It has been a strange week, interesting in many ways and hard work in others. I have started to move boxes into my new home and that has made things easier in some ways and harder in others. So this week has been a mixture of good things and bad things if you like. It was sad to say good-bye to a group of people I have been working with on family history but we will keep in touch. Maybe there is a new group around the corner once I have moved.
The events in Manchester have coloured all our lives especially as we are not that far away where I live and many people that I know go regularly to there. But fear is not the way forward and that is what our current government are trying to do, make us afraid and take away our liberty whatever they do or say. It is a well-known way of controlling the masses. But the way in which people work together after such a tragedy is always for the better. This is how it worked during the war years. People pulled together and shared worries and gave help to all who needed it. But we should not need attacks such as that this week in order to work together or help each other.It is something that should be an everyday part of our lives. But I am still amazed at the racist outpouring that I heard from some I thought were better than that.
On a good note, I have taken some of my blog posts over the last couple of years or so and made them into a book. Many people don’t want to scroll back and read previous posts so a book is easier for them. I have titled it ‘Words from the Heart’, because that is what these words are. They come from my heart and often from deep down. There is space after each one for you to write in your own thoughts. I will post a photo of the cover here at the end. It can be obtained via my web site (www.cerianwen.co.uk) or direct from lulu.com
The hot weather of recent days and the sunshine have brought the rose tree in my back yard into bloom. It is more like a wild rose but it does have a scent and together with the scent of yellow roses in someone else’s garden, it has enhanced the days. Nature is a wonderful thing.
My final random thought is this, peace and love will prevail if we allow it. Send out those thoughts into the world and love yourself too. Set an example for others and don’t let fear in or hate.
I have got lots of ideas in my head about what to write about this week but where to start? One of the main things that got to me this week was the attitude of those who don’t vote because they say whatever happens won’t affect them. One local seat was lost by fifty votes and I wonder how much difference it would have made if those who did not vote had actually gone and voted. Many years ago only men who owned property could vote and then it became all men as long as they were employed. Eventually women were able to vote as well. We owe it to these ancestors to use our right to vote which they fought for.
Another thing that got to me this week is how brainwashed a lot of people are. They seem to think that what they read in the papers and hear on the television or radio is the truth. They are not able to discern fact from fiction. Our local paper had a wraparound cover the other day paid for by the Tory party. I found it rather offensive but then the newspaper is owned by a large firm who will do anything to get more money. The money that paid for this cover in many other newspapers too, could have gone towards our health service and helped many people.
I try to keep politics out of my writing but I want to see a fairer world where children do not go hungry, where education is good and free and where our health service is available to everyone. We should not be seeing homeless people on the streets or people having to use food banks. As a population we should be moving forward and looking towards a better, fairer future, not moving backwards to what life was like in the Victorian age and before. What went wrong I often ask myself. Where did we become complacent about our government and when did we stop believing that they had our interests at heart? How can we help others to learn to discern truth from lies and find out the best way to get things changed? I’m not sure it will happen in my lifetime but I hope it happens soon so our children and grandchildren have a decent future to look forward to.
The phrase ‘hope springs eternal’ has been going through my mind all week. So I have taken the words ‘hope’ and spring’ away from that thought and that is what I am writing about today. But the original quote is about hope always being there even if we forget about it, it says’ hope springs eternal in the human breast’. However bad things get there is always hope within us that things will get better.
So what about Spring? I can feel that Spring is in the air. I go into my back yard in a morning and you can smell the difference in the air. It might be cold or wet but that smell of spring is there. And when the sun does shine, you can feel the warmth too. I can see tiny buds on branches and the crocuses are coming into flower.
So if I put the words together I get Spring brings hope. It was the celebration of Imbolc during the week. For me this is always about hope and looking forward to the coming lighter and longer days. I look forward to being able to create in a better way, to being able to get out more to enjoy the natural world and above all to enjoy what the season brings. It gives me hope that the future will be different and better although I am not silly enough to expect it to happen all at once. I know and understand that things often get much worse before they start to improve and I feel that is what is happening now. But the bad changes occurring at the moment are awakening people to their real reason for being on our planet and hopefully that will bring about the changes. Many people have just lived their lives squandering and wasting resources as if there was no tomorrow but now everything is coming home to roost as we say. So take hope from the coming of the longer days and the burgeoning of nature and know that eventually the world will become a better place as more people find their real place in our world.
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.
I was sitting in the bus shelter on Friday waiting for the bus and the sun was shining on the birch trees across the road. It felt warm too as it shone directly on to my face. That really gave me hope that it will soon be warmer every day and that as the wheel of the year turns so does everything else in the world.
Which brings me to protests and the hope they give. So what does the word protest mean. According to one definition given, it is an action expressing disapproval or objection to something. We have seen protests over many hundreds of years and they have not all been successful and some have been violent and left deep emotional scars.
So what does a protest hope to achieve? I expect than in many cases those protesting hope to achieve change in whatever they are protesting about. If we take fracking, then the protesters hope to stop it altogether and hope to get the authorities involved to change their minds.
If we look at the huge protests over this weekend what do they hope to achieve? I expect many of those involved just want their voices to be heard and to send a message to those in power that they are not happy with what is going on. They want to have an input to any change in their lives and they want to know that those in power are doing their best for everyone not just the rich and powerful.
But most of all, I feel that protests give us hope. They allow us to state our own beliefs and to state that we do not like what is going on and maybe give us a chance to offer an alternative. Being able to protest also lets us know that we live in a free country with freedom of speech. To lose that would not be a good thing at all. There is more I could write but I like to just write enough to jog you into your own thinking about these things. So what do you think about protests? Are they good or bad? Would you join in one? Do they give you hope for a better world?
Ancestors have been prominent in my thoughts this week, not just mine but the ancestors of other people as well. This of course happens because I do so much family history research. But this week I was also thinking of those whose ancestors were transported to parts of Australia and Tasmania because they had fought for better conditions for their work and housing.
The Chartist riots occurred in the late 1830s and early 1840s. People had been rioting about having more food to eat, better wages and for the right to vote. Unfortunately, like many riots things got out of hand and property was damaged. By the end of 1842, fifty four men had been transported and over one hundred and fifty men and women sent to prison. Many of these had families who were left behind and who soon became destitute. How did they cope? Did they find an inner strength which has been passed down to the current generation? Or did they give up and die?
Our ancestors lives were greatly different from ours today but they fought the same hardships as many of us do now. We are much better off and as each generation has come along, they have tried to do better for themselves than their parents. To a certain extent this is good but can the idea that we can do better than our parents still be good today?
I know that my mother wanted me to have the education that she missed out on and that my grandmother wanted to do better than her mother had done. This seems to be a quest throughout our ancestors lives. But we also need to accept the bad things that happened to them sometimes through no fault of their own. This is when accepting our ancestors can be hard. What if one of them had committed a murder or been transported as a convict? Could you accept this? Could you learn to understand why this had happened and then accept it?
Were all your ancestors good, hard working and kind people or did you have some different ones? Think about them and how what they did affected your life today.
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?