2014 Religious Trends
Honing Our Relationships with Our Gods: Emotional Discipline in a Time of Climate Crisis
However, the third reason why this is more daunting is that it is us, now, facing the crisis; the onus of responding is on us. There is no point in leaving it to some notion of government or society. We, as individuals, need to face the crisis with grace. How?
Primarily, allowing nature to be our teacher, we must be wakeful to our human nature: to the surges and floods of our emotions, their forces, drives, and weight, and to the beliefs that are hidden in the shadows of awareness. Only then can we learn how to ride the emotional energies, using their power positively instead of letting them batter and break us. Many traditions are slack in this teaching, even though playing in our own emotional mess is essentially selfish, often leading us to antagonize others and cause unnecessary harm. Yet the luxury of emotional indiscipline becomes less available as the reality of crisis increases.
Within the wholeness of nature, its multifaceted plurality must also inspire us each to walk our own particular path, guided by the various and different gods that speak to us as individuals. Amongst us there are those whose principal gods are those of light, understanding, communication; those of loving care, healing, and nurture; those of connection and effect. Some are fueled as fighters, while others walk with the dying and the dead. We cannot be other than ourselves, and honing our relationships with our gods is a way of honing our own strengths, through sincerity and commitment.
Facing our future is not, then, about responding to the fear, in fear. It is about working on our emotional fluency, maintaining clear responsibility within community, and honoring our gods, right up to the moment when we die.
Emma Restall Orr trained and worked within the Druid tradition for twenty-five years, becoming Joint Chief of the British Druid Order, then founder of The Druid Network. Her many books include Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics and The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature. She is no longer connected with any particular group or tradition, instead walking the path of the mystic.