Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | August 5, 2011

Children Under-Rated as Allies in Spiritual Development

Just back from the Order’s Lughnasadh camp which had even more children and young adults present than ever. And what a great bunch they were! I wish I could share some photos but I don’t have any, but I just feel moved to honour them and to recognize as well that they can act as tremendous allies in our spiritual life. In the early days of camps there was sometimes a problem around the adults being so keen to sample the benefits of camp (talks, workshops, rituals etc) that the kids were ‘in the way’ and we struggled with sometimes having to remind parents that their kids were their responsibility. But camps have been going for over 15 years and now kids and young adults feel wonderfully and harmoniously integrated into the daily life of camp. For some great photos and descriptions of camp see the OBOD Camps website.

Just before we went to camp I was reminded of how our kids can help us in our spiritual growth. However much we try to free ourselves of so-called ‘ego’ it’s hard not to want to show pride in our achievements, but even though we may try to avoid the excesses of bragging, kids have amazing BS detectors and soon bring the ego down to earth with the complete disinterest best displayed by teenagers. “I’m in a movie which is being premiered at BAFTA. Would you like to come?” I asked our daughters – thinking they might be impressed. A few searching questions and they discovered it was a ten minute clip for The Woodland Trust that was being launched, and they declined the invitation. Perhaps it is a parent’s role to help inoculate their children against the blandishments of the ego!

The Woodland Trust film is designed to raise awareness of the continuing risk to UK public forests. The battle that occurred earlier this year is not yet over sadly. Once the clip is up on Youtube, I’ll post it…In the meanwhile here is a Layered Beech Tree at Kilravock Castle – This is one of two Layered Beech trees in the castle grounds, said to be over 325 years old.


Responses

  1. What a beautiful tree – I have long been a member of the Woodland Trust and my family and I have donated several trees to commemorate special occasions. Blessings, Betty Polaine.

  2. Thanks Betty. You will have got this I reckon but I’ll paste it in here to share with others:
    The headlines may have stopped, but last week the Woodland Trust
    submitted an official response to the Independent Forestry Panel.

    As an original signatory to our petition and someone who helped
    make Government listen back in January, we wanted to give you a
    personal copy of our response to the ‘call for views’.

    Read and share it: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/panel

    Eight weeks ago the Independent Panel for Forestry – created
    after the consultation halted – made a ‘call for views’ to the
    public around the future of our forests. Last weekend the call
    closed, with over 40,000 responses received.

    For those of you who had been concerned about sale plans and
    were relieved when the headlines stopped, the Panel is
    essentially the next stage of the debate. It is worth remembering
    that their remit extends far wider than the public estate. It also
    includes “advise government on a new approach to forestry policy
    in England, including looking at how woodland cover can be
    increased and at options for enhancing public benefits from all
    woodlands and forests”.

    The main aim in our response was to ensure our ancient woods are
    restored and protected and to call for an increase in the amount
    of new woodland for people and wildlife.
    Over 4,000 members of the public took the time to write new
    responses direct to the Panel through our website alone.

    We will continue to keep you up to date on developments as the
    Panel communicates the big messages and common points it draws
    from the public responses it has received. Its interim report
    is due out in late autumn 2011.

    Meanwhile, our challenge to the Coalition Government continues
    over High Speed 2. It will destroy 21 ancient woods along the
    route and cause irreversible damage to 52 more of these rare
    habitats. Register your concern with us at
    http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/hs2map as we turn our attention to
    questioning the Hybrid Bill that could enable this damage to
    happen.
    From The Woodland Trust

  3. i support your campaign on the High-Speed rail link and the ancient and more recent woods it looks set to destroy for no very good reason, and at a time of alleged shortage of public funds.

  4. Hello Philip,
    I agree with your sentiment of children being allies in spiritual development. Here is an article I wrote for serpentstar a few months back that documents a little journey I went on with my five year old daughter:

    In attempting to be diligent, attentive and focused Druids, sometimes we can stray from the path, loose our connectedness and become somewhat dis-enchanted. To find our enchantment again, sometimes we need to be open to some unusual inspiration from the most unlikely guides.
    On a sunny and beautiful autumnal day, I was busy doing grown-up things around the house when I saw our five year old daughter striding outside with great conviction and in her hands she held an empty wicker fruit bowl. I wondered for a brief moment what mischief she was up to, but then dutifully went back to the grown up things.
    A few moments later I heard a small voice behind me “Daddy, are seed pods important to druids?” I almost laughed with the innocence of the question, but luckily decided to treat the question with the seriousness with which it was asked.
    “Oh yes, darling, seed pods on the ground in autumn remind us that the seeds have fallen to the ground and that they will turn into new life in the spring”. That answer seemed to satisfy her. I looked up from my task to see her staring into the basket. I asked “What have you got there darling?”
    “Oh, I put some seed pods in this basket for you and I also put some yellow leaves in because they reminded me of the sun”. Now that really had me very curious indeed. So I looked into the basket and was instantly mesmerised. Beautiful brown seed pods scattered around spiralling yellow leaves. I was mesmerised, transfixed and spellbound. Such beautiful contrasting colours and so carefully arranged.
    “That is beautiful my darling.”
    “Do you want to come with me Dad and get some other stuff.” Needless to say, the grown-up stuff was put down and I followed my little autumn guide out into the sunshine. We found the most extraordinary things. A large discarded cocoon from what must have been a massive moth. We found some beautiful persistent blossoms of varying colours. And my guide picked some beautiful bluish green leaves and yellow blossoms from a lemon-scented gum. She held them to my nose and insisted I smell. The smell was incredible. Maybe it was the concentration and intensity of the moment, but it was like I had never smelt a gum blossom before. It was a beautiful smell that must only occur just before the blossoms turn brown, like musty sweet pollen. We had a lovely hour or so walking the garden and connecting with the season through all our senses.
    I have thought in the past about the whole ‘not until your 18’ rule of the OBOD course work. Which I think is in place for a good reason. But maybe it is partly to protect the wisdom that the young already hold innately in their hearts. And maybe we do all this coursework and persistent ritual and grove work and circling to reconnect with that innocent childlike wisdom. I know one little girl who certainly had the time and inclination to help me reconnect with the seasons.


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