There is a tree growing wild in a field of bones and ancient ashes. It shines with phantasmagorical color, a statement of ecstasy and potential so great it draws timid souls to it for exotic fruit. Its branches sway with the whispers of the past and, carved upon its bark, are a myriad visions of the future. This is the tree of paganism, almost seven decades old since it was planted in the British Isles. We are each part of its bark and leaves, roots and fruit; we are the mass that grows new rings ever-outward, fulfilling the promise of its genetic gift from distant ancestors.
That is the tree we should be. That is what the Old Ones intend of these paganisms and all our witchcraft. It is what is desperately needed in a world facing collapse.
We are not yet there. We are the idea of the tree’s prophetic bark, the stalwart roots that remain, the keleidoscopic leaves, flowers and fruit. Each of these separate ideas manifest and gather mass. Some flourish and spread over the organism, giving expression to old/new thoughtforms. Others wither and fall away, becoming ancestors before their time. A few leave scars behind. With time, we would develop the institutions and resources to coalesce into that tree. With time all things are possible. The past and the future will then be restored to humanity–which I call ourkind–at the lap of the Ancient Mother once more, and the guidance of the Allfathers.
But, unlike The Rolling Stones sang, time is not on our side.
One way or another, we are each aware of the crises developing everywhere we call home. Whether these are challenges to personal liberty and human rights, technology run amok, or ecological collapse in the form of the Sixth Mass Extinction, time is running out for our species. By extension, time is running out for this beautiful tree we embody.
To say we will, somehow, survive in some Mad Max world misses the point. We were not born into this life to watch it pass into chaos, or worse, to return to some mythical past only a few would survive. We cannot be so blinded by optimism that we write off the promise of tomorrow, or those who would not make it.
That is not what the gods are asking, more and more insistently as events unfold. When they send out their call to PREPARE, they mean us to use the resources we have available for survival here-and-now. But, more than anything, they challenge us to step fully into our roles–both historical and new–and to claim our power. In short, they call us to join together all the ideas we manifest of the tree into one unified reality.
The ingrained phobia of organization–at least beyond the traditional-structures so far manifested–is a shadow to be faced. We must marshal bravery to illuminate the truth of our fears and strength to accept our growth. In this way, toxic leaders seeking power-over will find no place to hide, while many who are starved for community will find spiritual homes. This is the work of a movement united, not individuals or small groups.
As it currently stands, few of us could attempt to realize this goal, but that does not mean we should delay for a Prophet. If we realize the dire need to face the crises described above, then we must do the work first within ourselves. Then, reach out to weave a web of support and true community. This would necessarily be a community designed to empower each seeker and weave their unique strands into a larger tapestry.
The clock is running out, as it were, to face these challenges and then meet our destinies. The crises that loom ahead are beyond the scope of individuals or insular groups, but we each have a message to speak on the subject. We are the connective tissue between past and future, the mediums for a transformation that will sweep the world.
It is a calling that we cannot refuse.
In a not-so-distant future, a version of us embodies that glorious tree in every word and deed. They are found in every corner of society because we were always there–seeds waiting to germinate. We remind those around us that there is a different way, even if they do not pray like us, where every being is an equal participant of existence and every spirit is remembered. We lead seasonal rituals, attuned to local ecosystems, that connect everyone in the neighborhood, town, or city to worlds within and beyond our world. We chair councils and boards, passionate champions of the Wilds. We have long overthrown oppressive systems that seek to diminish any one part of this glorious, greater “us” and instead teach a vision of the stars and the gods we’ll find there.