For this next section under the theme of reflections, I am going to comit to writing some of my understandings of the interactions I have had and continue to have.
As I have stated earlier, I have had very limited interactions in a “one to one” basis. This is and was a main factor in why the monotheistic models never worked for me. This could be a result of my biology or mindset, but there has never been a continuing dialogue between myself and a named individual entity. I have spent some time in churches and the odd cathedral or minster and can certainly sense an “atmosphere” as such, but the best way I can describe the feeling (and this is very much a brief starter description that barely scratches the surface) is that it is like a noise that has further sounds added but at different pitches until there is a collective noise. This noise is felt as opposed to heard though.
The vast majority of interactions were, and continue to be, based in the environment (out in the landscape). Growing up and living in a mining community in the East Midlands, the environment was one that was heavily industrialised with much contamination through coal heaps and heavy road and rail traffic. In fact, pretty much what many an environmentalist today would paint as a nightmare environmental scenario. The land seemed smothered in waste and with the large scale useage of coal as a heating fuel, air pollution was significant.
This landscape then, was pretty much one that was shaped by the actions of communities of people, and in a lot of cases, actually consisted of material that was originally buried deep in the Earth. Without the actions of the mining communities in working to extract the coal, the material on the surface of the local landscapes would, and indeed was, somewhat different. Looking at this now, I have come to realise that some of my strongest interactions have been in areas where the landscapes have been transformed by the actions of communities. This doesn’t mean that an entirely natural landscape doesn’t avail itself to me, just that the origins of personal interactions for me started and developed in areas that were significantly affected by humans.
My first interactions were at the sites of mining coal heaps. This was significant on several levels. First, the interactions I was involved with appeared not to be from a single source but from multiple sources at multiple locations with multiple points of origin. I appeared to instinctively know this. Why I knew this is not something I can answer with any clarity. Probably, the closest descrition would be that I felt it to be this way, but that description falls someway sort of the reality of these interactions that I experienced. But it soon became apparent that the multiple aspect was key in the interaction itself.
So my first interactions involved information exchange in this heavily industrialised and environmentally damged landscape. This information exchange was not something that was a visible exchange, it was partly auditory along with me “experiencing” the actions of previous generations who had worked at that very site. For me, their actions were still very much an active part of the landscape.
Initially I searched for a name, attempting to isolate or individualise the source, but it stubbornly refused, reinforcing from a very early stage, that the identity of the source was not as important as the information itself. Coming from a predominantly methodist background, my concept of a spiritual interaction implicitly involved a singular source. Yet all my senses were telling me that this was not the case for me. These sources were multiple in origin and location. If I had been more strongly christianized, I suspect this would have been a major problem, but because religion was not something my parents forced upon me, then I adapted to my own circumstances quicker than would have been the case if I had experienced a strongly religious upbringing.
It became apparent to me that the reason why these interactions were being experienced in places such as pit tips, was that for me, these areas were the result of collective actions, actions that I could still sense as present in the environment. These earlier communities, ancestors as such, were available to me in the here and now, though I had no control as to when they happened, apart from actually choosing the environment I was in at any one time. As these interactions continued to develop, I experienced them in some ancient sites, most notably, in Derbyshire at Arbor Low, again an area created as a result of community efforts.
This is what prompted me to study the early religions of Britain and my subsequent involvement with Brython. These interactions were locality based but also community based. The communities that worked and created the landscapes apparently could communicate with me in a very real sense. And they communicated with me through the medium of the landscape.