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" A good traveller has no fixed plans,

and is not intent on arriving "

Lao Tzu

Love Means…

May 4th, 2013



Sometimes the one who is running from the Life/Death/Life nature insists on thinking of love as a boon only. Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back. Pain is chased away and surfaces another time. To love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many endings, and many, many beginnings- all in the same relationship. 

―  Clarissa Pinkola Estés,  Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Do We Really Need a New Story?

April 30th, 2013
Adult male Sulawesi Myzomela

Adult male Sulawesi Myzomela

The idea that humanity needs a ‘new story’ has been around for some time. And in its train comes the search for it, and the frustration of perhaps not finding it. While the idea has an appeal, particularly if you enjoy and know of story’s power to transform, here is something to consider: that what we need really is not a new story, but no stories any more! Watch this brief and crystal clear explanation by Thomas Hubl:

The Miracle of Change

April 29th, 2013



All change is a miracle to contemplate; but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant. ~ Henry David Thoreau

The Museum of British Folklore

April 20th, 2013
St.George's Day 2010. Photo Garry Knight

St.George’s Day 2010. Photo Garry Knight

OMG! Folklore studies come of age. Have a look at this:

Also see ‘Rites & Rituals’: a great movie with archive footage: A unique film short capturing three decades of British folkloric traditions, edited by Ruth Hogben from documentary footage captured by filmmaker and curator Doc Rowe: showstudio.com/project/britannica/rites_rituals

An interview outside the Museum’s traveling show – the caravan: showstudio.com/project/britannica/interview

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?

April 19th, 2013

Do you find yourself trying to decide on an opinion or feeling about the future and find it hard to come down on one side or the other? I’ve tried for ages to get a sense of the ‘state of the world’ and the way it is heading. Now I’ve come to the conclusion that ambivalent feelings are perfectly natural…perhaps that’s why OTOH is a popular acronym. Here’s an excerpt from an interview I had with the splendid Beetroot Books – the green alternative to Amazon:

Society does seem to be changing as the collective realisation of where we are now increasingly triggers positive action. Are you optimistic that there’ll be enough momentum to steer us voluntarily towards a more harmonious relationship with each other and Earth? Has the current paradigm run its course?

I’m very optimistic and I’m very pessimistic about the future. I have spent years trying to decide which of these feelings is the right one, but I have come to the conclusion that there are certain questions that naturally evoke an ambivalent response, and that rather than trying to reject one in favour of the other, I need to accept both.

On the one hand I see the global awakening that is occurring, the thousands of fantastic projects that are being born (Paul Hawken in ‘Blessed Unrest’ is good on this), and the incredible new inventions that suggest we really can turn things around. And on the other hand I see the mass extinction of species that is occurring, I see war, starvation and the destruction of the Earth continuing unabated, and I can see nothing but a bleak future for our grandchildren.

Somehow I have to hold both those feelings in my mind, for to focus only on the positive seems like naïve denial, and to focus only on the negative is just a recipe for unhappiness and renders me less able to be of any use in the world.

It’s in response to this question that I believe a spiritual path can be of real value. We all need inspiration, a sense of meaning, nourishment, connection, and support on our journey through life. If we are to give of our best we need these things, and it’s the job of a spiritual way, and of spiritual leaders and teachings, to offer these things.

If we are able to plug into this flow of meaning and encouragement, we can ride the waves of hope and despair in relation to the future, and as a result be of more use to ourselves and those around us.

Read interview

Mandinam – A Magical Spot in Wales

April 18th, 2013
The headstone of the last physician of Myddvai, who died in 1719, in Myddvai church

The headstone of the last physician of Myddvai, who died in 1719, in Myddvai church

We’re just back from a recce in Wales. A member has made the wonderful suggestion that we plant a sacred grove on their land near Lake Llyn y Fan Fach and Myddvai. The lake is the site of the origin-story of the Physicians of Mydvvai, who for 500 years healed the sick with their herbal remedies. See an article here about them.We are hoping to plant a grove to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of OBOD, and to include endangered species trees.

We stayed at Mandinam, which offers fantastic accommodation in shepherd’s huts – perfect if you want to get away from it all. The night skies were magnificent and even though sited remotely they have hot showers, a loo, and hot tubs to soak in while you star-gaze! Have a look at their website here for more info and booking details.IMG_0055221

Going with the Flow

April 15th, 2013

A short video that demonstrates creative practical solutions to a pressing environmental issue…

Myth-Busting the Druids

April 13th, 2013

Peter Owen-Jones talking at ‘Sundaywise’ at the Ivy Club London March 2013. Photo Charlie Carr-Gomm

I gave a talk at a London club on Easter Sunday and thought I’d focus on busting the typical stereotypes that gather around the term Druid. The club put this film of the event together really well, complete with illustrations. Peter Owen-Jones also gave a talk about what he felt were the challenges facing Christianity today, focusing on the need for reform within the church and the need for it to address environmental issues – if they make a film of his talk I’ll pop it up too.

Not the Future We Ordered

April 13th, 2013

800px-Uncommon_beetroot_coloursBeetroot Books has interviewed John Michael Greer about his book Not the Future We Ordered. Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

Much of your work has a spiritual element, and anyone who’s familiar  with it would also know that you’ve been involved in [Druidry and] many Western mystery traditions, do you believe that any possible solution to these crises should recourse to spirituality in some form?

I’m going to take issue with the way this question is stated, because there are no solutions to the present spiral of converging crises. Nothing, that is, can make the crises go away, or keep our current lifestyles intact as we pass through them. Adaptations, not solutions, are what’s needed at this point — that is, ways of adapting ourselves and our lives to the implacable changes breaking over industrial civilization now and in the future. Spirituality can play an important part in those adaptations, but it can’t do the job alone; we also have to change our lives on the most practical, nitty-gritty level. You can meditate or pray to Gaia all you want, and if you still insist on driving an SUV and living an SUV lifestyle, you’re going to be on the wrong side of the changes as they hit.

Finally, are you personally optimistic or pessimistic about our immediate prospects – as in do you see an easy transition as a possibility?

We tossed the prospect of an easy transition into history’s dustbin at the time of the Thatcher- Reagan counterrevolution, when all the hard work toward sustainability that had been done in the 1970s was scrapped in the name of a vacuous free-market ideology that put short term profit and political advantage ahead of the long term survival of industrial civilization. As the Hirsch Report pointed out in 2005, preparations for peak oil would have had to begin twenty years before the peak of conventional petroleum production in order to prevent massive discontinuities.

The peak of conventional petroleum production, by an interesting irony, happened in 2005, right as that report was being leaked to the press. Thus we’re at least 27 years too late, and the massive discontinuities are already baked into the cake. Individuals, families, and communities can still take constructive steps to prepare for those discontinuities and get through them with as little suffering as possible, but one way or another it’s going to be a very rough road down from the peak.

Read the whole interview here