Preparation for an uncertain future

Published: Fri, 12/23/22

Iduna and I went to a Winter Solstice ritual at a home in Hull on Wednesday night. Just a dozen of us around a small fire in the garden and then some very pleasant eating and drinking inside the house. Iduna came with me partly because her mother needed some peace and quiet to get ready for going away at Christmas, and partly because she does seem to enjoy such events, having joined in a number of outdoor celebrations in the last year at Silver Wood as well as the Spirit of Awen camp last August. I have been drawn in more deeply too. I spent 20 years contributing to events such the Druid Camp and the Mercian Gathering as facilitator, but I was always on the periphery as far as any rituals were concerned.
Then things change. The Druid Camp was canceled in 2020 and has not resumed. Mercian Gathering has resumed but, as I discovered, those who question the Cult of Covid are not very welcome. Yet a new opportunity emerged at Silver Wood in Lincolnshire where I have found myself quite central to the rituals with Pia Morgan, who is very much in charge using me as her ‘High Priest’. I have a feeling that there are going to be some very interesting opportunities opening up in the next year. Pia has said that she wants us to be at the Pagan Tribal Gathering at Mid-Summer which is apparently quite a big event. We shall see what happens.
I am thinking quite a lot about what I actually want to achieve in the next year. Having a three year old child is very challenging on a lot of levels. It gets very hard to find time to do much more than the bare essentials at home. I admit that this burden falls more heavily on Venetia than on me most of the time, but it is hard to find time to write as much as I used to. As Iduna gets older she becomes more and more of her own person while absorbing all kinds of influences like a sponge. The Jesuits said; ‘give me the boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man’. I am sure the same applies to girls and women. Iduna has already said that she finds church boring, (most children do find adult services somewhat challenging). However, she does seem to like an outdoor pagan ritual so what have I done? And what will she think when she is 13 instead of 3? She is self-confident, respectful when appropriate, and forceful in her
opinions when she feels the need to express herself. Most important she is affectionate, loving, energetic, and full of fun and mischief. All we can really do is love her for who she is and be grateful that we have her in our lives.
And her future? Who knows? As I expressed in a previous post I believe that the population growth of the past two centuries has been a bizarre aberration which is now correcting itself. The world population increased 4 times in less than a century. Such growth enabled massive developments in prosperity for many population groups. There has also been a corresponding pressure on the natural world, a lack of healthy living space for many people, and huge increases in debt, pollution, and stress at all levels. Life itself has come to be seen as much as curse as a blessing. However, thriving in a world with a rapidly declining population is going to need some crucial skills. I believe that the most important ability of all will be knowledge of principles. In the period of massive growth experts proliferated in every field. The experts would blind us with science when they were not baffling us with bullshit and us ordinary mortals
were expected to trust the gurus while they organised the world for their own benefit. That phase is over and we all have to learn how to be our own experts. Remember that principles are simple (three aspects), universal, and fractal (apply at all scales). I want Iduna to understand the principles of principles and be able to look for the fundamental process at work in all circumstances. Once you understand the principle behind any ‘science’ then it is easy to work out if the expert really knows what they are talking about or if they are hiding behind an ‘ology’ of some kind. Of course someone with real knowledge, long experience, and access to specialized information or equipment can do things relatively quickly and easily which you or I would struggle to do. However, once the principle is explained and understood it should be clear why your expert is doing what he or she is doing and any bullshit will become obvious.
When there is no expert available understanding of principles should still enable you to sort a problem out for yourself, even if it takes a bit longer and the result is less elegant than an expert would manage.
In my own life I solve problems for people as a handyman. I know for example that ‘fluids flow down hill’ is a principle for dealing with water. You would be surprised how many gutters and other forms of drainage get installed without an apparent knowledge of that principle. Well, the resulting damage and necessary corrections keep me busy.
For some time I have been interested in the principles of martial arts. Ivar Hafskjold always said that Stav was much more about principles than techniques. I still like to train in martial arts but I am not too fussy which style or system as the principles are there to be worked with in any context. As a teacher I am primarily interested in bringing an understanding of principles through working with appropriate techniques. Just teaching technique has relatively little value. However, it is not easy finding people receptive to such a concept, hopefully even that attitude will change.
I still get asked occasionally how I can do Methodist Christian and Pagan stuff. I have now got the stage where I am prepared to admit that my real interest is in ‘principles based religion’. What does principles based religion look like? I intend to explore this in more detail over the next year. I also hope Iduna will grow us with a sense of the divine and that she will feel confident to explore that relationship in a variety of contexts. It will be nice if she and I can undertake this exploration together, there will be opportunities in the coming year..
So, Happy Yule, Christmas, New year or however you want to want to label the turning of the year.
PS - A couple of events for the new year:
25th February 2023 Salisbury. Join us for a day of exploring the principles of martial arts using Stav training as the basis. Web page available soon.
30th June to 2nd July 2023 Lincolnshire, Stavcamp where we will explore how knowledge of rune staves, especially as bind runes, help us to discover and understand essential principles. Initial web page at More updates soon.

Graham Butcher
21 Beaver Road
Beverley East Yorkshire HU17 0QN

To unsubscribe or change subscriber options, visit: