleton turns up, lay it gently to peace in a nice place or it will bite you and the wound will fester.

Be prepared to get hurt with scratches and bruises on the way.
Some will ease away smoothly and some will leave scars.
Some will never heal, but in time you might learn to see in the cut, fates way of making a punchline.

Remember who you are. Remember where you came from. Remember your name.
And then forget it all for a time. Be like a wild beast and live freely and without care in the forest.
It will all come back to you at the right moment.

When the trees are stripped bare, prepare.
When the sap rises, sing praises.
When the trees are green, be serene.

The stars will tell you stories, but beware, then tend to exaggerate and their morals are sometimes quite patronising.
Feel free to set them right.

You may pause here now and enjoying the gifts you have received, the stories you have heard, and change your shoes.
The way from her on leads onwards and upwards as you start to climb towards the sacred summit.
Keep your eyes on your goal, even if it’s shrouded in mist.
But do enjoy the view whilst heading for it.

If you find a good stick on your way, use it as a support.
You don’t need to go alone, have some travelling companions instead.
The wise wizard will give you power but it comes at a cost.
The lady will give you visions. Hope that you can forget some.
The king will give you insights. You might feel compelled to act upon.
The champion will test your honour. Know what it is you defend.
The queen will give you her heart. Give it back.
The innocent will play with you a merry game. Take it very seriously.
The hermit will slap you, either on your back or on your face. Be grateful for both.

If you find the holy grail on your way, keep it. It will look nice on your mantelpiece.

Allow yourself to shine. And then free the two dragons, the red and the white, and ride them.
You will not burn, you will not fall, and you never needed that tower anyway.

When you come back to where you started, you will find a community there.
Serve them well. And then go back to your family, or found a family, or start all over again.

Dappled sunlight in Clowse Wood, Earlswood.

Poem by Daniel MacKenzie. Images by me.

Becoming invisible

Becoming invisible

In an interview with Dr. Brian Goodwin, he talked about the human race becoming largely invisible. Brian passed away in 2009, but I’m sure his vision, or large elements of it, live on with many of us:

I had this vision of the human race becoming largely invisible on the planet. This would be my vision 30 years from now. We are extremely visible, and we have a very high influence on the state of the planet as we all know, in terms of pollution, global warming, light pollution, noise pollution. I mean the poor cetaceans in the ocean, the whales and dolphins, are just bombarded with noise all the time. We are extremely visible and audible on the planet.

Dr Brian Goodwin in 1991
Dr John Goodwin in 1992. Photo by John Farnham [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

So my vision for 30 years from now is that human beings will be largely invisible. Now that seems like an extraordinary vision, and I don’t know how we are going to get there in detail, but it’s a bit like the deer and the badgers, the squirrels and most of nature, there are plenty of them around but they are largely invisible because they have a different lifestyle. I’m not talking about a Rousseau ‘back to nature’, I’m talking about using appropriate technology, natural materials and energy to achieve a lifestyle in which we blend with the natural world, we have learnt how to live in a way that other species have, and therefore have reduced our footprint, decreasing it dramatically to the point where we are one amongst many instead of an absolutely dominant species..

How would we get from here to there?

I think we can see many of the elements that we need to put into plan to achieve that. The current mantra of ‘sustainability’, ecological sustainability, getting away from growth, is very important, in that all we have to use all of the resources available to us now. We have fantastic resources at the moment, and we could invest those in the technologies that we require in order to become invisible, to become integrated with the natural world in a much more reasonable way than we do now. I emphasise again that this does not mean going backwards. It means going forward to a very, very desirable, beautiful culture.

The technology we need to put in place, well we all know about it, it’s solar, wind, ecological buildings, using sustainable materials, redesigning everything that we make so that we don’t spread toxins around, we don’t have landfills, we are doing what the natural world does in terms on recycling, using energy efficiently, everything gets recycled, every product is functional and it is beautiful.

Above, Simon Dale’s natural house, built from stone, wood and strawbales, all from the local area. This shows how our footprint on the landscape can be lessened in more ways than one. [Find out more @ http://www.simondale.net/]