To be separate is to be dead

“To be separate is to be dead. Therefore choose Love and live.” The final two lines of The Cosmic Doctrine by Dion Fortune. According to JMG, the most important occult text from the 20th century and who am I to argue!

The text is difficult and filled with seemingly contradictory metaphors which are designed to make you explore the ideas. JMG has been working through the text on his blog one chapter per month, this short book takes some reading and having read it three times so far I suspect that I shall need to read it some more soon.

But the final lines, indeed the final chapter, are particularly interesting. “To be separate is to be dead” struck me as the western world pitches it next battle in the land of gender vs sex with two increasingly entrenched sides moving further apart in true dialectic style. Two groups that have been oppressed by men fighting each other does not feel good. I hope there is a coming together of thought soon. I wonder what role men have in that coming together given that we caused the problem.

The book talks of the need to experience life as part of spiritual evolution. JMG talks of the need to avoid separating ourselves from aspects that make us uncomfortable, to avoid blaming sexual desire or the ego, i.e. to not shut out shadows out but to understand them and to work with them. It is almost as if Jung had been reading Fortune…

To be separate is to be dead works on many levels. As individuals we cannot survive in most of the world for very long. We need others around us to share the tasks that sustain us. As individuals we need to understand our whole to move forward; without that we remain immature.

And back to men, with the immaturity of much of the western men and the need for initiation, role models and mentors for men, I really think the next piece of work has to be to resolve this. Men are responsible for most crime and violence in society, they (we) are aimless and lacking in understanding while we heap oppression on others through our own privileges. We need a new way of growing up, or maybe an older way of growing up?

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Imaging there’s no waste (collection), it’s easy if you try…

As an urban Druid, my walks in what people usually term Nature are not as regular as my countryside friends. But humans and all we do are part of Nature so while I might miss the wildness of the cliff top, I still experience the wildness of the town (when not in lockdown of course). It is a different wildness and it is certainly a wilderness, but it is possible one of the most important of all wild places. It is where most of us live.

As I walked through the streets today, my daily exercise regime of alternate walks around the roads and runs along the riverbank interrupted by weather this week, it felt good to be out. I walked past a couple sitting by the side of the road, a couple obviously struggling with life, when the man stood up and threw his empty beer can into the road. This part of town suffers hugely from litte, the couple were obviously not happy souls and I had no intention of saying anything, resolving only to pick the can up on the way back and dispose of it correctly then.

But then I got thinking… which is always a dangerous thing to do!

Our world suffers with waste. The oceans have islands of plastic swirling in them, countries have amazing levels of waste in their rivers sent to them for disposal by richer countries, others have IT equipment dumped from the west. In the UK we burn, landfill or export our waste. The dustmen constantly collect, households sort and dispose, manufacturer wrap and overproduce items with built in obsolescence.

Governments pay lip service to waste reduction. Recycling is seen as good thing, above reuse. And progress on waste reduction at a local level is way too slow; globally it is going backwards.

So my thought: what if there were no more waste collections? What if we moved immediately to an expectation of no waste? Carry on recycling perhaps but stop collecting waste.

It would pile up in the short term but for how long before action was taken? People would rapidly look for low levels of packaging and items that lasted. It would force manufacturers and retailers to think long and hard. It would be messy and painful, but the waste problem is already messy and painful.

What if we simply said no?

Daily practice

From Ritual is Action:

Between 8am and 10am UK time each day when possible, I am joining in with shamans across Europe who are praying for humanity and peace for all beings at this auspicious time. This will be ongoing as a daily practice until the Spring Equinox.

If you would like to join in, here is a suggested routine, allow this to flow and change with repetition and feeling so that it comes from your own being.

Light a candle, and call in the directions, your ancestors, the settled and loving beings from the other worlds (however you understand them to be) , those who look upon us with love and concern. Ask them to hear your prayer.

Ask for blessings upon humanity, that we may live and grow in peace with each other and in harmony with the world around us. Keep the children healthy in mind and body, may we all be free from hunger and treat each other with dignity and respect. May we grow in tolerance and respect for each other and for all the life that surrounds us. May we value truth, peace and compassion for each other and for all beings.

Allow these words to change to your own, know that you are part of a much wider community all praying for the same things, this is bigger than a zoom call, we are all connected.

The Web of Life

“Earth as a biospiritual planet must become for us the basic referent in identifying our own future.” Berry, Thomas (The Great Work, 1999)

I have long considered myself an Animist with the view that everything is conscious, connected and everything is made from the same stuff. I can see no boundary between myself and Nature and by Nature, I mean everything including the laptop I’m typing on or the desk that I’m sitting at.

The world is a web of connection, mirroring the statement by Thomas Berry. It is how I interpret the world based on the think of others such as Lanza, Shopenhauer, and Emma Restal Orr.

It is a world that recognises that our actions have consequences and that what we do to the world around us, we do to ourselves and to those who exist in the future.

In my world there is a need to restore the damage that we have done, a need to minimise our negative impacts and to become increasingly in tune with others, human and non-human.

But the Earth has around 7 billion humans, many of whom think quite differently and are not aware of the real damage being done. I wonder what can be done to reach out to people, to help them connect with the world and Nature, to help them start to work on a new way of living. But I don’t know how.

Even as I type this I question whether I should even ask that question. Should I interfere? Do I have a right to? Am I not just building a privileged clique? What about the vast majority who struggle from day to day?

Huge questions on a life time of journey! I’d be happy to get some answers.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash