The Pagan Conspiracy

There’s little offends the prejudiced more than seeing people from their hate-group doing ok. Whoever the prejudice is against, be it based on religion, skin colour, gender, gender preference… it usually comes with an assumption that the hate object is inferior. So if they’re getting ahead, or even staying afloat, there must be some kind of unfairness or cheating going on. It’s the next ‘logical’ step to imagine a conspiracy. So there’s the gay conspiracy, the Jewish conspiracy, there’s the feminist conspiracy to destroy men, there’s the conspiracy between members of any ethnic minority anywhere to help each other and exclude everyone else, and of course there’s the pagan conspiracy. I expect there are more.

Of course, one of the things about a conspiracy theory is that you can’t disprove it.

I wonder about the psychology of people who go in for prejudice and conspiracy theory belief in this way. I know they exist, I’ve seen their posts online, their hysterical newspaper columns, and other odious expressions. They get very worked up about some ‘other’ who they perceive as a coherent, organised group, all the same, and all guilty of some terrible thing. Currently, undermining traditional values, family values and Christian values are popular foci, but there are others. Always, always there’s this sense of the hater being better than the hate-object. Superiority is the name of the game. But superior in whose eyes? Who are they trying to convince?

Alongside the hatred is the fear of what would happen if (insert name of hate-object here) got into power. Fear that they in turn would become the abused victim. Fear that the hate-object group would treat them very badly indeed. So, apparently it’s better to get in there and do unto others before they have chance to do unto you. Remind me about those Christian values we were supposed to be upholding… I don’t remember anything about Jesus preaching hate and intolerance. I do recall him quoted as saying things like ‘love thy neighbour’ and telling stories that cast folk who were at the time suspect foreigners (the Samaritan) in a good light. Every time someone talks about defending Christian values, whilst using hate-language against another group, I wince. They clearly haven’t read the book at all.

So the fear mongers think there is a pagan conspiracy. We won’t fight it by saying it isn’t so. I’ve been active on the pagan scene for a good decade. I’ve run moots and rituals. Pagans are unspeakably difficult to organise, because we all have our own ideas and subtly different beliefs. It’s quite a feat getting enough pagans organised to have a camp or a conference. We manage it, there are great camps and conferences out there, but I’ll bet anyone running one would not rate the chances of organising a full blown conspiracy. It’s a joke. But the people who are afraid of us do not see the joke. Nor do they see the regular humanity of us, or any other group they fixate upon to detest. Which is tragic. 

People should be freethinking individuals. We should none of us be easily herded like sheep by some elite who wants to drive us in one direction or another. Conspiracies led by leaders who want to bring down the world… evil powers bent on destruction, careless of humanity… is it me, or does this start to sound more like government and big business than ever it does like most minority groups?

Hate is not the answer. Not ever. We might not like or trust each other – the gods know I do not trust my current government, nor any of the ones before it. But to hate, vilify, and rage noisily against them (or anyone else for that matter) is not to solve anything. To treat people as groups, clichés and assumptions does not enable us to do anything. We are all individual people. The more we believe in the idea of there being ‘others’ conspiring against us, the more powerless and divided we become.

I’ve spent a lot of time this last year posting reactionary pieces about things I see as wrong. Next year, I am going to start figuring out how things ought to be. The great conspiracy to have good and sustainable lives. Let’s become a shockingly benevolent conspiracy and take over the world 🙂

GWM – Biodynamic Inspection

GWM BD Inspection

Archenland, our home, is Demeter certified so every year we are inspected to make sure we are still working along sound biodynamic lines and principles. We had our annual inspection today.

Having Richard, the inspector, round is always delightful if rigorous! We know him well but that doesn’t stop him asking poking questions and making sure we actually walk our talk – which is just how it should be. The Biodynamic Association, Demeter, is always concerned that all its members actually do practice biodynamics and do it properly. They give us a set of forms to complete which ask questions about …

  • Our land
  • What we grow
  • What outside input we do – like manure, compost, rock dust, calcium, lime etc.
  • What seeds we use – they must be at least organic and preferably biodynamic
  • What animals we keep, if any
  • What our crop rotation is
  • How wildlife friendly the garden is
  • What our pest control systems are
  • What composting we do
  • And … the most important … when we have put the preps on the garden during the past year

The fundamental part of biodynamics is putting the preparations on the land and in the compost. If you don’t do this you’re not working biodynamically. The planting calendar is secondary to using the preparations. We keep records in the diary of all the stirrings we do and which beds – particularly in the case of prep 501 – we spray. It’s very useful to us as well as necessary for the inspection.

Paul also keeps detailed records of what goes on each bed, each year, in terms of  …

  • Cow manure
  • Horse manure
  • Chicken manure – quite rare for us to be able to get
  • Pig manure – currently scarcer than hen’s teeth but I would like to use it, am hopeful to have a source for 2011
  • Homemade weed and vegetable compost
  • Bokashi compost & juice
  • Worm compost & juice
  • Basalt rock dust
  • Calcified seaweed & liquid
  • Local authority green manure
  • Leaf mould
  • Cow-pat-pit preparation
  • Liquid manure
  • Comfrey juice
  • Nettle tea feed
  • Nettle tea aphid killer
  • Horsetail tea fungus treatment

It’s a long list but it’s all good stuff!

Richard-the-Inspector likes to walk round the garden too – interesting this time as it was, as he put it, a winter wonderland out there with best part of a foot of snow covering everything. He wasn’t able to see much but did scrape off some snow and note the good condition of the soil beneath, commenting on the good use of organic matter to retain soil friability even under these harsh conditions. We can still dig leeks without breaking them!

Richard is interested to hear how we’re finding using the rock dust – we’ve been doing it for nearly four years now – and pleased that we notice how the veg beds that have had it produce stronger, healthier plants than those that haven’t. It really seems to add to the good effect of the preparations. We were talking about how there is no “magic bullet” but learning to work all things into an integrated whole makes the difference.

Mind you, the one thing we would never drop is doing the preparations, on the soil, the plants and in the compost heaps.

We’ve been doing more cow-pat-pit and Mausdorfer this past couple of years, partly because I’ve been in and out of hospital so much with the joint-replacement operations. This has meant not only has Paul had more to do in the garden but less time to do it in because of looking after me. Using these multi-preps – each of them contains all 6 of the compost preps – has helped get compost made and, by using cow-pat-pit directly on the land, has improved the beds without all the hard work of digging in compost. Richard asked if that meant we weren’t bothering with compost. Oh no, we said, we’re still making it and still find using real compost makes even more difference than just using the cow-pat-pit, but you always have to adjust your life to your circumstances and do the best you can. The two multi-preps have made it possible to do more biodynamics than we would have otherwise been able to because of me.

That’s something that Richard understands – doing the best you can.

Demeter isn’t the Spanish Inquisition! They very well understand that Life happens. Part of Richard’s job is to know when the people he’s inspecting really are doing their best and went they’re skiving. I strongly suspect that the number of skivers in BD is extremely small but I would never say we are a perfect lot without any failings!

People who decide to go for biodynamics, like most organic gardeners, do it because they feel it in their hearts not for any other reasons. We do it because it makes our hearts sing … and there is no better reason in the world for doing anything.

It was a good, thorough and rigorous inspection … we passed muster 🙂