Support Orion!

Orion is one of my favorite magazines. It’s an extraordinarily beautiful and well-put-together quarterly publication celebrating Nature and Culture, featuring stunning photography and articles about subjects I want to know more about by authors I am stimulated & inspired by.

They carry absolutely no advertising; their income is entirely subscription-based, which is an incredibly challenging economic model to sustain. So when they ran a Kickstarter campaign last month asking for help producing a special 35th Anniversary issue, I was more than happy to support them.

To give you as taste, here’s a little excerpt from from the current issue – Stellar, about Stellar Jays, by Peter Friederici.

Their Kickstarter campaign is still going, although they have reached their immediate goal. Given that a magazine of this caliber & integrity will need our ongoing support if it is to survive and thrive, I urge you too to contribute generously.

 

 

Interview with Mary Jayne Rust

This fabulous interview of UK ecopsychologist Mary Jayne Rust by ecotherapist Linda Buzzell aired on the Ecopsychology Voices series produced by Carol Koziol, founder of the Canadian Ecopsychology Network.

Seven Days of Beauty

Regular contributor Jamie McHugh created Seven Days of Beauty, a series of seven short videos originally dedicated to the healing of post-election trauma and distress but just as relevant today. Thank you, Jamie, for sharing it with us here on Gatherings.

Waterfall Teachings

John Scull, one of the key co-founders of this Journal and ICE (the International Community for Ecopsychology), posted an ode to waterfalls – “the immensely powerful and beautiful shape water takes for a moment in its journey downstream” – on the ICE blog.

Vhembe, Sacred Vestige

Submitted by Charlotte von Fritschen 

I have returned, feeling different in my skin, after a short but enlivening visit to a few remote villages in Vhembe, Limpopo. Time seemed slower there, given a certain rhythm by the pounding of grain in preparation for dinner, or the many steps taken to the forest to fetch wood. It is worlds apart from the South Africa I thought I knew: Cape Town; and I learned a lot from their way of life – I believe we all could.

The Vhavenda tribes inhabit the Soutpansberg mountains, nestled in lush Afromontane enclaves, situated in the northern most subtropical part of South Africa. Vhembe, formally Venda, was declared self-governing in 1973 and independent in 1979 by the South African government. Edward Lahiff reflects on how the enclosure of the region allowed for the preservation of many traditional ways of life in his book, An Apartheid Oasis?: Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Venda. We were led by Jeffrey Rink, an ecopsychologist from Cape Town who had long since fallen head over ‘hills’, those beautiful green mountains, and in awe of the cultural and spiritual wealth of the tribes.

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Download During Meditation

“Download” During Meditation (PDF 74K)
Submitted by Kathleen Pait

During an immersive group meditation, I experienced an out-of-body sensation that cast me above the group, away from the building, and out of Earth’s atmosphere, where I was presented information from a more evolved being on the current climate problems humanity faces. The following is my recollection of the event, although suffice it to say that words could never adequately convey the soul of the wisdom…

 

If Women Rose Rooted

If Women Rose Rooted: A Journey to Authenticity and Belonging
by Sharon Backie

A Book Review, by Marilyn Steele

Last week I visited a favorite “soul’s place of resurrection”, hiking the Tennessee Valley trail in Marin County to the beach. Author Sharon Blackie defines such a place as one where a soul is happiest on earth and, at the same time, most in touch with all that is eternal.

It was a magical, breathtaking clear sky day where I watched a blue heron stand poised, present, patient at the edge of the blackwater pond spotted with bright green islands of plants. The water broke and rippled as an otter, sleek and shiny, playfully surfaced and dove over and over again in joy.

At the beach, strings of brown pelicans streamed across the water along with smaller black seabirds and sharp winged white birds which just skimmed the waves, chittering and chirping. On the way back, a black snake slithered across my path and into the grass.

What gifts did I carry home with me? Heron medicine. The example of dignity, determination, grace, balance, standing steady as she waited for just the right opportunity to plunge. The reminder to play, have fun, be curious like otter. And of course Snake. Ancient wisdom, prophecy, death and rebirth, transformation, the weaving path of the wild and sacred Feminine. So many messengers on the path showing “This way, this way.”

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Re-Humanizing Nature

Re-Humanizing Nature (PDF, 123K) by Ian Johnstone

“The meaning of things lies not in things themselves, but in our attitudes to them.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Australian Ian Johnstone’s long (24 pages), thoughtful article utilizes the language of poetry (and excerpts from the best of nature writing) in an impassioned plea for :re-humanizing” nature. Written in 2014, Johnstone’s argument is about the dehumanization that an exclusively scientific perception and language has wrought, and the many ways he sees for re-humanizing our relationship with the natural world – a topic as relevant now as it was then.

Transpersonal Narratives in Eco-Psychology

Announcing Transpersonal Narratives in Eco-Psychology – an upcoming CONFER event happening 24-26 November, 2017 at the Eden project in Cornwall.

It’s priced to be accessible to all. Many of our friends and colleagues will be there, and the sessions sound brilliant!

Embodying Nature

How do we quiet the monkey mind and receive our environment? And once we are in relationship with place, how do we engage and interact?

Embodying Nature Download PDF (93K), by Jamie McHugh
In this somatic and expressive approach to becoming more fully human as elemental creatures, Jamie McHugh combines the technologies of breath, vocalization, contact, movement and stillness to occupy the soma/psyche, open the portals of perception and invite in the spirit of place. He discovers how tree, rock, sky, and water reflect aspects of our being through this sensory-motor encounter.

Author Bio: Jamie McHugh is a somatic coach, dancer, and artist living on the California coast. The creator of Somatic Expression® – Body Wisdom for Modern Minds, Jamie has guided somatic-expressive encounters with the natural world for the past 25 years in Europe and the United States.

Photos of Jamie McHugh by Gregory Bartning

Love for Great Basin Bristlecone Pines

I just posted one of my favorite visual/written sequences on Great Basin Bristlecone Pines from writer, photographer and nature-lover David Malinsky in the ICE (International Community for Ecopsychology) blog.

Here is a gallery of some other favorites from his keen eye (open this post and then click the images – twice – to see them full size):

And here are some clues from David on to how to look at them:

1. The images really serve best as a “one at a time” experience, even if they are part of a sequence. They are meant to both hint at something particular, yet at the same time to be naturally vague, and allow for exploration (the “natural” part matters because it means movements beyond the confines of how the human imagination might present something, so that in most of the images there is not a hint of a beginning or end, only a movement). That exploration needs to be untimed, so that the viewer can allow the image to unfold across their own imagination. So if it is to be slide show it must be self-directed, and not automatic. Ideally there would not be a hint of a “next” that is coming up, because that can serve as an unnecessary distraction to the current image. That will be a delicate work around, but the attempt will be to have the viewer one-on-one with both a concept and an image, for as long as they need to be.

2. Part of what will need to be established as an introduction is that these images are not quick splashes across Nature’s canvas, but instead long, slow and purposeful movements across time, which should alert the mind of the viewer to notions of thoughtfulness. There are decades in the making of many of the patterns, hundreds of years for some, and perhaps into the thousands. Many of the curves in the paths are reactions to adversity, so instilling those notions of time is important. Ideally, if developed properly it slows the senses of the viewer, allows them to be suspended in a spiritual weightlessness, and can change to scope of how a problem of their own is being viewed (the magic bell we are trying to ring). There are a lot of possibilities in terms of presenting this time element, like a close-up that expresses slowness of movement, and makes the faded area ancient.

The Edge of the Wild 2016

“Heart Lands”

5th Ecopsychology Gathering
4 – 7 August, Green & Away, Worcester, UK
(shared through Linda Buzzell’s ecotherapy list serv)

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Second Annual Ecopsychology Symposium

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.16.01 PMSubmitted by Marissa Behringer from the Center for Community Engagement at Lewis & Clark Graduate School (in Oregon), who says:

We are hosting the Second Annual Ecopsychology Symposium on our campus next month… (June 10-11, 2016)

The event is relevant to folks working in healthcare, education and sustainability, environmental advocates, artists and creative professionals, and really anyone interested in the psychology of the human-nature relationship.

Here’s an event flyer with more information:
Ecopsych-Symposium

Some Good News (for a Change!)

By Amy Lenzo
(first published in the ICE blog)

Two media communications coming out of the first part of 2016 are making my heart sing!

The most recent was Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscars “Best Actor” acceptance speech for his role in The Revenant. In it he spoke out forcefully about the critical threat of Climate Change, giving specifics about the collective response he sees needed to address it and a special shout out for First Nations peoples whose “voices have been drown out by the politics of greed”. It brought a smile to this man’s face as well:

Leonardo-Acceptance

The other was Al Gore’s latest TED Talk on the Case for Optimism on Climate Change, where he talks first about the continuing seriousness and ongoing effects of climate change, and then moves on to share some of the changes we ARE making and how those changes are impacting what is now possible, and what our future can hold. A hugely inspiring talk from this courageous and visionary Nobel Laureate:

Losing Contact With Nature

One woman’s opinion, by Amy Lenzo
First published on the ICE blog

MonbiotArticleOn reading an article by George Monbiot in the UK Guardian called If Children Lose Contact With Nature They Won’t Fight For It … I agree wholeheartedly with Monbiot’s title, but my hackles rise at the (to me) lazy & inaccurate argument that follows, “blaming” the entire problem at the door of on-screen-engagement.

The truth is that while large-scale social conditions have indeed changed our children’s freedoms and access to the natural world (there’s a lot more happening here than the rise of the internet, folks), I believe that those little screens also hold some part of the way back for many of us (and our children).

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