All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman’s silence
receiving the river’s grace,
the gardner’s musing on rows.
I lack the peace of simple things.
I am never wholly in place.
I find no peace or grace.
We sell the world to buy fire,
our way lighted by burning men,
and that has bent my mind
and made me think of darkness
and wish for the dumb life of roots.
~ Wendell Berry
Regents University, London
An Event That Will Revolutionise Our Relationship With Plants
Our disconnect from the natural world has led to the disastrous situation that we now find ourselves in on planet Earth, yet our deep feelings for nature form part of our spiritual longing. Plant Consciousness will demonstrate in dynamic ways, how at both the microcosm and macrocosm levels we can re-establish that connection to nature and why it is essential for the development of consciousness and the well-being of the planet that we do. We can learn so much from the inherent qualities of the plant kingdom and if we look even closer, from the intelligence that lies behind it. Bringing together the values of plant neurobiology, permaculture, deep-ecology, eco-psychology, shamanism and herbalism you will discover a deeper understanding of and a new harmony with plants and with your place in the biosphere of life on this planet.
Speakers confirmed for this event are:
- John Perkins - Sacred Plants, Shapeshifting & The Consciousness Revolution
- Philip Carr-Gomm – Working With Sacred Plants Of The Druid Tradition
- Sir Julian Rose – The Path to Organic Awareness
- Pam Montgomery – Our Symbiotic Relationship With Plants
- Simon G Powell – The Role Of Botanical Intelligence On Board Spaceship Earth
- Stefan Ball - Everything In Nature Is Simple
- Tigrilla Soler & Damanhur – The Music Of The Plants – 40 Years Of Research
Full information about the event, all the speakers and their presentations can be found on the event website
Early Bird Ticket Offer – Last Few Tickets Remaining!
As a special launch offer – a limited number of tickets were sold at a reduced ticket price of £49 rather than the normal price of £64. Only around 15 of those tickets still remain. To book your early bird ticket please use this link.
One Day Follow Up Workshops
Sunday 5th October – Shapeshifting Yourself and The Plant with John Perkins – author of The World Is As You Dream It & Confessions Of An Economic Hitman
John Perkins has worked for over 40 years with shamans on 6 continents. They teach that shapeshifting, the ability to alter form at will, can be used to create positive change. John combines this with a background as Chief Economist and partner in a major international consulting firm; he advised country presidents and corporate CEOs on ways to transform themselves and their institutions.
In this hands-on experiential program you will explore the three levels of shapeshifting: 1. Cellular (transforming into animals, healing cancer, shedding weight), 2. Personal (living fully in the present, dropping addictions, being who you really want to be), 3. Institutional (changing society, business, politics, education).
Tickets for this all day workshop with the world famous whistleblower and international best selling author are just £45! Full information on this very special one-day workshop with John can be found here.
Monday 6th October - Plant Communication; Reclaiming Our Birth Right with Pam Montgomery – author of Plant Spirit Healing
Plants are the most successful organisms on the planet and unlike animals, including humans, have the unique ability to create food, oxygen and tissue from sunlight. The latest scientific research shows that they are intelligent beings who have the capacity to store enormous amounts of information while being highly efficient in communicating and making decisions. Indigenous healers have known this about plants for centuries and have recognized that it is actually the sentient spirit of the plants that does the communicating and healing.
During this class we will explore both science and traditional knowledge to learn how to communicate with plants and translate their message. Through entering the daydream we will encounter the bio-resonance of the plant where cellular re-patterning toward health can take place. Through traditional dream journeying we will come to understand the spirit of the plant and how it can serve as a guide, ally and friend helping us in our lives and other’s with everything from serious physical illness to making decisions in our lives to bringing a greater sense of well-being. Join us as we learn how to align with the plants, listen deeply and take up our rightful place as a co-creative partner within nature.
Limited Places for this workshop – All the early bird tickets have now sold out for this and places in general are very limited – only 28 are now left at the standard price of £95 for this full day workshop. Full information on this workshop can be found here.
I have posted here in the past about the ‘Living Machine’ – a system that uses wetland and water plants, bacteria and other organism in order to cleanse waste water and make it drinkable. On a related theme, I came across an article by Molly Cotter about plants being used to cleanse radioactive toxins form the ground near Fukushima, Japan. In the aftermath of the Nuclear disaster brought about by the Tsunami, millions of sunflowers have been planted to help soak up the toxins that have polluted the land. The planting has been driven by Buddhist monks – Cotter writes,
Koyu Abe, chief monk at the Buddhist Joenji temple has been distributing sunflowers and their seeds to be planted all over Fukushima. The plants are known to soak up toxins from the soil, and patches of sunflowers are now growing between buildings, in backyards, alongside the nuclear plant, and anywhere else they will possibly fit. At least 8 million sunflowers and 200,000 other plants have been distributed by the Joenji Buddhist temple. “We plant sunflowers, field mustard, amaranthus and cockscomb, which are all believed to absorb radiation,” Abe says.
There is something moving about the thought of so many sunflowers – a plant that seems to glow with optimism and hope – growing amongst the devastation. Not only does it serve a practical purpose in helping to heal and cleanse the soil but it is in itself a message of hope that renewal is possible. To read the whole article click here
“Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.”
― Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor
Once an ordinary house in an ordinary street, over the past 24 years, Talliston House & Gardens has been transformed into a wonderland of unique and inspirational locations. Set to be completed in October 2015, recently the project has been hit with severe financial hardship resulting in the launching of an Indiegogo campaign to help save this unique interior design project, art installation and community for craftspeople, writers, artists. Click here to find out how you can help save Talliston House & Gardens.
At its core, the project is an exploration of the concept of the extraordinary within the ordinary. It’s about exploring how we all have inside us the power to be whatever we want or can imagine.
So it began with the ordinary:
Three-bedroomed semi-detached ex-council house in Essex
And will finish with the extraordinary:
Talliston will comprise thirteen stunning locations, grouped into five elements and set across more than six-thousand years of history, from 4000 BC to 2228 AD. Each room or garden is infused with a rich story, incorporating hundreds of authentic antiques and objects sourced from across the globe.
And all this was done by one man and his growing team of artists, craftspeople and volunteers – all inspired by the project’s unique vision. Now, the culmination of over two decades of design, sourcing and rebuilding is threatened due to financial difficulties of the driving force and creator, John Trevillian. As the project is internally funded, Trevillian is calling for help and support from the interior designers, art and history lovers alike who have already discovered and are captivated by Talliston – and want to see the future of this unique and magical place secured forever.
“The process is to deconstruct each room back to the brickwork and rebuild from scratch, has always been limited by the factors of time and money. This house is funded by myself and the generous support of the Friends of Talliston. Now with the news that financially we are less than three months away from repossession is devastating.
“Building Talliston was always quite a brave undertaking, but made more so because the person who started this quarter-century journey – ie. me – could not even wire a household plug. Talliston is a house designed as a place where time has no power, akin to stepping inside a living, breathing work of art… It is a massive enterprise, and we are only eighteen months from making it a reality. Any help to secure the project’s completion and future will be of inestimable value. ” – John Trevillian Creator and Project Lead, Talliston House & Gardens
The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign begins on 24th May 2014 and runs for 31 days.
Before and after photography and full information on each location can be found on http://www.talliston.com.
About Talliston House & Gardens
Talliston House & Gardens Mission
1. TASK: To take an ordinary house (three-bedroomed, semi-detached, ex-council house in Essex) and transform it into an extraordinary labyrinth of locations from different times and places, so that not a single square centimetre of the original house remains, while:
- keeping the orientation and use of the original rooms
- only adding those elements that a typical council-bought house would contain (conservatory, kitchen extension, garden shed, etc.)
- utilising only those tradesmen and craftspeople required by law or necessity, with all other work accomplished by core team and volunteers.
2. TIME: Exactly twenty-five years, starting at midday on 6th October 1990 and finishing at midday on 6th October 2015.
3. COST: To do so without any outside funding over and above the time and finances of ordinary people.
The Friends of Talliston is a non-profit group being created to preserve and restore the house, gardens and inventory.
Web links to the Indigogo page can be found here on the Talliston website.
This week my friend and OBOD member JJ Middleway gave a wonderful speech on behalf of the land at a Public enquiry. He has very kindly given permission to share it here with you:
Today I spoke on behalf of the Land at a Public Inquiry into planning for 114 houses in the remarkably beautiful Slad Valley where I live. I attach my speech here too.
I spoke simply as a Human Being, but also as a Spiritual Warrior, a Druid Shaman and a Priest of the Land, which is how others have described me. I wore some fresh Oak leaves and my Druid cloak (the equivalent of the business suits that the Government appointed Inspector, Barristers and other Counsel were wearing as ‘clothes of their profession’ .)
Afterwards, when I offered blessings on all the lives of the Developer’s (opposition) legal team, I was asked for a copy of the ‘speech’ and told how moving they had found it.
JJ Middleway speaks on behalf of the Land:
As the Land, I do not have a voice as you would recognise it.
I do not speak the language of words and of letters as you do.
However, I do have a language; and there was a time, when more of your people could understand it: Now there are few who listen; but, encouragingly, ‘a growing few’.
Just as you might allow a translator into a court, to enable Swahili, Sanskrit or Welsh to be understood, here too there is need of a translator. All I ask is that you listen.
I put it to you that it is not just humans who are affected by this proposal, but also countless other ‘beings’; from cowslips and butterflies, to oak trees, heron and deer: The living earth itself, and all that lives ‘in and upon her’ … ‘in and upon me’.
You might find it strange; however the land too, experiences something akin to what in your language might be called ‘elation’, ‘joy’ and ‘pleasure’, when humans treat her, treat me, with honour and respect.
I also experience sadness, grief and pain (although these words are inadequate to fully describe what I experience), when there is desecration, exploitation and abuse.
There are instances that could more accurately be described as something similar to rape: The taking of one by another without their consent; such as here.
Where then is Compassion?
I note that the overwhelming majority of local people are not in favour of this development, and that the leaders and representatives of your local councils and communities have voiced opposition; yet this is in danger of being over-ruled.
Where then is Wisdom?
You might say it is ridiculous to attribute so called human emotions to the Land. (“To anthropomorphise it”, in your language). However, consider it the other way around: The possibility that we are all part of the same living, beating heart, and that what is “felt” in the tree, is somehow “felt” in the man. Or that what is somehow “felt” in the sea, is similarly “felt” or experienced, in the woman.
Why should it not be so?
I do not speak against you building houses and dwellings, for your true need.
I do, however, caution against building them for true greed.
I do not advocate that no “development” takes place.
Rather would I ask that such “development” be sensitive and to scale; aesthetic and harmonious, rather than imposed and insensitive.
So, as time is short, I conclude by asking you to consider that building houses in this particular locality is not wise. In your language, it is not “cost-effective”, because once the cost to your overall well-being is factored in, you are sure to be ‘dis-eased’.
I note that the developers are called Gladman; and I ponder:
Is a glad man one who makes a lot of short-term profit at others’ (including the earth’s ) expense? Or; is a glad man, one who lives lightly and content upon this Earth, and is at peace?
I have spoken.
not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the Temple. ~ Mary Oliver
A guest post by Maria Ede-Weaving…
This week saw the first anniversary of my father’s death. It has been such a tough year learning to let go. That awful time twelve, short months ago when my dad passed away, came at the very moment my partner lost his job and we were forced to leave our much loved Glasgow home to relocate for employment. It felt to me like a tsunami of loss – my father and home gone and my sense of security in the world shaken. To make matters worse, we were stuck in miserable lodgings for the first five months of returning to the south of England with little privacy or peace that might have made the transition a little easier; even after finding a proper home, I found it hard to readjust, grief seeping like a grey wash through the emotional fracture that death can so often inflict.
All this, enough in itself, had come after two years of massive upheaval: leaving a 27 year marriage, moving six times in that period, the financial insecurity that comes with separation, finding new work and falling in love again and adjusting to a new relationship with all its accompanying joys and challenges. The intensity and the sheer enormity of the changes I have encountered in the last three years have left me exhausted and fragile. With grief stirred in for good measure, life has been difficult to digest and process. As time has passed, I have found that there are good days when the balance is kept and joy is possible but grief behaves in unpredictable ways, it can swoop in silently on my blindside and upend me when I least expect it.
This week also saw the full moon in Scorpio. It has felt very apt. As the sun moves through Taurus bringing the blossoming and greening of the world, the full moon rises in its opposite sign. With the sun in Taurus comes Beltane, reminding us of the passion and union that conceives new life and ways to be; the time of Scorpio brings us Samhain, the mystery of death and release. These two signs and festivals are intimately linked: sex ultimately brings death – we are born and therefore we will one day die – but the link works on several levels. Through the alchemy of our relationships, through our coming together in union with others (Beltane) - be it lovers, friends, family, the world or even ourselves - we are transformed (Samhain); we die to our old selves, letting go that we might engage with the mystery of becoming something more than we were. I have pondered this relationship a good deal this week as I vacillate between the grief of letting go and the desire to begin again.
I have written here before about my attraction to the Goddess Persephone and the Beltane/Samhain axis helps me to understand more deeply her complexity and how she can be a guide through the pain of loss. In truth, to fully understand, we must see her not only as Persephone, Queen of the Shades and the Underworld but also as Kore, the innocent maiden, the kernel that is the seed of potential.
Last summer, I had a vision of Kore-Persephone during a meditation. In it, she held out both her hands to me; in one she offered me a narcissus – the flower most associated with her in her aspect as Kore; in the other she offered me a pomegranate – the fruit that Hades tricks Persephone into eating, ensuring her place alongside him in the Underworld. She presented me with both the blossom and the seed: the resurgence of, and opening to, new life that blossoming brings, alongside the fruit of experience and its seeds, each one containing the future of countless fruits and seeds, a kind of life everlasting expressed through the cycles of birth, life, death and rebirth. Life offers each one of us these gifts – they are the foundation of our learning and growth.
At around the same time as this meditation, I had found a little stone on a beach. It drew my eye and I took it home with me. It was an unusual, opaque orange and was the size and shape of a runner bean. It took my thoughts to a painting I had once seen of Persephone as a bean buried in the dark soil, beginning to sprout, its shoot snaking its way to the surface and the light. It also reminded me of my dad; he grew runner beans for years; loved cooking and eating them, always keeping a bowl aside for replanting.
Today, as spring moves towards summer and I wrestle with the changes moving through my life, I remembered that little stone. I have it here with me now as I write. It serves to remind me of the happy memories I have of my father but also of the balance that must be struck between the Queen of Shades and the Maiden of Renewal and Innocence. We must all make space for and embrace the paradox at the heart of the Beltane/Samhain/Taurus/Scorpio axis. Persephone reminds me that I need to feel and reflect upon my grief; to allow myself time and quiet moments to immerse myself in the spiritual practices that aid healing and acceptance. In her Kore aspect, she reminds me that, despite it all – the hurt, confusion, and the feeling that life’s colour is forever lost – that I must hold on and trust that the child-like wonder and joy in life will return. It’s ok to give expression to her more introverted qualities without forgetting her power to help us re-emerge.
Kore-Persephone is Queen of the Dead; she understands the exhaustion, pain and hopelessness that can accompany bereavement and loss of things held precious; she brings peace, healing and acceptance, and in time, a renewal of our hope and joy. My magic ‘bean’ is her talisman; a reminder to place my trust in her wisdom and guidance. It is a journey of struggle and challenge but also of learning, growth and enlightenment; a crooked path that meanders back and forth between the sunlight and the shadow.
Snail, tiny spiral in calcified membrane; inchworm, a hairpin dragon; bumblebee, a blob of velvet black and yellow; white butterfly, syncopated burst of gladness; naked bulbs, white pubic tentacles in crumbling soil; pears, children of earth and sun…
If you ever doubt life, you need only spend a little time tending a garden. You will see great diversity. Everywhere you look there will be some dynamic event in process. Perhaps it’s the way a lotus sprouts up from the rot and mud, or the way that an earthworm dances a writhing passage through the dirt. The smell of moist earth is strangely stirring, the sight of growing trees wonderfully appealing.
No matter how well tended a garden is, there is constant entropy and disorder. That is fine. That is the way it is supposed to be. Our schemes and our aesthetics are imperfect. Our minds cannot comprehend the diversity of nature. Let nature take its variegated course. Variety is vitality.
~ Deng Ming-Dao – 365 Tao Daily Meditations
Living on a remote Scottish island doesn’t deter Alison Cross from being in the thick of things, when it comes to the dynamic world of Tarot exploration. She runs a fantastic blog called ‘This Game of Thrones’ which is devoted to the Tarot court cards. This is a theme particularly dear to us. Since we first started developing The DruidCraft Tarot all those years ago, Stephanie and I became aware of their vital role in the Tarot – providing, as they do, a complete typology of personality. So when Alison asked us if she could interview us in detail about the courts in the deck, we were delighted. Here’s how she begins:
P&S: “The Hanged Man perspective! Looking at things in a completely different way – turning things upside down and inside out, certainly helped… Read more
My friend Alice is creating a beautiful set of cards illustrated with her partner’s wonderful stained glass art. Alice and Rod need help in funding the next stage in their project and have put out a call for help on Crowdfunding. They would greatly appreciate any contributions you might feel inspired to give. Here Alice writes a little about their aims and gives details of how you can help:
I have had the inspiration to produce a set of cards, 46 in all, which are not like tarot or divination cards, but which are called ‘HOLY SPIRIT WISDOM CARDS’. Each card shows a particular word which is a quality of wisdom from spirit. The illustrations to these are various stained glass windows that Rod has made over the years. There is an accompanying booklet with comments on each card.
This is a joint project that Rod and I are putting out into the world.
We already have a prototype set of cards and are now looking to producing a sizeable print run.
The link to the crowd funding site is here
Just down the road from us is the incredible world-class opera house of Glyndebourne. It’s a perfect example of the ‘build it and they will come’ principle. In the 1930s, when it was founded, when every opera house was in a metropolis, it must have sounded crazy to suggest presenting productions in the Sussex countryside, more than an hour away from London. And yet look what it has become today…
I’m writing this because Sir George Christie, who ran Glyndebourne for nearly forty years, has died today. A good obituary can be found here.
Futureprimitive: a fascinating collection of interviews with people involved in the alternative/new consciousness/sustainability community.
Put together by Joanna Harcourt-Smith, one of Timothy Leary’s lovers (who was abducted with him from Afghanistan by the American govt) and author of ‘Tripping the Bardo with Timothy Leary’.
I talked with her the other day about ‘the magic of being alive’: my initiation into Druidry; the contemporary connection to ancient roots; ecstatic community; the double rhythm of a spiritual path; cultivating the flow of creativity; the journey to wholeness; in relationship with the changeless and the changing; the pure joy of the universal life force; gender balance and beyond; three different kinds of magic…
Enfin le livre DruidCraft est publie en traduction formidable et exact par Dany Seignabou – en format livre ou e-book! (that was my French – now for Dany’s!:)
Le Druidisme et la Wicca constituent les deux grands courants de la tradition païenne de l’Europe occidentale. Ces deux traditions connaissent une renaissance à travers le monde entier, au moment où un nombre croissant de gens vont à la recherche d’une spiritualité ancrée dans l’amour de la nature et de la terre. De plus en plus souvent, les lecteurs associent les idées des deux traditions afin de créer leur propre pratique spirituelle. Dans ce guide réaliste et exaltant, Philip Carr-Gomm nous propose de donner à cette voie spirituelle, un nom s’inspirant des croyances et pratiques communes à la wicca et au druidisme : le Druidcraft. Le DruidCraft puise à la fois chez les druides et les wiccains et dans les traditions de la wicca et du druidisme, d’érudition, de l’art du conte, de la magie, et des célébrations saisonnières. Ceci dans le but d’offrir inspiration, enseignements, rituels et techniques magiques qui peuvent vous faciliter l’accès à vos pouvoirs innés de créativité, d’intuition et de guérison.
Trees for Life are celebrating their 25th year of working to restore the Caledonian Forest. They are marking this with a new appeal. Below you can read a little about their current aims and find a link to their website and information on how you can donate. Many OBOD members have contributed trees via Trees for Life to our 50th Anniversary Grove. Trees for Life are a wonderful organisation who have achieved much over their 25 years – long may this continue!
In the summer of 1989 I took our first group of volunteers to protect Scots pine seedlings in Glen Cannich. The following year, we protected 100,000 pine seedlings in Glen Affric with our first fence, and in 1991 we planted 8,000 trees further west in the glen. Like those first trees, the organisation that I launched in 1989 has grown strongly over the last 25 years.
Now, more than a million trees and 5,000 volunteers later, we’re ready to grow again. Please support us in this by making a donation to our special 25th anniversary appeal today.
Despite the success of our work to date, the need to do more has never been greater. A report just released in February demonstrates that 86% of Caledonian pinewoods are still at risk because of overgrazing by deer. Against that background, we’re using the occasion of our 25th anniversary to launch an ambitious expansion of our work in both its scope and extent.
Help us to expand our work!
We’re making a strategic move at this critical time to expand beyond our traditional Project Area west of Inverness into other parts of the Highlands, where there is a clear need for more action to restore the Caledonian Forest.
During the past 25 years we’ve focused almost exclusively on the first part of our name, ie the trees. Now, however, with young forests growing again, the time is right to make us truly ‘Trees for Life’ by developing new projects for some of the other life in the forest, such as the pine marten, red squirrel and wood ants.
These new initiatives will be in addition to our ongoing work, so to make this leap forward we’re launching a special 25th anniversary appeal to raise £25,000. It’s an ambitious target, but I hope you will be as inspired about the potential for growth as we are, and give generously to make 2014 a breakthrough year for Trees for Life.
By giving a donation for our 25th anniversary appeal, you can help to launch Trees for Life into another 25 years of inspiring and ground-breaking forest restoration work… To read more and donate click here