Posted in Buddha, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Current Affairs, Garden, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Uncategorized

View from the Edge of the World 018

As the Roman Empire came apart at the seams, the safest place to be was on the very edges of that dying empire. 014

I have recently been reading the books, by Robert Harris, detailing the life of the great thinker, orator and statesman, Cicero. 028It is uncanny how many parallels with modern day life can be drawn from the novels,  ‘Imperium’ and ‘Lustrum’…(the third in the trilogy is yet to be published).

Of all the cumulative reasons why the Roman Empire came apart, endless wars, an over reliance on slave labour and corruption in government appear to be at the forefront. 016As I read chapter on chapter, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the state of our world today…and viewed with horror an emerging pattern of decline and fall. 020The template of decline and fall remains the same regardless of time.

Wealthy Romans drank water transported through lead pipes into their villas.

The water contained up to 100 times more lead that that from spring wells. 023Lead poisoning leads to erratic behaviour, mental decline etc., much of which could be viewed in the conduct of the ruling elite during the final days. 025

 Much the same appears to be happening now, even to the point of corrupt and debased behaviour within the ranks of the ruling elite. 027I never cease to be both amazed and appalled at the continuing scandals.

We appear to be not so much governed, as presided over by people we would otherwise be embarrassed to call our friends…integrity and compassion being somewhat lacking! 030When Rome fell, the world entered the “Dark Ages”. 031The Dark Ages lasted several hundred years, but birthed a new Age of Enlightenment. 001The light of civilization was carried back into mainland Europe, from, of all places, Ireland. 003The edge of empire for me is a mindset, a refusal to be drawn into the madness. 006A resoluteness to live with integrity. 005A desire to continue to cultivate and practice compassion, even when our leaders applaud war and attempt to vindicate suffering and destruction. 010In these days of crumbling empire, (for this mayhem cannot last much longer!), it is not such a bad place to be…the edge of empire.

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16 years of Goddess Permaculture through the Bealtaine Project at Bealtaine Cottage, West of Ireland. Colette O'Neill is a writer, photographer, environmentalist and teacher who has devoted the past 16 years to turning 3 acres of derelict land into a woodland sanctuary for all life, planting over 1,100 trees in the process. Colette posts prolifically across Social Media, encouraging planting of trees and regeneration of Mother Earth. Her life energy is now devoted to the Great Goddess, Mother Earth!

26 thoughts on “View from the Edge of the World

  1. It is at least encouraging to keep in mind that the Dark Ages were not really so dark, infact experienced a great richness of education, science, law reform, etc. And I would argue that “the light of civilisation” has ended up being a flamethrower! If only we could all live with such beauty as surrounds you, I’m sure our civilisation would be a better place.

  2. Exactly. We were living in Australia, which feels more to me like the end of the world than its edge. So as soon as we had the chance we came home to NZ for very much those reasons. It will not be easy on the edge of the world, but in the heart of the falling empire it will be much worse.

  3. I agree with so much of what you say. There is no way to trust our ruling classes these days, and I suspect there never has been. Egotists are the ones who force their way to the top. Their lack of integrity, morals and their greed is what gets them there. Then they make rules to keep us all as slaves to a system we hate. All we can do is keep control of ourselves and our own little bit of the planet. Your photos remind me that we can make ourselves a haven from it all. Beautiful!

  4. I love this, especially this line: “The edge of empire for me is a mindset, a refusal to be drawn into the madness.” Wonderful and so true.

  5. Thanks again for enlightening thoughts, Collete. History indeed rhymes.

    Can anyone think of an exception to the following rule: “people in power and people without power have opposite aims”?

    We always vote for candidates on the promise of what they’ll do – and once in power, they do the precise opposite. It is 100% true, power corrupts.

    This seems to be the basic nature of politics and capitalism.

    Anyone who WANTS power should be automatically, totally and forever debarred from having it.

    Keep up the good work

  6. It is said, that the Dark Ages were not bad times, but that there was little written about the times. I think the bad times were from the Norman invasion. I still curse the bad luck that King Harold had in having beaten Hadrada at Stamford Bridge, having to immediately march to meet the Normans on the south coast. Even then, the battle was going well until a faction on the outer reaches broke the line. With hindsight, Harold would have done better to join forces with Hadrada and defeat the dreadful Normans, as our cultures were much the same. We still live with the consequences of it today. I’m no fan of the Romans either!
    I find British history fascinating.

    1. Polly
      If I may suggest read anything produced by Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett. A pair of unsung heroes when it comes to British History from the Island of Honey times forwards to Williams jaunt across the channel.
      Here is a link to a page which lists all their publications and of course youtube is your friend.

      The role played by the land of Ireland and its peoples in the history of these isles is fascinating.

      Apologies to Collette for wandering a bit.

  7. If one line can change a soul it’s this one

    “The edge of empire for me is a mindset, a refusal to be drawn into the madness.”

    Thank you

  8. Would be fun if we were neighbors, and you could stop by for tea and a chat of an afternoon. Thanks for the recommendation of the books re Cicero. I like his writings (in small doses… Might be different if I read Latin), but have found reading them “straight” hard to stick with. Same with Lucretius. Couldn’t get into him until I’d read ” The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” which tells the story of how his text was rediscovered. (But then I also prefer Evangeline Walton’s revivification of the Mabinogion to the original translations from Welsh. BTW, If you haven’t read it yet, let me know and I’ll gift you a copy!) It’s amazing to me that almost everything we know of Epicurus is filtered through Lucretius, and all we know of Socrates through Plato. Something I do love about the webbie webs as long as they remain free: the ability of anyone to do data mining for the expressed thoughts of so many many people. Thank you for yours! 🙂

    1. Robert Harris takes one into the centre of the Roman world and into the private recesses of the mind of Cicero, through imaginative and informed writing! I will look for Evangeline’s book in the local library which is really an excellent resource. if I can’t get it then I would appreciate your kind offer…I appreciate your generosity!
      Blessings X

      1. A woman after my own heart! I use the library for everything these days.

        Re: Mabinogion: do realize that Walton remains true to the original and the First Branch, The Prince of Annwn, although the last of the four branches that she dealt with, is the first in the series – and you are dumped into the heart of Celtic myth without much preamble.

  9. Very true, Colette. Frightening times for so many. Hardship caused by greed and lack of compassion, as you say. Websites like yours are already helping to “enlighten” us – let’s hope the madness stops sooner rather than later, and be sure that your photos of tranquil gardens help us breathe more easily. Blessings x

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