The Wild Gods I love the word wilderness. It conjures up images of windswept moors and heathland, dark tangling forests and craggy mountaintops. That spirit of the untamed, the uncivilised, that spark that humanity cannot touch, much in the same way as deity is traditionally viewed. For many Druids, that wilderness is deity – it has the power to give or sustain life or the power to kill. It has not and, in many places, cannot be touched by human hands, existing without any human interference. I like to think that same dark spark exists within our own human souls as well, offering us the sanctity of the wilderness within.
The concept of the “untouched” wilderness is an interesting one. I rather wonder if it has anything to do with secular religious views that have crept into our culture predominantly for the last thousand years or so. The concept of the virgin forest, the virgin wilderness – I have to say, I really dislike the term. It is nice to think that there are places in the world where humans have never been – but still, it’s the terminology that is rather uncomfortable. I have been to places where humans have lived with the landscape, and who live there no more – the wilderness has returned. Where stone buildings once stood, nature has reclaimed it, slowly destroying it until nothing remains but the songs on the wind. Virginity cannot ever be reclaimed – and in this regard, I find the term does not work within the context of the natural world. As it works in cycles, what happened once can be undone.
As wilderness flows with the cycles, it shows that it cares little about anything else. It exists to exist – there is no other. It follows its own song, and will continue to do so. Humans may interfere with the existing wilderness, “taming” it if you will, but it will continue to carry on attempting to restore itself to its original state. It is that spirit, that sense of soul song reclaiming itself again and again that I find so fascinating. The weeds will continue to sprout in the garden, whether we are farming organically or not (I really hope that all reading this do!). The wind will continue to blow regardless of skyscrapers, bridges, mountaintops or 500 year old yew trees.