Saturday, April 9, 2011

Connections unwanted - Hydroelectric hell

One of the reasons I love this land, aside from I grew up here, is that if I can't live in Scotland, the land that holds my spirit in so many ways, at least I live somewhere that bears similarities. Oh, we're further south, yet colder in winter, but the rolling, rocky hills are so much the same. As both NH and Scotland have had various cycles of pastures and woodland, sometimes the similarities are hidden, but since returning from my trip to Scotland there are just places that remind me of that land. Perhaps I should note that it "feels" similar, although not exactly the same, on a very spiritual level for me.

There is now a similarity happening that I wish was not on either side of The Pond.

Last fall word came that HydroQuebec and Public Service of New Hampshire are planning to put high voltage direct powerlines through our area, actually a matter of yards from my home, as The Northern Pass. This will take power from the HydroQuebec dams, which have already devastated the environment and Native cultures and continue to be a growing threat, to energy users far to our south. They make a promise of jobs to our economically challenged area, while trying to hide the fact that all of those jobs would be temporary and most, if not all, will be held by people outside our area. Meanwhile, the health of the land and all living here will be severely impacted, and our economy will be further destroyed by the loss of our one surviving industry which is outdoor tourism. Do they really think we believe people will want to camp, hike, x-country ski, hunt or even snowmobile (this last is not my favorite of these things, but I have to admit it helps us survive up here) under those things?

I have a friend who lived under such lines, with horses, dogs and other animals. During their time there, they and all their animals became ill. The horses and dogs lost weight, were sickly, some were near failure. Shortly after moving, health returned to all...although what lasting effects there might be are unknown.

I live here. I consider this land sacred. I cannot leave and even if I could now I can't afford I even need to mention that our real estate market has tanked since this? Who would move here with this looming?

The people are speaking out! I'd appreciate those not living here to do the same and check out Live Free or Fry! and, if you FaceBook, join us there. Sign petitions, write officials.

Personally, I want to see HydroQuebec totally stopped, all future construction and have them forced to do what can be done to try to heal the damage. This isn't just "not in my back yard" I don't want this at all.

This is NOT "renewable" energy. And there IS renewable energy options. As long as we continue to over use and to blind ourselves to the devastation the greedy power companies cause, people, animals and land will continue to be destroyed.

And so...a fellow Gaelic Polytheist blogger, Seren, last month reported that there is now a proposed hydro scheme being planned in Glen Lyon, in Perthshire, Scotland. Not only are people's live and the delicate environment being jeopardized there as well, but a cherished shrine Tigh na Cailliche. A custom of unknown beginning, of caring for these stones, the Cailleach, her husband and daughter, carefully removing them from their house at Beltuinne and returning them at Samhuinn. Doing this assures the Cailleach's blessing. It is thought to be the oldest uninterrupted Pagan ritual possibly not only in the British Isles but in Europe. And, so, those concerned with this heritage are rightly concerned with what impact this hydro plan might have. The GlenLyon History Society discusses it on this page and gives an email address if you wish to speak out. A Facebook Group has been created as well.

So, like many times, I feel a kinship from my land to Scotland. But it's not one I want for either of us. Or anyone else.


  1. I love this post. I have often said similar things - that if I can't live in Scotland, Vermont is just as good. I agree, there are a lot of similarities!

    The people of James Bay have been dealing with these issues from Hydro Quebec for such a long time. I remember when I was in college over a decade ago we had a Native from that area come in and give several talks about it.

    It is so sad to me that so many Native groups have been dealing with the destruction of their land, many times land that was "given" to them by the US govt. in exchange for other land that was stolen, only to be stolen again for their resources. Just disgusting.

  2. I've often wondered if I lived anywhere else if I'd have gotten into Gaelic spirituality or something else. I know plenty of people who are who live in vastly different landscapes, so maybe, but as soon as I got to Scotland the similarities hit and I wondered. And I'm so owned by this piece of land here.

    The James Bay situation is horrible, it's made me sick for a long time. Which is why, even with some noise that this might not go through "my backyard" (front yard, actually) I want to see the lines scrapped. I want to see the continued destruction of the land up there stopped, I want to see reparations made to the fullest extent that they can be (it'll NEVER be enough). This all has to stop, we have better's the greed that keeps them from being used in a broad way. It's always greed.

  3. I don't know, for myself, I doubt that my spirituality would have been different. I mean, it might be somewhat different than it is now, due to landscapes, wights, etc. But the core? I don't think so. Especially because I had my "spiritual awakening" in the desert! LOL

    The thing that is so messed up about what is going on with Native people is that it is never on the news. People don't really hear about it. I used to say that the way our government treats Native people(aka Sovereign nations) is a microcosm for how they treat all of us - and if that isn't also coming to pass, I don't know anything!

  4. I'm sure there's a lot of factors involved, obviously, plenty of desert folk are drawn to wet, cold climate cultures too. I do know one person who seemed to shift from the Gaelic to Steppe culture when she went out to the plains, but in some ways other than landscape, there may be a lot of core similarities so shifting for the landscape wasn't a huge change.

    The treatment by our government, Canada and other countries of the First Nations that came before them is horrendous. And no, no one notices...except to see the fantasy of it and play Indian. And yeah, it keeps getting worse for everyone.

  5. Yep, yep and yep. I think those of us who were born in the Americas have so little sense of our own history, and have a yearning to get back to the land in some way or another, but often, that need doesn't go beyond the fantasy and role playing. Again I think the hearkens to something deeper - the loss of our birthright and our own ancestors - which are sometimes, native. But it takes more than that to claim that ancestry. If more people with native ancestry would fight for native rights as allies, things might be somewhat better. But things have gotten so bad now, that I am not sure these governments are going to listen to anything any of its people are saying.

  6. Yeah, I don't even have anything more to offer at this point. It's so aggravating, all the way around.