Now that my nation has gone overtly fascist, some of my online Druid friends are wishing to hear less about the political chaos this has caused. They wish to escape into contemplation as a respite and think our online forums ought to be included in that ‘sanctuary’. Sorry, it’s not going to happen.
This is the Lunar New Year. It is the time of new births in the flocks of pastoralists, and the lighting of candles to encourage the retreat of the darkness. We don’t just eat dairy products and drink beer and stay safe in our cabins though. New worlds and ideas are also coming into being, to show us the way forward. And if there is change to be effected, it begins in the ordering of our thoughts and dreams. But eventually we must spring into action. the new babies, whether of our households or of our communities or of our future, call us out into the rain and snow to give them a chance of survival.
It is time not only to refresh our bellies and our minds but to declare our allegiance to what is right, our TRUTH. We can then birth it into our world.
And that means we cannot forget how our Mother is doing; we cannot keep our eyes upon our navels. And that calls for policy. Which is politics.
Druidry & Politics by Philip Carr-Gomm
ArchDruid of OBOD
‘On radical Druidry: Stukeley was (at first) a pagan Neoplatonist who disapproved of the intolerance of Christianity; Iolo a pacificist and republican, who was regarded as dangerous by the government and held a Gorsedd of Bards that was broken up by mounted militiamen; William Price a revolutionary who plotted to overthrow the state by an armed uprising, did not believe in marriage or Christianity, and won a law case that made cremation possible in the UK; George Watson (Macgregor) Reid a radical socialist who incited workers to strike and native peoples in North Africa to resist Western imperialism. The claimed list of Chosen Chiefs is a roll-call of radicals and freethinkers.’
Ronald Hutton, Professor of History, Bristol University
“…I know the most about my predecessor, Ross Nichols, who continued this tradition by championing monetary reform, pacifism and socialism. Ross was a man of ideals – which he not only articulated but which he practiced throughout his life: he believed passionately in the need for us to return to a closer relationship with Nature, and for the need for us to retreat often to the countryside, to living on the land in as simple a way as possible. And he did this by embracing the philosophy of Naturism and by creating his own woodland sanctuary of utter simplicity. He also devoted the latter years of his life to articulating and practising Druidry – a spirituality which has as its aim this return to a communion with the natural world…
Those same ideals are alive today: the ‘back to nature’ philosophy has taken on an urgency uncontemplated in Ross’ time, when the extent of environmental degradation was not yet fully appreciated; the ideas of fairer wealth distribution behind the Social Credit movement drive the anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements of today; and the reverence for life that Ross showed in his vegetarianism and pacifism, continue to inspire people around the world and have broadened to include the advocacy of organic (and compassionate) farming, and such related movements as that of Permaculture and of resistance to genetic modification.
Until recently, those of us in the Druid community have concentrated on building a sense of community, creating structures and ways of teaching that focus primarily on our own spiritual and personal development – helping ourselves take charge of our reality and develop it in positive creative ways. Now, I believe it is time to expand our focus to include more than just ourselves. This means accepting that we have an influence in the world, that we can change things for the better, that we don’t have to be passive consumers, and that being a spiritual being on earth doesn’t involve simply working on our own spiritual development. In short it means dipping our toes into the wider sea, and engaging those two contentious areas of politics and beliefs…
Of course when we’re faced with tragic and sad news from so many corners of the globe where war, suffering, poverty and famine exist, it seems too big a task to even begin. But we must begin – in however small a way. Remember: ‘No snowflake ever feels it started the avalanche’…
But if you believe in the magical concept that ideas are causal to physical manifestation – then getting our ideas right is the vital first step. As we see so tragically now, certain ideas are causing great suffering and distress around the world. But since as human beings we can’t stop ourselves having ideas and ideals, the very least we can do is try to have good ones – ones which result in the creation of a better world.
The challenge for us as Druids is to come out of the closet, and to start envisioning the future we want with clarity. That is, after all, one of the purposes of magic. I believe it will be a sign of the maturing of our movement if we start to do this – if we start to engage the wider ocean that we find ourselves in.”
The crane is a symbol of wisdom and like all water-birds, unites the realms of water and earth and air. I am proud that ecological organizations use this creature because it is a reflection also of Druid ancient practices; research the ‘crane-bag’.
Peace, Peace, Peace.