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Wanted: a Druidry for the end of our world

‘Pareidolia’ is the trait humans have for seeing patterns which aren’t really there – such as seeing a rabbit on the moon, or Elvis in an oddly shaped carrot. In my case, it’s seeing the end of the world in a patch of damp plaster on the wall. 

Still, one of the key tenets of Iolo Morganwg’s Bardism is “Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd” – The Truth Against the World. As Druids, we need to find out what is true – and we need to champion it even when it is unpopular or unpalatable.

My home needs some urgent work done before next winter – when it rains, water seeps through the wall. It’s not going to get done. 

Since the beginning of the year, I tried hard to get a builder to agree to do the work. Few of them even returned my calls. Of the few who came to look at the house and give me a quote, most never got back in touch and/or were clearly cowboys. Eventually I found a local company with a good reputation who agreed to do the work, though it was going to be very expensive. Still, we signed a contract and I paid a substantial deposit – several thousand pounds. Last week, after three months of doing nothing, they told me they would need to raise the cost by 25% – which I can’t afford – and that even then they wouldn’t be able to start work until next year. We agreed to cancel the contract, and they have returned my deposit.

No other companies are interested. They all say the same things: they can’t get skilled workers, and they can’t get any materials. This isn’t a surprise – it’s been reported for some time, given the number of converging crises.

The question is: how long will it last? The answer is not likely to be comforting: I suspect that in fact we will never go back to where we were, and this situation is here to stay. There isn’t going to be much new construction, or work on existing structures. That’s going to have a big impact on both homes, offices, and retail  – and it won’t be good. How will it play out? That remains to be seen – but there will be more and more people who, like me, dread the rain.

At the same time, it was announced that families in the UK will be facing substantial increases in the price of energy next winter, in part because renewables aren’t producing enough. That’s the energy that they use to heat their homes, to keep the lights on, and to cook. That’s going to be very hard on many households and, given our ongoing dependency on depleting fossil fuels, that’s also going to get worse.

In fact, within ten years, the combination of depleting natural resources, pollution, demographics, and other factors means that it will no longer be possible to have a growing economy. That’s the opinion of a KPMG analyst who looked again at the models of the 1968 ‘Limits to Growth’ using today’s data:

Another way of putting that is to say within 10 years we will be in a recession that will never end, with less and less economic activity every year.

At the same time, we see huge fires and unbearable temperatures in the West of the Americas, in Siberia, in Turkey – and who knows where else, that isn’t being reported. We see floods in Britain, in Germany, and in the eastern Americas… This is only going to get worse, and we are not ready. Extreme weather will be the norm and UK is not prepared, scientists warn.

We’re going to need to completely rebuild our transport and power infrastructure to cope with the effects of climate change – but we don’t have the resources to do it any more. That means roads, railways, pipelines, and power lines being flooded, or buckling in the heat, and we won’t be able to replace them – and this will probably become evident to everybody within the next ten years.

In fact, the possibility that we might be on the edge of social and economic collapse is seriously being talked about now:

As the author of the KMPG paper says, all is not lost; there is still time to change the way we live in order to avoid the worst. I’m not holding my breath, though. We are where we are because people have ignored warnings for decades; I don’t think they will change until they are forced to.

So if you’ve read this far, you know that at least you have a decade to try to prepare. Imagine your life from 2030 onwards, in a world of perpetual, ever-worsening recession. How will you live?

If you’re following the path of Druidry, you have options. People will always want entertainment. They’ll need new stories, to make sense of the new world. People will need non-pharmaceutical forms of health care, and hospitals and clinics won’t be around so much. 

And people will need spiritual guidance. As things fall apart, and all the stories we used to tell ourselves no longer match our reality, how should we live as part of a collapsing society? What will give us meaning? What values should guide our choices and our actions? How do we explain suffering?

Does your Druidry have answers to these questions?

 

3 replies on “Wanted: a Druidry for the end of our world”

I embrace the collapse. It reminds me of the apocalypse in London in the 1660’s – fire, plague, social disorder, corruption and war. Perhaps also like what happened when the tower of Babel fell. Society returning to a simpler life. Smaller communities, bonded by their stories and history, fending for themselves. Evolutionary time will reassert herself – a slowdown of life. Language will devolve into regional accents and slowly into totally separate languages. Races and peoples will also devolve into much more diverse groupings. Nature will reassert its great power of natural attraction, preference and discrimination. Total economic collapse will bring us back to face the reality of the world – Mother Nature at her fiercest but also her most abundant. We will no longer have time for the frivolities of modern life. Life will be hard but more fulfilling, more rewarding. We will re-embrace the seasons, the heat and the cold. Natural remedies will return. Plagues will be accepted for what they are – Mother Nature restoring balance to the world. The end of electricity, the return of the Stars. It will be a time for truly Great Leaders, many will apply, few will be heard.

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New to your writing, good article, and yes I think Druidry is one of many great options for spirituality in such a future.

I’m glad to live in an apartment building that was sturdily built and handles high and low temperatures well. We have to insulate our windows, but everything else has good bones.

I’m working through the Dolmen Arch course with AODA. Do you have a version of Barddas you recommend? I’m looking at one from Red Wheel Press from 2004. Thank you. (Apologies if this shows up more than ones. WP was glitching something fierce.)

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Ooh, this is such interesting stuff. Right to the heart of the matter. I hope you can get your wall fixed soon. Is there any prospect of putting a lean-to over that side of the house to bypass the leaky part?

I have definitely gone for investment in skills over the past twenty years, focusing on ‘being able to do useful things’. Plenty still to work on but I am building my own confidence that I am useful to have around. And your point about spirituality — that is absolutely it. I feel that I am standing on a rock. I know the voice of my saviour, and I am guided and protected.

Apologies for not getting the hang of your comment section right away, I commented on https://barddas.org/2021/05/30/thoughts-from-the-orthodox/ but I think I ‘replied to another comment’ rather than seeing the main ‘Leave a reply’ box down here at the bottom of the page. Great writing, always something to think about here.

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