Introducing The Circles
(currently being written, so please bear with the gaps, lol)
Green Wizardry is all about giving you the knowledge and skills with which to live in a world of less. That's what the Long Descent is ultimate going to be. A world where we have will less easy energy. A world where we will have less easy resources. A world where we have less easy food and easy water. A world where we will have less easy room to live and easy comfort to live it by. A world we will have less of all those easy things you can just snap your fingers and get delivered to your door.
A "World With Less".
Here is the important point though, learning to do with less can, and we hope that we can ultimately show you, SHOULD BE, a Life that is better and more fulfilling than the one you have now.
Be honest, doesn't many of the things this so called "modern" World hands you just SUCK? Do you really like getting phone calls from bill collectors at all hours of the day. Do you really like having to beg for overtime from your employer to make ends meet. Do you really like living in a closed up home, cut off from everything around you. No neighbors you know and can call friends. No evenings outside under the stars relaxing with a beer and barbecue while the kids chase fireflies across the yard.
Wouldn't you like to slow down a little, from the frantic hustle that is Life today? A World With Less can easily be a World With More, when you learn how to navigate it.
If you have traveled, as I have, to places out of "Your Ordinary" then you perhaps know what I mean. Be it a far off foreign land or just the South part of your own town that you rarely drive to, customs and people will seem different, and sometimes even scary. And yet people are people. If you can get off the prepackaged tour bus, leave the fake tourist spot, and travel back where the natives live then you will discover a universe of wonder. You'll discover places where you can't understand the shopkeepers, be lost on how much to pay them (and with such funny looking money too) and be so out of you'll comfort zone that it is frightening. And exciting too.
It can be very confusing but it just takes a guide sometimes. Someone who has been there before. Someone who knows what to expect and who can teach you.
Feel up for an adventure?
Green Wizardry begins with a set of skills that John Michael Greer, (who wrote the original "Green Wizardry" book), calls "Appropriate Technology. To quote from his post "Merlin's Time" (at the Archdruid Report Mirror site) which started it all.
"I’m sure my readers have their own ideas about the kind of knowledge that might be best suited to that context, but I have a particular suggestion to offer: the legacy of the appropriate technology movement of the 1970s. This was not simply a precursor of today’s sustainability projects, and the differences are important. The appropriate tech movement, with some exceptions, tended to avoid the kind of high-cost, high-profile eco-chic projects so common today. Much of it focused instead on simple technologies that could be put to work by ordinary people without six-figure incomes, doing the work themselves, using ordinary tools and readily available resources. Most of these technologies were evolved by basement-shop craftspeople and small nonprofits working on shoestring budgets, and ruthlessly field-tested by thousands of people who built their own versions in their backyards and wrote about the results in the letters column of Mother Earth News.
The resulting toolkit was a remarkably well integrated, effective, and cost-effective set of approaches that individuals, families, and communities could use to sharply reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and the industrial system in general. It was not, I should probably point out, particularly aesthetic, unless you happen to like a lively fusion of down home funk, late twentieth century garage-workshop, and hand-dyed back-to-the-land hippie paisley; those of my readers who own houses and are still fretting about their resale value (and haven’t yet figured out that this figure will be denominated in imaginary numbers for the next several decades at least) will likely run screaming from it; those who were incautious enough to buy homes in suburban developments with restrictive covenants will have to step carefully, at least until their neighbors panic. Apartment dwellers will have to pick and choose a bit; on the other hand, those of my readers who will spend time living in tarpaper shacks before the Great Recession ends – and I suspect a fair number of people will have that experience, as a fair number of people did the last time the economy lost touch with reality and imploded the way it’s currently doing – will find that very nearly everything the appropriate tech people did will be well within their reach.
What’s included in the package I’m discussing? Intensive organic gardening, for starters, with its support technologies of composting, green manure, season extenders, and low-tech food preservation and storage methods; small-scale chicken and rabbit raising, and home aquaculture of fish; simple attached solar greenhouses, which make the transition from food to energy by providing heat for homes as well as food for the table; other retrofitted passive solar heating technologies; solar water heating; a baker’s dozen or more methods for conserving hot or cool air with little or no energy input; and a good deal more. None of it will save the world, if that hackneyed phrase means maintaining business as usual on some supposedly sustainable basis; what it can do is make human life in a world suffering from serious energy shortages and economic troubles a good deal less traumatic and more livable."
We have taken Greer's idea a step further, by expanding and focusing those Appropriate Technologies into a course of study you can learn.
"Circles, Mazes and Wizards"
You will find if you read much of what we have here to offer, that we have a bit of fun with subjects that are way too serious. That your helping of Green Wizardry will be served up with a bit of mirth and glee.
And yet, as Greer mentions at the end of the above blog post, with his quote from the Renaissance alchemist Michael Maier, what we play here is a "lusus serius", a game played in earnest, a dead serious joke. After all, there may come a time when the skills you learn here on this site (and in the books to come) will save your life or the lives of those you hold dear, your family and your friends.
One of the most ancient games is that of the Maze. Collin's Dictionary defines a Maze as "A complex system of passages or paths between walls or hedges and is designed to confuse people who try to find their way through it, often as a form of amusement.", and what you will learn here can at times appear confusing. It is not meant to be. If you ever run into a concept or skill that you don't understand, please, visit our Green Wizard Forum. Post a question and let us help.
Mazes by design usually have but one way to their center. Not the maze that is Green Wizardry. We are a maze with many ways to the center, one that you can by pass layers if you so desire. That's the thing about the skills and knowledge that makes up Green Wizardry. You don't have to learn it all. Only YOU can decide what skills you will need in your own Life.
There are six broad categories of study, expanded to thirteen individual topics, that make up the skills and knowledge which is Green Wizardry.
Let us take a look at each of them...
"The First Circle: Your Physical Health and Your Mental Welfare"
Like it or not, all of us are out of shape.
For some its obvious, a few pounds more than is healthy or being a bit winded after climbing just a few flights of stairs. For others, its less obvious. Worry about your job or your family has you spending too many nights tossing and turning for 3 hours of sleep. This World we live in seems to require up to abuse ourselves. We rationalize grabbing a egg on a bun in a drive-thru on our way to work as having no time. We rationalize coming home from work to eat a microwaved frozen dinner and plopping down before the television for a few hours of mindless numbing as relaxation. We rationalize bad choices when we know we shouldn't.
The first skills you will need to learn as a Green Wizard is how to take care of that most important piece of equipment you have, YOURSELF. In this Circle, we will discuss simple ways you can revitalize your health and improve your body, such as nutrition and fitness, as well as long taught methods of handling stress and re-centering your mental focus, such as meditation and massage.
"Circles Two, Three and Four - Harvest, Pantry and Herd"
We all must eat, and a Green Wizard knows that the really prepare for our Harsh Future, we must take back control of of where we get our food.
Not just food, but water as well. Both resources will be under stress as time goes forward and Green Wizards will need to learn how to maximize the food they can produce while minimizing the resources needed to produce it. Composting, recycling of waste and soil management need to be reintroduced to the system of home food production. From the backyard we must expand out into urban farms and community gardens but we must not forget those of you who don't have conventional paths of gardening. We will look at container gardening, roof top and balcony spots.
Beyond just plant based foods, we will look at the skills needed to add common animals raised for foods into our Pantry, as well as a few "out of the box" ideas like Aquaculture and perhaps even insects. We will also discuss some of the ways you can get your local governments to permit and assist you efforts.
Securing your supply of food and learning the methods to produce it is of prime importance.
"Circles Five, Six and Seven - Hearth and Home"
Food is of great importance, but having a full belly while sitting in the cold and rain, sucks.
A roof over our heads and a place to shelter is just the start. A Green Wizard makes such a place, a Home. A home though must meet more than the simple need of shelter. It must be a place that supports you and your Tribe while bringing the advantages that well maintained infrastructure has. We will discuss ways that you can improve your Home, via conservation of energy, insulation and incorporating Appropriate Technology into your resources. We will look at low tech ways to add to your energy, like solar, wind and self generation. We will also discuss ways that you can be secure in your Home because as the Long Descent continues, protecting yourself and your Tribe will fall more and more on YOU.
And we won't forget those of you who rent. Many of the methods and skills Green Wizards use, are easily done by those who must be mobile.
"Circles Eight, Nine and Ten - Making the Tools You Need, Having the Skills to Use Them"
The current ways of making money will soon be changing, returning to older ways or barter and trade and finding newer ones as well. Gone are going to be the times that you got a job at 18 and retired with a pension at 65. Too many of us have outsourced our income and welfare to companies that don't care a bit about us. This wasn't always the case. At one time we were a world of craft persons, small business owners and entrepreneurs. We need to get back there quickly.
To do that, we will need to relearn some of the basics of finance and business. We will look at basic money management and budgeting, and see how we can identify wasteful spending habits and stretch our money. For some, just getting their own Life in order will be enough but for many, the next logical step is to create an income stream that they control so we will look at how to identify what you are good at and how it can be turned into a profitable enterprise. Along with that we will look at some of the under appreciated and often forgotten sides of a successful business and home, like recycling supplies and repairing equipment.
Once you take control of your own income, you will be better positioned to help yourself and your community.
"The Eleventh Circle - Beyond Ourselves"
In times of social stress and change, many people seek strength in religion and spirituality.
The Long Descent will be a time when old religions rediscover their roots or reinvent themselves entirely. Some may grow and some may wither. Some may merge and some may splinter. Entirely new religions may form, or old forgotten spiritual practice may reemerge. Feel free to discuss what ever comes to mind, but please be respectful of other's opinions and beliefs. All are welcome.
Above all the Future will be a time of change that those of alive today can only guess at its outcome.
"Circles Twelve and Thirteen - Taking Green Wizardry Further"
While Green Wizardry is very much a skill set of personal practice, no one lives alone. Communities and Families will need those same skills, but writ larger, so that they too can survive and prosper in the Long Descent.