Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A cry of grief for the Earth—made 4,000 years ago

This is surely the earliest of all expressions of grief for a wounded place... a segment of the Epic of Gilgamesh (carved on stone more than four thousand years ago) in which the goddess Ishtar weeps for Earth after the great flood.
All of humanity was turned to clay,
The ground was like a great, flat roof.
I opened the window and light fell on my face.
I crouched, sitting, and wept.
My tears flowed over my cheeks.

(Photo above shows the part of the tablet that describes the flood.)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bird singing at the bottom of a lake

The beautiful photo above, by Simon du Vinage, is of South Lake at Tamera, southern Portugal, where a group of us from about fifteen different countries did an Earth Exchange last summer. Tamera is a community, "a healing biotope", a living experiment in sustainable permaculture, an educational center, and a remarkable place where people truly work to match their practices to their ethics. They've created several lakes in the past few years with remarkable results... springs bubbling up from dry, cracked ground; animals and birds coming to visit; plentiful plant growth. But after this particular lake was dug, the rains of 2011 did not come, and the land was dry.
This photo, by Carsten Dolcini, shows our Earth Exchange last August. We are standing on the bottom of the lake! Everyone put a stone into the center of the circle, naming as they did so a place they loved that they are concerned about. We spent some time exploring the land, discovering such amazing things as frogs inhabiting the puddle in the background and the velvetiness of the cracked earth beneath our feet. Then we made a big bird out of stone.

You can imagine that a bird made simultaneously by forty people would look a bit odd. Some people thought it was too disproportioned, pudgy, and that we should redo it. No, said others, it's perfect! One woman added that it had to be plump so it can float under the water!

So now it is doing so! The rains came last fall, and the bird is singing under the water. My friend Silke Paulick, coordinator of the ecological team at Tamera, also writes that South Lake has become more of a community gathering place since our ceremony.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Moors, Love, Magic, Beauty, Tears

The wonderful Schumacher College in Devon, England has just reduced the price of my five-day course there May 13-17 from £795 to £550! This is a fantastic opportunity! The offer's only good until April 8!!

Please join me there!

The course is called "Finding Beauty and Power in Wounded Places: Earth Activism for Our Times." In it we'll explore—with some discussion and lecture, but mostly through time spent in nature—the deep relationship between people and places. The health of the land affects our own health. Our sense of powerlessness, grief, betrayal when places we love are damaged seeps into our general well being. By awakening to this relationship and attending to the land in simple, transformative, creative, even wild and joyful ways, we dramatically shift the way we live on Earth and how we live with all the parts of our deep selves.

We still need a few more people to enroll in this course for it to go, so please do join me there and if you can't make it, pass this along to someone you know who'd be interested.