Sunday, 24 July 2011
So where did this Wanton stuff come from....
Extracts from the introduction to The Wanton Green…the thoughts from the editors that sort of explain what set this whole Wanton occasion into movement
a) Gordon MacLellan
At first: provocation
I had been sitting through (yet another) well-intentioned but essentially saccharine “interfaith and environment” conference. Sitting there, wondering what I would contribute beyond being the wild-card, the barefoot, painted-toenail weirdo at the end of the dais. Asking myself what was it, why was it, that I thought British Pagans could contribute to these discussions…
So I listened, and bristled appropriately, and spoke up on behalf of trees and hills, grubby backyards and window-boxes and realised that I was tired of listening to ownership. It may be blatant “ownership”, it may be couched as “stewardship” or “custodianship”, but the language one hears in so many environmental debates is of management, is of humans making the decisions. “This world is our world. We own it. It was given to us.”
Pagans speak of communion and partnership and recognise a symbiosis where we are simply part of the whole and certainly not the most important part of it all. We have grown into this world, evolved out of its earth and stone, flesh and blood. Proponents of Deep Ecology, permaculture or atheist scientists may use similar terms but perhaps we Pagans add a dimension of shared consciousness. Pagans live in a world that watches us, comments upon us, and is quite likely to turn round and slap us.
b) Susan Cross
So, how do you tell the story of a pattern or find a start in the waves on the shore? This introduction may well be your entry point to this collection, but I am writing it looking back. I am on the brink of leaving the Wanton Green project, setting it free to find its way into your, and other, hands, minds and spirits. It has enriched the pattern of my life: I hope it does yours.
I don't know why Gordon asked me to join him in this Wanton work nor how I knew so clearly that it was an invitation to accept instantly and completely and explore what that commitment meant afterwards.
Gordon knew almost all of these contributors, I knew one or two personally, some I had heard speak or read their books, others I had never heard of. So I came to know them though what they said in answer to that question of connection and passion.The pieces came in gradually and, to start with, each stood alone, individual. As more arrived, the cross connections began, and the shared voice emerged. Each was like a root, sometimes tentative, always purposeful, seeking, probing, and questing. Together, they were like a taproot driving, over and over, in different words and imagery, into depth and mystery.