The Future is Here: An Emerging Paradigm of Hope

Interacting with nature, learning the plants

A paradigm is a set of patterns: of thoughts, actions, beliefs, and practices, under which people operate. We all were born into the paradigms of our current age: where money, colonization, domination, and the myth of progress are embedded into the foundations of our current civilization. This paradigm is replicated and interwoven in nearly everything our present civilization produces: from mass industrial agriculture to mass education, from big government and big corporations to the exploitation of native peoples and environmental degradation. It is replicated on the individual level, with the treatment of each other to  the treatment of workers in a variety of fields to the commodification of our bodies and data. It is woven into the assumptions present behind the creation of any new technologies, such as AI. These destructive capitalist and colonialist paradigms that have dominated the planet for 400+ years have not only shaped human societies, but they have also engaged in biological annihilation and created an increasingly stable climate and have put nearly all life on this planet at risk. This paradigm, which once was restricted to parts of Europe and the Old World, thanks to European colonialism, has now impacted nearly the entire world. This paradigm has taken root everywhere, and the whole planet is feeling its effects. There is no escaping it on a larger scale, and no escaping the effects that it has created and the ongoing threat it now poses to all beings. It is a form of collective insanity.

A river that was once poisoned from acid mine drainage is now healed again
A river that was once poisoned from acid mine drainage is now healed again

I’m obviously not mincing my words here–the time for being subtle is over. think that now people are agreeing, with increasing urgency, that the current paradigm we are working under has to go. I’m certainly feeling this, and while these thoughts are accompanied by a lot of fear, my feelings are increasingly accompanied by a lot of determination to do something better and create a better future. We are realizing collectively and individually that it doesn’t matter how sustainable you are, how many better products you buy or avoid buying, how much fossil fuels you eliminate, how many trees you plant, how many petitions you sign—in the end, if we don’t change the entire paradigm, the dominant paradigm is still hell-bent on continuing its path of destruction to fuel greed and power. It’s not that these small actions don’t matter–they do. If enough of us do them, we can change the world. But individuals are not enough–we need larger systems, values, and actions to counter and fight this current paradigm. This, my friends, is why we are all so tired of straddling the edge. The impetus for this is the survival of all life–including human life–on this planet. Ultimately, if we don’t change this paradigm and quickly, the earth’s broader systems will change it for us, and much life on this planet may not survive.

The term “paradigm” has its origins in ancient Greece, where it referred to a “pattern” or a grouping of similar occurrences. Just as we live in the dominant paradigm, whose capitalist, colonialist, and narcissistic tendencies are replicated in workplaces, families, politics, means of production, governments, education systems, and more–we can also look to alternative groups to see the emergence of a new paradigm, a paradigm I believe will replace the current one if we can help nurture it into fruition. This new paradigm, which yet doesn’t have a name, offers us hope and it is embedded in a wide range of people, cultures, practices, and communities globally. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s back up and start from the beginning.

Today’s post isn’t about the old, worn-out, and destructive paradigm that we live in.  Today’s post is about a hopeful future: I outline my thoughts on a new paradigm that is emerging, one that I believe can take the place of the current destructive myth of progress.  By tracing conversations, experiences, and my analysis of a wide range of communities in North America and beyond, I work to pull together the threads of this emerging new paradigm to help give us hope and direction for the future.

Signs of the New Paradigm in Wide-Ranging Communities

Sheet mulching at Sirius Ecovillage - learning regenerative agriculture and permaculture techniques in community
Sheet mulching at Sirius Ecovillage – learning regenerative agriculture and permaculture techniques in community

Those of you who have read this blog for a while know that just based on the scope of topics in my posts, I have a wide range of interests and communities I belong to.  I frequently move across a variety of communities to learn new things and connect with new people. It is in this experience in visiting a lot of different groups doing different things that I have come to understand that there is a broader movement that is taking place–a new paradigm emerging.  Over the last 20 years, for my entire adult life, I’ve gone to gatherings far and wide of different people focusing on returning to the earth, learning how to live more gently, learning how to work in communities of reciprocity, and learning how to connect with the earth in a myriad of ways.  These communities have included: earth skills and ancestral skills, bushcraft, natural building, rewilding, primitivist, herbalism and holistic healing, permaculture, natural building, earth-based arts and crafts, wild pigments, mushroom and plant-based foraging, community environmentalist groups and conservation, and druid/neopaganism.  I’ve attended gatherings, visited and stayed at ecovillages, taken courses face to face, read books, taught, participated in activities, started groups, and spent time with folks in the list above. The other piece of this that is relevant for developing and sharing this list today is that I’m a social scientist in my day job; as part of that,  I engage in a lot of data-driven research. Thus, one of the things I’m particularly skilled at is looking at large datasets and generalizing meaning from them–this is essentially what I’ve done here.

Thus, in spending time in these communities, I am seeing a broader consensus and pattern emerging.  This new paradigm isn’t unique to a single community or place, but pieces of it are emerging in very diverse communities—even communities that wouldn’t have a great deal of overlap.  This new paradigm appears to be emerging in so many individual and community-oriented ways globally: the nature spirituality movement, ecovillages, natural building centers, herbalism, reiki and other alternative healing modalities, folk art centers, community gardens, reskilling and transition town movements, ancestral and earth skills gatherings, permaculture convergences, individual backyards, in choices and ways of life, and so many more ways. It is being enacted with increasing emphasis and frequency, and it is growing in scope and magnitude.

This new paradigm is not any one single person’s vision, but a confluence of many different people sharing, learning how to reconnect, how to heal the earth, and grow together in a community. This is not my paradigm or my ideas specifically, I’m just drawing experiences and knowledge from many sources to articulate it in a way that might be helpful.  I’m giving it a voice, but it belongs to all of us. And also, as you’ll see–this “new” paradigm is not new at all.  It is a return to older lifeways and understandings, understandings held by many groups of people across time, particularly tied to indigenous ways of knowing and being in the world (and if we all go far back enough, we are indigenous to somewhere).

Defining the New Earth-Honoring Paradigm

The new paradigm does not yet have a name, or rather, the paradigm has many different names. And this new paradigm is emerging stronger than ever before. In order to give it some definitions, I find that it is helpful to think about human activity in three ways: values, practices, and experiences. Values are what we hold to be important, of worth, and also the standards to which we can hold ourselves to particular sets of right behavior.  Practices are these values enacted, which vary considerably by community, but as you will see, consensus does emerge.  Experiences refer to some things that as people interact with values and practices in this new paradigm, they report experiencing. This is just one way to split these observations as a way of starting to have a conversation; there are a myriad of others. So without further delay, lets examine the features of this new paradigm:


The primary value of the new paradigm is an affirmation that the earth is our home and mother and should be nurtured, honored, and respected by humanity.  All life on earth has a right to exist, and part of being a good human is learning how to work in a respectful way to honor all life and still meet our needs.  Tied to this primary value are respectful interactions for all beings, human or otherwise.  These values obviously are a strong pivot and stand in contrast to the current paradigm.  Some of the values are:

  • Affirming that the Earth is sacred and should be honored, respected
    • For some communities, the earth is acknowledged as a sovereign being
  • Recognizing that humans can be a force of healing and good in the world and that we all can make that happen individually and on a community-wide level
  • Reciprocating with the land and each other is a critical value
    • Recognizing that this work can be healing, nourishing and joyful
  • Knowing that the earth can provide for our needs and recognizing the value of learning the skills through which this happens
  • Rejecting the common stereotypes, consumption-driven behaviors, and identities of capitalist culture and embracing individual expression and identity
  • Acknowledging that our communities are better when we support polycultures of people
    • This includes embracing diverse people of all races, genders, body types, abilities, nationalities, socioeconomic status, and religions and creating safe spaces for all.
    • Like everything else on this list this is an ideal, and many communities still have serious issues with these areas, but there is work and movement in this direction for most
  • Agreement that the dominant paradigm with its systems of mass consumption, capitalism, and colonialism are destructive and should be rejected
    • Many communities/groups/ways of knowing directly serve as a counter to these systems.
  • Acknowledgment of connection of holism rather than fragmentation both in the broader earth and within ourselves:
    • On a planet-wide scale, this is recognizing our own interconnectedness of all life and our place in the broader ecosystem through whole-systems thinking
    • For ourselves as human beings, this includes acknowledging and connecting mind, body, spirit and the need for healing/growth/attention on all three levels
    • For some communities, this involves recognizing the physical/metaphysical aspects
  • Recognizing that we are all human, not perfect, and have room to learn and grow.
    • This translates in several ways ways. First, each of us needs to learn skills of deep listening, self-reflection, action, and awareness so that we can address our own biases, limitations, and so forth.
    • Second, each of us needs to honor our own bodies, needs, and limitations.
    • Third, embracing a mindset that allows us to learn from our mistakes and keep growing in ways that are honest, open, and meaningful.
  • For a growing number of communities: An acknowledgment of the ancestors of the land and the value of indigenous teachings and ways of knowing
    • This doesn’t mean some communities don’t have issues with appropriation, they do.


Practices are values in action, they allow us to manifest these value systems in the world around us to enact change, live differently, and engage in different kinds of activity.  Practices are our best attempts to manifest the growing value system of this new paradigm and often appear differently in different communities/individuals depending on focus.

  • Offering gratitude for each other and for the land in all things and in multiple ways:
    • This may manifest as simple statements of gratitude (before meals, at the beginning of the day, etc)
    • This may also include offering gratitude to the land before the harvest
    • In some communities, this may manifest as formal circles and ceremonies where gratitude is a core part of the community and practice
  • Reciprocation and interaction with the earth to recognise that we need to both give and take for the earth to be fruitful and abundant.
    • When anyone takes anything from the earth, engage in respectful interaction and do so in ways that do not damage ecosystems but that nourish and regenerate. This is done in a variety of ways depending on the community and may involve growing materials for medicines, crafts building, etc; foraging invasives; scattering seeds; and so many other practices.
  • Being in community with each other and working hard towards cultivating healthy communities
    • This may include clear discussions with community members, formally creating codes of conduct, calling out problematic behaviors, and a lot of individual attention and action toward honoring each other’s needs, diversity, voices, and needs
    • Games, icebreakers, and regular ways of bringing the community together each day
  • Cultivating and honoring diverse peoples, bodies, beliefs, and abilities through words and actions
    • See the points directly above as well as scholarships for bringing in diverse individuals; and recruiting diverse leaders and teachers, elevating different voices a wide variety of ways
  • Learning some set of skills in a collaborative and community-supported setting with often very accessible, nurturing, and low-stakes teaching practices.
    • This includes nurturing and expressing growth mindsets – the idea that people can learn through making mistakes, figuring things out, and trying again and that we were all beginners once
  • Practices that honor our own intuition, creativity, and individual skills
    • Honoring the individual creations and ideas of individuals through formal and informal activities
    • Weaving various forms of human expression as central to the activity (even if it is more pragmatic in nature)
  • Sustainable and regenerative practices where the emphasis is on being local, situated, and reciprocal.
    • All activities regardless of the community are tied to the land as much as possible and locally sourced; foraging for baseket material from invasives growing on the land; large dye gardens at folk schools, etc.
    • Localizing connection to the earth and meeting one’s needs, gathering or growing local materials
  • Attention to creating and building specific, contextualized, and local knowledge.
    • Emphasis on connecting with a local place and honoring the differences in ecosystems or people.
  • Appropriate uses of technology and appropriate technologies and valuing the role of human labor over fossil fuels
    • This may be an implicit community norm that minimizes or does not depend on dominant efficiency technologies used in other contexts
  • Recognizing the wholeness of a person, the need to heal on multiple levels, and holism.
    • This manifests in different ways based on the community, but it is almost always present in some form
  • Emphasizing whole systems thinking, thinking in cycles and in longer time frames, mirroring the patterns of nature.
  • Functioning in slow time, where there is an emphasis on doing things well rather than quickly or efficiently
    • May manifest as creating time for people to think through a problem and talk through it from multiple angles
    • Scheduling large blocks of open time and enough time for meals.
  • Engaging in ceremony for each other and for the earth.
    • This one somewhat surprises me, as it shows up in many communities that are not spiritual in nature still have quite a lot of ceremonies; thus, I’ve experienced a range of beautiful ceremonies at earth skills gatherings, permaculture events, herbalism courses, natural building courses, and so on.


A final addition to this list is the set of experiences, feelings, and outcomes that people have from experiencing, participating in, learning, and embracing the values and practices above:

  • A sense of coming home (as though you found a home and/or a name for what you already were)
  • Feeling empowered and excited by the new knowledge that you have
  • For events/gatherings, having a “hard return” when you come back where shifting back into the old paradigm can be disturbing, unbalancing, and depressing
  • Making quite deep connections and friendships even over short periods of time
  • Time dilation, where you are feeling like you’ve been immersed in this community/experience longer than you have been

A note about the experiences category: seeing these experiences over and over again is one of the things that kind of “clued me in” to this larger pattern I was seeing. It is amazing to experience, again and again, the hunger that new people who come into these communities face. Sometimes they can’t even express what is wrong or what they want, but when they find it, it resonates. They weep with joy and feel so at home among those they found who share this vision.  Often entering one of these communities–through a course, gathering, or event–even for a short while is deeply impactful and may continue to resonate or help them shift their individual lives in some way.

Caveats for the Paradigm Outline above

A few caveats about my list above: 1) not all communities I’ve listed embrace the full list above and some may still be working on large pieces of these or in the process of shifting or emerging in new ways–but there is movement in the above directions.  2) Different communities are inherently local, individual, and unique and individual actions may differ than larger groups/  3) As a permaculture practitioner, I believe in polycultures, not monocultures, so while these beliefs, practices, and experiences may transcend any single community, not all communities would agree or see things the same–and that’s ok; 4) as a person holding a specific identity (druid, female, white, able-bodied, learning disabled, cis-gendered, straight), my own experiences may not mirror those who hold different identities.

Why this list now? The Paradigm is Shifting and there is Hope!

Greenhouse at Sirius Ecovillage
Greenhouse at Sirius Ecovillage

Certainly, these ideas are not new.  They are woven into almost every indigenous belief system and are inherently tied to human survival and thriving on this planet in a long-term, balanced, and sustainable way. In a modern sense, at least here in the US among white people, most people are disconnected by sometimes millennia from those systems of belief and those ways of knowing are fully lost.  Hence, I believe that many of us are going through a time of rediscovery and relearning now. So there are many different foundations.  Culturally, the foundations for the present movements and communities have been laid for this for quite a while (since the 1970’s here in the US, at least, with a resurgence in the last 15 or so years).  There is a new generation of indigenous teachers who are also sharing their knowledge–like Robin Wall Kimmerer and Tyson Yunkaporta–and these teachers are reaching very willing and open ears.  Things have changed for good and more and more people are finding their way into this alternative paradigm than ever before.

The pandemic/post-pandemic (or whatever you call the time we are experiencing right now) combined with the increasing realities of climate change and mass extinction on the earth has people with a stronger desire for an alternative paradigm than ever before.  With the foundation laid, but it was the pandemic created the kind of hard shift that seems to have brought much larger numbers–including large numbers of young people–into some of these longstanding movements.  As they come in, they push these movements further in the direction they should go.

But also, the basic social fabric is unraveling.  Present human society works for less and less people.  Look at how many people were “left behind” in the pandemic due to illnesses.  Look at how many people are now being left behind and losing entire life’s work and careers due to AI. Look at how, at least in US culture, young people are given so few options for a good, stable life that doesn’t involve drowning in debt.  We keep being told we need to push forward, move faster, do more…and people have had enough. A lot of people can see firsthand how the system has failed them, again and again, and they have had enough.

Learning and study together on a plant walk--let's shift this paradigm one person at a time!
Learning and study together on a plant walk–let’s shift this paradigm one person at a time!

I have seen some of this major paradigm shift firsthand.  As one clear example, in the druid community—the Ancient Order of Druids in America used to get about 125 or so new members a year—and since 2020, we now get over 300—and there’s no sign of that slowing down.  It’s almost like as people see more and more direct evidence of climate change and the severe need to protect the earth, and as people get more and more disgusted with politics, human society, threatening technologies, social media, poison food, pollution, factory farming, and ultimately the wholesale destruction of nature, we have had enough.  And seeing the kinds of people who have been joining AODA in such large waves—people have a hunger for learning how to be better human beings who connect deeply with and revere the earth.  I could give you 100 examples of this paradigm in action, but hey, this post is already over 3000 words long, so perhaps I’ll save a deep dive into some of this for next week’s post! :).


In sum, I’ve just laid out what are some potential features of a new paradigm–a paradigm that is emerging through millions of people in tens of thousands of communities, groups, and events all around the world.  This paradigm is gaining steam and it is gaining in popularity as people seek to create a better future for themselves, take responsibility for their own actions, and recognize that if we want to have a future for all life on this planet, we need something radically different.

I would really love your input on this post–what have you been seeing? What am I missing? What blind spots or issues do you see in this?  I’m but one mind, one voice, and I realize much of what I’ve written here may be far from accurate.  But I want to get this conversation started and, honestly, I’m so excited to have this kind of conversation.  This paradigm needs all the voices and help we can give it!  Like a seed just breaking through the soil, let’s help it grow!  So yes, please share your own thoughts, and let’s give this new movement voice.

Recommended Articles


  1. I am so happy to read what you wrote. I live in the Netherlands, I am an Ovate, learning to be a Druid. I can sense the Paradigm change. I am also full of hope. The thing I find hard though is that most of the people in my life have lost that hope of change. They do all the stuff that is necessary and they feel they have a duty to Earth and all that lives, but they have lost hope. That makes me so sad and lonely sometimes. They think I am naïeve when I tell them that I can see and feel a wave of change coming. And that one can not lose hope. Because hope is a web that we also need to manifest that new Paradigm. So I am so glad with this blog post. It helps, Thank you. Maaike Lammers

    1. Hi Maaike, thanks so much for sharing. Hope is SUCH a big part of this entire paradigm shift! That’s the key to the entire thing–maintaining our hope, positive belief in the future, and joy.

      Can you share ways that you are seeing the paradigm shifting in the Netherlands? I’ve gotten to spend only a little time in Europe, and not in your country, so I would love to hear more.

  2. Thank you for (another) excellent and thought-provoking post, Dana. I think I will need to read it through several times to fully absorb all the information and points you have made but in the meantime, I believe this is most definitely a conversation to be explored and shared and I think you have got things off to a great and insightful start! What I like so much about the idea of a new paradigm is that it is overwhelmingly positive when it is all too easy to be sucked into a downward spiral of pessimism and despondency in light of everything that is happening. There is so much power and optimism in mutual support and sharing, whether it be ideas, experiences or actions, and I firmly believe that drawing like-minded people together in what is obviously a rapidly expanding community will bring about real change. That said, for me, one of the biggest challenges is convincing those who are happy with the current paradigm for the need to change. I try to reach out as much as I can in a positive, balanced and non-preachy way, either personally or through my blog, but I am painfully aware that there are many people who profess to admire my approach and way of life without having any intention of making even the smallest change to their own. How do we appeal to those people and get them on board? To be completely effective, the new paradigm needs to become mainstream and I think that is the biggest challenge of all . . . but a very exciting one at that! Thank you again for your hard and inspiring work. Lis 😊

    1. Hi Lis,
      Thanks so much for sharing! So I think the new paradigm is emerging and more and more people are finding their way into it and deepening their relatinship with it all the time. I’ve thought a lot about this question–Maybe I’ll write a whole blog post on appealing to people to get them on board! But in the meantime, here are some thoughts. I am actually of two minds on the topic.

      On one hand, certain people are so embedded in the paradigm, that I don’t try to actively convince them. There’s a lot of psychology behind this in the research surrounding climate change (some of it I outlined here: Sometimes the more you push, the more they dig in their heels. But there are so many changes in the world it actually becomes harder and harder to turn a blind eye–so more and more people are coming around for a variety of reasons and finding their way to the edges of this new paradigm.

      Thus, one of my techniques is to put a lot of good work out there, as much for free as I can, and that includes living a model life where I’m actively doing this sustainable and regenerative work, and hope maybe someday they will come around. And when they do, I will welcome them and do what I can to help them, just as my own mentors and inspirations helped me. I’ll give a simple example of this: at my work, people are always amazed that we have a small homestead. Its not a typical thing and a lot of people simply ask about the work involved. Then when the pandemic hit–these same people that used to think I was weird for growing a ton of my own food were asking for seedlings! They had seen me posting about it and talking about it for years, and suddenly, their own paradigm was shifting and they wanted in. To me, that’s what it is all about–reaching people when they are ready.

      But the other thing I do is find ways that are more palatable to teach parts of the new paradigm in surreptitious ways. I live in a very conservative area, so a lot of what I think and do is considered really radical by people who live where I do. Some of the things I’ve attempted that have worked elsewhere, like creating a permaculture meetup, fell flat. But I finally found something people really wanted to learn: herbalism and wild food foraging. So I serve as an earth ambassador, teaching them to forage within the parameters of this new paradigm. I teach ethics and model that on my walks (I wrote a lot about that here: So we begin with reciprocity and I teach them about the plants that are harmful (invasive) on the landscape vs. those that should be protected. It has been an awesome way to reach folks that otherwise would not be interested in this paradigm.

      This is to say–you may have to try a lot of different passive (putting work out there, modeling) and active (foraging example) ways to see what sticks. Each situation and area is unique–but keep at it. Times are a changing, and this case, change is great! 🙂


  3. Thank you so much for this deep dive into such an all-encompassing and positive approach – a new paradigm, a new philosophy, a new and positive approach grounded in the practices you have outlined is much needed. The negativity and depressive/oppressive nature of the old paradigm needs to and seems to be shifting.

    1. Hi CS, you are most welcome :). I prefer to maintain the mindset of hope–it is hope and so many people bringing this new paradigm into existence that will get us there!

  4. This post is so punk rock. Hope and activating change in the face of currently what is, is *so* radical. In my home state last Tuesday, we saw surprising election results in favor of body autonomy and the legalization of cannabis. My state has been trending red since 2016, our election maps have been ruled unconstitutional, and the people STILL voted this way. I can only imagine if our election maps were actually fair!!

    The challenges to the new paradigm I feel are discussed ad nauseam; and are used to weaponize apathy. I guess with any new trailblazing path, the only thing to do is keep going. The path is not made yet.

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Heck yeah, that’s a serious compliment to someone whose favorite genre is punk :). That’s awesome to hear that things are changing even in your conservative state–are you in Ohio by chance? Big changes there–gives me hope for Pennsylvania!

      I agree with you–let’s stop talking about the roadblocks and just start living the future. Someone’s gotta make their way through the thicket of brambles so that others can follow.

  5. Dana,
    Most enlightening post! Thank you. I do see this new paradigm in the herbalist community and I relish the comaraderie

  6. Thank you for this post I enjoyed it very much. I was raised on a off grid farm in Algonquin territory in rural Canada with Rastafarian and Algonquin values, homeschooled and no television. I’ve often felt as an outsider observing the systems of man. As someone who has been waiting for the new paradigm to emerge my entire life, it has been remarkable and given me hope to see how much the mainstream mindset has shifted in the last decade. I believe a shift in mainstream paradigm is inevitable as Mother Earth is more intelligent and powerful than men. It is just a matter of how much challenge mankind will endure and inflict during this shift depending on if we choose to work with or against her. I think it will be integral for those who identify as “white” to reconnect with their ethnicity and nature and earth culture of their ancestors that has been whitewashed from them. As you mentioned we were all Indigenous to some land at some point. And all people to heal from the trauma these insane systems have inflicted on them.

    1. Hi Joy,
      Thank you so much. I think you are spot on–white people have this history of colonialism and oppression, but we were all indigenous somewhere. As a white person, I am really looking to hone in on that idea and message for other white people–to recognize that we have the most to learn and need to spend deep time listening and practicing humility. That European indigenous heritage may have been lost a long time ago and we may be displaced from it, and much of it has been erased. But yet, reconnecting is still happening everywhere. It gives me a lot of hope. Blessings and thank you so much for sharing!

      1. I think this is a very important reality – first that we are all indigenous somewhere, including white people. And also that our heritage was lost hundreds of years ago, so long ago that most people on the planet seem to have forgotten it. Today, facing the myriad crises, it is essential that we do the work of remembering. And that we realize we are more than we were taught. I can’t help but believe that, on some level, white people have to wake up to who we were before we were ripped from our heritage, our knowings, our relationship with the places we lived. We have to face that trauma that is very deeply buried to the point that most people don’t even acknowledge anything actually happened (despite history that we know). Sometimes when I bring this up it is well received. It’s something I’ve worked on for myself, at first not even aware of the actual history since it started in my teens. I have accessed past life memories, felt the pain and losses – and I still do. What I realize is that somehow that pain, those memories, have strengthened me and as I’ve gotten older I don’t really care what people think when I share. What I’m hoping for is that my experience will resonate with someone. Sometimes, when I bring this up, though, especially on social media, there is a backlash, mostly from other white people (at least it appears that way), that glosses over this. It seems they think I’m saying this history is an excuse for bad behavior. But that is so not true. If we are unaware of these deep wounds that have obscured who we really are as human beings living within a living Earth, we will not heal ourselves and we will continue to spread the pain. It’s not an excuse. It simply means we have a lot of deep healing to do. I think you have actually written about this in the past. When we finally fall in love with Earth, and feel this deeply, everyday so that it becomes who we are, then the tears come, the grief can be accessed and moved through, and somehow, the best I cans say it in this moment, is we become permeable, soft, open, and at the same time we are strengthened in essential ways. For this process, I am grateful every day.

        1. Thank you so much, Susan. The work of remembering–this is exactly it. And you are right, I have written about this before ( I feel like I am just really starting to lean into this and really articulate it more–and that articulation takes time. I really started honing in on this more explicitly after going to Europe last year where I was in ancestral lands but realizing that the obviousness of the colonization against my own indigenous beliefs were literally celebrated and enshrined (it is hard to not be furious when you see a statue with the pagan head of a god at feet of the two christian missionaries who destroyed his temple and then put up a church….). I feel like I intellectually understood this for a long time but it wasn’t until I went to Europe that I experienced it on an emotional level and had the tables turned so explicitly, that I really leaned into this dual perspective. Being here in the US, as a white person you are always in a position of being the colonizer, and a lot of us are working to undo that damage and make reparations–elevating indigenous people and voices, supporting them, being allies, and learning how to be better in all ways. Because of this, we often forget that we, too, are colonized and anyone who practices any kind of earth-based religion or pagan religion has serious issues stemming from colonization. This is another form of generational trauma. When I talk about my own druidry now, I explain it that many of us who are white are realizing that we need to embrace our own ancestral heritage and indigenous traditions. And for me, that tradition is druidry. It looks nothing like the ancient druids because my religion was destroyed. But we are picking up the pieces with the love and wisdom of those who came before us.

          So its like, a white pagan person in the US or other lands that have been colonized basically means we are always sitting in this dual perspective place and it can be productive to lean into it. And I have found that embracing both of those perspectives and is a place of deep healing. We can understand what it is like to have to pick up the pieces of traditions that have been extremely oppressed and fragmented. But we also have responsibility to the present indigenous peoples where we live, the ancestors of our land, and the land itself to unlearn these colonialist mindsets and behaviors and work towards healing. And to put pressure on other white people and white-dominant systems to make broader change, leveraging that privilege.

          I too have faced a backlash from other white people when I share these ideas. I think it is too easy to just make white people out to be the oppressor without understanding the nuances in our complex identities, including white people who are doing the reconstruction and revival work of bringing back these ancient traditions that were lost to colonization. I have been thinking about why this is–these are my thoughts at present. Obviously, we have a 1000+ year old legacy of demonizing paganism that is so deeply embedded in the West due to this colonial process that it continues to be replicated over and over again. Last night, I was babysitting my niece and she wanted to watch the Little Mermaid. There was that same anti-pagan and anti-witch sentiment, the evil witch Ursula with her familiar eels, crystal ball, and dark magic–this is what children are growing up watching. Second, I think that despite the many pushes towards social justice we have in the US, pagans remain a group that it is easy to mock, to ridicule, and to not support. Even people who would consider themselves fighting for social justice and the rights of others do not recognize or respect the rights of pagans and may openly mock us or show us intolerance. I get shit every year when I post how St. Patrick’s day is literally a holiday celebrating the destruction of my indigenous faith–people say I’m ruining their fun and refuse to even hear what I have to say. I am also seeing this very clearly on my college campus. I am the faculty advisor of our pagan student club. We’ve had a number of issues over the years with religious intolerance and hate and it is very hard to get the same people that are fighting hard for the rights of other groups to even listen. They nod and smile and then I never hear back when I talk about anti-pagan sentiment on campus or how these pagan students are being harassed or worse. I’ve experienced it myself in so many ways–just last week a student in a dissertation defense where I was a committee member is doing a dissertation on examining minority identities in college instructors, and had this tiny footnote about how she rejected the notion that Christianity was colonial. I was very upset about what she wrote and I raised this issue, and I could tell it was even extremely uncomfortable to one of the other committee members, I have dozens more of examples like this, just from this year. The point is, until we are able to address the wide-scale oppression and religious intolerance of people practicing neopaganism, we will probably continue to see such backlash from white people, often the same white people who claim to be fighting hard for the equality and rights of others. I’ve been thinking about writing more about this on the blog; maybe I will. I’m just not sure I know what to say to solve it, and usually when I post things, I like to share not only problems but some ideas for solutions. So I’m continuing to experience these events, try new things to address this religious intolerance, and at some point, I’ll hopefully have more to say. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

          In the meantime,I really appreciate your thoughts here!

  7. For the past three years a group of wonderful individuals have been changing the paradigm status quo for Australians. Six Original Nations have thus far been re-established and cover the majority of the Australian east coast. Australia was stolen from the original people when Britain planted its flag. The Original people never ceded their land. Now nation after nation have formed government and many more will be established. They intend for all people to live together harmoniously. The UN has acknowledged and welcomed the Sovereign nations and offered them a seat at the table. They have refused this gesture. The stamps have been put into circulation. Flags fly. Constitutions are being finalized. Declarations of independence have begun to go public. Parliamentary ministries are being set up. Environment, education and common law assembly charters are drawn up. We are changing our world in Australia in meaningful and sustainable ways. We are in it for the long-haul. In time, the belligerent occupying government will become irrelevant. People are creating a better future for the children, the planet, for each other. How they are treated by institutions of all kinds will change. Those companies causing harm, loss or both will not be tolerated, and will take responsibility for their actions. We humans are living in the best of times. We are present in this lifetime to observe and participate in a revolution of consciousness. Those who have woken up to the need for a paradigm shift are changing the way they conduct themselves, the way they treat all life on this planet. Those who have not, will fall into self-destruction.

    1. Additional comment: I have observed that many have been awake for decades. Some have intuitively known something wasn’t right with our world for a long time. Many have woken up in more recent times. Some are still asleep. None knew what to do about what they knew, or were observing, until they all came together.

      In the aftermath of protests about all that people were forced to endure across the world over the past three years, people did not want to forget that sense of unity that they’d felt. A community arose from that need. Together, they began to imagine the world they’d like to live in. That expression of collective conscious thought has gained momentum. It gathered in people’s hearts and minds and they began to take action. They formed discussion groups and then action groups and before they knew it, it took on a life of its own.

      The power is truly with the people. I believe, little by little, people are respectively seeing and sensing a healthy community and fellowship and are gravitating towards it. I believe they are hopeful their ideals might not be wishful thinking after all; ideals that they had buried, and with a little nurturing, they can sprout and come to fruition.

      We are creating a beautiful future together, people, stepping aside from those that would trick us into believing they have some kind of right to control us. We are powerful. We must care to care. Breathe in the new world. Blessed be all.

    2. Hi Jodie,
      This is amazing news–thank you so much. I have been hugely influenced by Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk, which focuses primarily on Aboriginal Australians and their teachings and have a deep respect for everything I’ve learned about their unique cultures and ways of life. It is exciting to hear how much progress has been made in only a few years–this is a wonderful example of the paradigm shift. And hopefully, it can be a model for other places that desperately need more indigenous sovereignty and independence. Blessings and thank you again for sharing.

  8. Thanks so much for a positive and thorough look into what is emerging. As a fellow Druid, homesteader, herbalist; I too see more interest emerging in this new paradigm, especially in younger folks. I live in Vermont and there is a strong current here for local farming, small communities and respecting the land. As a mentor to new organic farmers, I am so encouraged by the young farmers who are conserving and respecting the land. It’s a small light at the end of the tunnel but it is indeed a light. I believe that living our lives as a shining example of what can be, without judging others, is the best way to attract others to the new paradigm. I love your example of teaching foraging and using that as an opening to bring others along.

    1. Hi Brenda, this is awesome to hear! I’ve had the pleasure of visiting an off-grid homestead in Vermont once and it definitely seemed like there were a lot of good things going on there! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and so grateful for the good work you are doing in the world :).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: