WANGARI MAATHAI IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS BLOG!
A YEAR AGO WHEN I FIRST STARTED USING THE FAN APPLICATION ON FACEBOOK, I DISCOVERED THAT WHILE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE BARACK OBAMA HAD OVER 7 MILLION FANS ON FACEBOOK, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE WANGARI MAATHAI DID NOT HAVE A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE. SO I MADE ONE AND ACCUMULATED OVER 100 FANS. THIS PAST WEEK THE NUMBER OF FACEBOOK FANS FOR THIS BLOG SURPASSED WANGARI MAATHAIS NUMBER BY ABOUT FIFTY.
KNOWN AS THE TREE LADY, WANGARI MAATHAI RECIEVED HER PEACE PRIZE FOR FOUNDING THE GREEN BELT MOVEMENT, A NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT OFFERS WOMEN IN KENYA MONEY IN EXCHANGE FOR PLANTING TREES. THESE TREES OFFER KENYANS A RENEWABLE SOURCE OF LUMBER AS WELL AS DECREASE EROSION WHICH PREVENTS MUDSLIDES AND HELPS MANTAIN WATER QUALITY. SHE IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENTALIST AND THE FIRST AFRICAN WOMAN TO WIN THE PEACE PRIZE. MAATHAI DOES NOT PERHAPS SEE HERSELF AS ONLY AN ENVIRONMENTALIST. RATHER, SHE IS A WOMAN WHO BELIEVES THAT THE ANSWER TO EVERY PROBLEM SHOULD START WITH A QUESTION- ¨WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES AND RAW MATERIALS NEEDED TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?¨ THIS SORT OF QUESTION IS THE KIND OF ¨ENVIRONMENTALISM¨ THAT I STRONGLY SUPPORT. PLEASE TAKE SOME TIME TO LEARN A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THE GREEN BELT MOVEMENT.
BOOK REVIEW- The DRUIDRY Handbook by John Michael Greer
Many people love nature. I recently bought a copy of the Druidy Handbook hoping to learn more about a people who take it to another level. In this book, John Michael Greer attempts to stitch together a spiritual practice whose origins remain largely lost. The real druids were utterly wiped out by the Romans and the only real accounts of their way of life are from Julius Ceasar himself. The Druidic revival movement did not really begin until a fabled meeting at a Tavern in London in 1717, over a thousand years after the original Druids had been almost totally obliterated. The contemporary movement makes no bones about the fact that most of it’s teachings stem from Druidic revival. So does this invalidate their spiritual movement as making something out of nothing? John Michael Greer answers that question with a fervent “no,” aligning druidic beliefs in some ways with the Chaos Magick movement of the 80s whose “if you believe it than it exists” mantra remains ever present in contemporary witch craft today. So what are some attributes of modern Druidry?
1. Tree Worship. Trees, the Oak in particular, are incredibly sacred.
2. Dusk is the start of the day. Not dawn. All things come from darkness. Darkness is also sacred.
3. A Druid ritual space is called a Grove.
4. A belief in reincarnation. . Druidry is one of the few western traditions that holds reincarnation as one of it’s principles.
5. Magic. Druidry is an occult practice, and like all occult practices believes in a being’s ability to shape reality in accordance with their will.
These are just a few things I learned about Druidry from reading this book. One thing that I found particularly alarming however, was the nature of Reincarnation as it was laid out in this text. According to Greer, druids believe that if one has been sinful during their time on earth, they will be reincarnated as an animal which most reflects the nature of their sin. A very vain person, for example, would be re-incarnated into a cat. I found the presence of this clear species hierarchy in a nature based spiritual practice very distressing.
One concept that I particularly enjoyed in this book was the concept of nature and what is natural. The question of “what is natural?” is one that many environmentalists have struggled with for a long time as the question may also contain another question- “what is right?” Also, the idea of naturalness may serve as a sort of barrier which separates man, man-made things, and nature when we all know that these three things are not separate at all. For the druids, since nature is the thing that they worship (somewhat akin to GOD) than the question of “what is natural” relies largely on the individual’s intuition in harmony with one’s knowledge. Often, environmentalists, whose practice is strongly tied to science, often try to eliminate their own intuition and spirit from their environmentalist pursuits. This is a shame, since it is probably their feelings which lead them to be an environmentalist in the first place.