The Political Implications of Neopagan Druidism 3.0

Throughout all known human history, people
who had hidden knowledge (whether of healing, weather prediction,
mathematics, or magic) have used their exclusive possession of
that knowledge as a source of power, for purposes that were good,
bad or weird. The warrior caste has always done its best (or
worst) to take that knowledge away from the intelligensia and
to put it to political, economic and military use. Today, almost
all the hard and soft sciences have become tools for those who
wish to control their fellow human beings. The polluters, the
exploiters, the oppressers, and the conquerers, are the ones
who control nearly all the technology of overt power and a great
deal of the technology for covert tyranny.

One of the very few ways we have of defending
ourselves and our fellow passengers (human and other) on this
Spaceship Earth is through the careful and judicious use of magic.
National governments and private enterprises have spent millions
of dollars (and rubles and pounds and yen) trying to develop
psychic powers into dependable tools for warfare and oppression.
Meanwhile, most of us who should be learning precise techniques
and careful timing, in order to use magic and the power of the
Gods to defend ourselves and our Mother Earth, have been busy
being misty-eyed romantics, not wanting to “sully our karma”
by trying to do magic that might really work (that is to say,
for which we would have to take personal responsibility).

As a result, those of us in the New Age, environmentalist,
and Neopagan communities have assisted the very forces of oppression
which we claim to oppose. We are partly responsible for the poverty,
hunger, pollution, disease and early deaths which dominate so
much of our planet. Occultists have assisted by being unwilling
to put their talents to the test by using them for “mundane”
or “lowly-evolved” purposes. Ecologists, Celtic nationalists,
and would-be revolutionaries have assisted by being unwilling
to use nonmaterialistic technologies to cause changes in the
material world (after all, if Freud and Marx didn’t think magic
is real, it can’t possibly work). The creation of Neopagan Druidism
may eventually be able to help change those attitudes.

Despite the efforts of liberal Christian clergymen
to make us forget the physical and cultural genocide committed
by organized Christianity against tribal peoples everywhere,
there is simply no way to ignore the fact that monotheists in
power always seek to silence competing voices. We cannot look
to the mainstream churches for our physical and spiritual liberation,
for they are the ones who took our freedom away in the first
place. Scientism, leftist atheism, and New Age transcendentalism
have no answers either, for they are also products of the monotheistic
tunnel-reality, and seek to impose their dogmas and holy scriptures
just as strenously as ever the churches have. Those who want
to live in a world of peace, freedom and cultural pluralism,
must look beyond the currently available, “respectable”
alternatives they have been presented with by the mass media,
and consider new alternatives.

Many people think of Neopaganism in general,
or Druidism in particular (if they think of them at all), as
just being “odd” religions, with no political implications
worth investigating. But I believe that Neopagan Druidism has
important political aspects which should be considered, especially
by those concerned with the survival and revival of either the
Earth Mother or the Celtic peoples.

Neopagan Druidism is political because one of the primary tasks of the clergy has
always been to ride herd on the warriors. This may be one reason
why barbarian warriors welcomed the Christian missionaries, because
they perceived (correctly) that the Christian priests would be
far more likely to play ball with them than the Druids had been.
After all, if the world is ending any day now, why bother controlling
your local warriors? The primary threat to life on this planet
now comes from out-of-control warriors — soldiers, politicians
and terrorists, really — see my essay on “Warriors
and Soldiers and Cops — Oh My!”
for a discussion of
the differences. So it’s time we Druids started taking that duty
seriously again.

Neopagan Druidism is political because only a Nature worshipping religion can give
people sufficient concern for the environment to make them willing
to make the sacrifices that must be made in terms of lifestyle
and consumption patterns. Monotheism is a major cause of the
current state of the world’s ecology. We need a strong public
religion that tells the polluters, “No, it’s not divinely
sanctioned for you to rape the Earth, no matter what it says
in your scriptures.”

Neopagan Druidism is political because the Druids have always been the preservers
of the best of their traditional cultures. The Mesopagan Druids
of Brittany and Wales, for example, are directly responsible
for the revival of the Cornish language and tradition from the
very edge of extinction. The various traditional preservation
and independence movements, such as the Celtic, Flemish, Baltic
and other related movements in Europe, need religious and cultural
leadership based in their own cultures. Druidism can help create
an environment in which such leadership can develop.

Neopagan Druidism is political because it offers a worldview completely different
from that of the monotheistic tyrannies that now control our
planet. One of the many things that any religion does is to shape
the ways in which people see the world around them. We need a
religion that offers people a multitude of options, rather than
the traditional Western either/or, black/white, win/lose choices.

Neopagan Druidism is political, at the bedrock level, because it can teach people
how to use their Gods-given psychic and other talents to change
the way things are. Make no mistake, magic works, at least as
often as poetry, music or political rallies do. Magic is a form
of power that we, the people of the Earth, have available to
use, not just for psychological “empowerment” (making
ourselves feel better) but to actually control the individuals
and institutions responsible for our planet’s current mess. If
we are unwilling to use magic, then we had might as well resign
ourselves and our descendents to either a life of slavery in
a homogenized, pasteurized world, or a slow and lingering death
by environmental collapse. And what excuse will we give to the
“Lords of Karma” then?

Copyright 1984, 1999 c.e., Isaac Bonewits.
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