Triad of Anarchism

Three qualities essential to a functioning and harmonious anarchy: psychological autonomy, a potent spirit of cooperation and resources used wisely, sustainably and fairly.

If each individual were to develop a psychological autonomy, combine that with a strong sense of social cooperation and use resources so that everyone gets what they need sustainably without depriving anyone or destroying the planet, big government becomes unnecessary.

See my previous blog: The State-loving Anarchist

The Expectation of Huath

Huath is the 6th few in the Ogham alphabet, but the first one of the second aicme. It’s tree is the hawthorn.

There are many things we can’t see the outcome of, and yet we are expecting something to happen. Can’t do much about it, or even prepare – how do you prepare for the unknown? You won’t know what it’s like until you get there and experience it first hand. But until then, you just wait. That’s my life right now; I’m expecting my first child, been waiting for almost nine months (yep, not so long now). You hear stories about what it’s like to be a parent and have a baby and you studiously soak up all the theory about the subject, but until it actually happens to you, you don’t know. Life will change drastically, but I don’t know what that change is going to be like. I know it’s going to be tiring and frustrating and yet also “ultimately worth it”, but I have nothing to compare that with, so can’t really prepare myself for the experience. I can but wait, but I can say it’s the most interesting waiting experience I’ve ever had!

The Flow of Saille

Willow is the tree associated with Saille, and as such its symbolism is very watery, since willows are often found growing by rivers and lakes. Their form also evokes a “flowing” sensation, with long, elegant leaves and flexible branches. This also evokes traditional (stereotypical?) ideas of femininity.

This ogham few also expresses for me the essense of aikido. My sensei often says that the best aikido is a woman’s aikido. In general, men are encouraged to be aggressive and competitive, and to some extent dispassionate with other people – martial arts like karate or jujitsu tend to come easier. Aikido is much more of a challenge for a “typical” man, though women have their own challenges in aikido, perhaps relating to the more martial aspect of it.

Aikido, a martial art based on peace and harmony, cultivates more “feminine” qualities of gentleness and compassion. Many times I’ve been pracitising a technique and even if technically it is correct, my sensei still corrects how I do it: “Too rigid.” – “You’re using too much force, it wouldn’t work if your opponent were stronger than you.” – “Adam, there’s too much tension and aggression. Relax, breathe.” Not corrections you’d recieve in most forms of karate.

In aikido we are taught to flow, not use force or strength, to work with dynamics and movement, to be “like water”. Aikido still remains a martial discipline – a certain confidence and directness is involved – but it always based on a principle of non-harm and fluidity.

The Call of Toland

Three hundred years ago John Toland stood on Primrose Hill calling for a gathering of Druids a year and a day hence, to meet on the 22 September 1717 in The Apple Tree Tavern in London, on which day druids from all over the British Isles and also Brittany met together to formally take Druidry out of centuries of hiding. The same meeting from which The Druid Order and the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids draw their origins – or so the story goes.

Historically, there’s little to say this actually happened, but each detail is significant in the history of the Druid Revival – John Toland, Primrose Hill and 1717 are all significant to modern Druidry. The above event represents a synthesis of things that have gone into the DNA of modern druidry.

So here I give my own “Primrose Hill” call to druids all over the world, that a year and a day hence – 22nd Sept 2017, Autumn Equinox – we celebrate three hundred years of the revival of the ancient druid ways! (nothing official, just a recognition of the significance of this date).

 

 

 

 

 

The Advice of Fearn

The tree associated with fearn is the alder (Alnus glutinosa) and the meanings associated with it are advice, oracules, protection and guidance. It’s the protection that comes with good advice, friends and family that’ll look out for you and give you shelter if you need it. If you find yourself unsure or confused, you may seek out counsel, perhaps from other people that you know, or perhaps from other ways of knowing that we are not used to, something slightly more intuitive. We have the habit of thinking that the conscious mind is all there is to “who we are”, but there are other insights and resources within us that we haven’t tapped into. An aperture apears in the limits of identity and knowledge, and we find solisism isn’t an option in this world of many different beings.

If ever my pride gets in the way of listening, I shall endeavour to remember fearn‘s advice!


Today’s meditation gave me an insight about the first five fews (the first aicme), beith, luis, fearn, saille and nuin. There is a sense here that corresponds with the process of individuation. First we begin with beith, starting on the journey, being purified and initiated for it. Next comes luis which offers us some protection and definition of a psychological/psychic kind. We could say that the individual has begun to define themselves through the ego. Next comes fearn; now that we have defined self we can come face to face with other. This can be other people or, since I mention the ego, the unconscious. The ego must begin  to reach out and define its relationships with other and become conscious of the unconscious – the latter is achieved with saille, which provides “non-rational” ways of knowing, through dreams, symbols and art (which may be confusing without the protection and guidance of luis and fearn, self and other). The ego learns to be more flexible and fluid, following its intuition. Next nuin gives a link of communication and a synthesis between conscious and unconscious, self and other. Nuin can sometimes be found after luis, so we may say that the process of linking started then, but it is fulfilled at the end. It’ll be interesting to see how this process is reflected through the other aicmes.

The Transcendance of Nuin

Nuin, whose assigned tree is the ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior usually) has historically been placed as the fifth few of the Ogham, as can be seen in most ancient documents, but some have speculated that it was in fact the third few. The first three fews then become BLN, which has been linked to the Celtic sun-god Belenos, which may not be “academically correct”, but at least has interesting symbolism connected to it.

The ash tree is tall, seeing far of lands, other perspectives, allowing us to transcend our limited point of view and expanding it but connecting and communicating with other points of view. For this reason it has been connected to the World Tree (though the yew tree is also a fair candidate). If ever we feel stuck, within a certain situation or even our own psychology, the ash tree may help us break free with its spear-like strength and accuracy (its wood was, in fact, used for spears).

Keys are also significant in connection to ash; the unlock doors, allowing us to access other spaces, so that we can move around. But keys are also the name of the seeds peculiar to the ash. They have little “wings” allowing them to float far away from their parent tree, reaching low to the ground, connecting upper to lower, which then grow into tall trees, connecting lower with upper again. It is a tree for “thinking globally and acting locally”, finding the synthesis between the two perspectives.

The Magic of Luis

Today I present some reflections on the Ogham few luis (pronounced lweesh). It’s assigned tree is the rowan (Sorbus aucuparia).

Protection, magic, enchantment, control of the senses, discernment. These are the associations I have read up on and used in my meditation.

“Control of the senses” brought to mind all the advertisement we see on TV or plastered around our towns and cities. We are “invaded” by it, enchanted by it, controlled by it. There are other things, signals and messages, that come in “under the radar” of our consciousness, not just in advertising, but in our media and everyday relations. We may be completely unconscious of them, take them for granted or simply don’t see them as important, though they affect us more than we think.
The protection of Rowan isn’t passive, like a shield or stone wall, it has to be active and conscious. It’s the protection of discernment, and analysis, remaining aware of what is happening to us, and counteract anything that will influences us in a bad way. In ceremonial magic a circle is often drawn to delineate “inside” and “outside”, keeping malefic powers at bay. We only invite in what we want within the circle and reject anything we don’t want.
Bit by bit, as we become aware of what influences us and how, we integrate their lessons and their enchantments subside. The unconscious is a great aperture through which anything may enter unnoticed. When we become aware of the unconscious and begin to analyse its dynamics and the comings and goings within it, we can begin to control what influences us, not letting our sense become overwhelmed or overridden by undesirable forces.

Neo-Pagan Meanderings

012I came to Druidry through neo-Paganism, mainly Wicca-inspired at first, but later went a more informal and non-traditional way. I wanted to explore and experiment, not get tied down to any specific tradition or doctrine.

Modern Paganism I’d say comes in two parts: ancestral tradition and reverence for nature (it gets more complicated than that, but that’s the general picture). On the one hand, there is a sense of recovering ancestral pre-Christian religion that somehow still exists within us. On the other hand, these ancestral religions represent being closer to nature, and give us a link to our own image of the “noble savage” – a native one rather than one appropriated from another culture.

I was drawn to the “native” traditions of the Celts and Norse, but couldn’t restrict myself to them, since my sense of ancestry and cultural heritage was broad. Western Culture has a strong Christian element that I couldn’t ignore, and much of our philosophy and politics has found its way in from the Mediterranean. If I were to “honour my ancestors” I would have to be inclusive and recognise the multiple sources that have affected my ancestry, both biological and cultural.

But my real interest was “nature-based spirituality”, so I only recognised the spiritual value of something if I felt it would connect me to nature. I searched a wide variety of sources, but I had no special interest in formal religion, gurus, spiritual celebrities or progression through graded initiations. My spirituality was far too anarchic and “organic”; I wanted to connect directly to the spirit of nature, not follow artificial spiritualities with their arbitrary systems. I wanted to contact with nature in a quiet and private way. I felt I was developing a Celtic- or Nordic-flavoured Taoism with hunter-gatherer aspirations (but not quite a luddite – I still used the Internet a lot, lol).

Things like chakras, the kabbalah, methods of meditation, ritual, divination and all sorts of spiritual theories and theologies were “human inventions”. I have to admit, they were never far away, since my curious intellect always liked to play with these interesting “toys”, and let’s face it, we’ve come a long way since the Stone Age, and can’t do away with the many technologies and philosophies accrued along the way. Many “human inventions” are very useful, and even essential to a modern lifestyle.

I think you can see why Ecopsychology just seems so logical for me: it’s modern and yet is a way to contact our deepest roots. We can’t regress, but we can integrate the deepest ecological parts of us with the more modern, technologically inclined parts. And we need to. I have a tattoo of the Celtic god Cernunnos, holding a horned serpent in one hand and in the other a torc, symbols of nature and of human artifice, respectively. He holds them both, mastering both qualities and synthesising them without rejecting one or the other.  This has been a dominant theme throughout my neo-Pagan journey.

National Triad

Three fantasies of nationalism: historical continuity, common identity and political autonomy.

(relating to Separating Nation and State?)

The history of a nation isn’t as smooth and coherent as we’d like to think, the homogeneity and the solidarity of its people leave much to be desired and on a small planet such as Earth, no nation can be considered an island. *

*yes, okay, some nations are islands, but I don’t mean geographically 😉