A Court Wizard For An Ecotechnic Future

David Trammel's picture

Like many readers of the "ArchDruid Report", I read the series of posts JMG posted on his idea of "Green Wizards". That I too could help civilization 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.

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 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 his territory and his tribe together in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. Are you up to advise the "King"?

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 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.

Pass the Green Wizard Grimorie of Spells please, and let's cast something special shall we?


photo - "Saint Augustine in His Study" by Vittore Carpaccio, 1511