I Swear by the Gods My Ancestors Swore by...
As we progress as a society we move so much further forward than our parents, grand parents and great grand parents ever could have dreamed.
A majority of our world is now connected in ways we never could have imagined. We can project not just our voice, but now our face, across vast distances to interact directly with another human on the other side of the world. We can capture the power of the wind and the sun, converting it into energy stores with which we power all manner of technological wonders. In the past thirty years some might say we have come farther in our progress than in the previous one hundred years.
Our world has changed, and yet for all of that forward progress, some of us find ourselves looking back. Gazing into the past. Seeking insight and meaning. Searching for a greater connection to the natural world all about us.
The advent of this technological era has brought forth many questions, many moral and ethical considerations. Just because we can, does that inherently mean we should..?
In the recent past of Ireland such moral and ethical quandaries would be brought before an authority which many believed to be above reproach. An authority which supposedly spoke with the voice of divinity behind its every interaction. An authority in which society was literally schooled to have faith. The catholic church.
Ireland had long been lauded as a bastion of Catholicism out here upon the edge of Europe. A nation of good god-fearing catholic folk, keeping faith with the Pope and the practices of catholic christianity. Oh, but how naive and manipulated have we been!
From catholic institutions literally selling new born children, or worse - discarding them, to the organisation as a whole covering up the sexual assault of minors by those whose moral and ethical authority is supposedly divinely ordained. It's easy to see how the truth of this circumstance has lead many to question, not just the specific elements of the organisation, but the 'good word' they purport themselves to declare.
So where now do we look for our moral and ethical guidance? Where can our people turn to seek a greater, more balanced, understanding of our world and our place within it?
I honestly wish I could give you an easy answer - but maybe there is no easy answer. Maybe the purpose of considering this question is not in having an answer presented to us, but in seeking an answer that best fits with our own drive towards a moral and ethical existence, or a spiritually fulfilled and connected existence.
Around the world I see the more prominent 're-emergence' of the older forms of spirituality. Those connected to the natural world, focused on the indigenous ideas of an inter-connectivity between all creatures and plants that exist on this spinning ball of star warmed rock.
In Ireland we now have more acknowledgement of our ancient spiritual sites and even country wide recognition of some of our older native practices. Our President was even directly involved in lighting the fires of Bealtaine upon the Hill of Uisneach, a practice dating back to the very beginnings of society and community upon the island of Ireland.
For me, I have come a long road from the child who sang in weekly church choir, or the young Catholic Boy Scout who carried the flag for monthly mass parade. I have found many questions, and much I can now no longer abide, in what was my inherited belief structure. The catholic religion has its beauty and much of its message is still relevant to me, but I can no longer hold with an organisation that holds itself above the laws of the world. An organisation that believes its only onus is to the divinity which it claims to serve, a divinity for whom they are considered the only true advocate.
So now I seek.
I take my questions and I do the work. I actively explore my moral and ethical boundaries, all the while keeping an eye on my personal bias. I search for a spiritual connection to the world around me in keeping with the highest ideals I can hold for myself. I now gaze into the past, searching for something more rooted in my land. Searching for a deeper understanding of myself. Seeking an ideal or a truth that I can hold myself accountable to. This may be the work of a life time, but I believe that it is work worth pursuing.
I don't have an answer, but I know I am sure of my questions, so for now, I swear by the Gods My Ancestors Swore by...