A full moon, a lunar eclipse and a Saturn/Pluto conjunction all at once. That is really something. My astrology knowledge is rather rusty but I do know these combinations are going to bring in change. We could be leaving behind all our ideas that are now outdated and bring in new ideas. Pluto is about transformation and not just on a personal level but on the collective level. Life is going to get very interesting.
But I want to write about looking at the bigger picture. All the news is about the fires in Australia. However, a lot of South America, North America, Africa and Europe is also on fire. You can take a look at the NASA maps which show all the current areas of fire. There are also earthquakes and floods in other parts of the world. All of these fires are causing pain as people and animals are dying and homes are lost. Earthquakes also cause these kinds of losses as do floods. All disasters are painful to us especially when there is a loss of life, both human and animal.
There have been huge disasters in the life of our planet. Think about the dinosaurs who became extinct possibly due to a meteorite hitting earth. There are stories of great floods as well. The news media make the most of what they see as newsworthy and often twist the truth or exaggerate it to make it sound worse. But good does come out of disasters eventually. Already new leaves are sprouting on the trees burnt in the bush fires. People will be looking at how to rebuild their lives and look at ways of living so they are safe. They might look at the way they live and change it to make it easier to live with their environment. They may learn to oppose schemes that harm the environment like fracking and coal mining or the felling of large swathes of forest or selling the water to companies only wanting to make more money.
I have friends in these countries where there are large fires and where there are floods so I am involved on an emotional level. But I can see that good will come out of this and there will be change, change for the better too. The human race has gone too far in exploiting the earth we live on and we have to look at the way we live, eat and look at what we buy and how it is made. We read of buildings collapsing in countries where cheap clothes are made and there are no restrictions on buildings. Lives are lost when this happens and these people are often some of the poorest in the world. Look at the way our climate is changing and think about how you live. Look at the larger picture around the world not just your own community.
This week I have felt that I need to retreat and replenish my soul from the events of the world around me. But then I think that the time is not right for this as there is a lot of work to do to help others find their way in these troubled times. It is not just the wars that cause us problems but our ever changing weather. There seem to be more extremes of weather here in the UK and this was forecast when climate change was discussed some time ago. Yet we are never prepared for this. I think about my bungalow which was built about 30 or so years ago and won an award for the design of the complex of which it is a part. But no-one thought about the strong winds which blow around the houses and chase plant pots and wheelie bins away because there is no safe place to store them. But that is nothing compared to the floods up north. Yet we still build houses by rivers and streams and high bridges which cannot stand up to the wind.
So do I retreat for a while and ignore the outside world? I have tried over the last couple of days to find that quiet time for contemplation but was disturbed by the howling of the wind and loud bangs as things outside were blown around. Maybe now is not the time for this kind of work, contemplating our world in peace. Maybe some music will help. I have been listening to my favourite composer Shostakovich recently. His music tells of the pain and sorrow that is current in our world yet was current in his world too. As I have often thought and said, times do not change, history repeats itself continuously and we do not seem to learn from this. Maybe my time for a retreat is not yet here.
I was talking to my uncle one day last week. He is 93 and when the talk turned to the floods, this was his response. ‘During the war, we had to grow more food, so farmers were told to dig up the hedges and fill the ditches. The hedges never got put back and now there is nowhere for the water to go so we only have ourselves to blame.’ Part of this is true but there are other factors too. We build houses on flood plains and right by the side of streams and rivers as well as on top of cliffs and under them. We ‘make’ the railway take the shortest route even though it may not be the best route but time is precious or so we think. I am sure you can think of other examples where we stop the rain from going into the ground. How many of you have laid tarmac or concrete on your driveway so you can park your car better? Where does your rainwater go?
As druids should we be more aware of what we do and how what we do affects the land around us? I think we should be very aware of the results of our actions and take the time to think about these actions and whether they are right for our environment. This week we have seen the power of the water and we have been given a strong message about the way we build homes and transport systems. Also there have been many other results of the floods where the animal world is concerned. Some species have not been able to reproduce this year as their homes were swept away by the water. The slug has done well though.
So what can we do to ensure that these things don’t happen in the future? Is it too late to change the way we live? The Woodland Trust has gifts that include the sponsorship of the planting of a hedge as well as preserving old fallen trees for the insects.
To cheer us all up, here is a photo taken earlier this year on Woodland Trust property.