Wyrd is an old Anglo-Saxon
word that comes to us via Old Norse. It is related to the Norse word urðr, a personification of one of the Norns – Old Norse deities
responsible for shaping the course of human destinies.
Like many such rich
and verdant words, wyrd can be thought of in a number of ways. It can be
thought of as a process of becoming or unfolding. Perhaps as that which is
ordained, or that which must happen. Concepts of rotation and debt are also
imbued within its richness. Wyrd is in a state of constant flux.
The concepts and
ideas found within wyrd are akin to those found within the Eastern yin/yang
idea, and amongst the myths and cosmologies of indigenous cultures throughout
It is a word that
reminds those of us from western backgrounds that we too, once had a similar
understanding of our place in nature and the cosmos. We too, once recognised
patterns and relationships as much more important, and real, than material
things and a straight-forward cause-effect linearity. In many ways, western
science is only now beginning to re-establish such notions, especially via
quantum physics and the mathematics of Chaos Theory.
elegantly, poetically, and enchantingly, reminds us in his book of this
once-was understanding, and pleads with us (modern) western humans to
re-discover the sacred of the world.
The subtitle of
the book – Against the Modern World – is pertinent. Elani claims that we
have desacralized the world to such an extent through the modernity
project, that we are now trapped within a number of illusions of our own making:
the illusion of progress, the illusion of control, the illusion of technology,
the illusion of human superiority…
Ramon Elani is a
poet, an author, and a professor of literature and philosophy. He is
particularly interested in the intersection between ecology and spirituality.
His interest in
ecology and spirituality leads him to conclude in this book that “(modern)
humanity has “killed the last god” and climate change represents the full
consequences of this act.” In killing off the last god (and goddess) we
have also killed off the last demon.
In this killing
spree, what is left? Humanity has usurped the role of god and goddess, and become
our own demons. Climate change is a result. Elani claims that climate change
cannot be healed by “profane means.” Furthermore, he suggests, “the
world cannot be fixed, it can only be destroyed and created anew.”
creating anew must be achieved through a re-sacralisation of the world, a
recognition of our (human) place in the world. Our salvation, Elani notes:
“…depends on our ability to abandon
ourselves to the power, flux, and beauty of nature.”
Wyrd is available from
1. Ramon Elani, Wyrd: Against the Modern World,
Night Forest Press, Canada, 2021.