THE FIVE INVASIONS AND FIVE EXTINCTIONS
In our Woodland Bard Evenings we have been exploring the Takings of Ireland (Lebor Gabala Erenn).
These invasion myths are fascinating for they not only do they cover an evolution of the land but also its destruction as the various attempts of creation end in disaster. When we remember that this was written before science had uncovered so much of the earth’s history, it is incredible the understanding it brings of ecology and evolution.
My interpretation of the story you will find in the above recording.
We now know that there have been five mass extinctions which demonstrates this concept of whole species being wiped out is exactly how the creative powers of evolution has behaved.
These stories ironically are often called the Five invasions of Ireland. We will continue these stories in more detail but for now the five races in this context would be the first race of Cessair or Banbha, followed by Partholon, the Queen of which was Dalny, the Neimheadh who’s Queen was Macha and then the Firbolgs and the Tuatha de Dannann.
This theme of extinctions has come to light in recent times as the actions the human race has had upon the earth are becoming more and more apparent. The five mass extinctions were often to do with change in atmosphere and climate and it is the plants that are needed to stabilise these effects. Once there has been a mass extinction the remaining species will then start to thrive. As with the story above it is like a constant balancing act as creation changes and responds to how species colonise, sea levels change and volcanoes erupt. The last extinction which wiped out the dinosaurs may have come from a shower of asteroids hitting the earth.
The further theme explored in the above story is how creation reacts to change. After Banbha is taken down to the sea the Giantess Domnu gives birth to the giants which start as disfigured grotesque beings and then become the most beautiful beings ever known. This as we have already explored is how nature is, embodying all aspects of dark and light.
After each extinction or successive wave of evolution the surviving species left can then flourish, they are the ideal species to cope with the new conditions and are now free from all competition.
We are currently in a sixth extinction which is a process that usually happens over millions of years. The fact is this latest extinction process is happening a hundred times more quickly than the natural evolution rate.
The facts are staggering and I write them here not to induce fear but to bring us into alignment of the truth of what is happening. Today we have to be careful about the sources that we study, we have to make sure the facts have been correctly gathered and researched.
Expert scientists that are well-informed by correctly gathered research include Sir Robert Watson who is the chair of the intergovernmental platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services, Professor Kathy Willis, a plant scientist and Professor Elizabeth Hadly who is a biologist as well as the important work of Dr Toby Gardner who is a director of Transparency for Sustainable Economies.
For the first time in history scientists and economists from all over the world have assessed human activities and their global impact. Many of these experts have been aware of this crisis for at least 25 years and because of the pressure from gigantic corporations and Governments, the facts have been completely ignored.
Currently we are destroying species from all parts of the world from all different orders and classes simultaneously at the highest rates ever in history!
- In 50 years 60% of all birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles have declined.
- Twenty five percent of our plant species are threatened.
- Five hundred thousand insects are in danger.
- Thirty percent of the world’s soil has been degraded and now has a low biodiversity.
- Three quarters of all our large animals have disappeared from the areas they are historically found.
- Five hundred thousand species of animal and plant species are in danger of extinction.
- The land surface has lost ninety percent of its wetlands.
- Seventy five percent of the land surface which is not covered in ice is being used for just one species.
We currently destroy about ten million hectares a year of Forest per year. In just 40 years we have cut a billion hectares, an area the size of Europe. How can this not have an effect when we are aware plants support our key life cycles? Our crops depend on the soil and three quarters of the world’s food crops require insect pollination.
Although climate change is rapidly becoming the biggest issue we need to face, currently habitat destruction is the most serious threat driven by our consumption of mainly soy, cocoa, coffee, palm oil and beef.
The incredible facts to currently note is we do have enough cleared land to feed the world especially when you consider forty percent of our food is wasted and the solutions are economically viable creating jobs and opportunity to come out of our current world recession.
Top economists such as Professor Lord Nicolas Stern and Sir Partha Dasgupta are stating that if companies pay a high price for extracting from nature it will benefit us all creating affordable food without the need for expansion and waste. The banning of CFCs was the perfect example of how quickly industry adapted to create more environmentally friendly products.
The above information is yet another example of how the most ancient mythology is still relevant today and as we continue the story cycle we shall see that working in harmony with the planet that was expressed from what seems as early as megalithic times is paramount to the intrinsic motivation of all indigenous people from around the world.
If you would like to explore your indigenous connection to the land, join us for our Woodland Bard evenings.
The next one is on Sunday 16th May@6pm, all are welcome.
Willow invites us to acknowledge our grief and suffering and be aware of the destruction we unleash onto the green world. Owning up to the part we play in harming nature need not be a depressing or guilty process but an empowering, compassionate and ultimately freeing process.
It is only by entering the darkness, feeling grief and truly acknowledging the darker aspects of ourselves that we can discover the strength of bees which is the entrance to the ‘Delightful land of honey and wine.’
The Kennings of the Willow tree take us into the realms of death linking willow to bees, grief and loss:
Willow, the colour of the lifeless one
owing to the resemblance of its colour to a dead person.
Hue of the lifeless.
Beginning of loss, willow.
Strength of bees.
Book of Ballymote 1391
In Celtic lore the old women of wisdom, may be gnarled and twisted just like a Willow but command respect and bestow wisdom. In fact it is the old crones like the Cailleach and the Morrigawn who are the guardians of wisdom and the mysteries of death.
Meditation- Gifting the land
Visualise the land, a place you have a deep connection with as in previous meditations, somewhere you know on the physical realm. Imagine going into the land through a doorway or well and as you go into the land you arrive within it experiencing your patch of land as it looks in subtle reality.
It may look the same or maybe you notice differences, allow it to express itself however it wishes to be seen. It may be a different time of day or have a different flora or aspect.
Focus on pouring your love into the land, feel that gentle connection to all of life. As you breathe you become more and more relaxed and feel more connected.
Now get a sense of a Willow tree and as you walk the paths of your inner landscape allow her to reveal herself.
Sit under the old mother willow protected and nurtured.
After a while make an offering to the tree, you may wish to offer what you value the most and as you offer it watch the Willow transform your gift and without expectation see if she offers something back. Gently pray and offer blessings to the Willow and all of nature, be filled with peace.
We can all feel the support of nature with the knowledge that we must also give something back.
I will leave you with these simple words from the Penan tribe from Borneo in South East Asia whose words are now reflected in our most recent scientific research:
‘We as Forest people have to be equal to one another. There’s absolutely no one above the other. We are exactly the same.
Trees are like humans. If the really big trees die, so do all humans.
If the forest dies, humanity dies. The Forest may die. The forest says: We are all part of the same family’
If you would like to join us Live online to explore the Willow and a gentle connection with the Earth Mother please click on link below:
Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.