by Kerr Cuhulain
I’m a modern knight. That doesn’t mean that I go about in shining armor seeking dragons to slay and maidens to rescue. It doesn’t actually involve wearing plate and chain mail at all. It does mean that I’m committed to a Code of Chivalry. It means that I recognize my connection to the Earth and that I’m a steward committed to protecting the world we live in.
As I said in my new book Modern Knighthood: The white knight is a fictional character. This image of the perfect white knight has a lot in common with the Wiccan Rede. Both are ideals. The Wiccan Rede says “harm none”. But consider: To stay alive, we must eat. We live because we consume dead plants and animals. Death comes from life and life from death. The challenge, then, is to find the balance, to be the steward who tries to be responsible and maintain balance within the natural world, knowing that they are part of it. A popular Wiccan song reminds us that we all come from the Goddess, and to Her we all return.
Some people seem to think that “going green” and living organically is an expensive path that’s out of their reach. Anyone who has been to visit the Motherhouse of my Order of Scathách can see very quickly that this isn’t the case at all. We’re all very conscious of environmental and green issues. A lot of our training centers on making ourselves stewards of the Earth.
It’s easy to do and can actually save you money. First on the list: Turn down the temperature. Someone back in the 50s decided that our homes should be heated to 70 – 72 F (20 – 22 C) to be comfortable. I think that the person that came up with that may have been working for a furnace fuel supply company. We’ve had the temperature here at the Motherhouse down at 62 F (16 C) for years and everyone is quite comfortable. It saves us a lot on heating and reduces our emissions.
Secondly, we make sure that every electronic device that doesn’t need to be plugged in is unplugged. A lot of those devices, even though they are “off”, have power lights or clock displays that use energy. If the computer isn’t in use, it’s off. We keep any lights off that aren’t being used. When I renovated the Motherhouse I installed a lot of skylights and windows to eliminate the need for using artificial lighting in the daytime.
Thirdly: Grow your own food. All of the kitchen herbs and many of the medicinal herbs that we use here we grow: oregano, sage, lemon balm, thyme, chives, parsley, chervil, rosemary, marjoram, basil, etc. We’ve got a small greenhouse that it all fits into. For example: I grow so much feverfew in the garden (which is really easy to grow) that I supply it to all the migraine sufferers in our Order as well as my fellow employees at work (who’d otherwise be paying a fortune for it at some health food store). There are a lot of things that you can grow, like chamomile, comfrey, and horehound, that can replace the medicines you’re currently paying a fortune for at the local pharmacy. We grow our own potatoes, tomatoes (in the greenhouse), rhubarb, onions, garlic, asparagus, and beans and save a fortune. It is all organic and you don’t pay exorbitant prices for it.
Fourth: Reduce waste by composting. All of the kitchen waste, dryer lint, and shredded documents go into the composts (we have four). I’m sure that many people balk at this after checking out the prices of composters on line: Some sell for hundreds of dollars. However, many cities offer their citizens deals on cheap composters these days as a means of encouraging this practice to reduce the amount of waste going to their landfills. Surrey, BC, where we live offers really good composters for only $50. All our compost goes into the aforementioned garden and saves us having to buy fertilizer.
Fifth: Cook your own food. I’m constantly amazed at work at the amount people spend on junk food. They tell me that they don’t have time to cook. I’m sure that it was some convenience food advertising that convinced them of this. Quite a few have converted once I showed them how little time it really takes and how little it costs. I bake all of my own bread and all you need to do that quickly is to invest in a good mixer with a dough hook. Did you know that you can bake really good bread in a ceramic flower pot? The Welsh used clay pots for centuries to bake bread (I just made some today). You get food fresher and with less additives and eat healthier. If you buy local produce, you support local farmers while keeping down the pollution as the food you buy wasn’t trucked or flown in from half a continent away. I just published a cookbook on ancient recipes that has lots of old fashioned stuff that is easy and cheap to make.
Sixth: We pride ourselves on having a neat and clean Motherhouse, but it doesn’t cost a fortune in cleaners to do it. We use vinegar to clean the hardwood and tile floors and baking soda to scrub out bathtubs and sinks. These do a great job at a fraction of the cost.
About Kerr Cuhulain:
Kerr Cuhulain has been a Wiccan for 40 years and was involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community from 1986 to 2005. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is the author of the “Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca”, “Witch Hunts”, “Wiccan Warrior”, “Full Contact Magick” and “Magickal Self Defense”. Kerr has a column with 182 articles on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts. His latest book, Modern Knighthood, is now a Smashwords ebook. He is the co author of a safety book for social workers and nurses: Safe Approach. He is starting to write fantasy fiction now also.
Kerr is the former Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, an organization representing Neo-Pagan professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians). Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving 29 years with them. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr’s past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher and trainer for ECOMM for Southwestern BC.
Kerr is the Grand Master and founder of a Wiccan order of Knighthood called the Order of Scáthach in Surrey, British Columbia in October 2007. The Order is now a registered society in the province of British Columbia and the sponsor of Vancouver Pagan Pride. The Order of Scáthach embraces the Warrior philosophies, precepts and code of chivalry outlined in Kerr’s books.