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From the ‘crisis of perception’ to the ‘systems view of life’: Guest post on sustainable thinking

December 3, 2017

https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/from-the-crisis-of-perception-to-the-systems-view-of-life-df6973a754a3   by  Daniel Christian Wahl

excerpt:

“After initially training as a zoologist and marine biologist at the University of Edinburgh and the University of California (Santa Cruz), I have spent the last 20 years of my life in search of answers to one extremely complex challenge: How can we create a more sustainable human presence on Earth?

“I still remember the day, in spring 1994, when I realized that the most effective way I could contribute to future generations being able to experience the bliss of swimming with a pod of dolphins in their natural habitat was not by continuing on my path towards becoming a marine mammal biologist, but by working in whatever small way I could to help my own species change its perspective and way of relating to life as a planetary process. We are participants in that process and our future depends on it.

“I dedicated the past two decades to investigating and learning how to apply ‘sustainable solutions’. In the process I spent time as an academic, grassroots activist, business consultant and educator, and worked with public authorities at the local, national and international (United Nations) level. I investigated, advocated and helped to implement sustainable solutions in many areas of human activity like transport, housing, community development, food production, water treatment, sustainable production and consumption, and education.

“Luckily everyday there are more sustainable solutions available to us, but applied at an inadequate scale or without paying attention to their systemic context, today’s solutions can quickly turn into tomorrow’s problems. Without the cultural ability to see our actions and the changes around us from a systemic perspective, combined with the wisdom to evaluate any proposed solutions in the context of their effects on the health and resilience of life as a whole, even well-meant attempts to create sustainability can have ill-fated results.

“Einstein’s widely quoted advice that “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” seems more appropriate than ever. We are dealing with the complexity of a profound societal change and the transition towards diverse regenerative cultures as manifestations of not only a different way of being in the world, but also a different way of seeing the world.

“In a letter to Jan Christiaan Smuts, Einstein congratulated him for publishing Holism and Evolution (1926) and suggested that two concepts would shape human thinking in the next millennium, his own concept of ‘relativity’ and Smuts’s ‘holism’ defined as “the tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution” (Smuts, 1927).

“Holistic thinking is the new way of thinking needed to (dis)solve the problems created by reductionist thinking. But we should not over-swing the pendulum and favour holistic thinking in all circumstances over reductionist thinking. We should regard reductionism as a useful method to be applied if and when appropriate and within a whole-systems context that acknowledges the valuable contributions of diverse perspectives, as well as the limits to our knowing. We might prefer definitive answers and solutions, but what if they simply cannot be given?

“Are we chasing a mirage of certainty in a profoundly ambiguous and unpredictable world?…

… “In spring 2002 I had the good fortune to meet the physicist Fritjof Capra at Schumacher College. Capra clearly articulated something that I had intuitively known and was trying to understand better. He suggested that the ecological, environmental, social and economic crises we are facing are not separate but interconnected expressions of one single crisis: a crisis of perception. He explained how our culturally dominant worldview is informed by outdated scientific theories and a tendency to lose ourselves in the details of the perspective of a single discipline, rather than to see the ‘hidden connections’ that maintain the long-term viability of life as a whole.

The neo-Darwinist story of individuals and species in fierce competition for limited resources is an inadequate and limited conception of life. Nature sustains life by creating and nurturing communities. In today’s leading life sciences, evolution is no longer seen as a struggle for existence but as a collaborative dance and exploration of novelty. Capra pointed out that “sustainability is a dynamic process of co-evolution rather than a static state. Sustainability is a property of an entire web of relationships” (personal comment) rather than a characteristic of a single individual, company, country or species.

“The understanding that the common root cause of the multiple crises we are facing is in fact a crisis of perception offers us hope that we will be able to respond before it is too late. It suggests that if we were to employ a different way of thinking to the one that got us into this mess in the first place, we might realize how many interconnected problems can be combined in ways that point us towards a series of interconnected opportunities and systemic win-win-win solutions by addressing root-causes rather than symptoms.

Taking a systems view of life is an important step towards addressing the crisis of perception. Realizing our intimate kinship and communion with the process of life as a whole will trigger a shift in consciousness that will enable us to radically improve the quality of our lives and the health of the ecosystems and planet we inhabit. It will change the ways we relate to each other and the rest of the natural world and allow for the emergence of health as a systemic property linking human and planetary health.”

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Russell Brand guest post

November 29, 2017

This comedian–essayist is like Marmite. You either love him or hate him.   But when I actually read his words, (which is my preferred method of absorbing knowledge),  I find myself in quite a bit of alignment with his perspective. This is despite my never being a celebrity, a Londoner, a drug addict, a non-voter, or over six foot tall.

‘No, Brand has long since transcended mere comedy. As we noted on June 8, 2015, he’s been more comfortable the last few years “posturing as a crusading champion of the downtrodden and a heroic enemy of The System.” His 2014 stand-up show was entitled Messiah Complex, for which this world-class egomaniac should at least get credit for truth in advertising.’

The following are excerpts from an article in the New Statesman from 2013,  plus  bits from his most recent podcasts;

http://www.radiox.co.uk/radio/podcasts/russell-brand/watch-russell-brand-team-energy-magic-from-druid/

I tried also to link to some interviews from 2017.   He’s also got a Youtube channel naturally.   The Trews, it’s called .    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5BY9veyhGt46KMmgAJYi1LF0EUkpqcrX

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For me the solution has to be primarily spiritual and secondarily political. This, too, is difficult terrain when the natural tribal leaders of the left are atheists, when Marxism is inveterately Godless. When the lumbering monotheistic faiths have given us millennia of grief for a handful of prayers and some sparkly rituals.

By spiritual I mean the acknowledgement that our connection to one another and the planet must be prioritised. Buckminster Fuller outlines what ought be our collective objectives succinctly: “to make the world work for 100 per cent of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous co-operation without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone”. This maxim is the very essence of “easier said than done” as it implies the dismantling of our entire socio-economic machinery. By teatime.

“Throughout paganism one finds stories that integrate our species with our environment to the benefit of both. The function and benefits of these belief matrixes have been lost, with good reason. They were socialist, egalitarian and integrated. If like the Celtic people we revered the rivers we would prioritise this sacred knowledge and curtail the attempts of any that sought to pollute the rivers. If like the Nordic people we believed the souls of our ancestors lived in the trees, this connection would make mass deforestation anathema. If like the native people of America we believed God was in the soil what would our intuitive response be to the implementation of fracking?” Russell Brand

OBOD’s ArchDruid, Philip Carr-Gomm, spoke for one of Russell’s podcasts recently.

http://www.radiox.co.uk/radio/podcasts/russell-brand/watch-russell-brand-team-energy-magic-from-druid/

http://www.philipcarr-gomm.com/a-conversation-with-russell-brand/

The fellow is articulate and manic.

When people talk about politics within the existing Westminster framework I feel a dull thud in my stomach and my eyes involuntarily glaze. Like when I’m conversing and the subject changes from me and moves on to another topic. I try to remain engaged but behind my eyes I am adrift in immediate nostalgia; “How happy I was earlier in this chat,” I instantly think. …

The system is adept at turning our aggression on to one another. We condemn the rioters. The EDL condemns immigrants. My new rule for when I fancy doing a bit of the ol’ condemnation is: “Do the people I’m condemning have any actual power?”

We British seem to be a bit embarrassed about revolution, like the passion is uncouth or that some tea might get spilled on our cuffs in the uprising. That revolution is a bit French or worse still American. Well, the alternative is extinction so now might be a good time to re-evaluate. The apathy is in fact a transmission problem, when we are given the correct information in an engaging fashion, we will stir. …

Capitalism is not real; it is an idea. America is not real; it is an idea that someone had ages ago. Britain, Christianity, Islam, karate, Wednesdays are all just ideas that we choose to believe in and very nice ideas they are, too, when they serve a purpose. These concepts, though, cannot be served to the detriment of actual reality.

The reality is we have a spherical ecosystem, suspended in, as far as we know, infinite space upon which there are billions of carbon-based life forms, of which we presume ourselves to be the most important, and a limited amount of resources.

The only systems we can afford to employ are those that rationally serve the planet first, then all humanity. Not out of some woolly, bullshit tree-hugging piffle but because we live on it, currently without alternatives. This is why I believe we need a unifying and in clusive spiritual ideology: atheism and materialism atomise us and anchor us to one frequency of consciousness and inhibit necessary co-operation.”

“Eventually when thinking abates, I recognise that there is more to me than my thoughts. Stripped of biographical data there’s a form of consciousness that’s quite beautiful and serene and anybody can have access to it. I think that’s the point of a lot of religion, to get you to that place. And to create moral and ethical conditions where it’s likely that more people live like that. To not live according to biochemical drives and the social systems derived from those drives – greed-based, desire-based, fear-based systems.
“The point of recovery is to get back on the intended journey. What would you have been without the wound? Who were you before the trauma, without the shame, without the drugs or the bad relationships or the stupid, dumb belief systems that have been downloaded into your ‘ead?’
Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/interview-russell-brand-1-4621833
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Spiritual Stasis and the Void of Becoming — Philip Carr-Gomm guest post

September 4, 2017

Here we are, in the ‘dog days’ between the great North American Eclipse and the Neptunian Pisces full moon,  between the first and second harvest festivals,  waiting for Mercury to go direct and ripen our future.  Some of us feel like giving up, or as if we have lost direction.   OBOD ArchDruid Philip Carr-Gomm thinks that it may be time for the patience of stones.  Considered as the evidence of time itself, their formation can fill us with the ability to stop trying to ‘push the river’.

Take time to be still.  Growing goes at its own pace, likewise healing.   The wheel turns.

 

excerpt:

I have come to believe that on those occasion when the spark has deserted us – despite shaking a fist or two at the gods and bemoaning the fact that our inner compass feels out of whack – this fallow place is the most fertile of voids; our old self – whether we know it or not – is redundant and gradually dissolving. Any forward movement, no matter how desperately we desire it, will not happen until our new and more authentic shape is fully formed and ready to break out of the fragile boundary of our old being. This all happens in a subtle way beneath our surface; we become like winter soil, still, dark, resting but full of potential.

 

http://www.philipcarr-gomm.com/spiritual-stasis-and-the-void-of-becoming/

 

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The Sápara Nation vs. the Slimy Oil Mungia guest re-post

August 14, 2017

The Sapara Nation versus the Slimy Oil Mungia –re-postmanari-ushigua

Siuda Baba. How a tale about a ‘pagan’ Slavic Priestess survived in Polish folklore

April 18, 2017

Lamus Dworski

‘Siuda Baba’, drawing by Jerzy Panek, 1958.

Siuda Baba, a person appearing on the Easter Monday in only a few villages in southern Poland, is a great example of how bits of the informations about the old religions and customs were carried on by rural communities over the long centuries and how they survived in a form of local folklore traditions.

This custom can be still observed in the town of Wieliczka and a few neighbouring villages, notably in the village of Lednica Górna where it most likely originated from and where it’s still recreated every year on the Easter Monday – the day of Śmigus Dyngus or Lany Poniedziałek (Wet Monday). It’s connected to the old pre-Christian Slavic religion and the Slavic spring rites.

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Guest Post: Kevin Tucker

April 12, 2017

 

 

 

 

art by Frida Kahlo

It’s Going Down Column “Peak Civ” first part

“Civilizations are artificial cultural constructions, not biological organisms, and they would be poor biological performers if we insisted on considering them as organisms.”
– John Bodley, The Power of Scale

Our lineage, as nomadic hunter-gatherers, still shapes the way we see, interact and understand the world. That is a lineage shaped by millions of years of egalitarian, anarchistic existence. That is a lineage that defines each of us, but is perpetually being torn apart, repackaged and sold to us through the domestication process…

If we want to understand power, if we want to understand where and how inequality arises, then we need to stop granting the illusions of the power-hungry. The State exists because it has bent carrying capacity, prolonged itself (albeit temporarily) through agriculture and technological intrusions. The State had to create the concept of nature as a separate place so that it could have us believe that civilization had conquered it….

You should be afraid of what Trump can do, but you can’t separate him from the society that created him. One where the liberals and NGOs were so committed that they would lull themselves to sleep at night thinking symbolic compromise was enough. What we face with climate change is potentially endemic for both humanity and the world. How we fight it cannot be through politics. They will simply never be enough.

Kevin Tucker

It’s Going Down

 

 

Ostara ;Vernal equinox (northern hemisphere)

March 19, 2017

Celebrate the March Equinox with the Arrival of the Zodiacal Light on Slooha8b33469-0372-43bc-86a4-57df663d0268

Eoster and Bunny

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Guest post– Druidry & Politics by Philip Carr-Gomm (Imbolc)

January 31, 2017

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.

14333616_1239135006116749_1735210735432864175_nDruidry & Politics  by Philip Carr-Gomm

ArchDruid of OBOD

excerpt:

‘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.

Solstice story by moi– #freeread Happy holiday!

December 21, 2016

Solstice of the Whirled

by Helgaleena
originally published in
A Dark Roasted Christmas Volume 2
(out of print) http://www.123rf.com/photo_15076466_infinity-spiral-from-autumn-photos-travel-and-seasons-concept.html
As it is midsummer at one end of the vajra and the longest night at the other end, I dreamed that they were in love.

Leah Whitehorse guest post- New Moon in Scorpio 2016 : Ghosts

October 30, 2016

http://www.leahwhitehorse.com/2016/10/26/new-moon-in-scorpio-october-2016-ghosts/#comment-435351

The New Moon occurs at 17:28 (UT) on the 30th October 2016 at 07°Sc43′

After all the noise of the last Aries Full Moon, this lunation feels intensely quiet. The Moon and Sun conjoined in Scorpio brings conscious and unconscious together and in this moment of inner alignment, we’re plunged into the darkest reaches of the self. In these shadowy places are our greatest fears and passions. It’s the terror of death and sometimes the terror to really LIVE. Scorpio rules those kinds of endings that are absolutely final, the loss that we must grief for and accept. It rules that heady moment when there is only skin against skin and nothing in between you and your lover. There’s nothing insipid about Scorpio, what it feels, it feels down to the bone. It’s raw and unbridled and has a curious magnetic compulsion that draws us deeper…

This New Moon falls just before Samhain/Hallowe’en as well as All Souls and All Saint’s and the Mexican Day of the Dead. At this time of year, as the nights begin to draw in and the foliage withers and dies, Death comes knocking in the form of little kids dressed up in scary costumes and we carve pumpkins to shoo off ‘The Devil’. Horror films play on a loop and Mars square to Uranus in this chart is like the electric shock of surprise as the big bad leaps into view and you fall giggling in a heap, hair still standing on end. Death and fear are uniquely bound. It’s fear of the unknown that gets us but Scorpio knows that the path of the unknown is the one to take, especially as the Moon and Sun are sextile the North Node, pointing the way towards evolution.

Those of us who practice a spiritual tradition may visit the grave of loved ones or create ancestor altars to honour those who have passed. Asteroids Memoria and Photographica oppose this New Moon so going through old photographs and stirring memories may feel challenging but also offers great healing during this time.

This lunation is conjunct Mercury who in Roman mythology was a psychopomp, escorting the souls of the dead to the heavens. Mercury’s close proximity to this Moon means that maybe we’re talking or thinking about those who have passed – or talking with them. The Moon and Mercury are both trine to Neptune so this Moon is a spiritual communion between ourselves and the other worlds beyond. Whether the connection is to the deceased or to deities, angels or guides, the veil between the worlds is even thinner than normal at this time of year. Dreams now may be especially vivid and spirit contact too may come through the dream state. During this lunation, we’re called to listen to the space between the sounds, the whispers of the soul. Communication of all kinds lingers in the ether and if we are receptive, there’s much we can learn. Listen to your intuition.

The Moon is on the Sabian symbol :-

A Calm Lake Bathed In Moonlight

Make time for reflection. Not only is there the opportunity to connect with souls who once trod the Earth but other old ghosts may come calling from deep within the psyche. Don’t be afraid. These spectres of the past are part of your history. Send back healing to bygone years if necessary. There is nothing to control, nothing to fear. In life and death, all is well. Make peace with your ghosts.

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