About Green Wizardry
I can hear you ask yourself:
"So what is up with this whole site? I mean "Wizards"? Is this place serious about the Future or just a collection of "wantabees" in their parent's basements?"
Its an honest question, deserving an honest answer.
Let me assure those of you first visiting our site, we are completely serious about the Future and how bad its going to be. Civilization as you know it is over. The World that your children and grandchildren will be living in will be as unrecognizable as an end of the 1800's farm boy would find the 1920's after a terrible World War. Things that farm boy would assume as fact would no longer be true, and the reality he would have walked through would be strange and frightening.
And in some ways wonderful.
We are heading into a future filled with change. Change with a capital "C". What you make of the experience is up to you.
But we're here to help...
Resource depletion, especially that of oil and energy, is going to place severe limits on what we can do. Over population will stretch the basic fabric of our supply chain as our mono-culture of industrial farming learns it can't keep stripping the top soil bare and dumping pesticides onto crops as a way to cope with weeds and insects grown strong by natural selection. Humanity more and more forced into urban mega slums trying to pursue the "American Dream" for all, means the 99% will grow poorer and poorer while the 1% reaps the cream off the top.
The plenty and peace we all enjoyed here in the West after the Second World War, as America took over the remains of the British Empire and molded the losers into carbon copies of our "capitalism gone wild on steroids" style of living has stressed the ecological limits of the planet near the breaking point. Financial and economic bubbles have gone on and on to the point that one of them will wreck it all. Decline is all around us as those shell shocked survivors of our excess, scramble to claw something, anything out of the ruins that those of us more fortunate and not yet victims drive by each day, happily listening to the car radio. Fate will get to us soon as well.
Then there is climate change.
"Global Weirding" means that the fairly stable environment of the last 10 thousand year, the time we homo sapiens have risen to dominate the Globe will get a whole lot harsher. We've had an easy time of conquest, now Nature is about to bitch slap us back for our arrogance thinking we are the Masters of it All. While Perth, Australia wiltes under 112 degrees of heat, New York freezes from a polar hurricane dumping 2 feet of snow. Black Swans are flocking in plenty, and the edges get even dicier.
If you are knowledgeable about what we speak of, you know.
If you are just now waking up to the seriousness of your future, welcome. Come sit by the fire and have a bowl of Stone Soup. Its filling and will warm you while we talk about the Future...
The Future is about to be Harsh.
Its scary we know, the changes to come. Unless you live under a rock and have been ignoring the news, thing for most of us are getting harder and harder. Its the reality of a Civilization in Collapse. The Romans went through it. The Mayans and the Chinese too. Great cultures tend to run rampant within the limits Nature imposes, until Nature forces a reset. One of less. You can't keep spending like there is no tomorrow and deferring the bills to your children before something breaks.
We are at that point...
For those same Romans, the Mayans or Chinese, at least they knew something of the Land. Today, hand most people a box of seeds and watch the blank looks as people go, "What Do I Do With This?" We as a people are so unprepared for the Cold, Dark Hurt to Come it is almost laughable.
If it wasn't tragic.
There needs to be someone you can ask. Who can help.
Mentors. Teachers. Wise women and men of learning.
Still even teachers need to first learn themselves.
Those of us here are readers of John Michael Greer's "The Archdruid Report".
Casual visitors might be dismissive of a blog written by a druid. After all we know those People painted themselves blue, ran around naked, worshiped trees when they weren't building big circles of stone. What ever could one of "those" know about History and what is to come for Civilization?
You will hold that opinion until you read one of his blog posts, then you'll know better. In my opinion, shared I bet by most that read him on a regular basis, is that John Michael Greer is one of the World's most illuminating writer of our Time. His depth of knowledge of history, and his ability to dissect what is going on now, with a keen eye to how it relates to the Future has very few peers.
He has taken that amazing insight and looked ahead. The vision he sees is both scary and at the same time hopeful.
Many out there see civilization heading towards the Apocalypse. Fast crash and burn. A Mad Maxian wasteland where the starving survivors fight for every scrap of food and energy. Where the strong prey on the weak, and you watch out for your own with the business end of a shotgun.
Many others, see a rose colored vision of the Singularity and a coming Utopia of techno marvels. Where our machines set us free and civilization rises to height undreamed. They dream of their shiny robot bodies, their minds uploaded from aging bodies and never wonder, can the Planet support such Heaven?
Guess what, they are both so terribly wrong.
I ran across an article recently, whose author was laughing at climate change because it hadn't happened fast enough for him. That the changes he had seen and now dismisses, just hadn't matched the hype of the warnings from the 80s and 90s, so clearly climate change was bogus. Like 30 years is a long time.
In a world where geological changes and trends can span hundreds of years, that the climate hasn't gone off the deep end in his short life is both understandable and lets admit expectable. Early science didn't understand the complexity of the World's ecosystem, nor the sheer inertia that a vast reserve of mass like the Oceans could have.
That Peak production of Oil has happened yet rising prices make it affordable to drill for more and more harder to access reserves. We are not going to wake tomorrow and find that we have no gas to run our cars on. Instead, prices will rise, and then demand will slow, only to see prices rise again. Entirely predicted in the early models but its going to be a slow burn. Like a frog put in a pot, that is brought to boil. Pressure is turning the heat up on us all.
Greer proposes instead that we face a slow, grinding decline of just about everything.
A "Long Descent".
We are now about to face the classic Mongol death of a traitor, the "Death of a Thousand Cuts." Tiny slices of collapse as things get more and more expensive and if you even have the money, harder and harder to find. While your income continues to stagnate like it has the last decade. That's if your job is still there.
Right now, gasoline is cheap and plentiful. That is because the producers, like the ones frakking all across America, have over committed themselves with loans. It made sense when oil was a hundred dollars a barrel. Now that it is thirty, not so much. They have to pump no matter the price. Soon there will be a reckoning, when they can't pay what they owe. Bankruptcies are already happening. They will only increase soon.
Or there will be war in the Middle East.
What are you going to do, as gas goes up, making trips cost more and more. As basic foodstuffs take a larger and larger percentage of your income.
You can ignore it until you find yourself under that bridge, sleeping in the cold OR you can learn to do more with less NOW. Tough times are coming yet there is still time. Collapse now and avoid the rush, when a few mistakes won't kill you or your children. We have but a small window of time before this all gets so damned real.
Wizards, Green Wizards.
Take a few minutes and read this:
"For that, I have come to think, is one of the things the soon-to-be-deindustrializing world most needs just now: green wizards. By this I mean individuals who are willing to take on the responsibility to learn, practice, and thoroughly master a set of unpopular but valuable skills – the skills of the old appropriate tech movement – and share them with their neighbors when the day comes that their neighbors are willing to learn. This is not a subject where armchair theorizing counts for much – as every wizard’s apprentice learns sooner rather than later, what you really know is measured by what you’ve actually done – and it’s probably not going to earn anyone a living any time soon, either, though it can help almost anyone make whatever living they earn go a great deal further than it might otherwise go. Nor, again, will it prevent the unraveling of the industrial age and the coming of a harsh new world; what it can do, if enough people seize the opportunity, is make the rough road to that new world more bearable than it will otherwise be."
Like many readers of the "ArchDruid Report", I read the series of posts JMG posted on his idea of "Green Wizards". That I could survive the coming "Long Descent" by learning appropriate tech and skills had a certain appeal. With "Lord of the Rings" recently out and the character of Gandalf appearing so prominently, the fantasy of myself as a grey robed wanderer, was fun to think of. Or even as a cheerful hobbit in my warm comfortable home under the hill.
I should have known someone like JMG, with his depth of knowledge in history would think beyond mere two dimensional images. In his recent book "Green Wizardry" he further explains:
"Those of my readers who grew up on tales about Merlin, Gandalf et al. may be startled to learn those characters, legendary or fictional as they are, were modeled on an actual profession that flourished in the early Middle Ages and remained common until the bottom fell out of the market at the end of the Renaissance.
By "wizard," I don't mean your common or garden variety fortune teller or ritual practitioner; we have those in abundance today. The wizard of the early Middle Ages was a freelance intellectual whose main stock in trade was good advice, though that came well frosted with incantation and prophecy as needed. He had a working knowledge of astrology, which filled the same role in medieval thought that physics does today, and an equally solid knowledge of ritual magic, but his training didn't end there. A wizard needed to have a through education in agriculture; navigation; political science; military science; grammer, language and rhetoric; music theory, and astronomy; logic; medicine, including herbal medicines and poisons; the natural sciences, including meteorology, mineralogy, botany, and zoology; and metaphysics - in effect the sum total of scientific learning that has survived from the classical world.
This might not sound like the sort of education you would expect to get from Hogwarts, and that is exactly my point..."
And he further explains:
"I've come to think that something like the wizards of the early Middle Ages , focused on a somewhat different body of skills , may be one of the best options we have available today. Certain branches of practical knowledge, thoroughly learned and thoroughly practiced by a relatively modest number of people, could be deployed in a hurry to help mitigate the impact of energy shortages, economic dislocations and system breakdowns that await us in the years ahead. I'm sure my readers have their own ideas about the kinds of knowledge that might be best suited to that challenge, but the appropriate technology movement of the 1970's makes a particularly good focus for such a project."
So less lone monk in the forest on an adventure and more the right hand of the King, whispering in their ear. Which to be honest could easily be a future "warband" leader trying to hold their territory and tribe together in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Are you up to advise the "King"? Even if that kingdom is just your local block in the neighborhood.
If you had to go up in front of your local city council and argue why letting people raise chicken in their backyards was a good thing to approve, could you do it now? If not, we hope that this site can teach you the skills and knowledge to do so, when it comes time in the not too distant future to do just that.
But all journeys, especially one into the Future begin with a few simple steps. Learning to insulate your home so that you don't spend as much on heating. Seeing the simple wonder of a seed transform into a mature plant and then sharing its bounty of fruit. Spending a long afternoon putting that harvest away so you can eat it in the winter. Making something with you hands, be it a plain birdhouse or or full blown greenhouse. Even if that journey is just down the street, not across the wild wilderness to Mordor and back again, you have the strength to take it.
The good news is YOU don't have to do it all yourself. That's what a circle of friends is for. To help shoulder the burden. Explore the site. Read the tutorials and posts. Visit the Forum and read what people are saying. See what they too are doing to make their world a little less harsh. And if you see some skill that interests you, please put away your fears and hesitations for a while. Give it a try.
So, you see, that is why we are all here. We each see the harsh future coming, if we are not already living one, and want to do something about it.
Want to join our band of teachers and students?
I promise, you don't even have to wear a funny pointed hat...