Stars and civilization

The two topics most on my mind today, with the results that I feel, emotionally, what must be the equivalent of having your head literally slammed into a wall. Except that in this case, I can’t say it is bad, or likely to lead to long-term damage, though it is possible I will experience some kind of permanent change as a result. (Perhaps not; very little I read was a new idea to me, but seeing it from multiple other people, and so eloquently, was intense.)

This morning, while working on documents, I couldn’t keep my mind away from the concept of how almost all elements that exist were created by stars, and we now exist because those stars died and in dying scattered their components to the cosmos, where they were free to recombine into new forms. Science, yes, we’ve probably all seen pretty graphics with uplifting text about how awesome it is we are all made from star-stuff, with links to supportive science. And I agree, it is awesome! That would give me intense mystical feelings with or without any belief in spirits. But from an animistic perspective, well, that makes those stars our ancestors, right? Some of the very earliest ones (not knowing what came much before the Beginning makes it hard to identify the very first). And by extension, that means that literally everything is our kin, too. The way this all struck me (it’s been stirring around in my head for at least a few days now), I nearly had a massive meltdown at my desk. That we are all connected to everything else is something I’ve known on some level since I was a child, and understand in particular ecological terms now, but perhaps it was combining it with the “family” analogy, and with the great and vast temporal distance between us and those stars.

Then I found some articles on a site called that were intense and wonderful and I thought to myself, “I have found my people!!” because here are things written saying things I have long thought in various ways – about ecology, and civilization, and capitalism – but rarely seen. (My chief inability to feel I fit into my so-called religious community in any meaningful way of “shared religion” is that scarcely anyone seems to talking about these things, especially in relation to faith, these things which are absolutely inextricable and foundational to my own. Perhaps I need to get out more; those people must exist. (I know of John Michael Greer’s blog and Rhyd Wildermuth. There must be others.))

And somehow – it’s a bit blurry, and there were other things in between – that lead me to a blog called Pray for Calamity, which is beautiful and anguished and angry and yet somehow not entirely despair-filled, and there was another long essay by Paul Kingsnorth, called Dark Ecology, which is hosted by Orion Magazine, and . . .

They are all basically saying the same thing, which is that the emperor has no clothes, only the emperor in this case is capitalism and civilization and the clothes are all the myths and other lies those forces repeat as truths, that they are necessary and required and a natural and good outcome of humans being human and the best animals ever, and we must at all costs keep our supremacy and our systems of supremacy over other life intact.

It was a slow day at work.

I highly recommend reading the original sources. They are beautifully written. They are saying things I wish more people understood and believed and were willing to take action – any action, even small ones – on.

But perhaps don’t read it all in one long multi-hour binge.

Things I bookmarked along the way, several of which I have marked-up copies of and may write more about at some point:


About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
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