Sacred Actvism of EcoDruidry
Ecodruids engage in ecological activism. This can be under the flag of Ecodruidry or other organisations, like The Warriors Call or Fridays for Future. We would like to give some principles of activism to Ecodruids. Druids value honour, respect, kindness, courage and authenticity. Don't let you be assimilated under a code of conduct or communication which is not natural to you. Respect minorities and be aware of bullying in activists groups. In doubt leave cult like organisations. Sacred Activism is a way of modern warriorship and some say even the highest form of spirituality. It needs comradeship, trust, confidentiality, vision, goals, strategy and tactics. Activists engage in dynamic and sometimes hostile environments. Even if activists make mistakes, they should never be publicly exposed. This is a code of honour that all activists in a group must be able to rely on. We recommend to reflect and consider the Saint Paul principles of activism, which were adopted by groups like Global Earth Strike, Occupy and others before.
The St. Paul Principles
1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.
2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.
3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.
The industrial age has desecrated the earth. The task of Ecodruids is to consecrate and bless the earth again and make the wasteland bloom again. The activism of the Druids can be loud and contain non-violent civil disobedience. On the other hand, we also appreciate the bardic arts, meditation, humor and nature magic. We try to understand our comrades, even if they express themselves differently than you do. Political correctness is good, but real connection and kindness are better. We create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and differences in age, gender, skin colour, nationality, religion, profession and social class can be bridged. And of course we reject any kind of racism and chauvinism.
We want to achieve a common goal and are dependent on comradeship from all. In action, we care for the well-being of all. We try to recognize the danger of burnout and to avoid it by appropriate measures. Group decisions should be carried out according to democratic rules. Everyone should have the opportunity to be heard. Elected representatives of a group have a special responsibility for the well-being of all members and must keep an eye on the achievement of the goals set. It is sometimes necessary for the members of a group to trust and follow their leaders, even if they are not privy to secret details, the disclosure of which would jeopardise an operation.
There can be different versions of Druid activist vows. You might the following vows inspiring which has been composed by Joanna Macy (Active Hope, p. 202).
By the beauty and sacredness of Earth, Sea and Sky, I vow to myself and to each of you:
To commit myself daily to the healing of our world
and the welfare of all beings.
To live on earth more lightly and less violently
in the food, products, and energy I consume.
To draw strength and guidance from the living Earth,
the ancestors, the future generations, and my siblings
of all species.
To support others in our work for the world
and to ask for help when I need it.
To pursue a daily practice that clarifies my mind,
strengthens my heart, and supports me in observing these vows.
What is Ecodruidry?
Druidry in a wider ecological and philosophical context.
We are experiencing a time of ecological crisis and the outcome could be the end of human society as we know it. Already thousands of other species have died, and the IPCC predicts the extinction of 1 million species in the next decade. Species extinction, climate change, resource depletion, habitat degradation and overpopulation are the five major threats which will lead to collapse if we do not change our course dramatically. The time for shallow ecology is over and deep ecological measures are essential for survival. We all intuitively know that Druidry has a positive effect on our relationship with nature and also on the ecosphere we live in. But how does Druidry relate to and be integrated into the big picture of ecological philosophy and environmental movements?
Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher, invented the term Deep Ecology in 1973 for an environmental grassroots movement and presented a framework where different philosophies and religions can provide fundamental premises from which principles, general views and lifestyles, as well as practical decisions, can be derived. ‘Ecosophy T’ is the name Arne Naess has chosen for his own ecological philosophy, the T referring to Tvergastein, a mountain hut where he wrote many of his books. Naess suggested that there could also be a philosophy A and B or a religion A and B which provide the fundamental premises for Deep Ecology. Following this approach, I propose to call Druid philosophy, religion or culture in the context of Deep Ecology ‘Ecodruidry’, which could also be termed ‘Ecosophy D’.
The Deep Ecology framework is illustrated in the so-called Apron diagram.
The general level 2 Platform Principles of Deep Ecology are derived from the level 1 Premises of a specific Ecosophy:
• The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on Earth have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.
• Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves
• Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital human needs
• The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.
• Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening
• Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
• The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
• Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.
These principles can be reduced to three simple propositions:
• Wilderness and biodiversity preservation
• Human population planning by non-violent measures like better health service and social & pension systems, education, jobs. Here we must keep in mind, that industrial countries have a much higher impact on resource consumption and CO2 emissions and this goal must not lead to blaming less developed countries for getting too much babies.
• Simple living (or treading lightly on the planet)
From the general platform principles, individual non-concrete level 3 lifestyles and practical level 4 conclusions and recommendations, such as OBOD´s Campaign for Ecological Responsibility and the Sacred Grove program, can be derived. According to Deep Ecology the Platform Principles should be the same for all philosophies, but Ecodruidry can define own principles it the general principles turn out to be incompatible with Druidry.
Let us now compare Arne Naess´ Ecosophy T with likely elements of Ecosophy D. Naess composed norms and hypotheses, with ‘Self-realization’ as the ultimate norm, out of which he derived further norms such as Diversity, Complexity, Symbiosis, Local autonomy, No exploitation, and Self-determination. His ultimate norm ‘Self-realization’ very much resonates with the druidic ideals of ‘Wholeness’ and 'Connection', as opposed to ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Perfection’ in other religions. Wholeness and Connection also include our natural and bodily selves, which are embraced in Druidry. Self-realization includes a widening and deepening of the self and develops the Eco-self, or Self with a capital letter. Traditionally the Self is depicted as developing through the stages of ego-self, social-self and metaphysical self, completely overlooking our vital connection to the natural world around us. By identifying with the direct environment, one develops the Eco-Self, with the effect that environmental activism is no longer perceived as an act of altruism for something outside the Self, but as an act of Self-defence.
Furthermore, a bodhisattva ideal, the Buddhist intention to gain enlightenment for the good of all beings, automatically arises from the most basic norms starting with norm N1, ‘Self-realization!’, from which three hypotheses are derived: H1: The higher the Self-realization attained, the broader and deeper the identification with others. H2: The higher the level of Self-realization attained, the more its further increase depends upon the Self-realization of others. H3: Complete Self-realization depends on that of all. This leads to norm N2: ‘Self-realization for all living beings!’. The Druid path includes all of these ingredients as well. Druids seek to come into contact with nature and identify deeply with it. As Druids, we strive for ‘Wholeness!’, or the awakening of the Mabon, for the sake of all beings. This results in the intention to be of service to the human and non-human community.
To conclude, the Ecodruidry philosophy proposed here shows how Druidry supports ecological consciousness and sacred activism for Mother Earth. Ecodruidry provides a source of inspiration and a starting point from which other spiritualities, such as Joanna Macy´s dharmic Deep Ecology, can be integrated. Critical opinions of deep ecology should also be evaluated and considered when moving forward with an enfolding druidic ecological philosophy.
If you like the idea of Ecodruidry, please join the Facebook community via https://www.facebook.com/groups/Ecodruidry/
I am Stefan Kaiser, a Druid and environmental activist living in Germany.