On the heels of the Golden Globe Awards, my social media pages are blowing up with lists of the best and worst dressed, shocking moments, and award recaps. I’m both excited and repelled by this.
I am excited because I’m American and I love celebrities. I read People Magazine, follow my favorite’s updates on Twitter; the whole nine yards. Everytime I watch an episode of New Girl, I walk the line between wishing I was Zooey Deschanel and wishing I could marry her (oh, come on…she’s gorgeous, smart and talented!).
I once milled over the idea that today’s celebrities are held in the same regard that the Greeks and Romans held their gods and goddesses. In fact, it’s possible that the archeologists of the future might just discover a collection of People Magazine, restore them and mistake our celebrities for gods and goddesses. I chuckled at the thought of our future selves constructing an image of our society from our “holy books”. It was a fun idea to ponder, for a while but then I spit it out as quickly as I conceived it. It seemed like such an unpopular opinion…it seemed so wrong.
Still, I can’t help thinking it. It lurks like a shadow in the back of my brain and whenever I’m undulated with Celebrity news, it jumps back into the forefront. The idea waves it’s hands in my face and begs for acknowledgement. So, today, I gave it just that.
Let’s face it…Celebrities are our gods and goddesses.
We read their fables and parables in the tabloids; using it as an example for our children. I can hear parents all over the world exclaiming: Look at the Miley Cyrus…doing The Twerk all over the place…that Miley, she’s in trouble…Becky, you don’t want to be like that…No guy will ever take that Miley Cyrus seriously…
We applaud their successes; awarding them with awards made of gold (all that’s missing is the frankincense and myrrh)
We fashion our lives after them; gobbling up any piece of clothing or breakfast cereal that emulates them or is endorsed by them.
We ignore their mortality…to us, they are not normal, average people. They are demigods and we are redeemed somehow when given the chance to meet them…we scream for the opportunity to just touch the hem of their garments.
When we are faced with their mortality, we sob collectively and hold candlelight services in their honor, just like they were old friends.
What’s wrong with this? We aren’t the first society to create our own deities. We may not even be the first to create them out of real people. Of course, there is a lacking moral component but in 21st Century America, who questions that, anymore?
I guess my real problem with it is the pay-grade. Maybe it’s because I’m hopelessly poor myself; maybe it’s because I loathe materialism; or maybe it’s because I hold things like food, safety and freedom in such high regard but I have a real problem with the Hollywood actor’s salary, as compared to that of a farmer, policeman, or a soldier. We are taught, through the process of capitalism, that the higher a good or service’s value, the higher the price for it is…so why are celebrities some of the highest paid in our society?
For the purposes of the argument, I’m going to compare celebrities against soldiers (because it’s the one that hits closer to home for me). The fact is that you can interchange any occupation that supports our society in the place of “soldier” and my logic will make sense.
So I ask myself this question: What is it about the services provided by celebrities that makes it more valuable than the services provided by a soldier? Do we value entertainment more than safety and security; more than freedom?
No, certainly not. That would be indulgent and ungrateful…there must be some other reason for the pay discrepancies. I ponder this for a while, as I browse pages and pages of breaking news and Hollywood gossip. Then, it dawns on me.
It is not the entertainment that we hold in such high regard, is it? It’s the ability to set in a darkened movie theatre or our living rooms for 30 minutes to 3 hours and just shut everything off. It’s watching the young teen actress spiraling into a dark hole that allows us to dissociate from our own problems. It’s about breaking down with grief when we have lost a celebrity because we just need an excuse to cry…or because we feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves.
Maybe we have lost a part of ourselves.
What does it say about us that we would pay more for a little distraction that we’re willing to pay for our own freedom?
How broken is our society that we need constant distraction and discourse just to navigate everyday life?
And how do we dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in when our heads are buried in the sand?
I’m just a single mother and aspiring author with a blog; I do not claim to be a visionary or seer (although I would like to be). I do not claim to have all the answers to these questions. I mean, I have my own answers to these questions but it’s not the answer that’s important; it’s the ability to stand up and ask them that really matters. At the end of the day, each and every one of us will have to answer these questions for ourselves before we can even begin to heal as a whole.
In Darkness Within, one my main character’s first inner conflicts revolves around the words “Define Yourself”. For her, it isn’t the definition that’s a problem, it’s the admission of that definition that scares her (and for good reason). I thought it was a fitting conflict for her, not only because of the context of the story, but also because it’s something we all struggle with.
But, this post is not about Awen Murdock and her struggle between the physical world and the otherworld, it’s about me. It’s about this blog and the kind of things I write. For anyone who knows me or is already following my blog, you will appreciate how difficult this task is for me. I tend to be kind of “all over the place” and don’t do well with pinning myself to one subject or task.
So, you might be looking at my blog and asking yourself the question: What is this blog about? It’s about me, the blogger, of course and because I am a complex being with complex desires and motivations, there will be a great deal of variety to the content on this blog. I will try to pin it to the core subjects (while giving you some background information about myself).
Obviously, I’m a writer. I never went to school for it; never formally studied journalism but I’m pretty good at it. It’s the biggest piece of “who I am”. It’s what I’ve always done. However, I am just making the leap from notebook/journal writing and the occasional story contest to author.
I put this one closest to the top because it’s what I write about (most of the time). From time to time, I might talk about the projects I’m working on or a project I’ve already published. I might give a shout out to a fellow indie author whose work I really liked and I might even do reviews of other indie works from time to time.
Mostly, I will be blogging about writing in general: my frustrations and triumphs; my processes (or lack of real process); what I think about writing strategies (what has and hasn’t worked for me). I will probably write a lot about book marketing and promotion because it is has been the bain of my existence…If I find something that does work or something that fails miserably, I will let my readers know. If I feel like yelling and screaming (maybe cussing a little) at the gods of book promotion, I will write about it.
I guess you can say that I’m a “baby author” or an “author in training”. I wouldn’t call my blogging on this subject expert advice but it does hold weight because it’s a chronicle of the experiences I am having with writing and self-publishing (who knows, maybe traditional publishing in the future). I hope that other authors (both established and aspiring) gain something from reading my musings on the subject.
Furthermore, the very definition of why I have started blogging recently is because I love the indie author community. I want, above all else, to create an environment where authors (indie and traditional), bloggers, poets, journalists, ect. (let’s just sum it up as writers, in all shapes and sizes) can come together in open discourse and two way dialogue.
However: Be Warned…I will also digress: a lot. The two most common sources of my digression will be:
I was born in the foothills of West Virginia and I love my home, even though I’m far from it. I’m not a “country girl” in the social context that one would think but I do love the natural world. I grew up climbing trees and rolling in grass all day long and I find myself at home when I’m connecting with nature. Because of this, and my metaphysical views, I have found a home in the study of Druidry.
From time to time, I will blog about it, too. Not because I want to come across preachy or spread the word about “my religion” but because it’s a part of who I am. I actually don’t believe that one religion (or philosophy, or any train of thought) is “better” than another. I’m saying this to make sure it is known that, although I will be writing about it a lot, it’s not the focus of my blog and I wouldn’t want to build a readership of ONLY Druid or Pagan readers.
My children are my world. I try not to blog about them too much, because there are a lot of parenting blogs out there and I am (by far) an expert on the subject matter. Also, I want to give them a bit of privacy. They are too young (ages 4, 3 and 3) to have a say about what content I post about them so I try to keep embarrassing stories about them to a minimum. This blog would probably be a lot more interesting if I included every anecdote that they give me on a daily basis (they’re the funniest kids in the world) but I don’t think it would be fair.
However, being a mother of twins (actually, “Irish triplets”—my son is only 11 months older than my twins) does allow me some insight into the psychological or social aspects of twins, or raising children in general. I will write about that. Because it’s valuable and because it interests me (for instance, it’s exciting to look at the nature vs. nurture debate based on the raising of twins).
Maybe psychology, sociology, and philosophy should be a subset of my blog but I’m not going to do that because I will only write about these subjects on a whim and I do it quite subtly. I don’t see the need for spouting jargon because I’m an observer rather than an expert. I might write about my observations of society or a certain philosophical debate but I’m not going to bog my writing down with technical jargon and such. So, you don’t have worry about being bored to death by these rants. 😀
I think I’ve done a pretty good job at defining myself with this post but I must post a disclaimer. I have proven, in the past, to be pretty undefinable. One day, you might visit my blog and see a random post about the plausibility of lollipop rain (my husband and I actually have had this conversation). In the name of being a good blogger, I will try to write mostly about authorship but I know that I tend to write a lot about spirituality and parenting as well. I just want you to be warned that left field topics may occur on my blog most of the time.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines archetypes as “an original that has been imitated”. It is, in fact, the nature of things to be imitated. This occurs in the handing down of things. As most definitions do, it falls short of the true nature of the word. Modern Druidism isn’t an exact imitation of ancient Celtic faith practices. As with the handing down of family traditions, perceptions and interactions with the world change aspects of the tradition and so it becomes more of an adaption or interpretation than an exact imitation. It is the shifting of the unconsciousness of individuals involved in collective unconsciousness that create the changes of tradition.
This does not mean that the archetype is invalid or wrong. In fact, everything is an archetype. The founding traditions of Druidism were, in their own time, an archetype of something…some original seed that was planted and developed with the shifting of collective unconsciousness. Every modern religion, practice or tradition is an archetype of something that preceded it. Each one of these religions will be an archetype for whatever is to come in the future; it is the nature of man to progress in such manner.
The original, in this case, may be untouchable but the spirit of the movement burns on inside all current students of Druidism. Although the practices and motions that currently exist may be different, the seed is the same. Men, like trees, were designed to reach upward, outward to connect with a higher power…to connect with all things around us. The seed was planted at a time of which nobody can objectively recall, and it has grown to express itself in a manner of ways. Only the planting of the seed can be called “original”, everything that followed is an archetype, or branch of the same tree.
Since all faith practices and beliefs were planted from the same seed, we all draw from the same roots and drink of the same water. Although the branches may twist in very different directions and at times they may sway in the wind and crash into one another, they are still apart (as are we, as individuals) part of the collective unconscious. This is the first of things that has long been forgotten.
Wars will wage regarding the separate interpretations of any belief. Individuals will judge, persecute, and even murder in the name of “what is right”. We have become so indulgent in disproving another’s truth in order to assert the power of one’s truth over another that we have forgotten that we all harbor, inherently, the same truths. The differences lie in only our interpretation and expression of them.
This would not be successful without a perceived removal of oneself from the collective unconscious. Throughout written history, there has been infamous splitting of churches, states, and cultures which have impaired perception regarding our connectedness to one another. This has allowed for false superiority of race, culture, sex, and belief systems to arise: resulting, of course, in hate and dissention amongst these groups.
In all this chaos and turmoil, we have forgotten to realize that we are all branches of the same tree of life. In theory, revival of traditions that honor collective unconscious could, with time, heal this gap of dissention. Until we reconnect, as a whole, to the collective unconscious patterns of destruction will continue to rack the world; the end result is obvious.
The second things long forgotten is a connection with the ecological unconscious. Ecological unconscious is the basis of animism (the belief in the unconsciousness of the natural world). The connection between collective unconscious and ecological unconscious was once widely believed. It was during these times that nature based faith systems were formed.
However, as times changed, and humans lost sight of natural connections (societal “progress”, industrialization), religious archetypes began removing this belief from popular study. The result is a disregard for the land on which we live. The physical effects are obvious: global warming, rock slides due to mountain top removals, ect. A dying of the natural beings and process that we are connected to and rely on, at the hands of humanity ensues. Unrenewable sources of energy are being rapidly depleted, the balance of the natural process that sustain life are breaking down.
My favorite thoughts on the subject come from The Druidry Handbook by John Micheal Greer. Greer states that “by definition, unsustainable lifestyles can’t be sustained forever”. In the battle between indulgence and survival, indulgence is taking the prize. This is a product of the removal of beliefs regarding ecological unconscious and our relation to it from common religious archetypes. The belief that the earth is ours for the reaping…that it exists only for the indulgence of humankind and some great place is waiting above is destroying the link between the collective unconscious and the ecological unconscious.
The result is both physical detriments to the environment as well as an interrupted flow of energy between the two consciousness’. Although scientists warn of the psychological and ecological dangers of lack of connectivity and consumption of the natural world, humans persist in these endeavors as if it is of no consequence. In order to truly understand this, one must connect themselves to the ecological consciousness. Without this connection, it is too easy and convenient to destroy the world.
Now is the time that Druidism is most relevant. In order to restore the natural balance of things, we must restore the links between the individual and collective; the collective and the natural world. Interconnectedness and preservation will be the greatest tools to defeating dissention, hate and ecological destruction. Therefore, reviving systems of faith which promote these ideals could, in theory, save the world.