Monday, July 20, 2015

Verdant Gnosis book, the Viridis Genii symposium, and Bioregional Animism

The Viridis Genii symposium is a new conference we are hosting on the subject of magical herbalism or esoteric herbalism, folk magic, one might even call it transpersonal ethnobotany. We have a tremendous amount of amazing speakers at this event this year, and I will also be speaking about bioregional animism, and the Viridis Genii or green spirit. 
In celebration of this event we complied writings from many of our speakers and Rubedo publishing will be publishing a compilation of writings from those speakers, on subjects related to their presentations. This is a very exciting time for us. 

This is the first time I will be presenting about bioregional animism and it is the first time it will be mentioned in a published book. If you are interested in attending the symposium get your tickets right away as its at the end of this month! If you are interested in the book you can preorder it here at Rubedo!

Monday, June 22, 2015

My interview on Khi Armand's sacred ground radio show

Special thanks for Khi Armand a shamanic practitioner and great human being. 

An article is also being published that includes bioregional animism perspectives on esoteric herbalism, the book will be called Verdant Gnosis and will include essays from speakers at at our Viridis Genii symposium, where I will be speaking about the bioregional animism perspective on the Viridis Genii, or the spirit of the green world. 
Tickets to the Viridis Genii symposium can be found here!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Traditions of Bioregional animism

When I first started writting about this subject it was to give an example of how through the simple act of communion one could cultivate relationships with other than human persons, learn from them and find oneself self as the larger bioregion. That through doing so one could embody and commune and establish a tutilary relationship with the genius loci. Essentially allowing new ways to emerge from us like a tree growing from a seed from within the earth.

Recently I had a dream where I was discussing the subject of initiation with a practioner if traditional witchcraft, a good friend of mine in the waking world. In the dream he told me that traditions had to be passed on between people for them to be traditions.
I pondered this the last week from a bioregional animist stand point. Animism relates to the world being filled with persons, human and other than human persons. Essentially through opening ourselves up to learning from the land (also a person) and the wind (a wind person) rabbit (a rabbit person) etc, we are receiving traditional knowledge, knowledge that has been passed down before, in different ways to different peoples with different needs and world views, but still one with place.
The traditional knowledge of place is available to us, its ways and traditions are a part of us if we open ourselves to place and see that we are it, that it is also us. The traditions and ways of crow, or rabbit, or fox, or a mountain, may be available to us to learn as well, and we can learn those ways, and those other than human persons can pass down their knowledge and wisdom to us so that we in turn, can pass that knowledge down to other humans thus maintaining and building the traditions. Keeping a tradition alive means to let it flow its got to be passed down lest it die with you.
Bioregional animism is about relationship, and our relations, a larger sense of self that is inclusive of the bioregional with live within. Creating community and sharing in that communion is what animists do.
When I started writting on this subject I didn't wish to see people grabbing the idea of bioregional animism and regurgitating it in their own words for their own careers, or that people would wish to be date about it as a philosophical angle my hope was to see more people doing the work, establishing those relationships themselves and creating new traditions, allowing the land to cultivate new ways based off of the old tradions of the land itself the traditions and ways of the other than human persons that compose the land. What I hoped to see where people sharing those traditions, not under the self identifying monicure of bioregional animist, but self identifying as the land, allowing the land to speak for itself with our voice. I'm still waiting for these new traditions to be passed on.
I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The mother octopus...

[This was posted on tribes a while ago... It was not a popular piece and alienated me from people who respected my work at the time. To this day I feel it was one of the more important things I had written. It occurs to me over and over how can anything be unnatural. The nature non nature dualism appears to be impossible to me. I meet other people who feel the same way. But I've almost seen people stirred to violence when challenged with the idea that there is nothing that any human can do that is unnatural. I have seen people stand up willing to strike me after telling them that humans are not separate from nature. This small essay bellow is still probably unpopular but I feel needs to be communicated repeatedly so the whole can evolve its self reflexivity.]

The mother octopus...

Self reflexivity in consciousness is a perspective that Cosmologist Brain Swimme uses synonymously with the ability of the planet to become self referencing via the development of human consciousness by the earth itself. In this respect the Planet has become self reflexive as has the cosmos through the development of life forms such as ourselves. What I find interesting as well is that Swimme points out that in order for the earth to do so it had to wound her self... I find this interesting. What other animals in nature wound themselves to procreate, what animals die so that they can carry on life? These animals die after birthing their young... Salmon Octopus Squid & May Flies

Gaia, our mother, this planet maybe be our mother but if she's intelligent at all she knows that she will be devoured by her Sun, Sol one day and all life on this planet will end... is it possible that like the mother octopus the planet is self sacrificing so that life can evolve in some way that will allow it to leave the planet? Could it be possible that gaia is the type of organism that gave birth to an offspring that has the ability to reproduce another earth eventually? People have been speculating and researching the possibility of terra-forming other planets for a long time now. If our mind is the self reflexivity of the earth/cosmos itself, then these ideas to terraform other planets are the earths idea itself. How else would a planet if it is a living organism reproduce?

The idea that the planet and its consciousness is separate form ours needs to end. Especially now. Mothers around the world have sacrificed their lives for their young and for life itself since the beginning of time and in each of these giving of the self it was the earth mothers giving. Nothing is separate at all, the salmon is the earth mother, the octopus, my mother... my grandmother and their grandmothers... all the earth mother. Their mind all the earth mothers mind. The only separation is our own misperception of separation.

I do not wish to to lessen the impact of the trauma of the ecological horrors we are experiencing today, the oil spills and the species extinction... but maybe just maybe the earth her self is behind this, and standing behind her mask is the mask of the universe and behind that mask the true self of us all... and perhaps this true self wishes for life to spread through out the universe, maybe there is no other choice then for the planet to mate spawn and die like the salmon. Perhaps the ecological horrors and our reactions to them, to technology and spiritual advancement and our own evolution is all intertwined and this is the beginning of our attempt to spread through the vast cosmic sea spreading life through out the universe. This planet will some day die... it is inevitable... I think it knows this... and I think it has been preparing for this for a very long time.

The Hawaiian creation myth relates that the present cosmos is only the last of a series, having arisen in stages from the wreck of the previous universe. In this account, the octopus is the lone survivor of the previous, alien universe."~ Wikipedia~FYI, I find this really interesting...

You know, this idea just hit me when speaking to a good friend about the oil spill in the gulf. He was speaking from this dooms day perspective, and it just felt so imbalanced, I had to give the contrary perspective... this what if started to emerge in my mind. I had never really thought of this before, but it speaks so much more to me than the "we are so fucked" perspective I always hear. Over the years of doing ayahuasca and sanpedro and Vilca ceremonies with traditional healers I have felt over and over again that there is an intelligence that is compassionate behind all that occurs. I have learned to trust this and its never let me down. We are that intelligence and it is all that is!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sarah Lawless and other writers of Bioregional Animism

Years ago when I first started writing about Bioregional Animism it was the product of listening to the land from beneath my feet, I learned to allow the forest to directly tell me what I was to communicate, it was a synergy of thought with the land that was teaching me I was one with. The end result was a way that was inclusive yet specific that could apply to many peoples with many differing relational systems to integrate with the land they lived within. But it was specific, what it was not was the combination of two words put together from a sort of intellectual perspective. It was not therefore just placing bioregional (life place) before animism. The term was coined by my two headed conversation with the genius loci, the spirit of place.

Over time in teaching others about bioregional animism the words bioregional and animism had to be defined, and intellectualized so it could be understood by others. these where terms many had not heard before, and many attempts where made through years of discussions on the tribes forum for bioregional animism, so that people could understand it was not just these two words put together intellectually or philosophically. Sadly many of these conversations are lost in the long ghost towns of internet domains no longer frequented.

So if bioregional animism is not just these two words placed together what is it? I recently read on Sarah Lawless's blog what bioregional animism is...
  "So far bioregional animism may seem more of a practical way of life than a spiritual one, but again we must remember the line between the sacred and the mundane is invisible. Bioregional animism is not a spiritual path, it is not a denomination or a tradition, it is the way you choose to live your life every day and the conscious choice to interact ethically with nature. It is a lifetime commitment requiring every day action and practice. You will never stop learning as there is so much knowledge to attain and to put into practical use. I see this as a beautiful thing – striving for perfection and complete knowledge all the while knowing you can never achieve it." Sarah Lawless

While this is beautifully put and wonderful in its own right it is not really fully representative of what the land communicated to me those many years ago and was told to share with others. "Bioregional animism is not a spiritual path," she asserts, well that is not actually true... there where discussions long ago on our forum about Graham Harveys points about new animism not having to specifically be focused around the notion of spirit, but this has never been how it was communicated to me by the land. My first awareness of bioregional animism was that of finding at dawn after ceremony one day that the boundaries felt between self, spirit and place had completely dissolved, I could see the Genius loci as a great field of spirit, like the air had become water, it infused all things including me and was aware and alive and intelligent, it was the life force and it moved me. I was hungry and it responded by moving me and joining me with a bird, showing me that if i allowed my body to be more resonant and in synergy with this movement I would be in enough shape to actually catch the bird to eat, that the bird itself like the land was I and I was the  bird and land. i allowed myself to get more used to this feeling and opened my self more to it allowing my own sense of individual awareness to literally be that which it was, this place I stood upon. When I did so, I understood that this larger sense of self guided thought and traditions and practices and where indeed the source of many, that it could use my voice and be the source of language, and that there was a deep drive for this awareness to be taught to others. So I started to ask how, and the land started moving and shaping my thoughts, shaping ideas, helping put concepts together that could be communicated to others through this communion with place,guiding them to this spiritual path. Because it is a spiritual path, bioregional animism is not just the two words put together, but my attempt to articulate my experience and what I have learned so that others could follow that path in their own way.

There are a lot of other people writing about bioregional animism now, for a while when I was greatly inspired to write it reached a lot of people. The goal was to help people move away from newage "shamanism" and back to the source of establishing intimate spirit based relationships with the land itself as the source of our knowledge as well as identity. Many people who write about this still related to it, it was something that was already happening in their life, it was their path already and a new way of talking about it occurred through our conversations, I met others like Cliff, who standing in a field with him we just opened and felt the land move us together, he already knew the work at the pith of its marrow, That experience with him standing there identifying each other as aspects, faces of the place we were standing, that feeling, that way of knowing who and what you are in RELATIONSHIP with place, was bioregional animism. Which is a spiritual path, the one I was told to share with other people.

I love reading about how other people have been guided by this, I love reading other people who know this spirit side of what Ive for years attempted (sometimes poorly) to communicate to others. There are books I hear from other Cascadians being written working with the ideas, and many blogs, even workshops being taught on bioregional animist herbalism and workshops being held in outdoor spiritual campout workshops on the subject of bioregional animism... many of these Ive never met, or talked to, and I don't know if they truly understand the spiritual path Ive tried to teach that is bioregional animism, that even our own spirit is the spirit of place or if they are just combining bioregional and animism together turning it into a catch phrase to promote their own work and ideas.

What I do know is that I have no wish for Bioregional Animism to be misrepresented, as just the two words. I do not want to see it taught as anything other than a way to cultivate the experience of being the Land Dancing as Beautiful Painted Arrow said. All I have read of others on the subject of bioregional animism that has come after I first started talking about it publicly has been wonderful, its good stuff, inspiring, but sadly its not always been the forest or playa or mountain using their words, moving their thoughts and so they misrepresent bioregional animism as not being a spiritual path but just a philosophical way of life. Perhaps I am wrong and I am not reading things right, perhaps I will only know if I stand in a forest at dawn with them and feel them as a part of the place and we speak to one another with that once voice the voice of place.

But to you as readers, and possible writers on the subject of bioregional animism... If who you are reading and if what you are writing on this subject is not coming from that place, that sacred place where the world itself moves your head and opens your mouth allowing the wind to fill your lungs, and guide your thought, and heart with its vitality, and spirit, then its a misrepresentation. You are not writing or reading about bioregional animism... you are reading or writing about something else. Which is wonderful! We need the diversity! And I thank you for the work that you do, and ask that you clarify that it is different in some way than the work I have brought from the forest and many long hard nights of ceremony. The differences are important...and are to be honored.

Bless and be blessed.