This was first sent out in the newsletter in October 2019.
Angharad and I were in London at the beginning of last week participating in the XR Autumn Uprising. On Monday she led a ceremony at Traitor’s Gate, Tower of London, to remember and honour the numberless unnamed downtrodden and oppressed who’d suffered at the hands of takers, enslavers, abusers and rapers. In my case this included the Druids, slaughtered by the Romans on Anglesey, and the world’s Indigenous Peoples whose lands were stolen and lives destroyed. The Tower of London is a symbol of imprisonment, terror and execution. But it’s also associated with the burial of the head of Bran the Blessed (Bendigeidfran from Brythonic mythology) whose totemic animal is the raven, still present at the Tower, and whose enduring wisdom was: ‘A fo ben, bid bont’, ‘Let the leader be a bridge’. So we finished with a prayer that we might bridge past and present, present and future, here and afar, dream and reality, together and alone…
Later we took part in a water pilgrimage to the springs of London with the intent of ritually purifying the muddied waters of the world. People had brought water from their homes and sacred springs which was poured into a large scalloped bowl. My old friend, Annie Spencer, and I were honoured to carry this holy bowl together down to the Thames where we poured it into the swirling river.
By now I was keen to join the XR rebels and went to Marsham Street outside the Home Office where the Wales and Bristol affinity groups were gathered. A truck parked diagonally across the road was an effective roadblock. Several activists were fixed to it. While I was there a proto citizen’s assembly was taking place with small groups of people discussing their next move, each with a note taker and facilitator to ensure everyone got a say. Later the subgroups reported back to the larger assembly. This process was being repeated in the dozen or more groups, each of several hundred, I encountered the next day as I walked from the Home Office to Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament. There was also music and talks, plenty of colourful placards and banners, and hundreds of tents along the streets for people to sleep. I was delighted to run into many friends from all corners of my life. This was still at the beginning of the Rebellion and although arrests were being made I didn’t witness any and at the time the police were fairly tolerant. That was all to change in the following days.
Much could be said about the whys and wherefores of this XR action but I think the best you could do is look at this interview with Gail Bradbrook on the American network Democracy Now. Highly recommended! It is entitled ‘This is not a drill’ and starts 14 minutes in. Here is the link.
I did my ‘Climate Rap’ a couple of times, once outside the Home Office and once in Trafalgar Square. It wasn’t recorded but you can see me doing it on Blackfriars Bridge in an earlier action last November here:
Extinction Rebellion-Rebel for Life is a unique phenomenon galvanising millions of people around the globe. More than other movements before it I think it has a spiritual underpinning, hence prayers at the Tower and the Water Pilgrimage. But above all it is about changing our way of life so that we bequeath to future generations a habitable planet. What can be more important?