Paganism is all about relationship, and is central to my Druid path. Everything is interconnected – we simply could not exist were it not for the countless forms of other life on this planet. All life, in scientific circles, came from single-celled organisms that evolved into life as we know it; we all, everything on this planet, have a common ancestor.
Yet we are constantly bombarded by the dualistic thinking that has so plagued our species for many, many years. We often feel separated from nature, from the world, from other human beings, from our ancestors. It is often reinforced through marketing, various theologies and psychology, in most cases to ensure that there is repeat business, power and normalisation.
How many of us have come across the “food chain” concept when we were at school? Humans at the top, able to consume and control all beneath us. Whoever came up with this concept has not slept a night out in Canada, where the bears or cougars can get you, or swam in an ocean that has sharks, or paddled a river with crocodiles, or suffered from a debilitating or deadly virus. We are, most definitely, not the top of any chain whatsoever. We all become food for something, in time, whether it is before or after our physical death.
We are, however, all connected, and it is through personal relationships with place that the Pagan creates their worldview, learning from the land upon which they live, the ancestors and the gods. There is no such thing as a “thing” – we cannot look at anything (pardon the pun) in such regards. When we use the term “thing” we can often objectify it, not giving it the inherent right to existence that animism honours. Many native traditions use the term “brother”, “sister”, “grandmother” or “grandfather” when speaking of a life form that is non-human, whether it be non-human animal, the moon, the sea, a tree, the sky. In that way, relationship is acknowledged and inherent respect is created. A community is created, an ecosystem in every sense of the word. We are all descended from a few ancestors. We are all family. We have the stuff of stars in our blood and in our bodies, minerals found in distant galaxies.
As Pagans, we have to remember this in everything that we do. We have to ensure that we are not falling into the traps of dualism, marketing, secular culture. We have to see the beauty and awe in everything, and live a life that is filled with awareness of what lives and what dies, what threads connect us to the world. These threads will then shimmer with profound awen, where soul touches soul and relationship, true relationship, sacred relationship, is created.