Luke Eastwood The Druid Gardener (first published in Ninu Nina website, April 2020)

Luke you have such as fascinating background, tell us about yourself.

I was born in Scotland but quickly moved to south-east England, and had a pretty pedestrian childhood until my final year of my teens. After a falling out with my folks I ran off to London and became a Casino Croupier at 19. I almost joined the RAF as a trainee jet navigator, but I went to university instead, which was useless apart from one class. Afterwards, my first job was as a temporary carpark attendant, but fortunately things improved. I worked in journalism, sub-editing, and graphic design while working on my music career and developing my interest in photography, world religions and other cultures. I went to India and learned Dolak and Bansuri, while there almost dying from dysentery. Four dance/ambient albums later I decided to pack in the music and move to Ireland, with my then wife and infant daughter. I continued with the graphic design and photography and after my marriage ended I began to pursue old interests in spirituality, yoga and music again. I began training as a druid ,retrained as a horticulturist, began to record music again and began writing again – both articles and books, as well as returning to my photography. I have long been interested in activism (Greenpeace, McLibel in London) and set up an Extinction Rebellion group in Kerry, early in 2019. A small book: ‘How To Save The Planet’ was published last autumn and I just released a new album of electronica in March called ‘5th Element’, by Children Of Dub.

Greatest inspirations or influences?

I do remember one pivotal moment when my school French teacher did not answer my question about whether to drop French or German. Paraphrasing, he said – don’t worry about what other people think, learn to be your own man. That really stuck in my head, and I’ve always tried to do what really interested me, regardless of how strange or foolish it seemed to others

Tell us a little about your new book and what it means to have a more spiritual approach to gardening?

Despite all its advantages, it’s pretty clear to me that we’ve gone down a dead end with technological approaches to life, not least in our interaction with nature. I don’t want to live in chastened and sterile world, bereft of wild beauty, being forced to eat soulless GMO food. I think a great many people feel the same way, but maybe lack the knowledge of how to change that and make a real connection to nature in their everyday lives. ‘The Druid Garden’ (not published just yet) is all about that, but it is 100% practical as well.

Tell us a little about how you feel about the changes we are all experiencing these days and how you see things are going to unfold?

This crisis is a moment to reflect and re-evaluate where we are, the culmination of the industrial mode of living. I think that the next phase of human existence is going to be one of two things:
1. A spiritual awakening and reconnection with the natural world and each other, leading to a more benevolent and altruistic society.
2. A new era of oppression, technological oligarchy and removal of freedoms, increased reliance on industrial living, but with automation, robotics and AI being at the fore.
I sincerely hope that No.1 is what transpires. I think it is very much up to every one of us to ensure that corrupt and elitist powers do not use this crisis to force entire nations down a bad road. We have strength together and in unity we can triumph over the greatest of difficulties.

What you feel most inspired to talk about when it comes to social issues and your involvement with extinction rebellion.

I’ve been interested in history since I was a boy. What has occurred to me is that many of the same challenges have repeated throughout our known history, in different civilizations. Our biggest challenge is denial – the failure to learn from our mistakes and the misguided belief that somehow ‘it will be different this time’. The repeated mistakes have taken a huge toll on both humanity and the natural world, over many millennia and now we are finally seeing the full extent of our collective stupidity as a species. I think that we have to take better care of the planet, but we also need to take better care of each other. Social justice means redistribution of wealth, fairness and protection of the most vulnerable. XR is about more than ‘being green’, people need to wake up to the fact that the system is broken at a fundamental level.

Favourite websites, or social media handles?

Here’s a few things that interest me.
I love a good laugh, this Irish news parody website is hilarious:
Jiddu Krishnamirti had a big influence on my thinking:
I did most of my Druid training with OBOD:
William Orbit has made a lot of inspirational music, his art is amazing too:
I really love Goldfrapp, their music is never dull:
Still doing great work, Greenpeace rock!

Anything else you'd like to share?

I realized a long time ago that we only have one shot at this life (at least in this body). It’s ok to make mistakes and I’d rather make a mess of things trying to do something good, fun, interesting and hopefully of value to the world. Forget about making your fortune or being judged – do something worthwhile, while you have the opportunities, before it’s too late to try something different.