Our activities, workshops, gatherings, and classes about the natural world are aimed at guiding our local young (and older) people into the awarenesses, skills, and ways of seeing that are necessary in order to connect with our natural surroundings. Our modern way-of-life has taught us ways of perceiving, thinking, seeing, listening, etc. that actually actively block our sense awareness, presence, and ability to interact with the natural world in a rewarding, honoring, and empowering way.
Many mentors and elders have helped us along the path of learning to walk with these awarenesses and to begin to rediscover our human heritage of interacting in harmonious, powerful, and sustainable ways with our sacred Earth. The path is long, wide, challenging, and beautiful. The amount there is to learn along the journey is immense, and surely never-ending. We give thanks to all those who have taught and mentored us, and continue to do so, and to all of our animal, plant, and Earth relatives who continue to welcome us back into the mysterious and wonderful world that is our Earth.
“If the Aborigine drafted an IQ test, all of Western civilization would presumably flunk it." -Stanley Garn
And so, for ourselves, our children, and our community, we hope to encourage and create an environmentally literate community who will choose naturally to benefit and care for our environment simply because they know it intimately, and they love it as one loves a family member.
“We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see feel, understand, love, or otherwise have faith in. Perhaps the most serious obstacle impeding the evolution of a land ethic is the fact that our educational and economic system is headed away from, rather than toward, an intense consciousness of land. Your true modern is separated from the land by many middlemen, and by innumerable physical gadgets. He has no vital relation to it; to him it is the space between cities on which crops grow…The land is something he has outgrown.
One of the requisites for an ecological comprehension of land is an understanding of ecology, and this is by no means co-extensive with education.” - Aldo Leopold
In addition to our work with exploring and rekindling our relationship with the natural world, we also hope to create and encourage growth and change in our way of relating to one-another as humans. We look again to ancestral models for social and economic organization, as well as cultural content and meaning, and we find sustainable and healthy human examples in traditional, nature-based cultures all over the world. We look at some of our social problems, our mental and emotional problems, and we are given from our ancestors some clues for how we can move toward balance in the way that we live and organize ourselves.
We find strength in the path of honesty about our wounds and sorrows, and in supporting the truths of our fellow people, however those truths may look. We find support and powerful possibility for change, health and abundance in the clan, tribal, or extended-family model, where the nuclear family is not expected to be the primary social and economic unit.
“On my first visit home after moving to the United States, I told my mother just my husband and I lived in this house. She thought I was the craziest person she’d seen; to her, living like this is inconceivable. It means that there isn’t any kind of outside energy coming to give support and strength to our relationship, and that we are basically left on our own to figure things out, which is absolutely impossible. You know, with one person, it’s hard to see very far. Two people, you can see a little more. But if you have a whole group of people around really caring about you and telling you, “You are doing the right thing! We want you to be around! Give us your gifts!” it helps you fulfill your purpose…But with two people, it’s really too much to ask. Or even with the nuclear family.” - Sobonfu Some of the Dagara people of West Africa in The Spirit of Intimacy
We see the wonderful balancing effect of living in a circle; of widening our circles of support beyond our partners or spouses and welcoming into our lives a more varied array of people who can serve as mirrors for us and offer us perspective in the challenges of our lives and our processes. We see and gratefully experience a resurgence of the role of elders in our lives, and the practice of looking to elders for perspective, support, and guidance. We are given again ways to revive traditions of rites of passage that honor and empower our children, our adults, and our elders.
We look to nature as the foundation of our culture; to her cycles as keepers of time, her ways and myriad representatives as teachers of wisdom, balance, and example for us who are in much need of guidance and direction in this time. We look forward to seeing more of your faces in the flickering light of the campfire.