Sunday 27 April 2014

On the Paradigm of Opposition Between the Human World and the Natural World

The disconnect that is often propagated between the human world and the natural world, and the dichotomy created by it, has slowly lead to an understanding that pulls us away from some very important truths, creating a cycle of misunderstanding that pulls us further and further from a healthy and beneficial coexistence with the world we live in.

This can be described as the urbanization of the human mind, the movement away from a realization that we are part of the world around us to the idea of human habitat as an urban bastion of non-nature in a sea of natural world, and the growth of cities as the expanding of the walls and driving back that which is beyond.

While there is truth in this image, it tends to manifest in two different mental processes, both of which miss the true nature of both the reality and of the issues created.

The first mental process is that of the natural world as the aggressor.  This mental process grew in the transition from hunter/gatherer nomadic society to an agricultural fixed location society.  It is less present among nomadic cultures that aren't fixed in location.  The image is of humans behind walls or fences or hedges, with all of the natural world besieging.  This is a position of fear of the unknown beyond the boundaries.  There is truth in it, but it creates a us and them idea of the world.  It seals the humans within the walls, with limited ability to identify with what is beyond.  It also can and has lead to an image of the natural world as something to be conquered, manifest destiny if you will.  The idea that if humans don't subjugate or suppress the natural world, that the natural world will do so to humans.  Kill or be killed.

The second mental process is that of the human world as the aggressor.  This mental process grew out of the developments of the last century, of seeing the negative impact of human actions of the natural world and determining humans should thereby be seen as a virus or disease that threatens the natural world.  This leads, and has lead, to the idea that the only way to protect the natural world is to exterminate the human threat.  This is usually not taken to the full extreme, but the idea creates the idea that the goal is to limit human activities as much as possible, preserve the remaining wild areas by completely preventing human presence.  Quarantining the humans to prevent their spread.  Containment.

Both of these mental processes, while being rooted in concerns and truths that are very real, miss the truth that humans are part of the natural world, that human habitat damaging that of others is only different in scale from certain ants that consume everything in their path, of large amounts of predators decimating prey populations, of large populations of herbivores decimating plant populations.

The goal of subjugation of nature hurts not just what is perceived as the natural world, but the human world as well, as we depend on that which isn't human for food, for oxygen, for climate regulation, for clean water, housing, for many things we need for survival, to make human habitat possible.

And humans are a part of the environment as much as any other species.  The elimination of humans will have the same results as the elimination of a predator or grazing species.  This is well seen in changes between fire management policies.  A change from a policy to put out all fires to a let it burn approach results in danger not just to human habitat but to many other habitats, as the prevention of fire allows fuel to build up, and a sudden stop in prevention results in worse and wider spread fires that would naturally occur.  Likewise, fire prevention if too aggressive prevent the processes that would naturally occur.  For instance, fire reduces pine beetle populations, lowering the amount of dead pine timber, which are the cause of large spread fire, and stimulates the cones to replace what was burned.  Fire also stimulates root activity in aspens, causing growth in size and density of aspen groves which are habitat to many types of species.  Any change in policy, or in human behavior, if not gradual with a smooth transition, will have unexpected ramifications that might not be beneficial.

The solution to the problems that arise in human vs nature interactions is not to fight against nature or against humans, but to understand that there is no separation.  Human is part of nature, not a separate thing.  In this understanding, solutions arise that can facilitate human needs while taking into account the impact on the other parts of nature.  Only then can a better balance and better approach be possible.

This, however, isn't a matter of writing up a plan, or defining policy, law, or procedures.  The issue is one of mental process, of paradigm and world view.  Such changes can't be regulated into manifestation.  Mental process changes, paradigm shifts, and changes to world view aren't a matter of law but of practice, not a matter of top down enforcement and dictation, but of individual changes spreading.

A different type of disease than was discussed above, a fire of inspiration and passion igniting change from individual to group, from group to community, from community to region, and outward.

What is needed is not laws and regulations, restrictions and policy.  These things are not bad, especially as an intermediate step to treat the symptoms.  But they won't create change.

Change is a whirlwind, chaos, it is prophecy and inspiration, the meed of poetry, heady and potent.  Law is my its nature a thing of stasis and control, order, establishment.

Change begins not in law but in hearts and minds.  Change is spoken.  Change is acted.  Change is a thing done in the day to day life, impacting that spot you live in, that soil you are planted in.  Change is shared with those you are in contacted with, with community, with clan, with tribe.

Light the fire of inspiration and change in your own heart and mind, plant the seed in the fertile soil of yourself.  Let it spread.  Let the fire light in others by contact, let the root reach out and grow into trees in the soil of those around you.

Let those that are lit by your fire do the same, and those lit by theirs.  Change the world where you are, and the ripples and waves across the pond that is our world will be seen in all places.

Embody change, embody spirit, embody the unity of all things, the interconnected web that is all living things.  Look for what you can do where you are, and do it.  Don't hesitate, don't be afraid.

Be a flame burning bright.  Let your flame spread.

Consider this well, and think on it.

~Muninn's Kiss

Monday 21 April 2014

The Land Where I'm Planted

This is an interesting part of the year, with various holidays and special days all dancing through the days together.  The Jewish Passover began last week and will continue though tomorrow.  The Christian Easter was yesterday.  Living in Colorado, I must mention that yesterday was also 4/20.  And today is Earth Day.  We are between the Equinox and Beltaine still, in the second Moon of Spring, the Willow Moon, for which the Bright Moon, the High Tide, was last week.  Trees are budding, flowers blooming, grasses turning green.  A time of renewal and rebirth no matter which way you cut the seasons and days.

With the nature of this time, and with today being Earth Day, which many celebrate as a specific focus on helping the environment, and for many, the planting of a tree, it seems appropriate to look at what I do in relation to the Land here, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, sometimes proactively, sometimes just in an over all sense of what is important to keep in mind.

In this area, I focus more local that global, focused on the Land where I am at, including the human portion of that, not as opposed to it. I work for better practices and behaviors that allow humans to coexist with all other things in this space, animal, plant, fungus, mineral, spirit, and anything else that lives here, minimize the things that are harmful to the Land and all those that live in it, regardless of guise, and against those things that harm.

This includes:

  • fighting human trafficking (which is one of the things biggest on my heart)
  • how the homeless are treated
  • biases/prejudices and dangers based on those biases/prejudices to portions of the community (specifically trans* and the wider LGBT community)
  • mining/drilling/pumping techniques that are harmful (not shown by hype as harmful but truly harmful)
  • minimization of waste both to lower impact in consuming and to lower impact in disposal
  • supporting local businesses and producers (especially local farms and ranches) to improve the economy here and to minimize the impact of transporting from other parts of the country
  • limiting and clean up of litter and other things that can hurt the plants and animals around us
  • support for the Open Areas and encouragement of responsible development to both meet the human needs and minimize the impact on our neighbours be they animal, plant, fungus, or mineral, gardening and growing of your own food as much as possible

That type of thing.

Some of these I work more actively toward, some less so. Some I work primarily towards in my personal habits and behavior, others in outreach and education, others in more action based approaches. Some I use magical techniques toward, others it's very much physical and direct.

And many of these, I can't do much beyond my own actions without help, so I have plans to try to gather a group to work toward these aims.  If you live in Plains Edge, the Northern Frontrange Area of Colorado, or near this area, or have ideas or would like to talk, feel free to reach out to me at  I have no certain plans nor a sure direction, but I'd love to talk with anyone with a heart of the area, or who would like to connect for other reasons.

~Muninn's Kiss

Sunday 20 April 2014

The Good Folk

It's interesting so many people do so much to invoke the fae, but historically, the widespread charms were to keep them out of placate them rather than draw them.

There are examples in older surviving texts of people talking to them, but none I know of that imply invoking them or calling them to you by whatever means.  If there are, I'd love to hear about them.

Talking to them is not the same as inviting them into your home. As they say, good fences make good neighbours (1). And they are likely already there anyway. No need to invoke more, just need eyes to See what's already there.

I had a conversation related to this with a friend a few days ago and I'd like to share my thoughts here.

I'm not trying to disparage or say anything negative about authors, teachers, and practitioners who recommend seeking contact and invoking the fae, or do so themselves.  I just recommend caution and a good dose of self possession.  While I won't say their approach is wrong, I would say I don't see much evidence of such active seeking in the materials that have survived from earlier time, and I think the reason for that is valid.

The Victorian view of the fae did a lot to defang them in the eyes of the general populace, and this is both good and bad.  I'll leave the good for a different discussion.  The bad is the lack of caution that has resulted.

The fae were not called the Good Folk because they were benevolent, kind, or forces of good fighting evil in the world any more than calling mafia good fellas implies upright morals.  It was to avoid offending, because of the result if you do.

The thing to remember about the fae is that they don't see anything through human eyes.  Their ideas of ethics and morals, good and evil, right and wrong, and benevolence and malevolence are different from ours.  Even those that might wish us good aren't thinking what we are.  Accomplishing your goal but dying in the process might be seen as your own good, for example.

The thing to remember is you are in charge of your own life (this is much of what makes a witch), you are responsible for your decisions and actions, and you must not submit your life force to another (2).

Point being, make no deal you can't live with the consequences of, agree to no condition you aren't willing to meet, and don't assume you must do what they say.  While I'm against attempts to enslave them (which will end badly regardless), I also caution not to allow yourself to be enslaved to them.

~Muninn's Kiss

(1) This is an old adage, now famous from Robert Frost's poem Mending Wall.
(2) As Victor Anderson put it.  Or, as Robert Cochrane put it:

"In fate, and the overcoming of fate is the true Graal, for from this inspiration comes, and death is defeated. There is no fate so terrible that it cannot be overcome - whether by a literal victory gained by action and in time, or the deeper victory of spirit in the lonely battle of the self, Fate is the trial, the Castle Perilous in which we all meet to win or to die"

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