…….. is a relatively small word. According the Oxford dictionary it can be defined as “ A moment of sudden and great revelation or realization. “. It’s not a word to be thrown around lightly. I think it’s probably fair to state that most people will have experienced something like this at various times throughout their lives (if they are lucky). I have had many “little” ones, when pieces of the jigsaw suddenly were revealed for what they were to me and then fitted better into the bigger picture.
But I have never had a “big” one. Until now. And I’m changed because of it.
I’ve been writing on this blog for just over three years now and have manged to “pen” something in most months since starting this blog from another one I did (which ran also for about three years). So that’s probably over six years that I’ve been engaging in this sort of stuff. Initially, my “style” was probably more like an academic style, citing references and trying to come to conclusions but that changed over the years and I’m probably now writing in the most “personal” style I have ever written. But I’m not a writer and I have no ambitions to be one, my work with blogs has, to an extent, left me feeling that at worst, my writing represents nothing better than “naval gazing”. I have seen how other people that I have respect for (and still do) have had various trials and tribulations engaging in their passion for writing and the tolls it can extract (take a bow Nimue Brown et al).
But it’s not a passion with me, I’m better “face to face”. So I’ll be drastically cutting back on what I write. At the minute I’d probably estimate it may only be twice a year, but it may not even be that. That is because the direction of my life has changed. I’m no longer full time employed, having taken voluntary redundancy I have now entered the realms of the self employed and being a heating engineer, my “busy” period is fast approaching. And being that busy doesn’t lend itself to clear thought or good self expression in my experience.
But that isn’t my epiphany.
I’ve been “in” the pagan scene for over twenty years now. I was initially attracted to Druidry because of a small introductory book borrowed from my local library which was penned by Emma Restall Orr. It was the first pagan literature that I connected with and I was left thinking “Yes, I’ve found something that talks to my soul here” Because of that book, I brought my very first PC (running the then “new” windows 98) to be able to find out more and possibly connect with like minded individuals. And shortly after that (I think it was at the end of 2000) I found and joined The Druid Network.
After then, I read up everything I could get hold of (in both the virtual world and the real one) and there came a time when the lack of “facts” surrounding the classical Druids meant I “left” Druidry and I engaged with the “reconstructionist” type of engagement. But I have been over this stuff before and written about it so I’m not going to carry on with the chronological order of my experience with Druidry.
My experiences of the ” other world” have been in what I now come to understand as being in an animistic framework. People have relationships with deities (including my own Pauline) and I have never doubted the existence of these beings, but apart from three isolated instances, I have not been a party to this type of interaction. My own interactions have been with the “other than human communities”.
I’m not trying to qualify these types of experiences or place them into some sort of hierarchical structure, that stupid game is one other religions have been engaging in for thousands of years to the cost of millions of lives. But like a lot of people, I have been on a lifelong “mission” to better understand, and therefore better engage, in spiritual relationships. And I’m at a stage where I can state I’m reasonably happy all that time hasn’t been wasted.
But that isn’t my epiphany.
My spiritual relationships are based upon interactions with numerous “voices” (which sounds like a good case study for a psychology degree). They do not come through as a distinct single voice, such as one may think a singular deity would use when engaging. As time has gone on, these “voices” are now not so much verbal communications as “feelings” which I have come to understand as being defined today as clairsentience. I don’t so much hear as feel (though the communications do come through as “worded” to me after the experience). I work with communities of “other than humans”.
Last week, I received this book after reading a book review of it. It’s interest to me, if I have made myself clear with the last couple of paragraphs, should be obvious. It’s a very “easy” style of book to read, more like an overview as opposed to a scientific and referenced book which I understand has led some to question its validity (typical of some attitudes today, if it doesn’t fit into the neatly shaped parameters they work with, it doesn’t count). But to me, it’s been an epiphany.
I’m not going to do a detailed review of it but just point out some things which have led me to make my statement about it being an epiphany for me (to some people, this may not seem to be a “big” thing, but to me, it was like someone had finally provided me with the glue to connect everything I had experienced over my fifty something years of physical existence).
First, the author makes us aware that around 97% of the entire bio-mass of the Earth is plant. Animals represent just 0.3% and that is “every animal including all of humanity at this time”. I have often rejected the human-centric attitude of modern western society but with a fact like that, it could be argued that there is an animal-centric attitude. This is important because in the book, the author outlines why he thinks that our definition of life and intelligence has been far too narrow. And I find his reasoning to be compelling.
Next, using the commonly held understanding of how the senses we have define our understanding of what we consider to be both intelligent and sentient, he uses some of the latest information to show how plants do not only possess the five senses animals do, but at least ten others as well. He uses the definition of intelligence as “the ability to problem solve” and goes on to show that plants not only are capable of such a thing, but in some cases, are far more evolved than animals are.
But the main piece which led me to make my statement of epiphany was in how the author went on to demonstrate that life doesn’t just exist in specialist organ biological form that animals possess (for example, the common assumption that for “intelligence to be evident” there has to be a brain to control it) but is present in greater numbers in a collective modular form, which is what he is proposing is the form of intelligence plants use. It’s a progression of the “super swarm ” theory and is one that for me now fits in so well with my experiences.
This post is long enough without me expanding on what I have just written about but if you are interested and can beg, borrow or buy the book, I would recommend it. It may not be an epiphany for you, but it will certainly change how you think about life on the physical plain and our definition of it.