Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Inside out...

If humankind has a collective desire to nurture a lost relationship with Mother Earth and subsequently to assist in healing the wounds that we ourselves have inflicted, then initially we should perhaps take some time for introspection and self regeneration. For it is when we as individuals are healed of our inward imbalances, that our outward relationship to all existences will be more powerful. By this I do not mean power as 'dominance', but as 'potential'. The potential to undo the damage that has been caused by humankind's dominance and indulgence at the cost to Gaia and all that exists on, in and above Her..!

Recognizing our inner self is not to be considered akin to self gratification. In a world where one is encouraged to aspire to fame, fortune and personal achievement, it often appears far more important to make an impression on society, stamping one's footprint, carbon or otherwise, whilst remaining oblivious to an awareness of self. Outward action without inward reflection has created a greed fueled, materialistic monster destroying animal, plant, mineral, tribe and habitat... rapidly consuming and depleting Mother Earth's resources, whilst reciprocating with a token commitment to replenishment.

Thomas Gray in his poem, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College (1742) suggested that;

"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

As a forty odd year old guy with a twenty year history of misdiagnosed mental health issues, I for one have many good reasons to embark on a voyage of self discovery and healing, firstly for my own wellbeing. However in the broader context, as one who's spirituality is Earth centred, with the realization that by creating an inner equilibrium, I shall be better equipped for any outward contribution to positive change and healing for the Mother Earth, whilst there is still the time...!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Home Sweet Home....

This is sadly what Simon King missed in his recent Shetland documentary series... but who can blame him, I'm quite sure he was aware of, and deeply distressed by it... but then Simon, the viewers and I would rather see seals and otters...

The Beach, (not to be confused with the one Leo DiCaprio lay on)...

Loch side...

Another beach...

Roadside bank...

Thursday, 11 February 2010

21st Century Druid Man

Defining the tenet of my spirituality has become something of a labyrinthine exercise. The fundamental reason behind my following a 'Pagan' based belief system was it's reverence for nature, Gaia, the 'Web of Life'...o.k., that's clear for me...

However, and this may well be my 'Newbie-ness', but the more information I absorb, the more overcomplicated the Druid Path of contemporary literature becomes, to the extent that intricate ritual, mythology, revivalism, (but not in the religious sense) and emulation, though often at it's core, frequently appears somewhat irrelevant to me. It just seems overcomplicated..! There is no denying that structure is a part of daily, monthly, yearly existence both within human and natural existence, however so should be 'spontaneity', (not 'anarchy' though).

So much wisdom can be gleaned by exploring the lives of our ancestors, that I can totally relate to and by definition we can begin with our parents before striding back towards the earliest hunter gatherers. We discover and uncover their strengths and weaknesses, triumphs, mistakes, their interactions with each other, nature, and the earth itself...if of course we can truly separate the last three...and as such we can truly begin to 'Honour' them.

So far so good. Where I am struggling is in the fact that I live in the realms of a selfish, materialist, egocentric society, (this is a sweeping statement understandably)....welcome one and all to the '21st Century', (I'm sure this isn't the first period in history that can be defined as such), and sadly for myself, much of the doctrines of the (ancient) Proto, Classical, and Revival periods of Druidry are appropriate to the era in which they occurred, though I am sure that there will be many 'universal lessons' contained within each which are past on through generations. The difference now is that we, the human can, and many are destroying OUR Earthly home, and I speak not purely for the human race but for EVERY aspect of creation. Unlike our ancestral Druid counterparts we are not living in a 'Balanced ' way with our environment, and this needs to be addressed not just a global level but from an individual perspective.

My spirituality is not purely person-centered unlike a deal of the society in which I live, (there is a thin divide between 'need' and 'greed'), but all encompassing, and, unlike my blogs needs to be relevant to the 'Here and Now'.

Spider, in a recent blog spoke of 'Honouring the Spirits of Place, Practically' ...by clearing litter, a truly hands on and needless to say admirable way of literal and spiritual interaction....I regularly put a bin liner in my rucksack when heading out into the hills, needless to say it comes back full of the 'Bruck', (Shetland dialect for rubbish- hence the labels on bins- 'Dunna Chuck Bruck'), and means more to me from a spiritual perspective than a stricter form of ritual.

I don't know why I feel the need to apologise if this seems heavy going at times, but it's just my way of clearing 'The Way' for a true 'Earth-centered' spiritual growth...If you think I'm heading in the wrong direction, please offer an opinion...it can only serve to help me...!

Thursday, 4 February 2010


With mixed emotions I observe. The thaw has begun, and despite the blusterous nature of the day I decide to put in a few miles on the road. Lacing my beat-up trainers, I grab a beanie, select some 'tunes' and embark....

The outbound leg is visually stunning, but physically uneventful. However as I veer left the wind takes away my breathe, creating an invisible barrier to my forward momentum, it's akin to the sensation of being on a treadmill. Plodding clumsily on, regardless of the relentless gale, something suddenly occurs to me. This scenario is primarily from my perspective...but is it purely about me..? As my awareness changes there is the realization that with each stride I too may represent an obstacle...to the continuity of the wind's flow...or do I..?

Is it a vivid imagination or pure egotism..? Wishful thinking..? Or could the 'Wind' and I be (on some level), consciously or otherwise involved in some form of mutual interaction..?

Humankind has been conditioned to believe that we as a species are pivotal to 'one huge ecosystem', namely the Earth, the concept of Anthropocentrism. On the contrary the Druid belief system is one of equality, a Web of Existence', all encompassing and without hierarchy. That puts me on a par with puffins, plankton or peonies... and I'm cool with that.


...as I relax in a sheltered part of the garden an audacious gull glides in, alighting merely yards from where I sit, then sauntering over to claim his share of my lunch..! I toss him a few morsels, a toothy grin on my face acknowledging his bravado. The encounter is brief but has reciprocal rewards..!

Though I have been interacting with nature all my life, it is only over the last 8 months or so that I have recognized a spiritual connection with and reverence for it. The Earth is my home and my provider....but not solely mine, (in respect that I am human), it is home and provider to all Creation..!! Thus by integrating less with the Earth and it's myriad membership, in a balanced, empathetic way, I may begin to be neglectful of my role, and further down the line adopt the stance, (as do a good proportion of my fellow humankind), that I have some claim of Universal Ownership.

Naive, my ramblings may be, but they are heartfelt. They may not be right by definition, they are not meant to be opinionated, but now they're out there in cyberspace I hope they strike a chord...

I'm attempting to strip down my pagan spirituality, (online...!) to simplify and to better understand my personal belief system, perhaps in the same way that 'Jamie Oliver' does with his recipe book when he's not seeking Michelin stars. Maybe I should consider retitling my blog page...The Skyclad Druid...!

Blessed Be

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Songs From The Wood

Guess there's a deal of irony regarding the title of my blog, considering how devoid of trees the 'Auld Rock' has become. A cocktail of climate change and settlement, some 5000 years ago heralded their decline.

Settlers + clearance + farming + heather burning + sheep = no trees...!

That's not strictly true. There are sporadic patches of woodland where Sycamores and Evergreens mingle... however there is no 'Knowledge of the Oak' to be gleaned hereabout, nor the symbolism of the Rowan(Luis) berry, nor the femininity of the Willow(Saille), with it's hallowed links to the Triple Goddess and the recently celebrated festival of Imbolc.

Often these pocket sized natural sanctuaries have been decimated by high winds and have often provided seclusion for gatherings of alcohol induced revelry...I guess that's fine, if a degree of due respect is forthcoming...but sadly, and all to frequently it goes unrealized that 'Tennants' cans left in situ do not biodegrade...!!

Good news...!!

The 'Shetland Amenity (charitable) Trust', was set up to conserve and enhance the heritage of the Islands.

It's strategies for woodland renewal are:-
  • Preservation and development of existing woodland
  • Conservation, propagation and re-establishment of native trees
  • Creation of a Shetland Arboretum to foster interest in trees and participate in international conservation strategies
  • Encouragement of the use of trees, shrubs and other woodland flora in the Shetland landscape, both urban and rural, so that they enhance the environment, and are of positive value to people and wildlife, for both present and future generations
In addition grants are offered to turn ungrazed croft land over to woodland, making it not such a bleak picture after all....

Perhaps a few 'Songs from the Wood' aren't such a pipe dream any more....