Nimue Brown guest post: Community and conflict

July 16, 2018

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/07/15/community-and-conflict/  

These are Nimue’s paragraphs, but I have put them in a different order.  For the original, use the link to her Druid blog, above.

I’ve been in communities that shrug shoulders over conflict. I’ve watched people leave those spaces in all kinds of states of distress and discomfort. I’ve been the person who leaves. I’ve also been in spaces with people who take responsibility for the wellbeing of the community as a whole, and who wade in when things get difficult. I’ve seen problems solved, and people challenged in good ways, to do better. I’ve seen vulnerable people supported, and socially awkward people helped. I’ve seen confidence built, and boundaries fostered. I’ve seen wellbeing improved, and the communities in question grow stronger for making the choice to act in these ways.

If someone bullies, exploits, abuses, controls or otherwise mistreats a person, it is not because of something inherent in the victim. It is because the abusive person is an abusive person. They can and will do that again. If a person lacks the experience, empathy or insight to navigate relationships well, they will keep having the same problems – either because they don’t hold the boundaries they need, or because they don’t deal well with others. Either way, it helps when the people around them respond to this and take on some responsibility for fixing it.

It’s easy to see conflict in personal terms, and understand it purely as being about those directly involved. Two people appear to fall out, and so we take the moral high ground by not getting involved, not taking sides, not asking what happened. If one of the people involved pulls away and leaves, we shrug, and say it’s a shame, and carry on with life. We all bear the losses quietly, because this is normal. We all bear the impact of the original problem, directly or indirectly.

One of the things this does is to tacitly support bullying and abuse. If one person mistreats another and we all nobly sit on the fence and refuse to pass judgement, we enable misbehaviour. It is the victim who will be pushed out. The person who was acting out will do it again, and probably get away with it again. This is not in anyone’s interests and does not make for a good community.

If we recognise that all relationships are held in a wider community context, we can look at them differently. It does not seem so acceptable for a community as a whole to react to a conflict by shrugging its shoulders. It becomes necessary for the community to find out what’s going on, make judgements and take action. These may be small measures to smooth over troubles and build bridges. There may be larger moves called for to challenge unacceptable behaviour. It may be necessary to identify what is intolerable.

Most of us in English speaking countries do not live in tight knit communities where people depend on each other to survive. As a consequence, unlike most of our ancestors we can afford not to be too invested in the idea of community. When things go wrong, we can just move on to another space. What this overlooks of course is the deep feeling of unrootedness and un-belonging that comes from changing your social context to deal with conflict. We might not need our communities to survive the winter, but we do need them for emotional wellbeing.

And for all these reasons, please do not be a fence-sitter.  Let Awen inform your voice as well as your actions. 

Happy Equinox

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Creative Resistance

June 22, 2018

The Bardic Academic

20180621_044247 Be more than a Selfie. Revellers awaiting the summer solstice sunrise at Stonehenge, 21 June 2018. K. Manwaring

In these challenging times it is easy to lose hope, to feel powerless against the dark forces active in the world – racism, sexism, child imprisonment, jingoism, xenophobia, animal cruelty, destruction of the environment, and institutionalised inequality.

But we are many, and they are few. Our time to step up is now. History is our witness.

Creative Resistance encourages

  • Acts of solidarity
  • Community
  • Resilience
  • Art
  • Writing
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Fashion
  • Film
  • Comix
  • New media

It’s easy as 1, 2, 3 …

  1. Create – paint, draw, dance, sculpt, write, cook, tailor, garden, code…
  2. Connect – face-to-face, online, cafes, conferences, pubs, symposia, festivals, parks
  3. Communicate – by any means necessary, get your work and your message out there.

Organise Creative Resistance:

Meet ups (face-to-face); Sharings (online); Happenings; Publications (print/digital); Recordings; Exhibitions…

The effectiveness of such…

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Truth and Stories

June 6, 2018

flame

There is an expression for communicating among humans– ‘breaking news’.   It refers to very fresh, not old, information that is sufficiently significant that the old reality, the older news, will be changed by it.  Like a newborn emerging from its eggshell it presents a fresh perspective upon our shared world.

Often our view of the world is a bit stale and habitual. Habits are a source of comfort , as old friends.  However, since things constantly change with the passage of time, it may be necessary to freshen up our grasp of reality, of truth itself, if our position isn’t comfy anymore, if our rear ends sag too near the road upon the life path.

What do you take as a ‘given’ that might not be so?  Is there anything that simply won’t ‘come true’ no matter how hard you believe it?  Have you begun to no longer trust your own thoughts, your own feelings, maybe your own senses?  Danger, danger!  No matter how the New Agers sell the power of ‘manifesting your perfect life’.  it has to be do-able here upon the Earth-Mother. 

It may be time to still yourself, ground yourself, reconnect with your own heart and soul, where in truth we are already part of perfection.  Make certain that the news you pass along is truth.

There is also a Druid slogan, ‘Truth against the world.’  That truth is known as Awen,  insight into the eternal and immutable.  All things that manifest can only do so to the extent that they are part of that Truth.  Check it against inner Awen, if you have come across it out in the World.

 

Salman Rushdie has written things that ring true, even presented as fiction, enough to perturb many people whose perspectives are a bit rigid.  He wrote recently about the dilemma of #fakenews  that can get its readers or listeners confused about how our world actually is.  Those who shout loudest that something is #fakenews may actually want us to instead stop thinking and trust the brand of expertise or authority they are touting at the moment.

 

“I have argued, for much of my life as a writer, that the breakdown in the old agreements about reality is now the most significant reality, and that the world can perhaps best be explained in terms of conflicting and often incompatible narratives. In Kashmir and in the Middle East, and in the battle between progressive America and Trumpistan, we see examples of such incompatibilities. I have also maintained that the consequences of this new, argumentative, even polemical attitude to the real has profound implications for literature—that we can’t, or ought not to, pretend it isn’t there. I believe that the influence on public discourse of more, and more varied, voices has been a good thing, enriching our literatures and making more complex our understanding of the world.

“And yet I now face, as we all do, a genuine conundrum. How can we argue, on the one hand, that modern reality has become necessarily multidimensional, fractured and fragmented, and, on the other hand, that reality is a very particular thing, an unarguable series of things that are so, which needs to be defended against the attacks of, to be frank, the things that are not so, which are being promulgated by, let’s say, the Modi Administration in India, the Brexit crew in the U.K., and the President of the United States? How to combat the worst aspects of the Internet, that parallel universe in which important information and total garbage coexist, side by side, with, apparently, the same levels of authority, making it harder than ever for people to tell them apart? How to resist the erosion in the public acceptance of “basic facts,” scientific facts, evidence-supported facts about, say, climate change or inoculations for children? How to combat the political demagoguery that seeks to do what authoritarians have always wanted—to undermine the public’s belief in evidence, and to say to their electorates, in effect, “Believe nothing except me, for I am the truth”? What do we do about that? And what, specifically, might be the role of art, and the role of the literary arts in particular?”

Salman Rushdie

We tell a story of ourselves by the very act of living our lives each day.  Nimue Brown has written about that recently, too.  Because we live with other humans, and in fact need to do it that way,  there is always a balancing act between their realities and ours.  Sometimes, they conflict badly enough that one story will try to over-write another.  Danger, Danger again!  How much of your own truth are you willing to amend just to keep the peace?

“People will fight and kill to protect their stories and their take on reality, even when those stories are clearly harming them. As the person breaking the story, you are perhaps more likely to be seen as the destructive oppressor, and not the rescuing angel you may imagine yourself to be. Those still in the story may simply recast you so that they can keep the story going. “You used to be such a nice little girl. I don’t know what went wrong.”

“Sometimes, the only way out of a story is to break away from the people whose story it is. Sometimes, the only option is to play the role consciously and then escape into spaces where you can properly be yourself. Sometimes to do that, a safe house is required, a new identity, police protection. Sometimes you have to ask difficult questions about the price of your relationships, and the implications of leaving them. People can die as a consequence of misjudging this.

“If you call out a story as a lie, even if you can evidence it, people may fight you. They may fire you, take you to court, lie about you, attack you on social media. They may deprive you of key resources. If you refuse to play your allotted role you may be harassed, ridiculed, threatened or abandoned. You have no control over how other people respond when you stop acting in line with their story.

“But you have the right to live your own life, and you have the right to be safe. So, if you’re wrecking a story, plan your escape routes first – more or less literally as required. Do some risk assessment. Consider the consequences. Try to break the story as calmly as you can, with minimal drama. There is nothing like drama to keep a story moving, because even as you think you’re resisting it, you can find the energy of it being sucked in and used to reinforce the existing story. You were always a useless child. Now you’re upsetting everyone with this stupid idea that you can do something. It’s all your fault… These are the outcomes to avoid.

“It’s natural to want justice, to want recognition. It’s reasonable to want the people who have miscast you to realise their mistakes. It’s also very likely that you won’t get that. If you choose to stay and fight, you may be pulled back into the old story. Sometimes, it is better to go quietly and start a new story of your own somewhere else.”

Nimue Brown  

Sometimes another person is so afraid of your view that they insist upon calling you wrong, or a ‘bad guy’, even insisting that what you see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears, is not so.  Danger, Danger yet again.   If your own senses cannot be relied upon you are severely crippled for handling living. Best to stay true to them, and to yourself, and get far away from one who can only thwart you.  They are ‘gas-lighting’. If you remain with this person,  soon everything will be labeled as your fault.  It never helps to feel that way;  the person who constantly refuses to take responsibility for their own truth will try to get another to do it for them.

The world is our teacher.  Sometimes it is our culture that presents itself, other times we can go right to the Source, to Nature.  Nature has no bias.  No matter what direction a culture may sway us, Nature will not care.  The better a culture harmonizes with Nature, the more successful it proves.  But too often cultures are ossified and losing touch with Nature; they are the ones that are most concerned with the obedience of individuals.

It is one thing to observe and to learn, and another to be a mere follower who depends on the views of another.  If your world has become a prison of fears and prejudices,  it’s time for an open door policy and a good sweeping out.

The Third Reich built its powers by scapegoating minorities and poisoning the public opinion to allow for atrocities against ‘lesser’ populations. Secrecy shielded the worst of the genocide from ordinary citizens. Lies of omission were very common.

Truth is not meant to be hidden.  There is nothing to be ashamed of.  If you have anything in your story that you think you need to hide, please heal it.  If someone else in your world gives you shame for a thing,  do not accept that present.  Or if you find it has been delivered, put it in the compost.

“In Germany, after the Second World War, the authors of what was called Trümmerliteratur, or “rubble literature,” felt the need to rebuild their language, poisoned by Nazism, as well as their country, which lay in ruins. They understood that reality, truth, needed to be reconstructed from the ground up, with new language, just as the bombed cities needed to be rebuilt. I think we can learn from their example. We stand once again, though for different reasons, in the midst of the rubble of the truth. And it is for us—writers, thinkers, journalists, philosophers—to undertake the task of rebuilding our readers’ belief in reality, their faith in the truth. And to do it with new language, from the ground up.”

Salman Rushdie

If you find yourself unsure about a story which is not presented as fiction, but as truth,  be careful of it.  Even the people you trust can be fooled.  Try tossing it all against the wall and see what sticks.

adfsigil

peace, peace, peace

White Rabbit Grove statement on state air quality for 2019

May 17, 2018
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 2019 Air Monitoring Network Plan – Proposed
 
healing line <helgaleenas@yahoo.com>
To:Katie.Praedel@wisconsin.gov,Sen. Miller,Rep. Anderson
May 17 at 11:37 AM

Please consider this my public comment upon this Air Quality Monitoring Plan for 2019.

https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/documents/2019NetworkPlanProposed.pdf

First I would like to congratulate the state DNR for updating to the higher particulate monitoring standard.  also it seems that urban pollution is actually decreasing overall.  However,  This 2019 plan has significant lapses.

THERE IS NO HYDROCARBON or HALIDE monitoring, although these substances have a significant effect on human health.  Recently a refinery with permit violations exploded in Superior WI causing a city-wide evacuation.  I hope that emergency air quality monitoring of some sort will be done, but at the public meeting there was no reassurance to be had for a Dane County resident (Marshall, site of a petroleum pipeline) whose health is significantly impacted by auto-immune responses to the petroleum based in the local air.

Supposedly due to budget constraints, the state does not monitor INDUSTRIAL sites; rather as part of permitting they are promising to monitor themselves.  But the data collected from this monitoring IS NOT AVAILABLE to the public, and DNR does not have its OWN MONITORS near these sites, as it is considered a redundancy.  The foxes are in charge of the hens when it comes to industry compliance.

Another controversial source of pollutants for 2019 may be the FOXCONN development in the southeast lakeshore area.  The water used by this international corporation has already been promised, from a neighboring watershed instead of the Great Lakes, which is going to be a tragedy for those inland from the site.  The DNR 2019 proposal does NOT contain any additional monitoring for this area, besides the existing ozone and near-highway programs.  Paper-milling areas are presently monitored for heavy metals, esp. mercury but the FOXCONN development area is not getting any. I suppose the present DNR would consider this monitoring ‘redundant,’ once again leaving an overseas ‘fox’ in charge of the air for us citizen ‘chickens.’

The problem is said to be a dearth of funds available. That is why I am sending this comment also to my elected representatives from Monona, WI district.  I would very much like for the industrial permitting process provisions for ‘self-monitoring ‘ to include state compliance monitoring costs.  These monitoring stations need to be under STATE control, not the industry itself.

Additionally, the petrochemical industry is currently getting too much support nationally and the only hope for the folks on the ground rests with state regulations.  Superior, Wisconsin tragedy, and the ongoing resistance to pipelines through our state is a wake-up call that monitoring of all effluents from petrochemicals need to be identified and regulated, as human health is already being compromised.

Thank you for your kind attention to this.

Helgaleena,

AD White Rabbit Grove RDNA
box 6121 Monona WI 53716
          My Grove is a very small place on a hilltop, surrounded by the dwellings of other humans, but we do see quite a lot of wildlife despite that.  It gives a feeling of accomplishment to raise my voice for all beings of the Grove, who otherwise would not be taken into account by the skimpy scientific monitoring of our health.
I encourage other humans to do the same for the places where you dwell.
Runoff from a boney dump

Spending a year with Dame Judi Dench’s trees

March 22, 2018

Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees Full Program

They begin at winter, the traditional Druid year’s beginning.   It’s excellent.

Groves are communities indeed,  even scientifically.  On World Water Day, blessings from my grove to yours.

the-wind-garden-hero

Becoming a Druid by doing other things guest post by Nimue Brown

March 20, 2018

I got to proselytize today, to a pair of young Mormons who knocked on my door. It’s part of the slippery slidy nature of an Equinox for things to flip suddenly. They came to preach to me and instead graciously listened as I explained that I had no need for holy texts beyond ‘Nature is good’. Also they got warm because it’s pretty undecided here about whether to be winter or spring. (Down in Australia it would be autumn)

Then I found Nimue Brown’s posting for the day, about walking our talk, about learning to be in harmony with Nature by living, and I would think her insight is quite complementary.

“Living as close to nature as you can, will change you. Working with the seasons as you experience them will change you. Forming a relationship with your landscape, learning about what lives on it and making connections, will change you.”

Druid Life

I think it’s good to have a framework, and the time I’ve spent studying Druidry itself has given me some useful points of reference. However, I have a growing feeling that what makes a person a Druid is not the study of Druidry, but doing a whole host of other things. Increasingly, I see Druidry as an emergent property from approaching a whole array of subjects and practices with an open heart and mind, willing to be changed by them.

Living as close to nature as you can, will change you. Working with the seasons as you experience them will change you. Forming a relationship with your landscape, learning about what lives on it and making connections, will change you.

We can practice disciplines of the mind – philosophy, meditation, contemplation, gratitude, activism, prayer, and these experiences will impact on us. I think any study, any learning has a place…

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Value — of a nail

March 7, 2018

Step Up and Be Helpful: Full Moon in Virgo 2018 –KOSMIC MIND

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe, the foot was lost.

For want of a foot, the horse was lost.

For want of a horse, the rider was lost.

For want of a rider, the message was lost.

For want of a message, the company was lost.

For want of a company, the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horse shoe nail.

 

From this, as a young person, I concluded that the best way to make myself useful to the world might be to supply horse shoe nails, as it were.   That is, simple necessities that are needed all the time may not have flashy heroic regard paid to them, but they still count as part of the great net of how things function.

Also, to continue with the example of the nail,  there is method to be followed regarding the business of creating them, distributing them,  researching them…  The joy of finding which sorts of nail are strongest, do their duty best, are easiest to make in quantity, how to pound them in a thousand artistic ways?   Is there a dance of supply and demand in the dispatch of shipments of nails to where they are needed, a surplus to be earned from this service that is in sustainable balance?  How have nails changed over the ages; what is their history, can we find ancient nails and enshrine them in museums of nails?

As a young person I loved to make vessels. I made them from paper and fabric and ceramic.  Ceramic and glass especially intrigued me; there is an entire alchemical transformation of dug clay, mixed to a recipe, put into solution, dried and then kneaded and shaped into containers for all number of things, even the vacuity of the interior itself, made impermeable by fire, solids made molten and then cooled into a new state of beauty.  I loved making things that worked well and also expressed an ideal of utility and elegance that had previously been only in my own mind.

The problem was,  in our present civilization, we have an awful lot of things right at hand.  Mass production also can be a fount of excellent design.  There really was not much need for me to keep making more ceramic vessels because all around me were thousands of lovely, well-made, sturdy pots and cups and saucers and basins and on and on.  Frankly, by the time I was able to make similar items from scratch, to a satisfying level of excellence, factories would have belched out warehouses full of the same or better.  I guess it’s better to do the appreciating and the distributing of existing vessels.

So that is what I do mostly now.  I find lovely and serviceable vessels and collect them for a low price and put them for sale at antiques mall.  Of course, I’d be glad to keep them all for myself if I had a giant domicile with a dozen empty rooms, my own museum, but I don’t.  The antiques mall booth is that storage room, where now and then someone will see the beauty in the items that I did and adopt them.

But the rules of an antique mall decree that all items must have a price tag.  And here is my blind spot.  I cannot help thinking that all values such as these are arbitrary.  The best I can do is go online, see what similar items are selling for on ebay or etsy or the department store, and estimate from there.  There’s also depreciation for wear, which must be balanced by the thing’s rarity and demand for it.

One nice part of the booth is that I don’t have to interact with those who buy.  My experiences in sales as both buyer and seller are not pleasant.  Though I have read about the traditional ‘haggling’ culture and the back and forth, it’s so full of lies. People start out asking for too much, and offering too little, and tongue-wrestle the stranger they have probably never met before into folding to their will through taking less than they wanted to.  I was raised in a culture without haggling, and it makes me very unhappy to pretend I want something that I really don’t.

Once, I was in a tight spot, abandoned and pregnant, and I had to sell my big down comforter for food.  I put a free ad in a local paper and got an offer.  The person came to my home and began to offer me less and less money for it.  I was outraged!  I knew they wanted the comforter, but they seemed to think that my selling it for half its value was insufficient?  Finally I said sorry, but I absolutely cannot accept less than this amount.  And it was such a tiny amount too, but they had struck fear into me that they would not buy the thing and I would not have food.  It was disgusting to see the greedy joy on this person’s face when I was made to settle for a fraction of what I’d paid for it when new.

Obviously the whole point was to triumph in this manner, not to help me to live through my difficulty.  It left such a bad taste in my mouth I could hardly handle the cash I was given. It felt slimy.

The legends of the sidhe are full of people trapped into bargains, often when they didn’t even realize what was going on in the minds of these ‘other’ beings who think in their own ways.  Like the stock market, fairy gold melts away the next day into a pile of leaves.

Leaves are all very well to creatures that need them to live in, or to turn into mushroom food, but it wasn’t what you imagined at all, was it?

And what value do we give that long pin of iron or steel with one pointed end, known as a nail?  Sometimes, you just need one, and not a paper clip or a twist-tie or a staple or a screw.  The ‘good folk’ on the other hand would have no use for it ever, due to the material.  And while I might have a bucket full of nails at one place,  they might not be where I need a nail at any given moment.  Scarcity and demand are local.   The value of the horse shoe nail in the shoe, on the hoof, is far greater than the same nail all alone in the dirt of the road.

Sociologist Max Weber stated that ‘dirt is matter misplaced.’   The nail in the road is equal in value to the rest of the stones and dust in the road, as far as the road is concerned.  But if someone comes along, picks up the nail, and makes it into jewelry to ward off mischievous elves, or finds agates in the gravel and polishes them into gemstones (as we used to do when I was young), the value changes again.

Some people spend quite a lot of energy on putting things into different sorts of order, sometimes just to quantify, other times because certain things are needed more than other things, maybe on another continent.  Spice merchants will take the harvest of the plants of an Indonesian wayside and trade them for great amounts of gold or other currency on the other side of the ocean.

I don’t know what things are worth, except when I don’t have them and find I need them.

That’s why the prices are higher at the ‘convenience’ store.  Such small things as a nail or two can make all the difference, and so they are six times as dear to the desperate on a national holiday in the middle of the night in a storm.

The parents of Rapunzel sold her to a witch in exchange for her safe birth, when her mother craved a certain food during gestation, and the witch had some.   These otherworldly beings really bargain hard.   So what if you trade your cow for a handful of beans and they don’t grow?  What if they look like gold and the next day they look like a pile of dead leaves?

Luckily I have plenty of pots and cups and basins to hold them.

 

crazywisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Druid Method– guest re-post by John Beckett

March 2, 2018

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2017/05/a-druid-method.html

excerpt:

Authentic Druidry requires a connection with the land. But it does not require a connection with the land of England. There were Irish Druids, Welsh Druids, and Gaulish Druids… and probably Druids from other areas as well. If a Druid traveled to Rome or Egypt or even further (I know of no historical accounts of such travels, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least a few) they didn’t stop being Druids or suddenly become lesser Druids because they were no longer in their homeland.

If ancient Druidry was mobile – and it was – then modern Druidry is mobile as well.

Each Druid order defines Druidry in their own way and I have no desire to challenge their structures. But I see a method for creating a Druidry that is both authentic and powerful.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2017/05/a-druid-method.html#X6BR5qy0c5b5dUED.99

art by Frida Kahlo

Spring Cleaning yoga

March 1, 2018

This is a re-post from earlier in the Druid blog, which was inspired by finding the article below.   Be certain to follow the link to my original article, inset, as well as checking out the hints in Om Times.

 

 

The Key to Removing Unwanted Entities https://omtimes.com/2016/07/key-removing-unwanted-entities/

Helgaleena

Image

From Chakra Healing and Karmic Awareness by Keith Sherwood (2005 Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul Mn USA)  :

“Below you will find a series of commitments that will sever your links to non-physical beings outside your energy field… and will bring you in accord with the will of the Self as it emerges through your higher and lower mind. In addition, these commitments will safeguard your energy field from any further intrusions of non-physical beings by strengthening your boundaries on all worlds anbd dimensions, including the world of spirit, intellect, soul, lower mind, world of the chakras, and the levels of the splenic chakras.

If you know it’s appropriate to make these commitments and you know you will keep them permanently, then simply read the commitments below, repeat them out loud, and affirm, “I agree to these three commitments.”

The first is:

“If  I have given permission or inadvertently given…

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A biologist trying to decode tree communication: Quartz re-post

February 18, 2018

https://qz.com/1116991/a-biologist-believes-that-trees-speak-a-language-we-can-learn/the-wind-garden-hero

see also:

https://undark.org/article/listening-to-the-thoughts-of-the-forest/