First published in Touchstone October 2014
We live in exciting times, dangerous, changing and challenging times but exciting none-the-less. It’s hard to believe that around 70 years ago it was illegal to be a magical practitioner in the UK (30 years ago in Ireland!) and now Druidry, Wicca and all manner of esoteric arts have blossomed in a way that would seem unimaginable when the witchcraft laws were repealed.
It seems that as the century unfolds that time is moving faster, change is moving faster and that there is an increasing sense of being on the cusp of a monumental change. Granted, 2012 turned out to be a non-event, but I like many others feel that what we all say and do at this point in time is critical in the future development of mankind and the future of the planet itself. As Druids we are in a position on the margins of modern society, although gradually becoming more accepted. For all of us acceptance is good, but for many of us that acceptance should not come at a price of compromise of capitulation to the mainstream values that continue to place humanity and the planet in danger.
Being on the margins, much like the more seriously considered Buddhists, we adhere to a set of beliefs and practices that fly in the face of modern, self-centred consumerism and the ‘me culture’ that is almost pervasive. In addition to this different outlook we also have the ability to alter our own consciousness (well everyone has the potential to) through the use of nwyfre/neart in our own selves and in the world around us; often through the inspiration of awen/imbas that comes from our spiritual practices and deep connection to the divine through the world we inhabit.
When I look at the human world around me I see a world that is deeply sick and in great need of healing, as is the land that we have abused so badly. Many people are aware of this problem in a secular way – environmental, social, political and other interests touch on the root of humanity’s problems, which I believe is a spiritual disconnect. Druidry does not appeal to everyone – religious or otherwise, but it is, in its re-emergent form, very much part of a movement towards a new consciousness that is necessary for our survival and for the survival of the planet.
Nothing is constant in life except change – that is the only thing that we can guarantee, everything must and does change in one way or another. Unfortunately much of humanity is terrified of change in the ways most needed while rapidly changing in the most negative and self-destructive ways possible. Many of us can see that we are heading for a cliff – but the trouble for all of us is a lack of unity and focus.
Different interest groups may have similar goals but we all tend to look at our problems from sufficiently different perspectives that the critical mass for a ‘sea change’ does not quite happen. Author Thom Hartmann stated that eventually a conscious awakening would happen very rapidly once a critical mass of people has ‘woken up’ to the dire need for a total rewrite of modern human behaviour.
I sincerely hope that he is right, and in fact I have to believe that he is right in order to keep going – without hope for our future I’m sure I’d collapse into a spiral of despair! Looking around I see many people in the process of waking up or trying to wake up from the nightmare that ego-driven, acquisitive living has led us to. However, so many of these people feel lost, isolated and unsure of what to do – they are just crying out for help and like-minded people.
I’m not suggesting Druid evangelism – that is not the answer, but as Druids we are in a position to effect change in ourselves and others at a crucial time in human history. Like all other truly spiritual people we have a responsibility to do whatever good we can in the time we have – the revolution of consciousness will not happen by itself. We must be part of the change to make this a better world, simply because time is running out and in truth there is no other choice.