Here at Green Wizards we like to promote a "Renascence man (or woman)" style of learning, where you don't be a specialist know one subject well, but a generalist, knowing many subjects half way well. There was a time in American culture where blue collar workers, could and did discuss in the public square all sorts of important subjects.
David Trammel's blog
We here at Green Wizards talk a lot about gardening and learning to grow your own food. Its such a basic skill that no matter what style of Green Wizard your are, you should have a familiarity with it. You may not have a green thumb, but you should at least have a little bit of dirt under your fingernails.
It can be hard though, to experiment with gardening if you are like so many today, a renter. Income inequality, economic disruption, employment insecurity and other factors of the collapse of our society into the Long Descent make owning your own home or owning a home with enough land to garden difficult. Community gardening and share crop farming, gardening on someone else's property, can help you gain access to space to grow but there isn't anything like having a garden you can call your own.
Luckily the Internet and Youtube has a universe of examples of ways to grow food without land. Here is one great, low cost and easy way to do just that.
Its that time of year again, where we make grand promises to the God of Progress, which we promptly forget come January 2nd. I thought it might be better to start small, with just three habits I'd like to get into doing in 2020. Feel free to post yours too.
1) Take Better Care Of Myself: Whether its eating better, getting occasional exercise, learning to meditate, I want to take better care of myself and my body. You can't do much if you are always running at full throttle, which up until recently I was doing too much of. I'm not going to set any benchmarks, no walk 3 miles a day, eat home cooked meals 3 times a week. Seems to me that when ever I make it a contest, I fail. I'm going to just put "Do Better" on the white board in my kitchen where I'll see it.
2) Talk To Friends and Strangers More: Regrettably, having focused too much on my work life, left me little time for a social life. Not the grand, "Give Concerts in the Park" kind of stuff, but the simple things like having lunch with friends from time to time. I've realized that I have perhaps a half dozen people outside of work that I talk to on a regular basis.
And that means not just friends. I need to make an effort to try new things that involve people. Not just planned things. I need to learn to speak in public better so a visit to the local chapter of the "Toastmasters" seems to be something to look at. And not just planned events. Attending those concerts in the park and actually striking up a conversation with a stranger too.
3) WRITE MORE! Now that's a big one, lol. Time to stop writing down story ideas and outline, instead write stories.
Along the lines of more writing, Ecosophia and Green Wizard regulars G.Kay Bishop sent me a copy of her submission to the "After Oil" Romance Anthology. It wasn't chosen because it was a bit long, but it is still a good story. You can read it, and discuss it here: "Ruinous Love" Discussion Thread.
Here's wishing everyone a good start to the new decade. May we still be here talking when the next one rolls around.
Its that time of year that we all hate, yes "Shoppingmas"! Get thee down to your local temple of spending, or log in online to the holy Ama-kin (one day shipping via angels available!). Really though, its the time of year that we do give gifts to friends and relatives, so let me offer some green alternatives.
Top on my list to give are books. If they don't have a copy of Greer's "Green Wizardry", then that's a natural stocking stuffer. If they got that from you last year, then consider our own Teresa Peschel's "Suburban Stockade". Its a great second book on the skills we need to relearn. Other than that, hit the book stores and take a look at their discounted books. I've gotten several garden and herbal books for a deep discount. Don't forget some of your local bookstores too.
Give A Journal
Writing down what is on your mind in a personal journal is something I've recently stated doing. I never did before but I've found that keeping a journal really keeps me focused on the important things. I have one main one which I write in in the evening when I have some personal time, but I also keep a smaller pocket notebook on me during the day to jot things down for adding to my larger journal later. Good for teenagers, though they may roll there eyes at you for it. Don't be surprised if you find them writing in it later.
First let me say, this is the first book that made me brush my teeth more. Second, I wish I had written this book.
Its that time of year, where we buy things for friends and family. Much of what we buy though is going to be a clueless purchase. Unless you are like a few of us and actually ask the person what they need and would like, your Christmas shopping will mean aimlessly walking around a crowded and lets be honest, soulless temple of consumerism that is the Mall or Big Box store, looking for something you can vaguely think will be useful.
Or go online and do the same, scrolling through the selections and recommendations that the algorithms generate (and we know are being paid to be that high). This year why don't you buy something that will set your friends and family onto a path of resilience and sustainability.
Tersea Peschel (aka Teresa from Hershey here and on Ecosophia) and her husband Bill are living the Green Wizard lifestyle, now for many years. "Suburban Stockade" is a collection of her experiences and learning distilled into an easily and enjoyable read.
At just over 300 pages its not something to pick up and read in a long afternoon. Teresa though breaks the book down into 36 short chapters, each about a specific theme of 5-10 pages. Though several subjects, like "Chapter 11: Buying A Home" and "Chapter 28: Grocery Shopping and Food Storage" come in around 25 pages. Within each chapter are short subsections. Not only are they very informative but are filled with personal information on Teresa and her family's life. This makes it a great book to toss into the car or in a backpack to be pulled out when you have a few minutes to read. You'll be left with much to think about too.
(See the entire listing of chapters here: Pershel Press )
You'll be motivated to make a change or two in your own life. Changes which will make it better and also save you real money. Give it to a friend and help them prepare for the Long Descent. It is the perfect companion to John Michael Greer's "Green Wizardry" and a great addition to your library. Buy two and give one away.
In last week's Ecosophia post Dancers at the End of Time, Part Three: A Mortal Splendor Greer made this comment:
"MichaelV, true, and they also don’t know how to be poor with style. It can be done; it’s just that most people now have forgotten how to do it."
If you take Greer's writing seriously, as I do and many others both Green Wizards and not, you have come to understand that we are headed into a cycle of downward de-growth. The energy and resources just aren't there any more. Its getting harder and harder to mine and extract what our energy intensive civilization uses to just get by, let alone continue endless growth.
Yet for at least the last half century the machinery of that civilization, fueled by energy has made the life of most of the people in Western and now some Asian cultures the envy of medieval Kings and Queens. The opulent over spending and extravagant (and sometimes decadent) excesses once reserved for the rich and powerful, which once were the markers of style and something for the Masses to expire to with envy, are now available for those Masses as well.
Made me wonder, just what being poor with style might mean? To answer that we must look at what "style" actually is and why we seek it.
I've tried to stay away from endorsing any sort of specific policy or plan for dealing with the challenges that climate change, petroleum depletion (and more broadly resource depletion) as well as the myriad of ways that the Long Descent and coming economic stair step backwards towards a level of tech that can be sustained because too many proposals try to do everything. Or as is often the case, their focus is not on fighting the actual challenges but instead use those challenges to advocate for a different policy completely.
Recently I've been considering the spiritual side of my Life, or more properly the lack of a real spiritual side. I have been discussing this in a recent post in the Eleventh Circle of Green Wizardry on Spirituality, Magic and Religion found here:
This thread began as an introduction to the occult discipline of Shamanism but has evolve into a discussion on my own spiritual journey.
Shamanism is a very old practice of mediation between humans and the spirit realms of animal, plant and elemental forces. You find it in every early culture from the people of the far Northern regions of the Arctic, to the aborigines in the Amazon rain forests. You find it in the nomads of the harsh dry deserts of the Middle East and the tribes of the gentle ocean islands of the Pacific. In a world were there were dangers all around you, having someone who could enlist the unseen spirits to be your friend and ally was a powerful thing. It meant your very survival.
I kind of think of it as a "Spiritual Kung Fu" in that its a spiritual skill most often associated with monks (or wizards) but has a useful practical side. It is a forgotten skill that I believe every Green Wizard should learn, and yet it might not be best discussed here on this site. That is why I'm introducing another blog.
("Shawshank Redemption" © Castle Rock Entertainment 1994)
In one of the most poniente scenes in the amazing movie "Shawshank Redemption" Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) tells his fellow inmate Ellis Boyd 'Red' Redding (Morgan Freedman that "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying."
Red (and many people watching the movie at that moment) believe that Andy has decided to commit suicide. We all know now that instead, Andy was just about to break out of the Hell he had been living in for over 19 years, and not only get his freedom but his revenge.
I've always thought that people tend to put themselves into their own private prisons, walled by expectations from those around them and by society into accept the shackles and bars imposed on them. I think its time we all took a cue from Andy.
I know which choice I will choose.
Around the end of next month, I'm going to voluntarily Collapse. I figure that tonight marks 30 working days (42 days overall), until I'm out of my current job and into semi-retirement.
(I took a few months off of posting, now I'm back)
Greer has always said that a wise person, seeing the way our civilization and society is slowly coming apart, should choose to downsize their own lifestyle and decrease their needs for energy, resources and just about everything else early when they have the cushion of making mistakes and not have it be life threatening. As he sums it up, "Collapse Now and Avoid The Rush".
I think I will followed his advice.