I believe that before we can truly appreciate what we have in the present, we must first honour our past. By this I do not mean that we should live in the past, or even try to recreate it in any way, as it is essential that we live fully in the present with our energies focussed on our lives as they are now. In order to do this however, we must understand that who we are in the present is a direct result of who we were in the past, both individually and as a race (this is also true of past lives, which may or may not be of the same bloodlines). It is our ancestors, both spiritual and racial, that have got us to the point that we are at now, and by connecting with them emotionally and spiritually, we can begin to understand who we are. They can provide us with a solid foundation upon which we may build our future.
In countries such as Australia, unless a person is of Aboriginal descent, they have their genetic roots elsewhere, with the majority of non-Aboriginals being of European origins. Unfortunately, many of the pagans in this country, when trying to adapt their spirituality to the new land, abandon their past in the belief that they are establishing new roots in their adopted home. Some of them even try to incorporate Aboriginal practices into their workings, which on the surface is good, as it shows proper respect to the original Guardians of the Land. I personally have worked with many spiritual groups that do this, however the problem is that we only have a little more than two hundred years down here. To be able to understand the Aboriginal ways, and how they relate to the land, we would need at least forty thousand years, and attempting to do this after only two hundred may even be seen by some Aboriginals as disrespectful. By leaving our history behind, and starting completely fresh, we would be removing everything that has made us what we are, and would leave us as spiritual and cultural orphans. It would be like standing with our backs to the edge of a high cliff with nothing behind us for support.
Conversely, there are those that refuse to alter their practices in the slightest, believing that they are honouring their ancestors by forcing northern hemisphere ways onto the southern lands, regardless of the fact that some of them simply don't fit. Rather like trying to fit a round object into a square hole. This is particularly true of Christians who refuse to understand the origins of Christmas and Easter. It is quite comical to see some people happily tucking into their roast Christmas dinner, in the middle of the Australian Summer, not to mention the Easter parades in Autumn. Unfortunately, these people aren't honouring their ancestors at all, as they are turning their spiritual practices into an anachronism. Our rituals and ceremonies should be as they always were, relevant and relating to our culture in the land in which we live.
So what is the solution? How do we maintain our culture and spirituality, whilst living in a new (for us) land? How do we continue our customs, beliefs and seasonal festivals in a land where the seasons are reversed (and in places are totally different)? How do we relate to a land where the energies and Spirits of Place are different, and there exists an ancient people who has been living and working with these energies and Spirits for over forty thousand years? I believe that the answer is quite simple. Instead of leaving our culture and spiritual practices in the old country, or bringing them with us but stubbornly keeping them fixed and static, we should adapt them to suit the new environment, just as our ancestors did many times. They managed to maintain their beliefs and culture as they settled new lands, and so can we. We simply have to translate our ways into the "language" of our new lands. Sing the old songs, whilst writing new ones. It is very important that we honour our ancestors, the ancient Druids, who have given us our foundation, but we must also understand that we are the ancient Druids of the future. What we do here and now, will affect the actions of our descendants. We are responsible for the future of this planet, as that future is being made, by us, now.