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Eternal farewell

Everything in life is constantly changing and this is one of the few certainties we have. As Ángel Guinda's poem says, living is an eternal farewell.

People develop an identity as an anchor - forged through multiple small moments - to have something to hold on to in the enigma we inhabit.

Our true nature, constant change, scares us. We are afraid of not being what we tell ourselves we are.

Simply Being as an action in the present continuous. To live dying every second. Being crossed by light, by particles floating in the air, by the food eaten, by readings, by conversations...  Being total listening. Being a river to let the water flow new and fresh…

Most ancient cultures integrated this changing characteristic into their traditions. Surely, since life was very short, they took the cycles and seasons into account and tried to make the most of their limited time.

The ancient druids and druidesses (friends of oaks) studied nature for decades and it is from it that they obtained inspiration for their research in various fields of knowledge.

A good example of this culture is the Celtic calendar where the arrival of each season, the time of sowing, the abundance of the harvest were celebrated, and the Earth was thanked for its enormous generosity through offerings.

This week I visited a Celtic Calendar in the city of Huesca, formed with different species of trees. The calendar is based on lunar cycles, and a tree is attributed to each phase that lasts approximately 20 days. The main ones are the olive tree for the autumn equinox, the oak for the spring equinox, the birch for the summer solstice and the beech for the winter solstice. The rest of the trees that make up this calendar are: fir, maple, poplar, hazel, hornbeam, chestnut, cedar, cypress, ash, fig, apple, walnut, elm, pine, weeping willow, rowan and linden.

Celtic Calender of Biescas, Huesca (Spain).

Depending on the time of birth, the power of the tree species that marked the calendar at that moment was attributed to the baby, and throughout life an emotional bond was created between human and tree. Trees were sacred, and each species was valued for its medicinal uses and its unique wood and character. Cutting down some trees, such as the Alder, was considered a criminal act.

A vestige of our nomadic ancestral past, it is also the Celtic ritual of gratitude for the hearth. In the past, a flame was always kept lit in a common building so that each family unit could have access and light their candles and lamps. Fire as a safeguard, a lighthouse in the darkness and protector against the stalking of the night.

The druids inhabited groves, used as universities where learning took place in relation to the living beings of the forest. Druid artists captured this close connection by carving shapes of plants, animals, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, mammals and human beings.

Of course, not everything in this society was ideal, since their excessive belief in deities and ritual superstitions made them commit terrible acts such as animal and human sacrifices, and establish non-horizontal castes. Falling into excess always results in unhealthy behaviors.

I believe that being aware of the Ephemerality and CYCLICITY of life, as well as THANKING the Earth for everything it offers us, are clear signs of a society close to its true essence.

Can contemporary society rescue the essentials of these traditions and apply them to the challenges that lie ahead?

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