Saturday, 27 August 2016


We are interdependent and interconnected, there is no clearer example of the Global nature of the modern world at the moment than the internet, and perhaps the contents of your average supermarket are a close second. Yet consider this.. among our ancestors, any time up until the industrial revolution, our food was almost exclusively grown within a few miles of our own front door, and within those same few miles of our own front door we probably knew, by name, every living being. Not just Arthur the ploughman and Annie the dairymaid but Chamomile flower for calming the stomach and Yarrow for a fever.

Now the situations are the very opposite of this, our food comes from far and wide and many of us cannot name our neighbours, never mind the plants in the hedgerows - if we're lucky enough to even have hedgerows.  This, I would suggest, is a poor state of affairs, and one that we should seek to change.

So I set you a challenge.... every time you leave your house, see how far you can get before you set your eyes upon a thing that you cannot name. And when you have found that thing that you cannot name, find out what it is called.

This is the way that communities are made, among the human and the non human world. And communities are good; communities foster co-operation, collaboration, compassion, connection.

Friday, 26 August 2016

We Are The World

So, if our ancient Shamanic Ancestors and modern Quantum theorists are right, if everything is connected and everything is made up of the same stuff, then as I look around, I am looking at my brothers and sisters, my aunts and cousins. There is a beautiful Lakota blessing or perhaps it's a prayer, which says 'All My Relations' - when they say this they mean the human and the more than human world, it takes into consideration the way all things are connected and interdependent in one very beautiful phrase. I have no desire to culturally appropriate that expression, but I believe that in the West we desperately need to nourish this awareness of our interdependence, our indivisibility from our Earth. It is clear from the way we behave that we don't remember our connection, we don't remember our relations. Could you battery farm chickens if you remembered that you and they were made of the same stuff? Could you chop down entire rain forests for a quick buck on palm oil - if you remembered that without those trees we cannot breathe? And that they are literally our grandparents. The plants were here, on earth, making the planet habitable, long before any animals arrived.

Devon is a breathtakingly beautiful county - we have many farms, businesses, makers and artists. We are, most of us, I believe, what  the wonderful writer Wallace Stegner calls 'Stickers' - we are people who love our land, who are quite content to be here and want for nothing more. Sadly our county is run by what he calls 'Boomers' - those who are motivated by greed, money and power. They want to make a killing and run.  I believe that it's time to look around us and really acknowledge our connection to all things, and to feel our gratitude for the world exactly as it is. We are not a voiceless part of some superior species of Boomers, we are part of the all and the everything. As Stickers we, and everything that we love, is indivisibly part of Nature, with a capital N, and she needs protecting, WE need protecting, from the ravages of a world that has forgotten that we ARE the world. We are falling in line with our own destruction and we have fallen out of relationship.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Blessings and Blights

Today I have a question for you. How will Earth remember you? As a blessing or as a blight?  If the Earth is alive, if everything is made up of the same stuff and everything is connected then what has your imput been?

There is a saying, a teaching, from within the ancient wisdom that is shamanism which goes like this..."The way you do something, is the way you do everything."  So if you are a follower of clothing fashion, for example, and buy  the newest look every season, then there's every chance that you also frequently replace your sofa and your table cloth and your bed linen. Not because there's anything wrong with the old ones, they are just no longer the fashion. Whereas if you are a person who is aware that the fashion industry and our behaviour around our clothing generally is one of the ways in which individual humans contribute to the pollution of their environment the most, then you don't replace clothes that still fit and haven't fallen to bits, and you don't replace furniture that is still comfortable, and you might well buy organic food, and quite possibly organic cosmetics etc etc etc because you have joined the dots.  EVERYTHING is CONNECTED!! This incredibly ancient teaching - that everything is connected and everything is made up of the same stuff is not just some woo woo spiritual waffle, it's a fact. If I buy apples from a supermarket that have been imported from far away then I'm encouraging the spraying of pesticides (because I'm happy to buy a product that has been sprayed), I'm contributing to air miles (because I'm buying a product that has been flown half way round the word), and I'm encouraging a heartless corporation who clearly puts profit over any other consideration to carry on doing just that - because I'm in there shopping. The pennies in our pockets are one of the most powerful tools we have to create change, we basically fund whatever we buy. So, living in a county with the highest number of organic farms and farmers markets in the UK, let's get local. Let's get connected and  join the dots between what we spend our money on and the world we want to create. Blessing or Blight - it's your choice.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

This Earth Is My Sister

Today I'd like to start by reading you a piece of writing by DH Lawrence - it goes like this. 

'Oh what a catastrophe for man when he cut himself off from the rhythm of the year, from his unison with the sun and the earth. Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magic connection of the solstice and equinox. This is what is the matter with us. We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blossoming in our civilised vase on the table.' 

To me, this speaks very eloquently of the disconnect we have from our earth, it's clearly not something new, I believe it probably crept upon us fairly slowly and it probably started around about five thousand years ago, when the first person planted the first seed as a deliberate act - and we transitioned from hunter gatherers to farmers. In this single act it seems that people stopped seeing the earth as First Mother - giver all of all bounties, of every breath, every mouthful and every thirst quenching slurp and started instead to see her as a resource, something to be used. Slowly over time we then transitioned from farmers - all of us still aware of where our food came from, still with some connection to our total reliance on earth's bounties -  to business men and women who see themselves, ourselves as somehow separate. Above. Not dependant upon the whims of rain fall and sunshine to provide us with our food, no longer dependant on that chance that made the seed fall on fertile ground. I'm not for one moment suggesting that we should go back to being hunter gatherers, but I would like to suggest, most respectfully, that we are as dependent on Mother Earth to provide us with absolutely everything we are, everything we have, everything we need   today, as we were when Eve ate the apple. 

I'd like to leave you with another piece of writing, written well over a hundred years after the first piece. It's by Susan Griffin from her book 'Women and Nature' and among many other pieces of beautiful poetry and prose is perhaps and indication that as a society we are starting to unlearn our terrible disconnect. 

"This earth is my sister: I love her daily grace, her silent daring, and how loved I am, how we admire this strength in each other, all that we have lost, all that we have suffered, all that we know: we are stunned by this beauty, and I do not forget: what she is to me, what I am to her."

Let's not forget. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Dear Old Science

So - dear old science; if you believe a quick trawl through the inter-web it's becoming more and more of a hippy as it gets older, certainly it's catching up with the truths that ancient wisdom traditions have been stating since before it existed... that everything is made of the same stuff and that there is a consciousness throughout the constantly moving web of energy flashing in and out of existence that informs 'what is'.

On one level it blows my Newtonian educated mind on a daily basis, and on another I know it to be true with every fibre of my being and every second of my experience.  So the question is, what difference does it make? Why does it matter that we live in a world made up entirely of vibrating energy?

It matters because it's entirely made up of vibrating energy. Everything is made up of the same stuff. The land, the water, the trees, the birds, the air, you, me, even two-faced politicians and fracking executives. We are all part of a shared energy field, a unified living being we call Earth. We share the same breath and we all affect the field.

Oneness is not an idea, it is a reality.  We are the world and therefore we are what is wrong with the world and what is right with it. So BE what you love. Be generous, kind, compassionate, caring, funny, authentic, passionate, nurturing. Be original, creative, brave, peaceful, joyful, wise and be full of gratitude. Protest the bad stuff, make practical attempts to change what is not serving the good of all, but remember that if we do that from a place of anger and fear then we are creating anger and fear, and if we do it from a place of love and gratitude then the miraculous, seemingly ludicrously unlikely nature of our universe    can place us in a world full of just that.

So may it be.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Listen To Your World

We are part of a culture that has separated itself from nature, from creation. We have been being living in a story that tells us that we have 'dominion' over nature, not that we are part of it and that we are interdependent and indivisible.  We seem to have completely forgotten that we are a human ANIMAL, that we need the sun on our skin, the earth under our feet, time to watch sunsets and laze with those we love.

We have clearly stopped listening, which is strange when there are so many things to we could be listening to: to the wind, to water, to the ancient hills. To the birds at dawn or the foxes at dusk. It seems to me that they are all calling for the same thing; asking for us to pay attention to the same thing. Over and over we are being called to remember our essential, instinctual nature; to wake up to ourselves as part of nature, not separate from it.

Our most fundamental relationship is our relationship to the Earth. We are her, she is us, literally and metaphorically. Everything is made up of the same stuff, Shamanic Elders have been telling us this for thousands of years and Quantum Theorists agree; we are microcosm of the macrocosm and all that we are is writ large in our world.

So consider this - how are you today? How is your inner world: your mind, your body, your spirit? How are you taking care of that world? Listen.

How are your hills?

Your valleys?

Your waters?

The way you do something is the way you do everything - so if you are taking care of the world that is you (harmoniously, organically, carefully, lovingly) then you are both directly and indirectly taking care of the world that is all of us.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

What is Shamanism?

As far as we can tell, Shamanism is the oldest form of spiritual practice known to human kind. It looks like people have been practicing shamanism for at least 75 thousand years, maybe even more like 300 thousand years.

It's not any sort of a religion, it's more a way of seeing the world: It takes as it's most basic premise the notion that there are two kinds of reality; this one, known as Ordinary Reality, the physical reality where things have bodies, and Non Ordinary Reality, or the reality of Spirit, where anything and everything is possible. It is clear that Shamanism was practiced all around the world and throughout time - and that our shamanic ancestors have been saying two really important things; that everything is connected and that everything is made up of the same stuff. Quantum physicists announced their findings of the very same thing some years ago and as modern science catches up with ancient teachings we are seeing a resurgence in people's interest in Shamanism.

So if everything is connected and everything is made up of the same stuff then it seems to me that immediately we need to think in a different way about our world. If you and I are made of the very same stuff as the beautiful Oak that I passed on my way here, or the wheat that made the bread that made the toast that I had for breakfast then clearly there are some implications that I certainly was not raised to consider - I obviously can't speak for you

If I am the same as every tree, leaf, blade of grass, bend in the river, sheep and blackbird on this earth, If I am the same as Earth and rain and wind and the granite of Dartmoor, then every single one of these things deserves the same rights to life, respect and freedom of expression that I do.