Looking at Climate Change Realistically

How and when I choose to write is usually dictated by the Universe. Sometimes I find inspiration on my own but usually I pay attention to multiple, repetitive queues to decide what I am going to write about.

This morning while having my Sunday morning coffee I found emails, articles, and web posts put in front of me addressing climate change and it got me to thinking. No matter which side of the fence you sit on regarding this issue you’re probably not doing enough to combat the effects that are coming.

This may be an unpopular opinion but how much have you looked into what climate change is and how its effects can be slowed down or minimized?

It’s impossible to live off the grid entirely and not have some kind of environmental footprint occur, but how much plastic do you consume? Heck, how much goods do you consume? Do you really need that new outfit or dinner out at a restaurant?

And if you do, can you offset it by taking public transportation or waiting until you have other things to do and then do them all in one time period so you’re minimizing how much you’re releasing harmful emissions into what’s left of the ozone layer?

My point is that everyone talks about climate change but there’s what’s referred to as low hanging fruit, actions that people can take immediately, with minimal inconvenience, but they don’t.

Low hanging fruit: I’ve been driving the same lowest emissions vehicle for 11 years. Yes, I had to replace the engine, but it was cheaper and less environmentally harmful than buying a new car. I wash my car twice a year. And when I have to run errands I map out my route to minimize the distance of driving I have to do so that I can minimize my impact upon the planet.

When it comes to purchases I ask myself if I really need it and think about what went into its production. How is it arriving to me and can I wait for it until I need something else?

I am not trying to be judgmental or a Daniel Downer, rather, shine a light on critical thinking that is important if we’re going to speak out against climate change.

We must examine our actions, see what steps we can take now, and do them. Inconvenience is to be expected and honestly, is that really such a bad thing? How many different ways are we inconvenienced and we’ve learned to deal with it? So, what’s one more?

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Postulating About the Idea of One Soul

As explained to me by my husband, and I am sure I am not doing it justice, the one soul concept centers around the idea that the Divine and everything in existence is one soul. The Divine experiences Itself through us and as we experience our lives we experience the Divine. One of his famous sayings is “I am that which stands before you. Meaning, at some point you will be the person who’s in front of you, having their experiences, feeling their feelings and so on. With me so far?

This morning on the way into work I was listening to an audio book called Wizard’s Holiday, by Diane Duane. In it there was a reference made by a force called the Lone Power to the main characters as being “spirit trapped within matter” and that’s when inspiration struck!

We are in fact spirit contained within matter. Theoretical physicists are beginning to explore the concept of matter possessing consciousness. And as you know, humans are not the only forms of matter in existence.

So, what does this mean? What are we to do with this? And how does it become applicable to Druidry?

Many Druids will tell you that everything is interconnected like a spider web, and that we are part of the Divine, but not the Divine. The latter part I believe to be true. But what if we are all one soul and that our incarnations are of every form of matter in existence? How would we respond to our environment, each other? What would we do differently?

Example. You’re driving to work, and you’re in a hurry because you’re going to be late. You see the traffic light up ahead is about to turn yellow and you think the car in front of you is going to go through and if you speed up you can make it too. Then, the driver slows down and stops, knowing the light will quickly change to red, which forces you to stop suddenly. In a fit of anger, you lay on the horn and start screaming at the person.

It’s a sunny warm day, so both of your windows are down. The driver hears you blast your horn and scream. You can’t see their reaction, you don’t know what feelings your actions have caused.

They don’t know you, they don’t know what’s going on in your mind. Each of you only knows what you were thinking/feeling at the moment of intersection between your individual realities.

The one soul theory thus states, you are experiencing being the driver forced to stop suddenly and you will at some point be, or have already been, the driver who slowed down before the light changed to red.

Yes, there’s a twist. Time is not linear. Physics has proven this. So then how do you know which you are? Does it matter? Answers; you don’t, and it doesn’t.

It’s not important to understand which part of the example you’re experiencing. What matters is how you handle yourself.

We’re human, in this incarnation, so we’re going to make mistakes. However, contemplating the one soul theory can help to engage in different or better behavior.

The first example had to do with human to human interaction. Let’s look at another, involving a tree. Druids love trees.

You’re walking through a wooded path and you find a lot of branches seem to be sticking out in your general direction, making it difficult to walk. Frustrated, you finally reach your wit’s end and you snap off the next branch you come across. You think nothing of it because it’s a tree branch and even if you thought it might have felt something, it’s one branch, how much damage could be inflicted?

You have five fingers on each hand. You break one of your fingers.  How much do you think that hurts? I have broken my pinky fingers on both hands and can tell you that even though it was a finger and not my whole hand, it hurt, a lot! It’s the same with the tree.

Trees share nutrients through an advanced ecosystem that scientists are starting to explore. They communicate with one another through an elaborate array of sounds and scents. Trees don’t have a nervous system like humans, but they do possess the capability to experience pain?

Have you ever cut a tree, and smelled something immediately afterward? That’s the tree’s way of experiencing pain. Now, it might seem like it’s alright then since they don’t have a nervous system and therefore don’t experience pain the way that humans do but remember that trees use different methods to communicate. We cry or yell to communicate pain, they use scent. What else might they experience, use to convey pain? We’re still learning.

The point here is that you’re going to be everything and everyone at some point in time, So why not choose to act in a way you want someone to act towards you?

Exploring My Relationship With Death

There are times when I think to myself, “I am not Druid enough,” meaning I am too caught up in what I would consider non-Druid things like my employment, branding myself, my weight… when instead I should be finding ways to integrate my spirituality into every area of my life.

I find myself having two schools of thought about this: (1) everything you do is spiritual so therefore I am already being Druid enough and (2) I am not fully present in each moment so therefore I am not being Druid enough and connecting with nature/ancestors/Deity will bring me back to center.

But what does this have to do with exploring my relationship with death? My parents are elderly and my mom, a year younger than my dad, is not in great shape. She is very frail, in constant pain, falls at least 1 time a week and wants to die but hasn’t.

When I get the phone call that she fell again or was rushed to the hospital something happens where I just go into stoic mode. This is not good. Doing this robs me of engaging in relationship with the power of death. It is definitely coming for my mother and it will come for me one day as well, and I hope I live at least as long as she has. As of this writing she’s 82.

I have been praying for my mother to die, she’s been sick and undiagnosed for 20 years now. No one can figure out what’s wrong with her. She’s had more surgeries than most people have their entire life, has come close to dying twice now, but still finds a way to come back from it. I tell you , she is one tough as nails Irish woman!

However, it is within the last year that things have really gotten worse for her and I am forced to confront the fact that she is going to die and most likely this year. What does that mean for me as a Druid? I know what it means for me as a son, I will go through all of the family requirements, but my path of Druidry is about engaging in relationship with everything and everyone. So I need to enter into a relationship with death.

In my mind I tell myself it’s a natural process, not an ending, but a continuation. And I like to fancy that my mom will become a part of everything when she’s gone, but the reality is that pretty prose doesn’t wipe away the harsh truth that it’s painful, gut-wrenching, and deeply depressing. Or does it have to be?

What would it mean if I were to shift my attitude? My mother is taking a very long time to die, and I find that people who go through the process directly and indirectly, have time to adjust and possibly cope better with it.

So when I get that inevitable phone call I am certain I will cry, a lot, because the woman who raised me, good and bad, but who always loved me, will go from being someone I can talk with directly to being memories. Memories of her voice, image, things she did… This is where I am getting tripped up. How do I embrace the natural cycle and match my behavior with it?

Power of Death, I have tea. Care to sit a spell and speak with me only? I didn’t think so. When you come to me, there will be no need for tea. So I will try to enter into relationship with you in the abstract and make peace.

Faith & Spirituality

As a Priest of Nature, I am always amused when I witness someone telling someone else how they’re supposed to express their spirituality. My partner and teacher reminded me recently, and I thought it was worth sharing here, that no one actually knows anything when it comes to spirituality. It’s all conjecture and therefore a matter of faith. Faith, not exclusively Christian, is the belief of something in that lacks credible evidence.

We all have our personal experiences that we believe to be true but we can’t always convey this truth to others in a way which they will understand. We have ideas and beliefs about what Deity is, whether it be monolithic (God, Allah) or polytheistic (Goddess/God), or nameless, formless, and genderless (energy/matter). Regardless, we all believe our experiences to be true. And they are. Wait, what?

Your personal truth, your knowledge of your spiritual path is uniquely your own. And while it’s possible to find others whom share your beliefs, it’s often more difficult to find someone who thinks/feels/believes exactly the same way as you do. Therefore, I encourage people to think for themselves. Find what works for you and own it. It doesn’t matter if it’s not in alignment with your family-raised religious beliefs, not what your significant other believes…

Your faith is the fire which feeds your soul. It keeps your passions flowing and helps to negate the stifling presence of the logical mind that might say that none of this is real. No one can dispute your truth, because it’s yours!

When the Divine Speaks

If you’re like me, you’ve learned that the Divine sometimes speaks very loudly and other times very softly, so much so it’s almost difficult to hear unless you are in a place of stillness.

I had a recent occurrence that I would say fell somewhere in between. Since stepping off the Wiccan path for 14 years onto the Druid path for the last 15 years, I’ve spent a lot of time meditating about how and why I eventually became a Druid. In my, about me section, I go into this further and don’t feel the need to be repetitive.

So assuming you’ve read it, or just don’t care and will figure out the gist of this post as you read on, I had considered myself to be an Ovate primarily. I am a successful psychic, medium, and energy worker, I teach classes and have a private business. However, if you want to make the gods laugh, tell them what you think you are.

At a recent trip to my friend’s store, Avalon Rose Cottage, I felt this tremendous pull towards a specific area of the store that was undeniable. I was drawn to an oracle stool. Imagine a small stool that looks like a desk about 6″ tall with inlaid letters, numbers, and the words yes, no, like the ouija board.

Instinctively I used my dominant hand pointer finger and waited to see what happened. I had used this tool the last time I was there and ended up being gifted with my friend’s tarot deck, who had passed away in the late 1990’s, so I trust this particular spirit conveyance tool.

My finger first went to the letter U followed by the phrase, are a bard. I stood there a bit dumbfounded. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Writing from a University and let my sponsored application for the American Storytelling Association lapse, so I was a bit taken aback when this was shown to me.

For 20+ years I had focused on tarot, talking with the dead, and energy work. However, I must admit that attempts over the last several years to resurrect my doing it full time again had proven fruitless. So I suppose I let my spirituality fall by the wayside. I still attended grove rituals but not consistently and I lost my daily practice and the awen that came with it.

That is why She spoke I believe. Modern bardry to me is more shamanic, it involves speaking with the Divine, the Mighty Dead, and the Land Spirits, and sharing their messages for humanity. This can’t be done without first building a relationship with these entities and that’s something I’ve become quite rusty at.

So it may be that the Divine is giving me the nudge I need and definitely knows better than I do, what I need to get back on my spiritual path and be consistent with it.

Separation, Suffering and Purpose

For almost all my life, including most of my Pagan adult life, I would be upset at the occurrence of human suffering at the hands of nature and wonder why Deity would allow it. That was when I was of a separatist mind.

It shocked me when I made the realization that I had been separating myself (an animal) from the other animals, flora, and fauna, that because I was somehow human I wasn’t supposed to suffer the way trees, birds, fish, and insects do.

I wasn’t consciously selfish and once I learned this truth there wasn’t any going back.

I believe that as a part of nature humans suffer because Deity needs to keep everything in balance and we don’t possess the capability to understand how that balance plays out on a larger scale. We tend to only see from our limited perspective

The raging fires happening right now in California, while man made, Deity has allowed to continue. Weather patterns haven’t been favorable, with the heat index continuing to rise and no sign of rain or cooler temperatures in sight.

Which brings me to my next point. We are not separate from nature. Not only was this fire man made, but our collective lifestyle as a human species has significantly contributed to global warming, which has caused a dramatic increase in temperature. Our reliance on plastic, which is one of the largest contributors of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, our need for convenience; driving solo everywhere instead of using group transportation, these and other actions have contributed to how our planet responds.

That last part, how our planet responds. I believe that Deity is a part of and is also separate from the universe, which makes me a Panentheist, not a Pantheist. So, the planet as an entity, is responding to our actions. It’s attempting to balance itself however necessary irrelevant of what our needs are.

So how does purpose play into all of this? At the beginning of this thought process I talked about separation and suffering. There is a kind of separation if you will between us and the rest of nature and that is that we have a more developed brain.

Bugs, birds, animals, fish, they have either instinct or brain capacity to an extent that allows them to dictate their actions, so why is it that humans are, for lack of a better phrase, more evolved?

It’s because our purpose is to care for nature, to work with Deity to ensure that all sentient life (and I believe everything is sentient), is preserved, doesn’t needlessly suffer, and is given its best chance to thrive and to fulfil its own purpose.

It’s not up to us to ask what their purpose is, it’s up to us to make sure that we treat all of nature the way we would want to be treated. Is this something that you’re doing? Reflection not blame is key.