Renaissance and Revolution

I don’t think of myself as a “revolutionary” – but rather a “renaissance man”.

I once told someone that I really liked Daniel Quinn’s characterization of our work to move beyond civilization, as a “New Renaissance“.

Similar to the medieval renaissance, where participants look back to classical ideals of “antiquity” (greek and arabic ideas and art), for a rebirth of culture, those who rewild today look to our original lifeways, both in our ancestry and where humans still practice them even amidst the pressures of civilization. In this, we experience a kind of rebirth.

To me, the experience of rebirth and renewal provides a major affirmation for animism. Traditions that don’t reflect an ancient and yet ever-changing landscape soon crumble, and leave their people grasping for a way that does work.

I know of a Tarot card, the Wheel of Fortune, which speaks to me of the product of Revolutions. A common symbol of European allegory, it usually contains these elements:

For me, you can ride the outside of the wheel, as embodied in civilization, the rise and fall of dynasties, regimes, revolutions, the peasants become king and the king peasants, or you can sit in the middle.

In some ways this points to the dark side of those “in the know” regarding collapse. Do we choose to put our lives on hold, waiting for the day when “collapse hits” and our culture radically changes? Or do we live now, today, and know the world will keep changing as it always has. Renewing and rebirthing traditions that honor that pattern, will mean we don’t need a tomorrow to make our today meaningful.

One person responded to the idea of rewilding as a “Renaissance” with the protest that when they thought of the “renaissance”, they thought of art, music, story, literature. They didn’t think of permaculture gardens, or bow drill fires, or wilderness shelters.

I smiled and said, “Exactly!”.

So welcome to the Rewilding Renaissance.

Written by Willem