D – A Drought in the land?

Today I’ve got two blog entries to write, I was hoping to catch up with the D that I needed to post since I only joined the project a few days ago, leaving me free to post on an E entry on Friday the same as everyone else, alas that didn’t happen. So hopefully you’re getting two posts today (Friday) instead. These are part of the Pagan Blog Project 2012 and I’d just like to say a heartfelt ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’ to those who have and are reading my ramblings and even the two brave souls who clicked ‘follow’  – thank you! You guys rock. If my vague ramblings can help or inspire or amuse just one person I’m happy – and apparently I’ve got two – result!

It’s going to change here, once I’ve got this place looking like I want it to (artwork to be done over the weekend with luck) so my online space reflects me. I like the blossom picture but it’s only the default ‘new member’ setting on wordpress. So changes are afoot lol – Also the beautifully laid out blogs I’ve read are inspiring me. I’d love to know how to post pictures!

Back to the subject in hand – D

 Drought – and odd choice don’t you think? The reasons for picking this were twofold.

 Firstly – some parts of the UK are experiencing a drought, it’s not emergency measures – yet – but it has needed several government authorities, water boards, wildlife societies and the like to have a meeting about it. For me as both a Witch and a horse owner I already knew this since we’d noticed it at the beginning of last year where all over spring and summer and the following winter it didn’t rain enough, rainfall is about half of what it should be, if that. The crops were affected with the corn and hay being about half the height they should reach, this in turn affected harvests and hit horse owners (and farmers) hard since the price of hay and straw was increased as the farms were getting about half of their normal production off the fields. So far as I know the wild plants aren’t doing too badly, but the wildlife is with  pond and river levels dropping. We were putting water out last year and we saw several deer and birds drinking from the horse’s water troughs and a badger from one of the bowls we had down for the smaller creatures – didn’t even know we had them that close!

I had the good luck to spend a weekend on Exmoor last year, with the Coven – and the folks at the farm we stayed at told of the tiny rivers that criss cross the moor either drying up or becoming very low. The red deer were coming closer to get drinks from the water put out for the sheep or horses, and there was a real risk of dehydration amongst the wildlife. So – it’s looking serious. Along with many others I’m hoping things improve although the current weather is not very promising, everyone keeps saying isn’t it lovely, I must be one of few people saying ‘please rain!’

So what has this to do with Paganism you ask? We as Witches, Druids, shamans and all the other paths claim to have a kinship with the land, we try to have as close a relationship with our local area as possible – or should do, so it struck me as odd when I logged on to various pagan forums that news of the drought – which broke a few weeks ago when the meeting was reported in the news – came as a shock to over half of them. How so? Are modern pagans so caught up with being indoors, online, or curled up reading that they don’t observe what is going on in their own back yards? I thought we worked in conjunction with and so observed nature in our local landscapes? Admittedly those in urban areas are at a disadvantage but the same signs were showing up in the parks and gardens, dry grass, much less mowing going on, ground as hard as iron and completely dry, birds desperate to find water and squirrels getting more bold in their attempts to find it. In the rural areas there were reported a lot more fires on roadsides caused by discarded glass and it’s effects on tinder dry verges. Yet many in  the pagan community seemed completely unaware of this situation. We who claim to follow the natural tides of the land had failed to notice the lack of rain, the parched ground, the wildlife that was increasingly desperate for water and the trees and plants starting to wilt – or in some cases die off much earlier than normal.

This shocked me. I knew because I am outdoors a lot, both driving around for  work and being close to the land due to horse care and exercise and dog walking – and frankly knowing the difference through good old fashioned observation!. Anyone who tends a garden knew of the situation since they were working closely with the plants and were trying to ensure enough water to keep them alive. It seems most others didn’t spot this, in one case – as the weather last summer wasn’t necessarily blazing sunshine but hazy, dull and hot – people were complaining that it had been a ‘bad summer’ sheesh, you have no idea!

Now I’m sure I’m going to be lambasted for this but surely surely of all the people who should notice the land being in crisis – apart from those who’s job it is such as water officials and wildlife societies – shouldn’t pagans be at the forefront of those observing this? I know we can’t necessarily do very much about it, other than put out water for the birds and animals and hope rain comes soon, and be sparing in our water use and conserve as much as we can – but to be completely unaware…. that was mind boggling to me. I’d like to think that we’re better than that, I’d like to think that we walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

Rant over

The other section to my (probably essay length) entry for D is drought in the community. <pauses for the reader to say ‘what?’> What I mean is the lack of those of a like mind in your area, how many of us think ‘oh I’m the only pagan (or witch, or shaman or whatever) around here’ ? how many of us think that we are entirely alone as far as community goes?

A drought of pagans or those of like mind around you can make a solitary practitioner feel very isolated, you don’t necessarily want to practice with a group, but someone to have a coffee and a chat with, or meet up somewhere for a natter, or even just to ask a couple of burning questions you’d appreciate a second opinion on would make all the difference – yes? Online is good but there is no substitute for actual face to face communication and making friends.

I’ll tell you something, there’s more of us around than you’d think. When I was a new not-so-young seeker wide eyed and looking for direction, I was completely convinced I was the Only Pagan In The Village. You can imagine my surprise when I joined one of the early moots I’d found out about through the pagan press and discovered that one of the ladies running it had lived, for..ooh about fifteen years or so? Literally over the hill from our yard. Seriously, they even bred dogs and I’d seen this very woman walking her pharaoh hounds even as I’d been hiking six greyhounds round the roads to get them fit – we’d even nodded and smiled at each other for heaven sake! Sickeningly they’d moved away about three weeks before I’d gone to the moot.

For anyone out there who’s  thinking ‘yeah right that’s going to happen to me!’ my friend who I met when we attended a Wicca course was convinced her family were dead against all things ‘witchy’ in the case of her mother she was spot on, well she would be when the woman was something big in the local church organisation! but her sister turned out to be a member of a Coven, in fact her sister turned out to be one of my friends on an online forum I posted on regularly. Apparently for weeks they’d been speculating that I was the same person what with description, my posts about dogs and my talks with the friend… small world eh?

The lady who was running that course had friends all over the pagan community, one lady who attended came from a well known ‘Pagan Central’ area but claimed she couldn’t find any of them, not sure how she was missing them but they turned out at the local moot held on the full moon – about sixty or so of them, and at it’s height this place had four moots going, Earth, Air, Fire and Water (nowadays there’s only the Moon and the Earth moot still running but hey)

The original moot I attended (where the lady was the one who lived near me) had several incarnations over the years and for each one there were new people who showed up who had been ‘around’ for years, like minded even if they followed a different flavour of the Path, one group would be active for a time, then another, then another, and every time the core people may be the same but those who came along were strangers who became friends. Often you’d hear ‘oh I think I saw your xx years ago in <name of local bookshop>’ So, when you say that you are the only pagan in your area I’m willing to bet you’re not, you just havent’ found them yet. They’re out there, the ‘interested’ the ‘experienced’ the ‘seekers’ the ‘sypathetic’ the ‘dabblers’ and the ‘go getters’ Every one of them appearing as a normal person within their community – because they are! They may be serving in the local shop, or emptying the bins, or putting your overalls in your locker at work, or taking your name over the phone. They may be riding down the road on a horse, or walking their dog, or taking the kids out to the park. Don’t look for a hefty pentacle to identify them. Don’t necessarily look for gothic clothing, or wild hair (though when it comes to me that might be a hint lol) Look for the glint in the eye at the news programme on the radio about circuses no longer being able to use wild animals, look for the pause as they go about their daily lives, but take a minute to look at the sunset, or a bird, or a cat….. Trust me you are not alone! It did take me something like fifteen years to find them myself, so I completely understand but they had been there all along, it just took me a while to catch up!

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About okarnill

Just another british Witch who follows the path of the wise. Like millions of others I live my life the best I can within my Wiccan beliefs. I am also a horse rider, a dog trainer and an artist. My home is a sleepy village in the UK where I share my life with my partner and all manner of creatures, cats, dogs, horses, hens, rabbits, and much treasured wildlife.
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