So we come to the heart of the issue, there is no wilderness left. No landscape that has not been despoiled by man. No living system that can escape the fate which our actions have bound it to. We are living in the age of absolute ecological collapse. Habitat loss is occurring at a staggering rate, driven by what industrial civilisation has in common with the religions of the Book: the view that nature, like woman, is ours to dominate. Witchcraft has a more nuanced understanding of our place in the holarchy.
Estimates for the time that this process will take, the process of extinction, range from fifty to three hundred years. What those figures do not tell you is the turmoil and suffering that occurs during the collapse of our living systems. They also do not tell you that with the collapse of civilisation our nuclear reactors go critical and render no life possible on this planet for 100 million years. There is no magic that can fix this; witchcraft, as I have written, flies on the wings of the storm, it cannot change the physical elements we have locked into our climate system. Witchcraft must gaze fixedly at this future. Witchcraft must be the first movement to be brave enough to accept the Anthropocene and to make our last stand. Even if we ended industrial civilisation today we would not be able to prevent these outcomes, but still we are compelled to act.
If you prefer reassurances you can ask the New Agers about their ‘global awakening product’ or believe the green wash of the venture capitalists who will seek to cash-in on the death of the biosphere with equally implausible schemes and vapourware tech-fixes. The governments and scientists will continue to lie to you to prevent the panic that disrupts shopping as usual; however, the cracks in the official narrative are beginning to show. Most will choose to keep mainlining what Dmitri Orlov calls hopium from the sock puppets squawking out of the idiot box. However, I predict the next generation are going to be angrier and their witchcraft more radical than you or I could dream. They will realise that there is nothing to lose, rather than this generation which seems concerned only about the size of their pension pots – not the fact that they have cost us all the earth.
We need to offer the death rites in a culture that pretends that death can be cheated by buying the latest i-gadget or hooking ourselves up to plasma bags of young blood. These technological and scientific responses do not account for the wider environment which we do not control, but which now seeks to redress the killing balance and is doing so with storm surge and wildfire and tornado and flood and drought regardless of what is playing on your headphones or how high the gates are to your compound. I welcome this storm.
With climate collapse and infrastructure failure in what now seems not a slow but a jagged descent, a shift to the local and a disengagement from power structures are necessary steps. Find the others has become an imperative. Our personal eschatology, the inevitability of our physical deaths, is now being played out on a planetary scale. Form your covens, your working groups, for there is no time to lose. Make your ritual actions count. Be present in every action and exchange. Love one another.
Our elders have failed us, they have not provided leadership, they have not provided counsel, they have been silent and compliant in the face of power. They have said nothing on fracking, climate collapse, the extinction crisis and done even less. The old have, for the most part, betrayed the young. This is as true of witchcraft as it is of our wider culture. It is therefore down to us as individuals to take our lead from the only source of initiation, living spirit, and through it embody the new witchcraft. We must become a witchcraft with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, of responsibility to the land which is in crisis, or we are nothing more than consumers of the earth which will all too soon eat of us.