Ah. The weekend. Always a great time to write. And a reminder that life occasionally has to take a break. We can’t run at full speed all the time. Sometimes, we just have to stop to catch our collective breath and take a seat. I’m no different than anyone else in that regard. The nice part of those kind of stops is all the communication that takes place.
In the last post, Thinking About: What Makes a Druid a Druid? I did a little impromptu research. In other words, I pulled a few books off the shelf, and started reading to find stuff that might help explain the point I was making. All that reading got me dwelling deeper and deeper into Philip Carr–Gomm’s book “What Do Druids Believe?” As I kept reading, I started seeing new creases that I could bring myself towards within the blog. At the beginning of the chapter “Druidry in the Future”, Philip adds a quote from John Michael Greer.
The approaching transformation requires people, groups, and communities to be ready to preserve legacies for the future, so that as the vast tottering structure of industrial civilization comes apart, seeds can be planted that will bear fruit in times to come. I suggest that the Druid community prepare itself to fill that role, and to save and plant those seeds. –John Michael Greer, Druidry and the Future.
Now, a few points of personal reference. First, my background is in Information Technology, a field that continually re-invents itself cycle after cycle with new hardware and software changes. In that field, there is a lot of derision laid down at the feet of older technology. Essentially, each change forgets the history that it came from – discarding it as “non-essential,” “old and useless,” and “not worthy of examination.” As an amateur technology Historian, I disagree. Sometimes an older design, while being more simplistic and less elegant, turns out to be just the approach that is necessary. So, in that regard, I agree with Greer. Older aspects of Pagan traditions should always be acknowledged and remembered – even if its not used. Much like technology, magickal techniques, ritual approaches, and individual understandings of the Otherworld and the Gods, can evolve over time. Remembering where things came from, and how we got to where we are are just as important as understanding where and how things will evolve in the future.
I do disagree with Greer about the “crumbling” aspect of industrialized society. This will be a point that a lot of my friends will disagree with me on. There’s a lot of desire to see the industrialized, over-built creature known as capitalism to finally come to a grinding halt. I agree that a change would be ideal, but just like technology continues to move forward and change as new procedures are realized and new hardware that is more precise and faster is produced – governmental concepts also morph and change…..slowly. Technology moves at a lightning pace, governmental and societal changes occur at a far slower pace. As newer, younger faces arrive on the political scene, those changes will occur slowly as their numbers increase, and the numbers of the “old guard” decrease. Now, circling back to the future of Paganism, and the seeds that are being planted…
The change is going to occur within Paganism. The younger generation is growing up. They are young adults now. Where most of us in the “old guard” came to Paganism with the baggage from our trip on the Christian faiths, many of these younger Pagans grew up with Paganism as part of their daily lives. They come to Paganism with a far different, and in many respects, a far more open mindset than we did. There’s not a lot of de-programming that needs to take place with these folks. And just like technology so easily discards and discounts the past – that danger is ever present. Our preservation of our histories and the ties to the modern aspects of Paganism are something we may need to take a much more serious look at.
Sure, I grok the point. Here’s a mid-50s Pagan talking about preserving the Pagan past because I don’t want to see what I have done slide under the waves in the oceans of History. Its a valid point, and there is a grain of truth in all of that. However, I can look back throughout my thirty-plus years in Paganism, and see where I have tweaked and changed my own approach to my Paganism. Nine Hells, I’ve been on this Path of Druidry for a short while as well. I can see where I have made changes, adapted to new techniques, and even discarded perspectives that just didn’t work. My times in Wicca are a long ways back in my personal history. But I remember where I came from. I have a few notebooks that go back to that time frame that have my observations. I might not do things that way anymore, but I still have to realize why I tried it, along with why I eventually altered or changed it. I never knew when I might need one of those techniques going into the future.
Greer also mentioned a planting of seeds for the future. I see those seeds growing with the current younger generation of Pagans. I also see their kids being brought to Pagan gatherings. Folks, these are just little kids. I know a lot of folks that ignore or avoid kids at gatherings. I try not to. The impression I leave on them will help inform them what Pagans are like. Treat them with respect, they will remember that into the future – even if they choose a different Path. Planting those seeds doesn’t necessarily mean “more Pagans” but rather “better potential relations with other Paths in the future.”
So what is the future of Druidry? I honestly have no idea. I know I’ll be a Druid, a Pagan, a Polytheist – until I shuffle off the mortal coil of this existence and move towards whatever awaits beyond the veil. I see the younger generation of Druids, Pagans, and Polytheists – and in their eyes I see the future. It will be whatever they shape it to be. Hopefully, we are good enough role models that they shape it in a responsible, meaningful way. I only hope that we, as the elder generation, realize that we don’t get to define what is meant by “responsible” and “meaningful” in their perspectives.