My name is David Trammel and I run the sustainable living website Green Wizards. We are an outgrowth of the popular (and now closed) blog named “The Arch Druid Report” written by author, scholar, historian, political commentary and yes, Archdruid, John Michael Greer.
(He now posts on the blog Ecosophia)
He came to the conclusion that our present civilization, like the many Empires before it, is headed towards a economic, social and political collapse which will slowly over the next few centuries lead to another Dark Age. That in the near term, over the next century, pressures of resource depletion, agricultural over farming, peak oil and yes, climate change, will cause a stair step regression to a tech level more like the 18th century than the 22nd.
Greer proposed that people should look back at the first oil crisis of the 1980s, when rising gas prices made people look at ways to conserve energy and live with less. He wrote a book on what was then called, “appropriate technology”, called Green Wizardry. In it he said this:
“One of the things the soon-to-be-deindustrializing world most needs just now is green wizards. By this I mean individuals who are willing to take on the responsibility to learn, practice, and thoroughly master a set of unpopular but valuable skills – the skills of the old appropriate tech movement – and share them with their neighbors when the day comes that their neighbors are willing to learn. This is not a subject where armchair theorizing counts for much – as every wizard’s apprentice learns sooner rather than later, what you really know is measured by what you’ve actually done – and it’s probably not going to earn anyone a living any time soon, either, though it can help almost anyone make whatever living they earn go a great deal further than it might otherwise go. Nor, again, will it prevent the unraveling of the industrial age and the coming of a harsh new world; what it can do, if enough people seize the opportunity, is make the rough road to that new world more bearable than it will otherwise be.”
If you are worried about our Future, and our children’s Future, please check the site out.
This blog will not focus on those subjects, except in occasional minor ways. Instead we will follow my journey into becoming a practicing “shaman” and spirit worker.
More background: I just turned 62 in July of this year. Might seem a bit late in life to begin exploring alternatives to established religions but my family was never particularly religious in an organized way.
And as a way too intelligent kid, I was used to exploring the boundaries, with encouragement of my parents. As I remember it my first introduction to the occult arts was a paperback book with a title like “Love Magic” in either sophomore or junior year of high school. Any shy and smart kid will always look to getting some advantage with the opposite sex, lol.
We moved a lot while I was growing up, my Father worked for McDonnell Aircraft Company (later McDonnell Douglas), primarily in their space program. He was John Glenn’s flight chief on his historic first flight into space. You could say I was raised on the idea that the world was larger than people thought.
In 1975, we moved to Camirillo, California so my father could work on a US Navy missile project. The town is north of Los Angeles and near Oxnard. At the time it was a farming town with suburban housing divisions sprouting up between the fields. In my then senior year, I meet a young woman named Mary Beth. We hit it off and while she wasn’t exactly a “girl friend” she turned into a real friend.
Mary Beth was also old Wiccan, in that her mother and aunt were Wiccan. Her grand mother and her great grandmother had been Wiccan. Mary Beth had a beat up VW Beetle and knew where all the occult shops were in Los Angeles. We spent many a weekend visiting them.
Wicca was interesting for me, but never quite clicked.
At June after graduation, my family moved back to St Louis, Missouri. I kept in touch with Mary Beth via letters (yes we wrote those things back then). I went into a local college on Physics major, but after a year and a half had teen aged rebellion, and joined the Army. Told the recruiter “I wanted a job that I didn’t have to think”.
Fast forward 4 years and I was back in college on the Government’s dime via the GI Bill. I didn’t want to be in a lab any more, and unsure of a major I took a bunch of unrelated course. One I took was on “Central and South American Prehistory.” The professor was amazing and I took most of the course he lectured in.
About this time America began rediscovered its Indian history.
Now I’m from Oklahoma, specifically being born in Muskogee. Yes, I am a “Okie from Muskogee”. Being Oklahoman born, your family almost always has some Indian forbearers and relatives.
Then “Dances With Wolves” came out.
It wasn’t the first movie to explore the past practices of Shamanism, and truly didn’t do that much. Instead it gave Americans, who I think at the time were yearning for a simpler life something. Remember by the 1990s, the counter culture hippies of the 60s were turning 50. They had sold their revolution for a corner office and a six figure salary.
American Indian spirituality and the idea of a reconnection to the Earth had a powerful impact on me. And yet, it is a spirituality of conflict, dominance and power in many ways. It is a warrior tradition.
At about the same time, I ran across the book Urban Shamanism by Serge Kahili King. Unlike American Indian shamanism, King’s training was of a tradition of Hawaiian adventurers. Less about power and more about cooperation.
It offers too a amazing conceptual world view and way of thinking that while I have moved on past his style of shamanism I still use and find helpful in my day to day life, both practical and spiritual. I will discuss his framework in several future posts because I find it fits the real world and the spirit world better than anything I’ve found.
Where I find King’s style lacking is that he ascribes the powers that shamanism deals with as more human centric and derived from human consciousness rather than having an outside realm of actual beings.
Greer has written on the pathways of the sparks of Life take to reach enlightenment, and I believe that when I interact with a spirit, I am dealing with a distinct and individual entity. One that can be either a friend or an enemy, and which decides for itself which it will be.
What we do then on this blog is follow my journey into a relationship with those same spirits. In a path of discovery. And at times I’m sure, a path of frustration too but one that will eventually lead to reward.
We will explore this further over the coming years.