Friday, February 12, 2010

Visual animal acoustics
This site is amazing!
the art of other than human persons...
And here are auqua sonic orcas!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Greatful to have been shown this!

A reader of the blog just connected me to this site.

I have been a fan of Brain Swimmes work since I first started college. My first class at Evergreen State College was a class called sacred places, which had a serius impact on me obviously! Our first text book for that class was Swimmes classic universe story.

This video is a great introduction to new cosmology.

Swimmes work is important for people interesting in bioregional animism because it gives us an understanding of the importance of the universe story, our cosmology. Now Swimme is not an animist, but much of what he says my inspire your own animism cosmology as it has mine. In animism we see many diverse cosmo,logies interweaving with animism. We see toaist cosmologies, christian cosmologies, we see new age cosmologies, indigenous ancient cosmologies, we see islamic and buddhist cosmologies and so on. For those of us that are steeped in modern society today the work that Swimme has done to elucidate a modern cosmology may help fill in the blanks for us who are actively discovering an animist cosmological vision.


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Learning to live animism

Over the last few years I have had an amazing opportunity to learn from some great teachers in the art of ecological living. I have met with Organic farmers who are rebuilding the soil and increasing the nutritional value of our foods, permaculturists making island paradises, community developers, ecovillagers, free clinic organizers, not to mention the spirits of plants and animals I even worked for the mad mycological scientist Paul Stamets this last year helping him make his Life Box Product! The teacher though that impressed me the most is an old mudslinging badger named Ianto Evans. Ianto is the co-author of the hand sculpted house and is one of the founders of the cob cottage company. The cob cottage company is the closest thing I have ever come to seeing Hobbiton in the real world. The cob cottage company is a cob school and environmental living research village, at least that's what I would call it. A community based on education, natural ethics and simplicity.

My first visit to the cob cottage company was a few years ago with my partner Katie. We did not have much money but they offered a very interesting proposition, come work with us for a weekend and we will give you a place to stay, food and some education. This sounded great and it was. Ianto and Linda his partner are amazing teachers and hosts. We learned ways to work effectively, ways to live cheaply, we learned that its safe to put your head in a composting toilet and take a big ol wiff, as Ianto demonstrated! Ianto has a teaching method that is holograpahic in nature, showing the systemic relationships between actions and aspects of life that is becoming a revolution in thought among those who wish to see solutions in the world today. While sitting and eating food made from Iantos garden and from dumpster diving Ianto spoke to us about the importance of feeling the connection with ones food, knowing that in a natural system there is no such thing as waste, and that our feces was being transformed into the biomass that we where now eating. He shared with us the ecological and ethical wisdom of being a part of a natural cycle.

Every lesson and every aspect of life Ianto touched upon brilliantly demonstrated being a part of this natural cycle, these natural systems. It had become very evident that I had found a teacher that could show me how to live as an animist. At one point in the work weekend a wind fallen tree was needed from the forest. It was to be used as a central roofing beam for a new house they would be building during the next workshop. Ianto gathered us into the forest and we looked down at this tree. It was huge and curved like a bow, and there was no way I thought we where getting it out of there. Ianto taught us how to lift the tree and move it together as a team, while also teaching us a very valuable lesson about community. When we worked together with skill and care in doing so, the tree was light and easy to move. We could accomplish what we needed to accomplish so that we could live ethically and healthfully within our environment and with each other. Like wise was the lesson and philosophy of natural building in general, it is meant to empower individuals as well as communities to be able to not profit off of each other but to help each other live well. There was in my mind no more a powerful teaching method then lifting that tree out of the woods with such ease. I saw very clearly that if I wanted to live as an animist this analogy of working in community not with just humans but other than humans was going to have to be applied consistently. That without this basic way of relating I would not get off the tredmill of modern wage slavery and unethical living.

Ianto taught about the advent of the myth of living in a sterile home, of how we no longer allow nature into our homes and how that originated as a method for companies to sell more soap many years ago.

He taught us to be clever to recycle reuse and scavenge at one point showing us his logger costume he uses to get into the mill down the street so he can salvage jungle hard woods they burn and never resell. All the while expressing the importance of the natural ethics of these actions.

He taught us the importance of building with the earth with the soil and doing so in relationship to the sky, to the sun. His emphasis on passive solar design was like listening to the mythopoetic oral traditions of ancient sun worshiping peoples. If you built your home within a passive solar design using insulation on walls that received no sun exposer and heat absorbing earthen walls on the sides that do, you consume less resources to heat your house. In doing so you are once again living within a natural system intelligently and ethically.

A few years later I returned to the cob cottage company for a work shop on building rocket stoves. Rocket stoves are a type of wood stove that releases no smoke but mostly steam and maximizes fuel consumption and heat production. it is the most ecologically healthy and socially responsible way to heat your home I have ever seen. If you are building with cob its almost essential to build a rocket stove into your walls or to heat a nice cob bench or bed frame with. This was a week end class dedicated to fire, to heat,to warming ourselves. We learned the physics of fire from Ianto and his assistants. We also had an opportunity to learn how to drop out of the socio-econimic traps that keep us in a system that does not respect life and live within the boundaries of natural ethics.
I could not afford the class so I drove down one of the teachers who just so happened to be in my area, he helped pay for gas which helped me to arrive at the workshop, I could not afford to pay for the class and so my parents who live near the Cob Cottage Company traded some old windows Ianto needed so I could go. The entire weekend through the wisdom of mutual reciprocity allowed me to work off and gain all of the education I needed without spending a dime. This taught me that there is no excuse for not living this way out side of personal apathy and ignorance. While Driving Max, the co-facilitator for the class , I had an opportunity to talk with him about the other class they teach there called getting of the tred mill. My life at the time was in turmoil because of how I was living and working. Max encouraged me to live more communally because it reduces the cost of living and to live simply buy only what we really need, and working first and for most to reduce and rid ourselves of debt. When you no longer have debt you are free to live a life of simplicity.

I learned quite a bit from these people, way more then just learning how to build a natural built cob house, because learning to build a cob house is involves community, living in simplicity, growing your own food and much much more. To me these ways of relating are the life ways of animists. I would very much like to encourage all of you to visit the cob cottage company and learn from them while these teachers are with us.
A current list of workshops can be found here and I encourage every one who wishes to learn valuable skills on how to live as an animist, to attend the off the tred mill class.

Off The Treadmill!

Start Date:
Mar 26 2010
End Date:
Mar 28 2010
Coquille, OR
Includes all meals, camping is available free of charge
Ianto Evans, Linda Smiley & Guests
"A life-changing weekend! Possibly the most valuable investment you could ever make. For people who pay too much rent or mortgage, who work too much or feel money is scarce. Life is brief, don’t waste it doing things that are uninspiring, ugly or at odds with your conscience. A weekend of practical tools, techniques and tips from lifetime experts. This will transform your life! This course will include financial advice, philosophical insights as well as hands-on experience of practical skills for improving self-reliance. Possible practicals include home heating, car maintenance, starting a food garden, bread making, etc. plus a tour of the dozen cob and natural buildings on site. Don't miss this one! 15 people only"