The Three Eyed Storm Crow and the Modern Druid

What is the Order of the Storm Crows? And what exactly is a storm crow? I’ll begin with by answering the latter question. Well, a storm crow is a bird. The yellow billed cuckoo to be precise. A migratory bird found in the eastern U.S., Central America and northern South America. The colloquial name of this little fellow is the “storm crow” or “rain crow”, because its call can be heard just before a storm arrives. This particular bird acts as kind of a natural old fashion storm alert. Also, storm crow is one of the names given to Gandalf the Grey in the Lord of the Rings series. So given to him because he seems to show up bearing news, usually of the foreboding nature. His task in Middle Earth involves keeping an eye out for the return of Sauron, and other dark forces, then in turn warn of the coming storm. In folklore of many cultures the crow is a messenger, often of the gods. This the inspiration and spirit behind the creation of this order.

In a sense Order of the Storm Crows is kind of a druidic order, but yet so much more. The Order seeks to expand the understanding of what a druid is in the modern world. So, what is a druid? The beliefs and teachings of the druids, were unfortunately, lost a millennia ago. Today we know very, very little of who and what the ancient druids were. What we do know about the ancient druids, is that they functioned as philosophers, teachers, spiritual leaders and political advisors. Now, let’s look at the word druid. Researching the etymology of the word druid, it gets interesting. Druid  has multiple derivations dated back to proto-Indo European (PIE). Most of these derivations refer to trees, wood, sight, and knowledge. For example the Old Celtic root derwos meaning “true”, which comes from the PIE root deru meaning “tree”, and Old Celtic wid “to know”  from the PIE weid  “to see”*. It becomes obvious that ancestors held trees as sacred and those dedicated to learning the ways of nature and seeking enlightenment were likened to trees. There are other derivations of druid that mean something akin to a “wizard”, “magician” or “sorcerer”. Of course, I’m not literally referring to a magical wielding character from fantasy movie shooting lightening bolts or casting spells, but more in the sense of a wise and learned person. Which leads to the question, who are we as modern druids? I believe that, the roles mentioned previously, need to be brought into the present, and examined with a modern lens. This what I hope to do with the Order of the Storm Crows. I want to strip away the New Age fluff that has infected so many modern practices, with it’s racism, cultural misappropriation, toxic positivity, it’s self-help guru grift, the delusions of grandeur, and the commodification of spirituality. With this in mind, I seek to create an earth based practice rooted in the past, grounded in the present, looking towards the future. Not just a practice, but also a state of being, guided by reason and the laws of nature, tempered by compassion and empathy for others. A group of like minded individuals, if you will, dedicated to the pursuit of truth, the defense and preservation of nature, and the betterment of mankind. Druidry, especially in the modern sense, is not a single path and will vary from region to region and practitioner to practitioner. 

To further explain what I mean by all this, we’ll start with the Storm Crow motto, or what I like to call the three eyes of the storm crow: Knowledge – Vigilance – Justice. 

Knowledge: There is so much more to knowledge than just facts and information. Awareness is key. The more knowledge we acquire the more we are able to cultivate our awareness of the world around us. And in doing so, we begin to free ourselves from ignorance, which is the mother of fear which begets hate. When we educate ourselves we become more receptive to the world. Our ignorance shrivels and begins to fade away. This clears our eyes, and the shroud that has been binding our sight lifts. The more we know, the better we can assess the goings on, the people, situations, etc., etc., around us, and even our own  perspectives and the place we hold in the world.

Experience is an important key to expanding knowledge and awareness. Through experience we are able to experiment with the knowledge we’ve gained from academic pursuits. And discover, if what we learned is of use or not. Without experience the facts and information we have learned are just words, but with experience we can grow our knowledge into wisdom.

Storytelling is a very powerful method to impart knowledge and wisdom and tradition. I can tell you from experience that I have learned so much more in the way of reading, watching or listening to stories with underlying messages and facts added in, than I ever did from sitting down reading a textbook or a dissertation. Storytelling has been an essential part of human existence and a powerful teaching tool, since the being of humanity. Wether, they’re in the form of myths, legends, folktales or even the modern mediums of movies and television. This is what the first eye watches.

Vigilance: As our awareness of the world grows, this is where vigilance comes into play. So… this ties in with both the knowledge and vigilance aspects, when I was in the military we had a term know as situational awareness, which basically means being aware of your surroundings at all times. This is how I view the role of vigilance. We have this obligation to always be vigilant against the wrongs of the world. To be aware of coming storms (threats). To clearly recognize such things as racism, bigotry, injustice, the suffering of others, corruption, and the especially the rise of authoritarian regimes.

It is not just external threats and conditions that we need to be vigilant of, there is also internal thinking that creates problems. As we grow and evolve we must keep an open mind, but also a healthy dose skepticism is vital. It is important that we are not fooled by our own ignorance and our own fears to become trapped in paranoia or conspiratorial thinking. Moreover, it most vital to be cognizant of our blind spots in our sight and mind, and prevent ourselves from becoming arrogant and steeped in rigidity and a false perception of knowledge, which can be far worse than ignorance itself. Such thinking fights against the flow of Awen. To avert such thinking, it is necessary to ground ourselves in the mundane and keep a humble mind.  Being vigilant is the view of the second eye.

Justice: It is though justice that we achieve a proper and harmonious relationship with all peoples, entities and nature itself. Justice is not merely an abstract concept but truth in motion, like a river flowing down from a mountain. It is speaking out against the ills of the world, holding people accountable for their actions, especially those responsible for the wanton destruction of the environment and the violent and oppressive means of retaining power.  Also we must stand in solidarity to with each other to uplift everyone and not just the few. It is defending the environment and all beings human and non-human. It is the force that washes away greed and corruption. It is the restorer of balance. Until there is justice for all living beings, we can never have peace. Justice is the third eye of the storm crow.

On spirituality: There’s a running joke in the druid community, “Ask any 3 druids, What is a druid? And you’ll get 9 different answers.” 

As I mentioned previously, druidry is not a single path. Rituals, practice, deities and such are a personal choice. Order of the Storm Crows doesn’t to push any single flavor of spirituality or any sort of religious belief. We are more about using our personal beliefs to help others and to protect the environment. The order promotes kindness, understanding and service to humanity. We try to paint a vision of possibilities for a more enlightened world and better tomorrow, and inspire ourselves and others to live the future we want to manifest. Walking towards that future one small step at a time. The order is a way point for individuals with the common vision of a better world to come together to share experiences, ideas and dreams. Storm crows also value critical thinking, the power of the imagination, and the rebellious spirit that challenges the status quo. It doesn’t matter which gods you believe in or not, or what your personal spiritual path is, you are welcome here. We see diversity as strength. As long as your ideology/theology is not hateful or harmful towards others. We cannot poison our well with ideologies of hate or allow hate groups to flourish. Intolerance cannot be tolerated. Crows and ravens both are known as shapeshifters in many cultures. And so must we be. Always be ready for change, we must be able to adapt to new circumstances, and survive any storm that may blow through.

What is your role in all of this? That’s up to you. What are your talents and skills? What resources do you have available to you? Do not feel overwhelmed by the immensity of all this. Even the smallest acts of kindness can reverberate far distances. 

Good luck to you my friends and peace to your hearts.

*https://www.etymonline.com/word/druid

Crows, Justice and Making a Difference

People around the globe have been blinded and led astray by the corrupt autocrats, who dominate the globe. We have been manipulated into believing that the current system of greed, selfishness and cruelty is the fundamental nature of all things. And every time they will sight Darwin and the “survival of the fittest” as proof of their lies. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Such fabrications come from not only a  misunderstanding of Darwin, but also from twisted his ideas to fit their purpose, as he never proclaimed such an idea. Yes, nature can be harsh at times, but it is ultimately nourishing, providing all creatures great and small the necessities they require to survive and thrive. Furthermore it is the innate nature of all species to band together for the common good. That is why even the most simplest of species create societies. We humans especially have this inherent instinct. By putting aside the self-centered world view and the needless strife, we cannot only ensure the survival of the species, but we can thrive and evolve into more enlightened beings. We can create a more egalitarian and peaceful world. This what Darwin was referring to, when what he actually wrote was, “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.” Darwin also noted that most species will forego competition for cooperation in order to ensure the survival of the species. So we must reject the so called Randian values of greed, selfishness and cruelty, and embrace kindness, selflessness and compassion. For an enlightened and just society is founded on these values along with reason and logic. 

The Order of the Storm Crows exists to combat this false narrative, oppose fascism and oppression in all their forms, seek the betterment of mankind and to create a more just and enlightened world. The struggle for freedom and the fight against fascism and oppression is a never ending one. And the nature of this struggle is why we must constantly educate ourselves, remain vigilant at all times, and seek justice for not only for people, but for Mother Earth also. This mission, we have inherited from those who came before us.  

At first glance this may seem like a herculean trial. You want to throw up your hands and just give up. How can we, especially those who are not in positions of power and influence, make such a change? I will admit, it is a long arduous journey and can seem like a colossal effort. But it can be done. How you may ask? Through small acts and by applying a diversity of tactics both within and without the system. Of course, working within the system can prove to be the most difficult, tricky and dangerous. Being in such a toxic atmosphere, can cause great harm to one, and corrupt one’s insight. Even tho one’s intensions and goals are ethical and honest. 

In today’s world, the economics of capitalism, the consumerist culture, and the current political system are designed to keep the wealthy oligarchs in power. It is an illusion to distract the lower classes and keep us from realizing we are being exploited, divided and oppressed for their gain. The influence of the oligarchs seeps in to every crack and fissure. That influence must be done away with.

The situation at hand will dictate the best tactics to engage. Tactics can include but are not limited to contacting your elected officials on all levels, running for office, donating to or working for a charity, growing a garden, organizing communities, speaking out whenever possible, being allies to marginalized people, and of course, direct action in the form of protests and counter protests. Historically speaking, meeting fascists in the streets and drowning them out has always proven to be very effective. Constantly foiling their plans and frustrating them in public spheres can force them back into their holes or even better yet, make them completely give up on their movements. If there is one thing I learned the most in my military days, is that making a nuisance of yourself really can get things done. Just as a grain of sand irritates an oyster to create a pearl. 

Even if our deeds seem insignificant, small acts and gestures can go a long way. Little nudges here and there, to guide others. Words and gestures can inspire and cause people to think about new avenues of change and rethink old, outdated ideas. Small pebbles tossed into a pond create ripples as well. One voice singing alone can inspire other voices until there is a trumpeting choir that is heard around the world. Likewise one snowflake does not make a storm, but many become a blizzard. You may think you’re alone, but there are many of us in this mad gone world fighting for a new way of life. Sometimes the simplest act of kindness can reverberate through the world like a great tempest. Stay the course, and we will bring about the dawn of a new world. And remember we are all connected together. We are nature.

The old Stormcrow Gandalf the Grey said, “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, But that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.”

The Druidic Declaration of Justice

The Druidic Declaration of Justice

…And in protection, strength;
   And in strength, understanding;
       And in understanding, knowledge;
                       And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
                         And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
                     And in that love, the love of all existences…

-The Druid’s Prayer (by Iolo Morganwg)

Today, very little is known about the ancients druids, but from what little information that has survived across the millennia, is that they functioned as philosophers, teachers, spiritual leaders and political advisors in the ancient world. As such, we as modern druids need to recognize that the very nature of being a druid is political. And, we are obligated to participate in the world of politics as advocates for justice, not just for ourselves but for all peoples, especially those who are marginalized, and give a voice to those without voices. As spiritual leaders we must recognize that our spiritual beliefs reflect our politics and vice versa. And as philosophers it is our purpose to seek truth in the pursuit of justice. 

As druids we seek to learn from nature, and not to project ourselves or our views upon it. We grow and evolve with new information, always trying to better ourselves, with open minds and a healthy dose of skepticism. We acknowledge our history and we commit to being better than our past, we charge those who come after us to be better than we are and we charge ourselves to resist our own resistance to change for the better.

In this declaration we recognize the following:

I. That human rights and the rights of ecosystems are regarded as being more sacred than property interests.

II. That the current climate crisis is the greatest threat to all living things.

III. That everyone of us is an integral part of life. We are not separate from nature nor from one another.

IV. That our strength lies in solidarity and building strong communities and allyships.

V. That to ensure our survival and the survival of our world we must put an end to the destructive, predatory and parasitic practices of capitalism.

VI. That it is imperative that we speak out against injustice and corruption. To remain silent in the face of oppression and injustice is an act of callous indifference that not only condones but fuels the cruelty of the oppressor and condemns the oppressed.

VII.That the druid path is open to all who are drawn to it. Regardless of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and location of origin. 

VIII.That nature thrives from diversity not homogeneity.

IX. That sex, gender and roles are independent of each other and nature does not have the rigidity our forebears saw in it.

X. That it is necessary to condemn white supremacy, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and all other forms of bigotry and hate, and reject all such claims of “natural law” to hide or support ideologies of bigotry and pseudoscience, such as eugenics.

XI. That it is our duty to stand with the marginalized and any allies who seek to tear down the structures and machinations of oppression, in order to create a more just and egalitarian world.

XII. That educating ourselves to the truths of our world is the key to understanding.

XIII.That it is of the utmost importance that we always remain vigilant against the forces of authoritarianism. 

What we do now, will help to shape the future for better or worse.

written by J. Boeckman and R. Schmid

Please show your support for this declaration in the comments below.

Principles of the Order

Herein lies the principle of the Order of the Storm Crows. Keep in mind these are not rigid rules carved in stone. They are advice and pieces of wisdom I have picked up over the years. Something to contemplate and meditate upon.

I. Our first priority is to enlighten ourselves. We are not much good if we are stumbling around in the darkness of ignorance. Read every book you can. Study every culture, philosophy, history, science and religion as one can. Embrace every experience and opportunity you possibly can, and contemplate what is conceivable and inconceivable. 

II. It is also necessary to help enlighten others, as much as we can. Keep in mind that there exists those who are willfully ignorant, that will turn from knowledge and truth, as they prefer the comfort of lies. They are lost causes. 

III. It is important to study and learn from the past, but always keep your mind in the now. If you become stuck in the past, you lose the present.

IV. Tradition can be well and good, but a strict adherence to it, especially when a tradition has outlived its purpose, is a heavy albatross that will drown you in the sea of stagnation. 

V. Be mindful of where you are here and now. Do not obsess about the future. The future is not written in stone and is always in motion.

VI. Do not obsess about the afterlife. You are alive, worrying about living. There will be plenty of time to contemplate the afterlife in the grave. 

VII. Life is not about you. We are all in this together. Working together we can make the world a better place.

VIII. Instead demanding your “freedoms”, ask yourself, “What are my responsibilities?” Your responsibilities are far more important. And with freedom comes responsibilities. Freedom does not mean, getting to do whatever you wish without consequences. 

IX. Endeavor to understand others. This also helps one to better understand oneself. 

X. Empathy is a tremendous tool to understand, aid, heal and uplift those you seek to help.

XI. Always honor your word. Trustworthiness is paramount. If you cannot be trusted, you are nothing more than a knave.

XII. Never be too rigid. Rigidity is restricting, prevents growth, and can cause one to break. Be fluid like water. Adapt to changing situations.

XIII. Chaos is never to be feared. It is a force for change and a powerful tool in our arsenal. Likewise, do not fear the dark. It will only blind you if you let it. Both are unavoidable. 

XIV. Do what is right, not for fame or fortune or to gain favor. Do it because it is the right thing to do, even if no-one is aware of your deeds. This is the essence of integrity. 

XV. Actions speak volumes. The words you speak are important, but your actions can be more so. Words are empty if you fail in deeds. 

XVI. Always remember Newton’s third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning, there are always consequences. Good intentions do not always lead to the beast outcomes. Weigh them throughly before committing to action.

XVII. Know when to choose inaction over action. Interfering in others’ affairs can be disastrous.

XVIII. Know when to speak and when to listen. Sometimes remaining silent is best. Only a fool runs his tongue unchecked. 

XIX. Always keep your wits about you. Do not let your judgement become clouded, be it by drink, anger or prejudice.

XX. Failure is always an option. Never be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes can be the greatest learning opportunities. 

XXI. Never judge a book by its cover. Do not judge people by the color of their skin, their place of origin, gender, ethnicity or religion. Hate, prejudice, and racism have no place in our hearts. Intolerance cannot be tolerated. 

XXII. Be neither arrogant nor too humble. Arrogance can blind you to your own flaws and you’ll become ensnared by your ego. Be too humble and you can become subservient to others. 

XXIII. Be vigilant at all times. Agents of oppression and authoritarianism never rest and continually seek new avenues to power. 

XXIV. When you see injustice and harm, make it your own, speak out and defend the powerless and oppressed. Give no respite to the corrupt. 

XXV. Seek to do no harm. Walk the path of peace. But having said that, always remember that there may come times when it is necessary to wield the sword against those who have nefarious goals.

XXVI. And of course the ultimate goal is to seek self-mastery and oneness with all things. We are nature. All things are one. So, we must treat all things as sacred.