Tuesday, 19 January 2016

The call to protect the land from fracking

Like most of you who are reading this I am immersed in the challenges of daily life and trying to work towards living more sustainably.  But there is a bigger picture that we all need to take account of and respond to in our own way.  We are in the midst of an environmental crisis caused by our unsustainable society.  One manifestation of this is the development of extreme fossil fuel extraction methods such as fracking, coal-bed methane and underground coal gasification.   These cause contamination of the air, water and earth around drilling sites, which leads to severe health effects in people living nearby, as well as contributing to climate change.   Vast swathes of Britain have been opened up to fracking & other extreme fossil fuel extraction methods by the current government, so large areas of our precious countryside & the wildlife which lives there as well as many millions of people will be directly affected if this goes ahead.  See http://frack-off.org.uk/fracking-hell/ for details of the threat.

In August 2013 I was contacted by a friend who asked me to help with organising an anti-fracking ritual on Glastonbury Tor.  The intention of the ritual was to raise awareness and energy for the anti-fracking cause, particularly in the pagan community.   Reverence for the earth is a fundamental part of pagan spirituality so this was a call I felt I had to answer.  Several hundred people participated in the ritual along with hundreds more doing rituals elsewhere round the UK and round the world to send energy in support.   As a result of the ritual The Warrior's Call Pagans United Against Fracking http://www.warriorscall.org/ was created as an international network which encourages all of like mind to work both practically and magically to defend the land from fracking. The Warrior's Call has held 3 more international rituals over the past 2 years, in which literally thousands of people have participated.  The intention of the rituals has been to inspire and empower the people participating to work on an energetic level and in practical ways to help protect our land, water and air from the threat of extreme fossil fuel extraction.  

As well as the international rituals there have been many rituals and practical actions organised by local communities affected by the threat in their area.  I participated in a Winter Solstice ritual held last month at Upton near Cheshire on a piece of land that was ear-marked for drilling, that had been occupied by activists for the last 21 months.   As part of the ritual I and my husband called upon the powers of Oak and Mistletoe to protect the land.  We called to the ancient oaks that stood guard round the boundaries of the field and to the power of the bough of Mistletoe that I had brought from a ceremony held in Glastonbury earlier in the month.  Mistletoe has associations of good luck & protection from many ancient cultures, our custom of kissing underneath it is a dim remnant of these customs. 

 Winter Solstice ritual at Upton (photograph by Colin Gong)

Invoking the power of Oak & Mistletoe (photograph by The Chester Chronicle)

Very sadly the protection camp at Upton was brutally evicted by bailiffs accompanied by several hundred police officers last week.  But this does not mean that resistance at Upton and across the UK is over.  Far from it, a solidarity event was held at Upton last weekend, attended by 100's of local people and activists from around the country and there is an ongoing presence at the entrance to the lane leading to the site.  There are scores of No Fracking Way events planned across the UK for Sunday 31st January, to kickstart community resistance around the country in 2016.  Please try to support one of these or organise your own to add your voice to the many who are standing up to defend our land from short-sighted greed which will leave a lasting toxic legacy. 

As my blog is mainly about herbalism I especially invite my fellow herbwives and herbal practitioners of all kinds to answer the call to help protect the land with our particular knowledge and skills.  This may be by providing much needed healing & practical support for the well-being of frontline protectors such as at Upton, please join the group Herbalists Against Fracking to get involved.   Or it may be by doing magical work alone or in a group, calling upon our plant allies for guidance and assistance in our work to change consciousness and help bring about what is needed to stop extreme fossil fuel extraction in the UK and across the world.  Or by spreading the word about the threat of extreme fossil fuel extraction in your community both online and offline.  We can all do something.  Our land needs us all, will you answer the call?

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