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Time to Awaken the Wisdom of Nature

February 23, 2019

Those of you who have come across Mac Macartney, Founder of Embercombe – the Leadership and Education Centre in Devon – will know that he is a world-class storyteller who communicates with power and profundity.

Here, I have the great pleasure of writing a review for Mac’s latest book ‘The Children’s Fire’ – this review was written for, and first published by, the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist in their March/April 2019 edition.  (see link to article here https://www.resurgence.org/magazine/article5289-firing-the-imagination.html

The Children’s Fire is a story about his mid-winter pilgrimage across Britain. Yet, it is so much more than a story of one man’s quest. It’s our story. It’s the story of Britons, Europeans, Indigenous, all Earth people. It’s also a story about the epicentre of Druidic Celtic society, the holy isle of Mona (Anglesey) revered by Britons, feared by Rome.

This small book is a portal: a way into sub-conscious recesses; a reverie of immense relevance to today’s malaise; a portrayal of humanity’s innate desire to live with meaning; and our search for the sacred Grail, the quest to see with new eyes.

Mac Macartney has spent his life on such a quest, a life rich with tumbling twists and tales of courage and fear, threshold crossings and new beginnings. He was mentored by indigenous elders over many years and has acquired profound insights to the questions of our time. His life passion is to share a new story of sustainability, to awaken a fresh yet ancient story about how we become more human in our more-than-human world.  He writes,

‘All parts of the emerging new story are about integration, collaboration, inclusion and wholeness…We have to bring all of nature to our altars, and acknowledge the sacred in ordinary, everyday living…We are being asked to imagine ourselves anew, to accept and grow our talents without collapsing into the arms of hubris.’

This easy-to-read book is a love story no less, contributing to the larger narrative surfacing around the world; a new story of people coming home to truth through a deeper connection with life, with nature, with each other. It’s a story that clarifies what causes our prevalent insanity.

Deep within the story of Britain – and the West – is a psychic wound. This wound needs to be aired and attended to for healing to occur. Through the pages we reach upstream to sense the fecund cosmology of our animist past, and swim downstream to today’s pathology of our psychology. There is prescient wit and wisdom at every turn. It’s a floor-stomping rage of a read that throws anthropocentric materialism to landfill.

The antidote to today’s malaise: The Children’s Fire – elegant in its simplicity and pragmatism. It’s a pledge each of us can make deep in our hearts, if we dare comprehend the implications. It originates from Native American chiefs:

‘No law, no decision, no commitment, no action, nothing of any kind will be permitted to go forth from this council that will harm the children, now or ever.’

The time has come to rekindle The Children’s Fire; to dare make this pledge.

Beware: this book is not for the faint-hearted. It’s radical and raw. Though, if you wish to experience a grueling gut-wrenching quest in the comfort of your armchair, nested next to the fire, round the hearth – this book’s for you.  I shall give the final words here to Mac,

‘We are a people walking home. We are searching the threads of a broken and forgotten story. It may be new, but in most respects I think it is the renewal of something that we once held close to our hearts and vivid in our imagination … [where] we allow the full recognition of sacredness in all aspects of life and living – then, then we will skim the voyage across the water to the far shore.’

Giles Hutchins is author of The Illusion of Separation (Floris Books, 2014) and other books.

The Children’s Fire – Heart Song of a People, by Mac Macartney, Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2018, ISBN: 9781788600453

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