Sometimes we have to make choices in our lives that don’t give us pleasure, that don’t make our lives easier, that go against the popular majority. If we are to live with a strong moral and ethical code, we will have to make a stand somewhere, even if we are standing alone.
In my Druid practice, there is a very strong ethical stance with regards to the environment. It’s why I’ve been vegetarian for nearly twenty years, and why I’ve since gone vegan. I’ve made a vow not to buy any new clothes for over a year, in order to learn to make do with what I have, or to buy second-hand items when necessary. I use organic, SLS free bath and beauty products as much as I can. I recycle. I use vinegar and water to clean my house, sometimes scented with an essential oil. My garden is organic. These choices have not made my life any easier – in fact, rather the opposite. But it’s a choice that really wasn’t a choice – I couldn’t follow my religious path without making those changes in my life.
This weekend I had to make a choice about one of my many hobbies as well – LRP, or LARP (live action role-playing). This system runs its events on land that is leased from other landowners, which has several large fields and a patch of woodland – a great site. However, this spring, the event held battles in the woods, which were in full bloom with bluebells. Large sections were trampled underfoot by hundreds of people.
An active member of The Woodland Trust, this shocked me to the core. Bluebell woods are protected, but this was still happening. After writing to the company owner, I’m still not certain anything will change, or be done about it. I am sincerely hoping that they will get in touch with the landowners, The Woodland Trust and Natural England about the issue, and how it can be resolved. I have written to all concerned about the issue. Until then, I cannot give the company any more of my money, for that would be condoning the destruction of bluebell woods. It’s terribly sad, for I have a lot of friends within that community, but I cannot compromise my principles in this regard.
Druidry is all about relationship, and we can easily forget that relationship is not only with each other as human beings, but with the earth as a whole. To run through bluebell woods, destroying them underfoot as I “play” out a battle is completely disregarding any relationship to the woods, the protected flora, and all future sites as well. We must make a stand for what we believe in, when things aren’t right – and especially for those who cannot speak for themselves, whether it be a bluebell, a dog being kicked by its owner, violence towards women, a teenager throwing a soda can onto the verge.
Balancing strong environmentalism whilst living in the 21st century is difficult. I still have to drive a car fuelled with a non-renewable resource. My house is heated with oil. Our electricity is from coal-fired power stations and nuclear power stations. However, I strive to do the best I can – it’s better than doing nothing at all.
A good resource for living ethically within the Druid Tradition can be found on The Druid Network’s website here – http://druidnetwork.org/what-is-druidry/ethical-living/