There are a lot of nasty clouds around at the moment some of them quite thundery so I hope they stay away while I write this blog post. For the first time for many years I went to a druid ceremony this afternoon. Those who know me well know that this time of the year can bring back lots of traumatic memories so I thought that going to a new grove would be good. I enjoyed the ceremony and also meeting new people who I am sure will become good friends. I hope to go to more of these ceremonies.
It has been a week of reflection also. It was suggested by some of my friends that I should write a book about my experiences of a spiritual nature. I thought about this for some time and after searching out old diaries and journals as well as photos and other writings I started on this. What memories are coming back. So much has happened over the last twenty years that I am sure a lot of it has been forgotten but it only needs one photo or diary entry for the memories to come flooding back. I have also asked others who have known me for some time or worked with me to see what they remember so they can jog my memory too. This brings me to the reflections. I find I am looking at some events in a totally different way now than I did many years ago. This also includes my reading material. Books I had long forgotten have resurfaced and are being read avidly again but with a much deeper perspective on what they contain.
I know I am the perpetual student forever wanting to learn more about things of an esoteric nature but I believe that you learn something new every day. That also applies to what I see out there on my walks and record on my camera. My black dog has gone for the moment and I am looking forward to the future. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and support. I think a photo of a butterfly is appropriate this week.
Over the last few years ethnicity seems to have become far too important in our lives. I keep hearing about immigrants from Europe and immigrants from other countries but we all have some genes in common even if only in trace parts. (I am writing about Europe here) Some time ago, several years in fact, I took a DNA test to find out which daughter of Eve I belonged to. This came about because of research by Bryan Sykes on the theory of human mitrochondrial genetics. He classified modern Europeans into seven genetic groups, haplo groups. Each of these groups shared an ancestor, the original Eve. It is much more complicated than this but I hope I have given you some idea of what I am getting at. From this I gained the knowledge that my group was Katrine and she lived around 15000 years ago.
So what is this to do with druidry? I believe that we are all connected in spirit at least but many of us are also connected genetically although we may not know it. I recently took another DNA test specifically for the purpose of tracing close relatives or distant cousins. This test reveals your ethnicity and many people have been surprised by what they found. So what about my ethnic origins? Briefly I am 82% British, 7% West European, 6% Scandinavian and the rest are traces of the Iberian Peninsular, Eastern Europe, Ireland, Italy and Greece. There will be many others with similar DNA living and working in the UK but who are classed as immigrants because they were not born here. We are all immigrants if you think about it. The British Empire and much of Europe, invaded other countries and pushed out the natives. Americans most of all must know how much of other nations is in their genes.
My ancient origins are Siberia, Sweden, Spain, Hungary and Russia! Now there is something to think about. How do we decide who is an immigrant and how are they different from us? Think of the Vikings and the Normans who invaded Britain and how much of their genetic heritage is in our own genes. Will the advent of all this DNA research help us to be more tolerant of those we feel are not like us? If we all descend from the ‘Eve’ of Bryan Sykes (not the biblical Eve) then we are all connected.
I hope you have managed to sift through my words and understand what I am getting at.
I have spent some time this week thinking about the words of the Druid Prayer. Some words stand out clearly, knowledge, justice, truth, love. There are many versions of this prayer but they all have the same intent within them.
At this time in our lives and in our chaotic world, then these words are ones we need to hang on to. I am not sure what order I should put them in as for me they all have equal impact. However, truth and justice are extremely important at the moment. How do we know what the truth about a situation really is? This is where knowledge comes in of course. But don’t take everything you read as being true. So many lies are told nowadays and so many truths altered to make people think differently. Brainwashing was a term used many years ago but it is inherent today. You have only got to look at adverts on the TV.
If we are really spiritually aware and awake then we will have that inner knowing of what is truth and what is a lie. Work on this so you get better at it! So what about justice? There is not much of that about at the moment so we need to make sure it happens in whatever way is right for you. Last week I wrote about protests and the word protect came up as an alternative word. I think this word ‘protect’ fits in here. We need to protect our justice system and make sure it is not contaminated by wrong thought.
Knowledge is something we gain over the years although many of us who go deep inside know that we all have an inner knowledge that can serve us well. Dig deep into your inner self and find that knowledge. You are going to need it.
Love of course is a word often used and misused too. Unconditional love is so important and we need to work at this more. Putting all four words together can make a powerful statement whatever order they are. Let’s concentrate on these words today and all days until the world changes for the better. One word I missed out is understanding but for me they all come together in understanding, and for me understanding is also part of knowledge, truth and justice.
The Winter Solstice is an important event for me. It is the time when I know that the days will soon lengthen again and the Spring will soon be here. I find the short days at this time of the year hard to deal with. I need lots of light in my life and SAD lamps help but are not quite the same as being outside in the light.
The Solstice also gives me hope. I can see that the wheel of the year carries on whatever else is going on in the world. It gives me a solid foundation enabling me to deal with change and change there is going to be very soon. I suspect it will be drastic change too but this foundation that I feel through the turning of the wheel will help me to deal with changes.
It is good to know that whatever we do to our planet she continues to turn and the seasons come and go although maybe not quite the same because of climate change, but they do come and go. This keeps me grounded if you like while everything else changes around me.
After over seventy years on this planet I have learned to deal with changes as there have been rather a lot of them so it is good to feel the turning of the wheel of the year and to work with it as well. I wonder how many more changes I will see during the rest of my life.
This week there have been several articles in the national newspapers about dealing with loneliness. But there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I have been with lots of other people, friends supposedly, yet I have felt quite lonely in that crowd. I live alone and have done for over twenty years now but I am alone not necessarily lonely. I do get out at times, not so much in the winter but in the summer I get out as much as I can despite the difficulties of getting on buses and moving around.
I enjoy being alone a lot of the time but there can be days when I would really love to chat to somebody, not on the phone or email, or texts but sitting together and chatting. If you are with someone then there is a difference in the way you react to the words that are said and you can read about groups of people having brain storming sessions where ideas are bounced around between all those taking part. Conversation works in the same way. Texts do not have the same reactions because of the time lag, likewise with emails. Phone calls can be good for conversation and for bouncing ideas around but they are not quite the same as being with someone. So if I ask for this type of contact does it mean I am lonely? No, it does not; it means I want to discuss something with someone face to face so that my thoughts can be made clearer or muddier as the case may be.
Older people living on their own can be lonely but just putting them together with others for a coffee morning is not always the answer. I have been to these kind of coffee mornings and barely spoken to anyone else. Meaningful conversation relies on having things in common to talk about. Many older people, those much older that I am, often spend a lot of time watching television and they can then talk about it with others at coffee mornings and when out shopping. I read and don’t really watch the television apart from specific programmes. This can make me seem boring when with older people who do watch the TV. Loneliness is not easily dealt with and there are organisations around that try to help. However just because you are over seventy doesn’t mean you will get on with all those others of the same age. We are all different and we all have different thoughts and ideas. Being a druid sets me apart from many people my age as my perspective on life is so different from theirs.
What are your thoughts on being alone and loneliness?
It is very cold outside, a howling wind, some sun but some heavy clouds which I recognise as possible snow clouds. Winter is on the way. The trees are almost bare now and there is a carpet of leaves on the ground making it golden in the sunshine. For me this is the time I start to stay inside as it is too cold for me out there. But I spend my time reflecting and writing mainly as well as knitting thick scarves for when I do go out.
But what I want to write about today is something different. As some of you will know I am an avid researcher and recently have been researching the local workhouse which was closed in the 1930s. Although this is nothing to do with druidry, it is to do with our approach to our lives, our compassion for others and our wish to make the world a better place.
During this research, I have read some terrible stories of hardship and cruelty especially towards the poor and the mentally ill who were soon put away in the workhouse or lunatic asylums. Some stories struck a chord within me. In 1912 there was a miners strike. Some miners belonged to a union so were unable to ask for poor relief to help them survive. Other miners did not belong to the union but could not work because of the others. However the Board of Guardians who were in charge of poor relief as well as the workhouse decided that those miners who did not belong to a union, sympathised with those who did, so were not eligible for help.
Food in the workhouse was set by the main Poor Law Board and was just enough to keep you alive. Later there were dietary changes so on Sundays you got meat and potatoes for lunch instead of rice and treacle. You had to wear what can only be called a uniform and you all went to church on Sunday in that uniform so everyone could see that you were poor and in the workhouse. What does this remind you of?
I found a case in 1915 where two young children born in Germany of a German father and an English mother. The mother had returned to England with the children who were born in Germany but she had died and the two children went into the workhouse. The Guardians thought that it should be possible to deport the young children back to Germany. 1915 was the time of the first world war and Germany was not the place to send young children. Did they have no compassion? All they thought about was the cost of providing for these young children.
As for those who were ‘mentally defective’, the words used by those in charge, they were sorted into different types or classes and kept to their own class. Many were sent to what became known as colonies where they lived separate from the normal world.
Has our world changed? I look at what is going on around me and think that we are going backwards not forwards. What do you think?
I read something this morning which really resonated with me. It was about how we treat our world. Each day we see more disasters occurring, not just in war zones but in our countryside where rivers are polluted, pipelines leak or explode, lakes are polluted and so on. Just this week in my area fish died because of river pollution. We see greedy companies wishing to destroy the landscape for new pipe lines, new railway lines which go through ancient forests and destroy natural habitats which have built up over the years for various species.
And do we just watch and think it won’t be long before the human race disappears or do we do something? If we do something then what do we do? Working together is important as can be seen when the Native American tribes came together to stop a pipeline being built across their sacred burial grounds. I am not going to write any more here because I would like you to read the words I read this morning so that you are aware, if not already aware, of just what is happening to our planet.
Here is the link:
Ushering in the Closing Chapter of the Human Species