Sustainability – why it matters

I realised that I should share this article here.  I wrote this during 2016, just before I was made redundant from my role as a sustainability consultant.  It’s appeared in a number of places, yet I have refrained from posting it here until now, although I have no idea why.  The core message is important, the implicit one even more so.  Here then is the article that I hope will spark some ideas.  I hope you cry, change your life, smile, or carry on regardless — just do something!

 

Sustainability is one of the few issues which concerns everyone – regardless of faith, economic status or nationality.  For those of a religious persuasion, there is the moral aspect towards responsible stewardship of the Earth and life which is inherently divine in origin.  For those of a scientific atheist nature, there is the simply need to balance increased demand against dwindling resources.  2015 saw scientists from Stanford University and Universidad Autónoma de México declare that we had effectively entered the sixth mass extinction; the previous one infamously ended the age of the dinosaurs.

Given that scientists estimate life began on Earth around 4,000 million years ago, then the existence of homo-sapiens for the last 200,000 years (estimated) accounts for around 0.005% of that timeframe, then the impact of homo-sapiens upon the planet is extraordinary.  The scope of changes to the planet brought forth by homo-sapiens is even more amazing if you consider that we were nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes of small populations until the rise of agriculture around 10,000 years ago; civilisation as we know it rising out of the deserts some 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley of India and Pakistan.  In such a brief period of time, we have sculpted the land to our needs, eradicated hostile species we saw as threats, destroyed forests and built urban jungles in their place and mined the natural resources out of the Earth.  To refine the focus to a time period that is barely 150 years of that 4,000-million-year timeframe – the Industrial revolution saw the great explosion of homo-sapiens and our impact.  We consumed resources at a faster rate than ever and burnt forests and coal seems to fuel our machines.  Our increase in wealth and technological advancement saw science advance at a pace which surpassed the Enlightenment and the Scientific revolution.  Driven by these advances, we saw a population boom, fuelled by increased wealth, sustained by increased means to harvest food stuffs from around the world and sustained by advances in medical care.  The total population of Earth never exceeded 1 billion people until around 1800; it reached 2 billion in 1927, 3 billion in 1960 and then accelerated to over 7.4 billion today, with over 62 million people born in the first half of 2016[i].

Our growing population is rapidly outstripping the Earth’s ability to provide food, water and resources.  Yet, the disparity of wealth and resource access is also alarming: estimates for the number of undernourished people alive today place the figure at around 760 million, yet the estimate for the number of overweight people is more than twice that at 1,626 million.   Any conversation as to the scarcity of food and resources inherently includes a discussion as to the ability of the Earth to provide for a given population, yet we are unable to even share the existing resources equally and fairly between us and thus, we have a distribution issue to address firstly before discussion as to the maximum food yield of the planet.

Food is not the only resource which we consume at an outstanding rate.  Water, wood, minerals, metals and animals are all harvested by our industrial processes, to provide for our consumer needs.  In 2016, over 4 million hectares of forest were lost.  Driven by mining, farming and logging, the loss of these trees as a carbon capture and oxygen production facility is not the only impact.  The rainforest is home to millions of animal species and the loss of these ecosystems is devastating to many, sometimes undiscovered, species.  Once we reap the raw materials from the land, we typically enter them into some industrial process.  These processes often include the use of toxic chemicals; it is estimated that so far this year, over 4.2 million tonnes of toxic chemicals have been released into the environment.  It has been suggested by the WWF that we are currently consuming the planets resources at a rate of three times the ability to regenerate them, with Europe alone consuming an estimated 30% more resources than can be replenished.

Our neo-enlightenment age of the internet has been instrumental in the open sharing of knowledge to those who seek it.  Yet, our technological advances come at a price.  The energy consumed by both industry and consumers it rapidly increasing as we add an expanding array of equipment such as computers, tablet computers, mobile phones, Wi-Fi hotspots etc.  Over 300 million MWh of energy has been used in the first half of 2016 and over 83% of that is produced through non-renewable resources.  You may have a ‘green’ or ‘renewable’ energy contract, yet you still use the same electricity as everyone else.  Currently, the UK average fuel mix for electricity is only 19.3% renewable[ii].  There are more cars on the world’s roads than ever before, driving the consumption of oil towards what is likely to be the first major worldwide wake-up call to highlight the consumption of non-renewable fuel sources.  The carbon and other toxic pollutants emitted by oil burning processes may not concern the average consumer, yet the cost escalation and ultimate shortages of oil will do given that the oil industry estimates less than 38 years of oil is left at current consumption rates.  By reducing our demand for ‘energy’ from fossil fuels, we ultimately reduce the business case for operations such as fracking and oil drilling in the Arctic.  Protests and legal cases will achieve somethings, but money talks and can influence any government.  The only way to combat the influence of money is to reduce its value, a value that is driven by our appetite for fossil fuels.

In view of an ever-increasing global population and consumer driven needs to harvest greater masses of resources, even toxic ones, from the Earth, then we are evidently on the cusp of a disaster.  With global temperature rises threatening major changes to sea levels with consequences to land mass, the potential for overcrowding is a very real risk.  Changes to weather patterns caused by changes to saline levels of the seas and levels of gases such as carbon dioxide further raise the risk of major changes to the regions which are inhabitable, possibly driving emigration and overcrowding, with the very real risks of resource driven wars.

When asked “what is sustainability?” many people think of recycling waste, solar panels and planting trees.  All of these actions are valuable, yet they are inherently symbolic and fail to address the major issue.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines sustainability as “conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources”, and as something “able to be sustained.”  The two definitions are intrinsically linked.  In order to sustain life upon Earth, specifically the continued existence of homo-sapiens, then we need to conserve the equilibria of the ecosystem.   How we achieve this task is the real challenge.

Every moment of our lives contributes towards or against sustainability. The very fact that we are alive and breathing means that we are consuming oxygen, expelling carbon dioxide, giving off body-heat and producing bodily waste.  All of these products are however natural, yet there are many arguments against cattle farming centred upon the methane emissions of cattle whilst nobody ever suggests a cull of homo-sapiens in order to reduce our emissions!  Every part of the world with which we interact on a daily basis affects the sustainability of our lives.  The food we eat has a carbon, energy and chemical footprint; the clothes we wear have huge footprints; the technology we have come to rely upon has a huge footprint.  Every choice we make to wear something, eat something and use something throughout the day creates an impact.  It is estimated that for a UK citizen, 75%[iii] of our carbon footprint is generated by the products we buy and use.   Go ahead, feel good about your organic cotton – the reality is that cotton is one of the most water intensive crops on the planet and is only able to be grown in the regions typically with water shortages; farmers divert scarce water supplies towards their cotton fields and cause drought.  If you own a pair of denim jeans, they could have used up to 10,000 Litres of water to grow the cotton.  Such detail may seem pedantic, yet this is the reality of ‘real’ sustainability – detail is key and that is without even touching on the ethical sourcing concerning the very real ‘human cost’ of those who work to produce the goods which we consume.

Truly sustainable living would regress towards the socio-commercial models of antiquity, yet a complete abandonment of the capitalist model is unlikely.  Whilst we are not all able to embrace the sustainability of an ‘off-the-grid’ lifestyle without mains electricity and water etc., we can encompass key components into our everyday lives in order to reduce our impact upon the planet.  The final goal must be to ‘farm’ ourselves, thus managing our resources and our consumption of it as if we were managing a herd of endangered species upon a nature reserve.  The sad truth is, that the humans are an endangered herd that is need of management.  The nature of that management is beyond the scope of this short article.  A review of Plato’s the Republic is a fine beginning however, and is to be interwoven with the basics of farming and resource management.

 

The basics of sustainability

 

Transparency is the basic requirement.  Only if we know where our products and services come from are we then able to ensure that they meet our criteria.  As mentioned above, organic cotton is great in terms of reduced pesticides and water pollution, yet the real question we have to ask is if it is responsibly sourced such as through the Better Cotton Initiative which helps train cotton farmers to reduce their impact.  Your choice to remove meat from your diet, for ethical and/or sustainability purposes, may see you substitute it with Soy.  Issues with the traceability of Soy mean that it is highly likely your Soy is sourced from South America where it is linked with deforestation for farming.  There are responsibly sourced Soy options with certification by either the RTRS (Round Table on Responsible Soy) or ProTerra.  If you eat meat, then the impact of large scale farming has both sustainability and moral issues for you to consider.  It should also be noted that the WWF recently reported that the average European consumes around 61kg of Soy each year, embedded within meat and dairy products.

One of the most basic steps towards a more sustainable consumption of products is to adopt a local sourcing policy.  Strawberries in February may be enjoyable, yet importing fruits from South Africa for an all-year round offering is not sustainable.  Some are lucky enough to have a local farm shop or farmers market where seasonal and locally produced produce is available.  Where this is not an option, then a basic selection of British produce negates some of the issues associated with the import of produce.  Local produce is at least subject to the environmental controls imposed by UK law, something that you can apply pressure to your MP to push for change if there are aspects that are lacking in ethical sustainability, whereas you have no say how something is produced on the other side of the world.  Whilst you may not live near the sea, you can source fish from UK waters, rather than Cod from Alaska.  Such also enable you to make the moral choice to opt for fish caught by sustainable and regulated fishing methods.

As soon as we think of waste, the first instinct is to think of recycling.  Recycling our waste is a great thing, yet it does not reduce the impact of producing that waste in the first instance.  By not buying more than we need, we reset the supply and demand ratio so that production quantities will invariably decline in response to the reduced demand. The minimisation of waste is the key action that we should all take.  France recently made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away unsold food, driving a behavioural change to minimise ‘over-stocking’.   As well as sourcing local produce, you may have the option to grow your own.  No food is more sustainable than that which you grow yourself and can ensure it is organic and pesticide free as you wish, with the small scale of your production having a minimal ecological impact.   You can even provide your own fertiliser and compost with a wormery and recycle any food waste you do have!

There is no need to adopt a vegan diet either, a balanced diet is increasingly favoured by the likes of Simon Fairlie.  Whilst large scale cattle farming has a huge impact upon the environment in a number of ways, yet livestock do also play an important role in the ecosystem and in supporting biodiversity.  Balance, as with so many things, is the key.  By reducing the amount of meat you consume weekly, you can reduce the demand for meat, in turn reducing the livestock levels and their negative impacts.  The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations defines a sustainable diet as “…diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition… protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems… economically fair and affordable…”[iv]  The Eatwell[v] guide plate offers guidance as to a nutritionally balanced diet, which is also beneficial towards the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.

We have all been guilty of buying too-much when we go shopping and ending up with uneaten food put into a bin or composter. It is not just food either.  How many of us select a new mobile phone every year or second year, without concern as to if the old one was still a functional phone and the massive impacts of the toxic metals used within mobile phones?  The same applies to new tablet computers, new cars whilst the old one was still working perfectly fine.  Our capitalist society runs on the proliferation of the fashionable consumer mentality.  Cessation of the impulse to obtain the latest technology or trend is a great first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

We all have wardrobes that have more clothes and accessories in than we realistically need.  The fashion industry runs on seasonal changes, yet the designers who profit from our seasonal wardrobes inevitably have a key ‘style’ to which they adhere and avoid ‘fashion’.  Fashion is just a trend, following in the path of what everyone else is wearing.  Surely, we are not afraid of being ‘different’ and ‘individual’?  Find your style and refine your wardrobe to suit, responsibly sourced of course, and reduce your purchases of new items to only that which is truly required and confine those impulse purchases to the recycling bin.

There are other key actions you can take to reduce your impact.  Make your home more efficient with insulation, double-glazing and energy saving lighting.  Making use of daylight rather than artificial light will also reduce electricity consumption.  Solar panels are viable if your roof direction and pitch is suitable.  Repair and reuse furniture – a coat of paint can change and renew the life of an old set of drawers and the impact of the paint (water-based or low-VOC for sustainability) is far less than that of new furniture.  You can alter the way in which you travel and support your fitness as you do so.  Walking and cycling are great, yet the impact of a peak-time train is infinitely smaller than that of a car journey.

You can reduce the impact of your clothes; research suggests that as much as 39% of the environmental impact of any item of clothing is in the way it is washed and ironed.  Make your clothes last longer with a variety of approaches including washing only as needed, washing at a lower temperature, line drying and ironing only when necessary.  Some great tips are available at: http://www.clevercare.info/en. Repair and alter your clothes rather than replacing them, then make sure that they go into a recycling scheme when you can no longer make use of them.  With the prevalence of textile recycling schemes on the high street, there is no excuse to not recycle fabrics.  With companies such as I:CO (http://www.ico-spirit.com/en/homepage/) running textile recycling for companies such as H&M and Puma, then the drive to reuse textiles is gaining pace.  The benefit of such a scheme is that they are also pushing for the separation and reuse of fibres from old clothing which can then be woven into new garments.  For those with sufficient willpower, there is always the truly sustainable measure of ceasing to be ‘fashionable’ in favour of having a definitive style that has no need of a continual update.  Sadly, such individuals are seldom seen.

Can you state the truth when faced with illogical and short-sighted finance directors who protect short-term profit at the cost of making a real commitment to sustainability?  Dare you have a style, rather than follow trends?  Can you make the tough decisions that lead to giving up the holidays abroad to reduce the carbon footprint?  Would you dare to switch-off the heating, or the air-conditioner?  Some of you will agree with what I have outlined above.  Others will care little for it.  Ultimately, the choice is your own.  No man can stop a river alone, but if he is strong enough – then he can walk against the flow.  Are you strong enough to walk against the herd?

 

 

Further reading:

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/5/e1400253

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/radical-conservation/2015/oct/20/the-four-horsemen-of-the-sixth-mass-extinction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_world

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/meat-eating-vs-vegetarian-or-vegan-diets

 

[i] Source: http://www.worldometers.info/

[ii] http://electricityinfo.org/fuel-mix-of-uk-domestic-electricity-suppliers/

 

[iii] http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130123162956/http:/archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/economy/documents/sustainable-life-framework.pdf

[iv] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/sustainability/sustainability.html?limit=1&start=1

 

[v] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

 

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I snapped and responded…

I finally snapped and responded to someone on social media who espoused a notion that all Pagan’s must care for the Earth.  My thoughts on the topic are clear — caring for the Earth is only possible if we face the hard truth and its consequences for humanity.  Such also places an unnecessary level of emphasis upon the manifest existence upon Earth, one only necessary where the binds to the manifestation of wealth etc. are strong and one is not free from the ties of the manifest human form.  Here is the response I posted:

Let’s take a look at how we should protect the Earth. The Earth goes through natural cycles as evident from the fossil record, with mass extinctions occurring relatively regularly. Only last year did scientists announce the effective commencement of the sixth mass extinction event — with humans identified as the major cause (no asteroid this time!). Charles Darwin had a major insight into life on the planet: “it is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”. We may take from this notion that those species able to adapt to their climate changes are the evolutionary pre-disposed adaptors, thus they historically survive where other species face extinction. We may then surmise that the threatened extinction of many species is as a result of their inability to adapt; why campaign to save a Panda which has limited its own environment and food sources and failed to adapt? Such an act would be to interfere with nature surely?

Now, lets return to the impact of homo-sapiens. Over the last 80,000 years or so, homo-sapiens have evolved to become the dominant species and predator on Earth. With the advent of agriculture some 13,000 years or so ago, we ceased to be reliant upon the nomadic tracking of herds and prey and laid the foundations of civilisation. Let’s forget about histori-heretical ideas such as the discovery of a 180,000 cave-temple structure of Neanderthal tribe or the evidence towards the age of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid at Giza possibly being 800,000 years in age — the brevity required of FB places such outside the scope of this post. The population of homo-sapiens on this planet exploded with the Industrial Revolution with no more than a billion people alive at any point up until around 1800. We then see advances in agriculture, industry, commerce and healthcare that extend the life of man, increase the wealth and availability of food and keeps disease at bay — in short, we gained the ability to breed more and live longer. The net effect of such is that our demand for resources rapidly increased. By the end of the 1960’s we had increased to over 5bn in number, and now are at around 7 bn.

Never before have we placed such a strain upon the Earth to feed, shelter and provide for our needs; ever increasingly resource demanding needs for an increasing population. Sustainability is ‘the’ challenge of our times. If, only ‘if’, we succeed — then our age may well be known as the ‘sustainability revolution’. If we fail, then there may be no history to record such a failure. The uncomfortable truth, so readily ignored by many environmental campaigners, is that we cannot continue as a species in the manner to which we have become accustomed. We simply cannot continue to breed at the same rate, to pursue longer life and to demand more. At present, homo-sapiens are a disease — we consume and breed without any thought to the impact upon our host, or the inevitable demise of the species when our host dies. It is time for an evolution. Homo-sapiens must become an enlightened parasite, realising that we live off our host, yet that we are dependant upon our host for our own existence. We must ‘live off’ our host, whilst also ensuring the longevity of that host. In order to do so, we must also cease attempting to save everyone and everything. The ultimate conclusion of all environmental sustainability is the eradication of homo-sapiens. We must evolve or face our own demise in the sixth mass extinction.

Call me…an Odian- don’t call me Pagan

Pagan… a term generally used to describe indigenous or polytheistic religions. Well, that’s the technical definition, but more often than not we will ind this used to describe anyone following a religion with spiritual, mystical or historic roots. It’s origins were in Latin and quickly came to mean ‘of the countryside’. Of course, the word and its use has evolved drastically over the years and especially in the last 70 years. 

Describe a Pagan? In the UK you can select ‘Pagan’ as your religious beliefs on the government census. The word no longer has any derogatory connotations and is used as an umbrella term, often by those who do not care to dig deeper and understand the religions and beliefs typically characterised as Pagan and placed under its umbrella. The BBC website even has a Pagan religious calendar- a quick look at it will tell you that it is actually a Gardnerian Wiccan calendar and bears little meaning to many other religions that the BBC class as Pagan.

When speaking of or referring to other religions- I use the appropriate names for their beliefs rather than an umbrella term. Why is it inconceivable that they should do the same for us they chose to label ‘Pagan’? By accepting this, we tolerate and approve their lazy dismissal of us as not being worth their time- like a parent dismissing what their babbling child is talking about as being rubbish. When the followers of Abraham (oooh…yes, I mean Christians, Jews and Muslims) degrade our beliefs as not being worth their effort to understand or acknowledge through the use of the correct names, why do we find members of the unfortunately titled ‘Pagan Federation’ laying claim to the right to be called ‘Pagans’. It would take me 2mins to identify these people as being Wiccan (they are by large) yet they blindly pursue a claim to the title of Pagan despite the inferred mocking of their Wiccan religion by those who will not use its name. The Abrahamic religions expect to be shown the appropriate respect by being referred to in terms and names that differentiate them from each other and I firmly believe that we, whatever our non-Abrahamic religious beliefs are, should be doing the same.

I do not share beliefs with a Wiccan, a Druid, a Celtic Reconstructionist or Hellenic person- I mostly have beliefs in common with those that would identify as Heathen or Asatru. Yes, there are varied beliefs to be found within any of these communities- there are variations to be seen in different schools of worship within any of the 5 major world religions. I am an Odian Heathen. I share the same beliefs in the Aesir and Vanir as any Heathen/Asatruar, but I have my own specific form of worship and manner of practice. 

I call on all members of religions typically grouped under the umbrella of Paganism to stand up and say “I am…”

Pagan music

Another note: I’ve update the playlist of Pagan/Heathen themed music I think is worthy of a mention…

 

It’s been a good time for this type of music recently with awesome new releases from Wardruna, Tyr, Amon Amarth etc. and the news that Grand Magus have a new album inbound. Enjoy the METAL!

Pagan misconceptions

There exist a number of misconceptions about Pagans as a whole that really bother me. Surprisingly, the general publics views are less bothersome to me than those of Pagans who should know better.

 

Some misconceptions held by the general public:

  • all Pagans are Wiccan
  • all Pagans are witches
  • all Pagans hold Gerald Gardner in high regard

Now, those are all forgivable as they are the result of misinformation, lack of knowledge etc. Now, the misconceptions that really annoy me as they are held by Pagans who really should know better:

  • we are all Wiccan
  • we all worship the Goddess
  • All Pagans hold Glastonbury to be the most sacred of sites
  • we are all witches
  • we all abide by the ‘harm none, do what you will’ rule
  • Pagans, by default, are animal rights activists
  • we are all vegetarian
  • no Pagan supports the badger cull
  • any Pagan thought is correct and should not be questioned
  • a lack of historic evidence does not mean yours is not an ancient religion
  • a recreated religion can be held up as historically accurate
  • the Tories are evil

I’m sorry but:

  • there are many more paths than Wicca
  • the gods of many Pagan beliefs are equally or more important than an indescript ‘goddess’
  • Glastonbury has a Tor and a well- so do many other towns in the British Isles. It is not that special, as can be said for Stonehenge- other stone circles are equally as magical.
  • I am not a pacifist and do not believe in the ‘harm none’ mentality. I will put my family first at all costs.
  • Animal cruelty is wrong. Animal testing is wrong. Inhumane hunting is wrong. Hunting what you need, killing it quickly and making full use of the animal is fine. I am not anti-hunting.
  • I love meat. Meat is a standard food used to honour my gods. Vegetables are what food eats.
  • I had a chance meeting with a farmer at a conference last week- they are sceptical about the badger cull, but they can’t afford to sit and do nothing whilst their cattle die and so they need the cull. I’m all for supporting the farmers on this. If they need to cull badgers, then let them so long as it is done humanely and with respect for the animals.
  • Why such an uproar over the shooting of badgers? Is it because they can be made into cute cuddly toys? Fox hunting was deemed cruel and everyone couldn’t see what the issue with foxes was until some urban foxes attacked children in their beds. Wild animals can be dangerous and diseased. You can make a cuddly toy gorilla, but you wouldn’t want 100 of them running wild on the street. I think cows are beautiful animals- yet they are also one of my favourite meats.
  • All thoughts and theories are their to be questioned. In some Pagan forums, the asking of tough questions is deemed as troll like behaviour. If your beliefs are so fragile that they cannot be questioned, then maybe this says something about them or you?
  • The modern druids have nothing to do with the ancient druids. Nobody has any ideas as to the full roles of the druids, their beliefs or practices. We know they held sacrifices, were scholary priests and healers. We do not know which gods they worshipped or what their rites were. The modern movement is an attempt to recreate this, but with a lot of unknowns, the modern druid movement is essentially a new age movement with little link to the past. It’s also unlikely that the druids built Stonehenge and other stone circles in Britain and it makes no sense that they are granted the special access to the stones as such.
  • I’m a 100% lifelong Tory. I’m a Heathen and a Tory. My politics have nothing to do with my religious beliefs- please don’t assume that because you hate the Conservative party and that you are a Pagan, that every other Pagan hates the Tories too.
  • Wicca is a 20th century religion. No matter what claim you make of it being handed down through the ages by word of mouth, Wicca is the creation of Gerald Gardner and is a syncretic Pagan belief. Wicca is not the original religion of these lands- that is more likely to have been the original and true Druid beliefs. There is no chance that Wicca survived the Roman invasion, the Anglo-Saxon invasion and the conversion to Christianity and that somehow the original religion survived by word of mouth regardless of 2000 years of replacement beliefs and the persecution of Pagan thoughts over the last 1000 years.

 

Now, that will probably upset a few people. Let me be clear- these are my views. I have no problem with Wiccans, animal rights protestors, Druids or those opposed to the badger cull- just don’t assume that every Pagan has the same beliefs.

 

Heathens and the Pagan Federation

LOL, I was just googling a band to see if they were openly Asatru and came across a Yahoo Answers! page where someone was asking about Wiccan or Asatru music. What made me laugh was somebody with a predictably ‘witch’ sounding name giving guidance suggesting Wiccan’s don’t openly make music about their beliefs and that they had never heard of Asatru.

Here lies the problem and one that made me revisit some thoughts on the Pagan Federation and Pagan representation on the whole.

Wiccan’s dominate the Pagan agenda, media and events. Now, Wicca is clearly the largest claimed Pagan belief system as most of its adherents are solitary and non-initiated followers who describe themselves as Wiccan (usually to much annoyance of initiated Wiccan’s in a BTW coven etc, but that’s another story…). Like any media, it reflects the views of the majority as does any group serving multiple faiths/sectors etc.

Don’t misunderstand me here I have nothing against Wiccan’s. Without a couple of well educated and open Wiccan’s, I would have taken much longer to find Asatru- as they listened to my beliefs and questions as to how to worship Odin and Frigg when Wiccan ritual did not feel right and pointed me in the direction of Asatru.

 

The Pagan Federation needs enhanced representation by someone of a Heathen/Asatru belief. Publications are dominated by worship of the Goddess, environmental and hunting campaigns etc. Whilst all of this is actually fine and interesting to me, I do find myself wondering where the representation of those members on Druid, Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic etc. paths is. Is it purely that these communities are small enough that they have no representative or is it the domination of Wiccan ideology through appeal to the masses?

How can we change this?

Firstly, I’m actually going to contact the Pagan Federation and offer up some articles for their quarterly publication I actually believe that the lack of forwardness from us in this respect is the reason we are under-represented in Pagan media. Wiccan’s dominate through their numbers not through any aggressive agenda.

Secondly, I’m going to push a bit more for non-Wiccan ritual and the observance of other Pagan festivals within my local Pagan group which will be interesting to see how that goes.

If only all Heathen/Asatru were open to being honest in public about their beliefs. I was nervous about telling friends and co-workers, but my opening up was a massive relief. Most have no urge to question my tattoo’s or my pendants and those that do so seem genuinely accepting of what I tell them. I’m fairly sure that a number of bands who sing very detailed songs around the lore may actually be Asatru- yet declare themselves Atheist and I suspect it may be on the advice of record companies to deflect potential for mis-association with some of the less desirable elements…say no more…

I’ve got a few more ideas for the positive promotion of Asatru awareness. I don’t want to openly seek to convert anyone just for people to be aware of our religion so that nobody, especially a fellow pagan, says ‘I have no idea what Asatru is’. That hurt.

 

 

 

Beginnings

Blessings and welcome,

I have decided to write about my journey as I progress and develop my beliefs and my knowledge of magic and divination.
I will be keeping track of my development as a note for those that may follow and be seeking someone whom has had similar ideas, questions and other feelings. I hope that I may be able to offer advice, information and the knowledge that nobody is the first to have such issues or questions…thousands of years of previous people with these beliefs mean we are far from the first.
NightRavenoak is my taken name as it came to me in a dream and then proved to be numberologically perfect for my birthdate.
Soon, I will recap my journey so far.
Until then, 
Blessed be.