Define "Green Wizardry" to YOU

David Trammel's picture

Sorry all, I've been doing what alot of people have been doing, fighting this year's blasted version of the Flu. Its knocked me flat twice since the New Year.

While I was down, Wormlamp sent me an email, asking how he could help get the Green Wizard Project back on track. That's how I think of all this, the forum and the dotInfo site, as a "Project" first started by John Michael Greer, who has passed it to us to develop and spread.

Unfortunately everytime I think I have the time and the effort to move this project forward, I've been beset by the Gremlins of the Myth of Progress. The naughty little buggers are slowly seeking fun elsewhere and I hope this year we can make some progress.

I have been going over Greer's "Green Wizardry" book at lunch this last 6 weeks. Its a good way to learn something, having only a half an hour to read, before putting it away for tomorrow. A long shift of manual labor is ideal for letting the mind consider things.

In the next two weeks, I plan a series of posts here, and on the dotInfo site which discuss the core concepts of Green Wizardry that Greer presents.

In my opinion, WE here on the forum have been missing his most basic concept. I think perhaps talking about the material in his first major chapter might refocus us on what Green Wizardry actually is.

With that in mind, I want to ask a simple question.

What is Green Wizardry to YOU?

And please, don't be shy and think that what ever you feel Green Wizardry is "wrong", and hesitate to post your opinions. I have a couple of ideas how we have missed an important facet of Greer's book and his intent, but it does not invalidate all the work we have done here, merely gives us a new and I think exciting way to promote Green Wizardry to all the people out there who need it.

I am sure that each and everyone of you has a unique and valuable take on this.

The main lesson I took from JMG's blog and books was "collapse now and avoid the rush"

This resonated wiith me as I had started to collapse...not because I knew about peak oil etc. but because I was thoroughly disgusted with the corporations and how they do business, and the complete disregard for this planet we live on.

I have no power against them except my buying off I went down the rabbit hole of make it yourself, or do without.

That is how I live, I doubt it will change anything in the comming collapse. I actually doubt anything any of us do will change anything, we are to far gone.

I will be 68 this year and I plan to just keep plugging along not consuming, growing a garden and doing my crafts.

Oh! I do still write letters, call politicians, attend town hall meetings...but that will change nothing.

Madam Oh's picture

To me, Green Wizardry is the summation of what Greer wrote about in his book by that title. But you can also have fun with the Middle Ages concept of it. There are lots of skills to learn toward less dependence on a system destined to fail, and when you take it to its conclusion, ultimately, you must cultivate a community of like-minded people, which can be quite hard to do. That is the biggest challenge, and last week I saw a commenter on ADR ask for advice. I really ought to contact him and invite him over here.

I am grateful to David for keeping this blog up. I am sure we'll see more activity over this way, with Greer busy (I hope everything is okay with him), but hard times can actually atomize communities, especially if you are trying to get along in the failing technological system, of which this blog here still represents a part. (We'll keep tending it until that no longer is possible, learning from each others' experiences far away.)

I was very lucky to witness the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was highly atomizing to families. There were suicides, rampant alcoholism, with children already addicted, girls forced to sell their beauty to support their dad's habits. But they got by,and most of them found ways to enjoy their lives.

They had food. The fractured communities began reorganizing, people found ways to help children. Throughout all of this, mechanical, shopkeeping, hunting, foraging, animal husbandry and other skills became essential. The people who did okay had about three skills they could rely on for some cash as the breadwinner, with the wife contributing in a fourth way. Typically one was their former job, for which months might go by with no pay, and when it came, it was a pittance. Thus a park ranger was also a taxi driver and hostel keeper. His wife sucked at facing customers, but found a way to travel (merchant). Their society never devolved into roaming hordes--the Soviet Union had stressed some degree of food self-sufficiency.

Thus I would put food production at the center of the skills needed now before a real crisis hits. In Russia, people got by who had a dacha on the outskirts of town and a way to get there (reasonably good public transport), or if they had relatives in rural areas who could bring them food. The biggest problems happened when a drunken uncle sold the dacha. That kind of thing has to be guarded against.

Right now, I'm focusing on gardening, sewing, and embroidery. As those things become easier for me, I'll start working on other skills.

Maybe green wizardry is a process whereby you learn to do more for yourself so you can gradually use less energy, stuff, and stimulation. The particular details are up to you.

I don't know where my copy of Green Wizardy has gone. I saw it a couple weeks ago and "shelved" it. Haven't seen it since. I just finished Decline and Fall, and I am half-way thru After Progress. Had a Pagan Meetup last weekend, and when we went around and introduced ourselves, I said as I usually do that my path was "applied Druidry." Then I went looking for info on the Green Wizardry book to post to our FB group and discovered that there was a Green Wizardry podcast with JMG on YouTube. In fact, there are HOURS of JMG on YouTube! Many podcasts discussing his books--most of them posted by also conferences and what not.

I have this stupid new internet TV service, but has a YouTube channel. If I can figure out how to create a playlist, I think I can watch JMG videos on the TV. But you can find them here.

I am starting to think that a decent knowledge of classical knowledge is still very valid. A lot of the stuff that is common knowledge now just won't be applicable in a de-industrial future. Sometime in the last couple of years I think JMG challenged his listeners to personally find something they value of modern culture and make every effort to preserve it for the future. Honest to pete, I couldn't think of anything that I thought I would do to preserve something for the future that wasn't something of a practical, manual skill. That would probably be the same things that were preserved from classical times.

Music comes to mind, since so little survived from classical times, but that requires a rather sophisticated suite of technologies to also survive. Building musical instruments is possible with the right tools and resources and so is sheet music, but without tools and paper and all that those things require, modern music may vanish.

I confess that I am rather confused about what would make a Green Wizard and I have read the book a couple of times. Perhaps I need to read it again. I hope this thread provides some good insights from other site members.

We are so very Eurocentric and so--"ignorant: is too strong a word. Naive? About most everything that predates the Industrial Revolution. I've been reading 1421: The Yeard China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies. While Europe was crawling out of the Dark Ages, there was a thriving exchange of goods and ideas from the east coast of Africa to China and maybe beyond. IIRC, the Chinese may have reached Australia around the end of the first millennius CE. Menzies was a navigator and submarine commander in the British Navy. Using his own experience, he recreates the voyages of a huge armada of Chinese ships that circumnavigated the globe between 1421-1423. They were harrowing voyages; many ships were lost, and many sailors died or were stranded on foreign shores--but the scope of their missions is breath-taking, eye-openning!

I vaguely recall a challenge to identify something we personally value in modern culture and preserve it. I have been mulling over that all evening, and I finally realized I've spent quite a few hours over the last year working with other members of my hometown to strengthen and preserve our diversity. We've got just about 110,000 people here in Peoria, IL. We've got a mosque and a Muslim school/community center. I think we have two members of the community running for city council yjis spring. And there is a Nigerian-born woman who was a powerful speaker at our women's rally in January. We have a Hindu Temple and well-to-do Indian population who have become very active in raising money for medical causes. We have a new Buddhist tenple--the nuns all speak Vietnamese. We have Sikhs and Bah'i, and I've run into Amish families on the bus. We're in line to get our own Catholic saint.

The Lebanese have been here for over a century and have a high profile. Sunday there is a ground-breaking ceremony for our newly resorted Holocaust Memorial at our shiny riverfront museum. And our century-old statue of Robert Ingersoll, The Great Infidel, was just restored by national friends of our Secular Humanist Society. Several members of our community have been to Standing Rock, and members of our Native American community have been involved in a our battles to preserve local parkland.

Peoria was singled out this summer as" the worst city for African-Americans"--though I can think of other cities that I might rank higher! At any rate, there are serious dialogs going on about how to change that. We have a Black man running for mayor this spring. The incumbent is part of the Lebanese/Republican block, and I don't think he's going anywhere, but we are living in unpredictable times. And we have a Latino population and Greek and Germant and Irish and Italian. And there's a Korean Methodist Church and a Russian Orthodox Church, but they fly under the radar for now.

I love this this crazy town with my whole heart and I want to bring it whole into the Post-industrial future.

Regarding eurocentrism in history: I can't agree more.

I've recently developed a taste for mathematical histories, and most of them completely ignore all mathematical developments (which happened all outside of Europe) between the collapse of Greek civilization and the Renaissance. The Romans' contribution to mathematics is so poor as to be nearly nonexistent. They were eminently practical people and didn't care much for "theories". Mathematical knowledge was preserved in the Arab world, in India and Africa. There is also little mention of Chinese mathematical traditions, which up until the 15th century were way ahead of western mathematics. The same thing happens with Indian and African traditions: little to no mention. Europe seems to have the monopoly on genius, nevermind that without arabian mathematicians, just to name an example, there wouldn't be algebra.

An interesting article detailing the phenomenon:

I admit I'm kind of surprisd to learn that the Green Wizard Project has gone off the tracks. Dissensus has always been our by-word, and I guess I'm just out here doing my thing. If I have to define Green Wizardry, I call it "Applied Druidry". because the foundation appears to come from the Earth Path in The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by JMG. The post that originally broght us HERE was "Merlin's Time" (June 30. 2010). And the key paragraph for me was:

"By 'wizard" here 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 in Europe and the Muslim world, rather, was a freelance intellectual whose main stock in trade was good advice, though admittedly that came well frosted with incantation and prophecy as needed. He had a good working knowledge of astrology, which filled roughly the same role in medieval thought that theoretical physics does today, and an equally solid knowledge of ritual magic, but his training did not begin or end there. According to Picatrix, the compleat wizard in training needed to get a thorough education in agriculture; navigation; political science; military science; grammar, languages, and rhetoric; commerce, all the mathematics known at the time, including arithmetic, geometry, music theory, and astronomy; logic; medicine, including a good knowledge of herbal pharmaceuticals; the natural sciences, including meteorology, mineralogy, botany, and zoology; and Aristotle’s metaphysics: in effect, the sum total of the scientific learning that had survived from the classical world."

Well, cool beans!

Green Wizardry has mostly focused on the hands-on stuff: agriculture and crafts. I picked up The Wealth of Nature: Economics As If Survival Mattered and ran with that! And I've been having a lovely time ever since Does anybody know what a "qanat" or "well chain" is? I just came across it this week: I don't quite grok it yet, but I know we are going to need it in the very near future, so here it is:

I need to get it over into the water circle later today.

--I'm going to be 66 on Saturday, and growing tomatoes or making my own clothes is pretty much a waste of my limited time and energy. But I was born to read and surf the internet, so while me and it survive, I'm going hunting for "the sum total of the scientific learning that had survived" from Olden Times, and I am studying economics and political science and having a good time. I'm also building a nice library, so if somebody wants to marry me, lol, I have a good dowery and three cats.

For me the simplest way to describe it would be somebody who works against entropy. Somebody who moves through an area and leaves it better than he found it.

We all know them, you can hand them a sow's ear and they will hand you back a silk purse and a handful of change to go into it. Most people see a yard full of weeds but they see potential lunch. When others spend a fortune renovating a kitchen, they can do something better with stuff scrounged from a garbage dump. Need to get something done, and they can get the whole community believing that they actually can fight city hall----and see it through to a good result.

These are the "green wizards": polymorphs who have spent their lifetime learning hands-on, practical skills. Right now, most of them are barely tolerated by mainstream society. But in a world with zero economic growth, stagnant wages, and a general decline in the cash economy, these people have the important survival skills that will allow individuals, families, and communities to thrive in hard times.