and in my case, never has a phrase been truer! In the last six months I have experienced two changes of home, a relationship breakdown, health issues and now a change of job from the one that I have done for the last 14 years. There is very little left in my life that is the same, with the exception of immediate family, from just 6 months ago. Unfortunately, as I have found out, age can sometimes add to the problem. But I feel with the commencement of my new job, a new era has started. And there are some positives emerging from this “wind of change” blowing through my life at this time. Who knows, I may even be able to start posting here regularly again shortly!
Category Archives: General
….has a tendency to shake you up just when you don’t expect it. My absence from this and other web based sites has been enforced through life changing circumstances that started originally last November (2010) with my ill fated TDN talk (and I know people who saw it and have been in contact with me since, have said it was a very hard subject to convey and they thought I was OK, it’s just my own uncomfort at the inept way I tried to present the case has left me more than a little uncomfortable as I generally speak OK in public having to deal with the public in “real life” so to speak, every day in my working life!).
It was around this time that problems in my personal life, specifically my marriage, started to present themselves to me. I have been married for over 27 years now and in that time, it has recently struck me how both of us have changed from the people we were when we first married and I may be guilty of viewing my wife with eyes from then and not now. Which is not fair or proper for either of us. So a process of reassessment then took place and I realised that neither of us were the people we were and that we had very little in common now. So now was the time to assess whether we still had enough in common to continue or whether it would be sensible to seperate and restructure our lives seperately.
The latter option would appear to me to the necessary course of action. We have been together for 30 years in total and we have raised 2 kids in that time who are now fully functioning adults with their own lives. My work situation is also now under extreme scrutinity and I am now in a position of having to deal with the security of only a month to month type of security, with the threat of loosing my job looming over me on an almost weekly basis.
So everything that has represented the foundations to my life has been either removed or shaken to the extent of a Japanese earthquake. This would appear to be the ending of one part of my life. A new era beckons….
All the posts relating to my Religion of the Soil hypothesis will very shortly removed from this site and will be exclusively used on this site including my latest piece of related information posted today.
One of the constants in my life is my love of music. And just like as a person I change through time crafted by experience, my musical tastes have changed also. So, in a purely self indulgent kind of a way, I will be posting music here that has had an effect on me. I start with a song off the latest CD I recently brought. I’m not one for profanities normally, but this is just fucking awesome…
The establishment and consequent work done here has been a journey that I had not forseen would involve the volume of materials that I have published. To date, this site has 35 posts at an average of 1100 words per post, a staggering amount of information previously tied up in my head. Therefore, I have decided to take stock, using the advice of a very good friend. I have difficulty accepting there would be any interest in my personal thoughts and as such, my posts have been of primarily a style more suited to academic research as I prefer to offer the facts as I see them and invite people to comment and thus engage in moving things forward. It would appear though, that my style of being able to condense such a large amount of information into these pieces is very problematic in general. Therefore I will endeavour to offer a more bullet point approach and break these down to more managable sizes, which will probably lead to an increase in posting frequency but a sizable reduction in content, more in keeping with personable blogs.
My work with my Religion of the Soil hypothesis has lead me to establish a separate site specifically for this subject, which I now realise is the sensible way forward. Therefore, most of the material relating to this will now be taken off this particular site with a view to effecting the changes I have highlighted above.
As we approach the dark period of the year, this year’s dark period seems to be taking on some unusual significance for me. In the next month, I have my talk to deliver at the TDN conference and the background work I’m engaged in at the moment is providing me with some deep spiritual realizations as to the nature of the interactions I have been engaging in. The effects of the loss of daylight upon human communittees, for example in the Scandinavian countries is well documented. And as a Heating engineer, this time of the year signals the “busy half” of my working year. Yet, the work for the talk has given me some grounding as to the nature of my interactivity with both the human world and the natural world.
I think the biggest problem in today’s global society is that now the world has become a “smaller” place and we realize the scale of the numbers of other humans alive at this time and one can’t help but find themselves questioning what possible influence or difference their own interactions or place may have on any useful outcomes. How could one individual possibly make any difference whatsoever? It easy to slip into a depression if the answer is conceived as “none”.
My work into the Religion of the Soil hypothesis suggests the theological position indicated by a communal burial system is that death somehow “strips” an aspect of individuality away from the deceased by the act and subsequent transformation of the remains of the dead. Clearly, it may have been considered to be the case that a return to a communal ancestry was the desired outcome. Yet, for an organism whose very existence emphasizes the individuality of it’s existence, this presents conflicting emotional responses. We value our individuality, especially if it empowers us to live as fully functioning self reliant entities, but when we don’t “see” the results of our endeavours, and unfortunately in a society increasingly demanding instant results this is often the perceived outcome, then we feel that our actions have failed. We haven’t made a difference.
Yet if it is the case that the result of the transformative process of death is the return to a collective, we are left to wonder why we are given a life form that emphasizes the individual? Why not just have a collective style of life form? Biologically of course, the answer is that we are a collective. A collective of bacteria and other biological processes that somehow conspire to be “greater than the sum of it’s parts”. And therein may lie the answer to our dilemma. The cell in the body is capable of acting as a fully autonomous entity within a collective, capable of all the functions we use to classify it as a living entity, respiration, reproduction and autonomous movement.
So how could one cell have any influence whatsoever on the actions and effects of all the other trillions of similar lifeforms present in our body? Primarily of course, the programming of the cell is the answer. The autonomy of the cell allows for it to react to different situations and the interactivities it engages in may have a consequence for all other cells, for example the creation of a pattern of behaviour that destroys cancerous growths. Therefore the individuality of the cell must give the collective an advantage by which the organism may evolve. If this is indeed the case, then the return of the individual dead to the collective makes more sense and also goes some way to explain why life appears to be programmed to enhance this collective with an individuality based life form.
Of course, not every cell may be as influential as the one that develops the new equipment by which to further enhance the collectives evolution, however, it is the results of this interaction, driving and modifying all the other cells behaviour and the subsequent advantage gained, that points to us that life, by creating individuality, is actually driving a collective. A collective we emerge from and a collective we will ultimately return to. Modern culture suggests that we are only judged on results, but these results are subjective whereas it may be that the fate of the majority of us is that we contribute in less pronounced ways, but contribute, we surely will by the very existence of our individuality.
I was reading the blog of a friend who was expressing that which I have been observing recently, the decline in both content and quality of various pagan forums. I have been giving this some thought as to why this should be. It seems that the peak in interest was probably arrived at around 3 to 5 years ago, I can’t say definitively as I have only frequented the internet for about this length of time and therefore didn’t participate before.
The rise in interest for these forums, it would seem to me, would be directly related with the increases in numbers of people who now have broadband internet connections. I am sure that before this rise in internet connectivity, the methods for people wishing to explore this potential avenue of spirituality was through either personal contacts or mail order type arrangements, potentially placing the material into the perceived “darker” side of society.
The initialization of these forums gave individuals the opportunity to peruse without commitment of either time (to a degree) or financial expenditure (to a lesser degree than the methods described earlier). So, with the corresponding rise in internet use, came a corresponding rise in forum activity. It is indeed my own experience that when I first started to frequent these forums myself, in an effort to both enhance my limited knowledge of the subject matter and to make tentative contact with others, the activity shown on these forums was quite high.
It has been my experience though, that the people who made a good deal of the posts in the earlier times are now, by and large, absent. They were responsible for a lot of the momentum in those times, and a lot of people empathized with their viewpoints (and it has to be stated, a lot of people were also alienated by those very same viewpoints), but it occurs to me, that the effort and possible conclusions of those same people, may have resulted in either burnout or withdrawal into a more secular or isolationist perspective.
It has been my experience that my own style of posting has moved away from the brief conversational type of exchange and I now require a much more in-depth type of interaction whereby the responses needed require more consideration and a better style and length of response. So, I too, find myself becoming more focussed on the content and intellectual quality of a site, as opposed to just a collective of superficially like minds.
The nature of Paganism is also changing, I would suggest. There will always be that initial attraction of a spirituality that promises to deliver an experience that moves away from a humancentric approach, but one may find that the very act of removing those alternative theologies actually leaves a vacuum which as yet to be defined in a universal method. We are finding that the language used to try to define that experience is somewhat lacking, yet, what alternative is there to language? For the creation of a universal empathy to the relationships trying to be defined by this method of communication, there are very little. So we find ourselves with the experience and the, presently, inadequate means by which to communicate such a thing.
In a society that wants and expects instant solutions, for many, this realization leads to the abandonment of such forums and the transient nature of life today and the sheer volume of internet sites offering that very same marketing led next “instant big thing” guides this superficial interest further on.
And yet, this type of action being witnessed actually reflects what actually happened to classical Paganism. Early Paganism was rooted in a tribal / agricultural model of society with individuals being tied to this way of life, leading to the establishment of area defined deities. As these tribes later adopted the oppida type of living, the roles changed and a percentage of these peoples adopted a more migratory style of life as they worked in the armies of the differing empires that had established themselves. Because these people no longer experienced the physicality of their local area, their method of divine interactions also changed. I suspect that this is, to an extent, being reflected in the decline of these Pagan forums at this time through both lifestyle limitations and superficial transitory attitudes.