Song for the Nine

This is a song for the nine
who stood against fracking:
the nine who stood firm
the nine who stood
against the tyrants’ gall.

This is a song for the nine
who stood for land and people:
Little Plumpton,
Roseacre,
democracy and hope.

This is a song for the nine
who stood for Lancashire:
clean rivers,
unfractured land,
our children free from harm.

This is a song for the nine
the nine we will remember
for standing firm
standing for us
in centuries of song.

~

This song came to me near whole and of its own accord the morning after Cuadrilla’s proposal to frack at Little Plumpton was refused by Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee 9-4 (2 abstained).

I e-mailed it to Peter Dillon, who was also involved in the protests. He told me that night he’d dreamt of a tune. With a few tweaks it fit the wording perfectly and  wasn’t far off the tune I had when the song came to me.

I’ve sent a copy with a thank you e-mail to the nine at Devcon today. We may be singing it somewhere in Preston soon.

Lancashire Says FRACK OFF!

lornasmithers:

After a tense five days the people of Lancashire win their fight against fracking and for democracy.

Originally posted on GODS & RADICALS:

Mr Frackhead
“I’m going to frack here! I’m going to frack there! I’m going to frack every-fracking-where!”– Mr Frackhead

It has been a fraught five days in Lancashire. On Tuesday 23rd of June decisions amongst fifteen members of Lancashire County Council’s Development Control Committee began on Cuadrilla’s applications to drill and hydraulically fracture (frack) four wells at Roseacre and Little Plumpton on Preston New Road. Beforehand Mr Perigo (the Senior Planning Officer for LCC) had suggested Roseacre be refused and Little Plumpton should go ahead.

On the Tuesday I was part of a crowd of protestors who gathered outside Preston’s County Hall. Preston New Road Action Group, Roseacre Awareness Group, Frack Free Lancashire and Friends of the Earth came together with numerous other anti-fracking and environmental groups and local individuals to stand against Cuadrilla’s application.

I had to leave on Tuesday afternoon because I had taken temporary admin work that demanded…

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A Change of Heart: Reflections on Paganism Inspired by the Pope’s Encyclical

I recently finished reading Pope Francis’ Encyclical: ‘Laudato Si’ (‘Praise be to you’) ‘On Care of our Common Home’. Although there are vast theological differences between Catholic Christianity and my Pagan path as an Awenydd, it is clearly an inspired piece of writing and powerful call for change.

At the centre of the Encyclical lies the Pope’s concern for the earth and the poor. His main argument is that our destruction of the earth and mistreatment of its inhabitants (human and non-human) stems from consumer society and the selfishness and emptiness of heart it creates. He calls Christians to enter a ‘painful awareness’ of our current ecological crisis and convert to more ecologically sound ways of living. For the strength to meet this challenge he prompts them to turn to God, the wisdom of the Bible and their saints and mystics.

The power of the Pope’s Encyclical highlights areas in Paganism where care for others and divine inspiration are lacking. Most problematic is its focus on self-development and complicity with commercialism. This has led to an effluence of market-driven self-help, how-to and spell books promising easy methods of spiritual and material gain. Their false veneer obscures the idiosyncrasies and difficulties of lived religion based on authentic relationships with others.

Tendencies toward psychologisation and demystification are responsible for the lack of divine inspiration. How can we find the wonder and awe needed to meet life’s challenges if the gods are mere archetypes or aspects of the self rather than real, awe-inspiring others? When visions of our deities are personifications resulting from a naive unscientific worldview?

Another problem is that, unlike Christians, Pagans do not have a two thousand year old tradition to learn from. Whilst the roots of Paganism are ancient, as a modern religion, it is very new. Our ways of communicating with the land, gods and ancestors are early in development. Our myths are fragmentary, heavily Christianised, scattered and obtuse. Too often they are over-simplified or psychologised. We lack not only the hermeneutics necessary to re-discover their significance for today but, more importantly, the courage to live them alongside our gods with conviction and belief.

Because mysticism is a topic either avoided or sniffed at in Pagan circles there is an over-arching tendency to avoid seeking and talking about deeper experiences of the divine. This has led to the stultification of mystical tradition within Paganism, the rule of superficiality and lack of inspiration not only in the market but at moots and camps.

However, more positively, over the last decade a number of Pagans have recognised these problems and begun to establish alternatives. A prime example is the formation of The Druid Network; a one hundred per cent volunteer run (dis)organisation eschewing system and hierarchy and promoting respectful relationship with the whole of nature.

Another is the development of the ‘twin paths’ of devotional polytheism and spirit work. These focus on devotion and service to gods and spirits viewed as real, independent persons. Direct encounters are central. A growing amount of devotional polytheists and spirit workers are sharing experiences and encouraging others to do the same. (I see my path as an Awenydd to correspond with these twin paths within Brythonic tradition).

More recently Rhyd Wildermuth set up Gods & Radicals: a website uniting Pagans in ‘beautiful resistance’ to capitalism. This has created a space for Pagans to share perspectives on how our religious beliefs and practices can be channelled into opposing the system which is destroying the earth and degrading the poor. Gods & Radicals also supports those questing to find alternatives through deeper experiences of the land, deities, ancestors and otherworlds.

Whilst there are signs a change of heart is taking place (not only within Paganism and Christianity but other religious and non-religious movements) there are also very real signs of increasing oppression, including here in Britain, with the impending abolition of the Human Rights Act, cuts in benefits and the threat of fracking.

At the heart of the matter lies the fact that change has never been easy, risk-free or painless. Every revolution has its casualties. We stand on the terrifying edge of a pivotal point where each choice we make and each action we take could sway the balance between those willing to fight for the earth and its inhabitants and those responsible for oppression.

Yet on that edge we meet gods, spirits and ancestors who guide and inspire us. Remind us others have walked these paths before. Of how lucky we are to live at a time when we are free to engage with deities and enter the spirit world to seek inspiration without risk of ostricism or execution.

History teaches us our current liberties are not set in stone. Changes can be reversed by repressive and regressive movements and governments. Hence we need to pour every ounce of our vision and effort into maintaining the reforms our ancestors fought for and creating a juster, fairer, more caring and deeply inspired world.

Four Wells

Four wells at Preston New Road.
Four wells at Roseacre.
Four wells in the darkness
between drilling and decision.

Four wells of steel meets shale.
Four wells boring into the mind.
Four wells of screaming poison.
Four wells of deadly sands of time.

Four wells where gas the question
scorches ears of invisible skies.
Four wells? An uneasy whisper
from underworld gods.

Four wells to decide the future.
Four wells of choice. Four wells of trembling.
By the word on four wells our land
will be saved or destroyed.

~

This is a poem I sent to Lancashire County Council’s Development Management Group along with more logical reasons why I am opposed to Caudrilla’s drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of four wells at Preston New Road and Roseacre. Protests at the County Hall will be beginning tomorrow (Wed 23rd June) as LCC make their final decision about Caudrilla’s application. For more information on how to register opposition by e-mail and join the protest see Frack Free Lancashire’s website.

Sign for fracking protest

Below are some photos from when I visited the potential fracking site at Preston New Road. The area is cordoned off and anti-trespassing notices are in place. It looks like work has already been done to prepare it for the drilling rig.

Edwina Walk, Penwortham Live 022 - CopyPreston New RoadEdwina Walk, Penwortham Live 028 - CopyEdwina Walk, Penwortham Live 054 - Copy

TPE Wk 17: Gwythyr ap Greidawl.

lornasmithers:

For the summer solstice… a thoughtful post from sidhebecomesknight focusing on Gwythyr ap Greidol as a Summer King and exploring the paradoxes inherent in his battle with Gwyn ap Nudd for the love of Creiddylad until the end of time.

The fire on Winter Hill ten days ago and the continuously turbulent weather seem to be sure signs that their battle continues…

Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday 11th June

Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday 11th June

Originally posted on Rose Is Reign:

Any writing on the letters G or H.

The afternoon glittered with golden sunshine, light peeking through tree limbs and glistening on the leaves; I sat out on my stoop, watching and thinking. I wondered over winter and summer, pondered Gwyn and His counterpart Gwythyr ap Greidawl, and was surprised to realise how little I knew of the latter.

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Threads of Pollen

Bee on dandelionOver the past couple of years I have been involved in planting and maintaining a wildflower meadow in Greencroft Valley in Penwortham. One of the reasons is to provide sustenance for bees who are dependent on pollen as their solitary food source.

The importance of bees as pollinators of agricultural crops has been brought to the forefront over the last decade following incidents of Colony Collapse Disorder whereby worker bees disappear leaving behind the queen and her young.

Studies have revealed Colony Collapse Disorder may be caused by neonicotinoids; insecticides of a similar composition to nicotine which are used on flowering crops. This led to the placement of a ban on neonicotinoids by the European Commission.

Neonicotinoid companies have recently been pushing for a lift on the ban. I’ve signed petitions against this put forward by 38 degrees and written a more personal e-mail to South Ribble’s Conservative MP, Seema Kennedy, stating my opposition as a local environmental volunteer.

Seema’s reply was disappointing. She stated that whilst she recognised the importance of bees in pollinating our agricultural produce she does not think ‘the Commission’s response is either safe or proportionate’ and will be supporting further research and a review of the ban.

A debate about this took place in the House of Lords on June 17th and it looks like, following research, the ban will be reviewed.

***

If the ban is lifted, this will be bad news for bees. It will also be symptomatic of our failure to recognise that pollen and the labour of bees are the currency of life upon which our agricultural society in Britain depends.

That our Celtic and Germanic ancestors saw mead (which is made from honey) as the most sacred of drinks and offered it to the spirits of the land and the gods suggests they held deep knowledge of this.

My deity has signalled his awareness of the effortful drunken labour of the bees, their dizzy ecstasy, the fall of their pollen-coated furred bodies on our roads and waysides whilst drinking from the golden cup.

Our lives and even the lives of the gods depend on others. It is this fundamental reverence, respect for and recognition of others our society has lost.

This can only lead to one thing: Exploitation.

Six of Stones: Exploitation was a card drawn from the Wildwood Tarot in a reading I received last night. Six bee hives stand on stones, abandoned, representing Colony Collapse Disorder. An old man and a young woman wander ragged with empty bowls, the tools of agriculture broken behind them. A distant fire rages through fields of un-pollinated crops.

This card symbolises the fate we face if we do not recognise the true currency of life is not money but pollen and its golden threads woven by bees between the flowers of generations filling the air we breathe sinking slowly in layers with winged bodies and the bones of our ancestors to the halls of our underworld gods.

By threads of pollen and by bees we are united in life and in death with the land, our ancestors and the gods. Break this bond and we are lost.

If you’re not telling your story then who is?

lornasmithers:

A affirmative and uplifting piece from Nina George. Much needed!

Originally posted on breathing fire into who we are:

20140711_153236

It came to me in a dream one morning. I woke up thinking one word. I thought:

Visibility.

I started to think about visible versus hidden and I knew that it was very important. I woke up thinking that it was THE answer. I didn’t really know why, I just knew.

Why then? Why is visibility the key?

Visible – because when our wounds are hidden, they can be used against us, in obvious or more subtle ways. If we are ashamed about it, we can have an ‘Achilles heel’ way of thinking about it. Of course we should go underground when our wounds are fresh. Tend to them. Go slow. Be gentle. Lick them, or get cared for by our tribe. At these times, surround yourself with care and those who care.  When our wounds are healed, we may have a scar for the rest of our lives that…

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