Beltane is a magical time. The veil between the worlds is as thin as on Samhain night, but we are celebrating the return of the light rather than darkness. The Earth is blooming and it is a time of fertility, creativity and a little danger – the crops are still tender and a late frost or heavy rain could destroy our food for the year. Without this risk there would be no magic. It is the perfect time to launch the very first Planetary Tantra Retreat and to celebrate bringing in the May.
“Rapturous immersion through desire and imagination in the dreaming power of the earth. It is the most intimate way of bonding with the planetary animal mother, Gaia.” John Lash
The practices are deceptively simple and drawn from the Terma of Gaia Awakening. You do not need to have any special skills or go on a three-year course to learn Planetary Tantra. There are no secret rituals and it is freely open and available to anyone who feels called to what is essentially experimental mysticism or interactive magic with Gaia, Gaian ecosorcery if you prefer. This is the only practice, that I am aware of, that is grounded in the Sophianic mythos. We are focused on recovering the indigenous shamanic senses of our European ancestors, telestic shamanism, and learning the practical skills that we need in order to be able to take care of ourselves and each other.
However, not everyone will choose this practice; it is simple, but also rigorous. There are two self-determined conditions for entry into the practice. The first is that you hold an “ardent wish to experience love for the earth as deeply as you love your own body”. The second is to know your Highest Desire. This is extremely challenging because most of us are unable to define and articulate our Highest Desire. Nonetheless, “You cannot proceed to interactivity with [the Gaian Dakinis] unless you know what your highest desire is.”
These retreats are intended for people who want to explore and develop Planetary Tantra as a group in a beautiful, natural setting. The way out of our collective nightmare is through our individual awakening within Gaia’s lucid dream.
The Planetary Tantra Beltane Retreat runs from the evening of 1st May to the morning of 8th May and John Lash will be joining us for many of the sessions throughout the week. Price €500 pp including all meals and pick-up and drop off at our local station.
Fully booked – you can find out more and the dates of our other retreats for 2015 here.
If you’d like more information, please get in touch using the contact form below.
15 years ago or so, Dean had a little sore on his face that would not heal. He is usually a rapid healer, so eventually he went to the GP to get it checked out. This was back in the day when we still believed that the medical system had something useful to offer. Initially, the doctor said that it was nothing and that Dean had, “Probably cut himself shaving” and when Dean insisted, she agreed to send him to a skin specialist. The specialist took one look at it and diagnosed basal cell carcinoma.
Basal cell carcinoma is a very common kind of slow-growing skin cancer, that rarely metastasizes or kills, but will continue growing if not stopped. It looked like a small, flat-topped pimple with a bleeding centre. The surgeon removed it and left Dean with a manly scar on his right cheek.
A few weeks ago, we discovered another one, between his lip and nose. The grow in the deep part of the epidermis around the hair follicle and this was in the ‘moustache line’. There was no way we were going to seek medical help this time around, as we know better now. Nature’s cure for basal cell carcinoma is the aubergine, or humble eggplant. I tried to take a picture of the carcinoma today, but it is now too small to see. Dean has been using the mix of chopped up aubergine, steeped in apple cider vinegar daily (more or less) for 2-3 weeks now. Here is a picture of the aubergine in vinegar jar instead:
This is not as far-fetched as it might sound. The aubergine is a member of the nightshade or Solanaceae family, like potatoes and tobacco. Each of the plants in the family has it’s own ‘mix’ of glycoalkaloids and other compounds. Glycoalkaloids are alkaloids with attached sugars. Many alkaloids are known to have properties which inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Steeping the aubergine in vinegar breaks it down so that it can be absorbed in the skin, where the alkaloids destroy the cancer cells, but leave the other cells untouched.
This is a well researched process. You can find the background to Dr Bill Chaim’s Eggplant cancer cure here. And a summary of how to make your own aubergine medicine here.
Please note, I’m not recommending this to anyone. I’m just posting what we’ve done and that it’s working. I’m not claiming any expertise here, but my experience is that so-called expertise is mostly over-rated. If you focus on what you need, when you need it, you will find the solution.
(I’ll post a picture of Dean’s face without the carcinoma, once he’s had a shave.)
The aubergine paste kept the sore under control, but it did not eradicate it. It was effective at removing several moles, after application for 10-14 days they dropped off, but not the ‘skin cancer’. I’ve since learned that most skin cancers are caused by the candida fungus and what has worked completely for the ‘skin cancer’ in Dean’s case was iodine: Iodine Cures Cancer Fungus.
“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road; just wakes on the sea.”
“Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.”
The theme of our Autumn Equinox 2014 was regeneration. In Autumn the unpicked fruits of summer lay rotting on the ground so that the seeds can be released. The leaves fall and cover the seeds, protecting them from the chill of winter until the vibrant energy of spring stirs them into life.
We find it hard to observe this pattern in our own lives, as attached as we are to our personal identities. Yet, the smell of rotting flesh creeps into our unconscious minds and we associate Autumn with death. The energy that flows through us and gives us life never dies; it continues in an eternal cycle, through the seasons and greater tides of time. Our lives are never our own.
Within this context we prepared for winter and the coming spring. We did lots of hay rolling to cover the terraces for the food forest and made plans for next year’s retreats.
On the Eve of the Equinox we planned an all-night vigil in the tipi. At sunrise we buried the ashes from the fire that had burned all night in the tipi as Tony read the above quote from Antonio Machado. Returning to the Earth the ashes of the old season’s wood for regeneration.
At the Autumn Equinox we experience a moment of perfect balance when day and night are of equal length. This is the Earth’s Stillpoint, a moment of super-potentiality before the nights begin to get longer and the days shorter as we move into Winter. Our ancestors recognised the potential in this moment and built huge temples with astronomical precision to mark the Equinox sunrise. Why is that? Their wisdom is lost to us; we can only guess at the meaning behind their efforts.
Today, we mark the seasons with school terms and public holidays. We have wandered so far from the wilderness that we have forgotten our animal natures and have created false selves because we are afraid of the dark. At some point on this long journey the Autumn Equinox, signifying the onset of the long dark nights of winter, came to be associated with death, the inner journey and preparation for spiritual rebirth at the Winter Solstice.
However, it is only the illusory veil of the ego that separates us from all that is real and traps us in the physical world, where life and matter meet. In the Hindu tradition, the Divine Mother Goddess is the feminine aspect of each person’s own spiritual being. At the Autumn Equinox, She leads us into the Mystery of Life as Kali, who fights alongside the mystic and destroys their egos to allow for their transformation. Kali is said to inhabit the cremation ground, the place where egos are killed and destroyed in the alchemical fire.
Is this why the Great Pyramid, Mnajdra or Chichen Itza were built? Or is there something else?
To find the answers we need to take ourselves back to the wilderness, to the temple of Nature, and witness the Equinox sunrise for ourselves.
Our Equinox Retreat for 2014 is about transformation through realigning ourselves with the song of the Earth. This is a meditative retreat to immerse ourselves in Nature and rediscover ourselves as part of Her great symphony as a prelude to the regeneration of Winter.
Mother of the Universe
O blissful Kali,
accept my congratulations.
You have enthralled the universe entirely
with your countless transformations.
Your ultimate magic feat is to throw every being
a sacred black stone, your very essence,
so that realization of mystic identity
will be its final destiny
You are so adept in magic, Ma Kali,
that you even draw the Father God,
who is all-transcending knowledge,
into your sweet madness,
your play of indivisible love.
As timeless awareness, you remain uninvolved,
producing the magic theater, divine creativity,
from the interplay of inertia, balance and activity.
This avid worshipper of Mother is shocked
that even supremely wise Lord Shiva
cannot realize Kali’s true nature.
O supremely foolish poet,
how can you hope to grasp her dancing feat
that elude even Shiva’s comprehension?
She has clearly driven you mad as well
with the magic of her Love.
Ramprasad Sen, Mother of the Universe, Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightenment
Mindfulness and Meditation with the sounds of Nature
Principles of Energy Healing and how to make them work in your life
Making natural shampoo, toothpaste and non-toxic household products that work
Night vigil for the Equinox Sunrise
This is an outdoor retreat. The experience of sitting outside, eating outside and even showering outside (with hot water) brings us out of our heads and into our bodies, so we can feel ourselves within the web of life. This helps us feel more content and strong and able to deal with whatever life throws at us more effectively.
We are in a beautiful rural location, over-looking the Courel mountains, about 10 miles from the nearest town of Monforte de Lemos, in Galica, Northwest Spain. The location is very secluded without neighbours. See How to Find Us.
Our aim is to provide an experience that is within Nature, but comfortable and a delight for the senses. We have two double-skinned Norwegian accommodation tents, that are used for disaster relief situations, with normal headroom, a closing door, proper beds and bedding. Each one sleeps four people comfortably. We have several smaller, camping tents, or you can bring your own. We have an outside shower with plenty of hot water and tree bogs. You will need to bring your own towels.
Retreat Dates: Evening of 20th September – evening of 24th September 2014
Price £250 per person
All meals are included and pick up and drop off from Monforte de Lemos.
10 places only.
Get in touch using the contact form below for more info or booking.
Celeste leading a Qigong session
A happy Dean!
Barbara and her newly published book, Shakti Manifest
The more time you spend in Nature and connect; begin to feel how a bird or a flower feels and open up your senses and intuition, the less likely you are to need a first aid kit. If that sounds preposterous, you really do need to get out more! When we observe things, especially living things, and muse, “How do you feel?” We rejuvenate our brains, firing up unused pathways and making new connections. Merging imagination, feeling and vision dissolves the imaginary veil between us and everything else and we become totally immersed in the sea of reality. In this space we have sufficient awareness and intuition to avoid the slippery rock as we cross the river and if we run into a swarm of mosquitoes our immune system will be so strong that we barely notice their bites.
Initially, this way of being takes concentration and practice, but after a while it begins to feel normal to feel like you are discovering the world for the first time. Do you remember how that felt as a child? How the plants, the birds, butterflies and animals talked with you? This is how we engage and participate with all life in the world.
However, sometimes, when you are in a rush or there are just too many things going on, you lose concentration and this is when we become more vulnerable to accidents and illness. It’s also when we tend to fall back on pharmaceuticals and the medical system, which are not good for us in the medium-term, even though they might appear to alleviate symptoms. (We try and keep chemicals out of our bodies and environment as much as possible.) That’s why we put together the Gaian First Aid Kit.
The Gaian First Aid Kit is what we use here on the finca. It’s made from natural ingredients and things we have thoroughly tried and tested over the past year. It might not cover every minor emergency, but it will help you through many of them. We also use these remedies for our dogs.
The Gaian First Aid Kit covers these issues:
• Insect bites
• Cuts and scrapes
• Skin infections (Staphylococcal)
• Food poisoning and stomach upsets
• Aches and pains
• Bruises and sprains
• Colds and flu
We go through the Gaian First Aid Kit in detail at our retreats, as well as the basics for making salves and tinctures. Plantain is abundant here and I always have some plantain oil to hand that’s been sun-steeped for 5-6 weeks, so retreat guests get to make plantain salve and take it home with them. Plantain salve is the most effective remedy to take the itch out of mosquito bites that we’ve ever found. It acts faster and lasts longer than any commercial preparation.
I’d love to hear about anything you find useful. (Please do not send me any info about things you haven’t tried yourself. So much of the information about natural healing remedies on the internet is the same stuff, shuffled and shared around and much of it doesn’t work.)
Our next retreat is Lammas 31st July to 3rd August.
All healing is Gaian healing. Healing has far less to do with you than you think it does. Most likely you, or the “you” you think you are, is responsible for creating whatever it is that needs healing. But the healing process itself has very little to do with you!
“What?” you might say, “How can that be? It’s my body after all.”
Is that so?
Try holding your breath for three minutes. Or why not try breathing underwater? Or how about making that niggling pain you’ve had for ages go away? Or how about returning your body to the physique you had in your twenties? Or can you stop a cut from healing? It’s your body after all.
Now you want to ‘get realistic’. But what does that mean? Are you thinking about consensus reality, what is considered to be ‘normal’? That is a limited reality and experience of life. It has been narrowly defined by scientists who focus on what they can see and measure with their instruments and programmed into you from childhood by parents and teachers trying to make you conform. It is predictable and mechanical, but real life isn’t like that, is it?
If you cut your finger with your sharpest knife in the kitchen, it hurts and you feel a sudden shock at the red blood splattered on the counter. You rush to the sink, heart pounding, afraid to look at the damage, so much blood against the white porcelain. You wrap it in a tea towel and empty the bathroom cabinet looking for Band-Aids. Eventually, you get it strapped up and you hold it gingerly for the rest of the day and hope for the best.
In scientific medical terms you have had a laceration and your healing will go through a four-stage process:
Hemostasis – in which the damaged blood vessels in the wound are sealed off. This occurs within minutes
Inflammation – this is the clean-up phase in which debris and bacteria are cleaned out, often resulting in pus. This lasts up to four days after the injury.
Proliferation – this is the regeneration of new cells, which lasts 4-21 days.
Remodelling – this last stage can last up to two years as the strength and flexibility is gradually restored to the wound site and scarring reduced as much as possible.
Which scenario feels more real to you?
Probably the first, because most likely you have had a similar experience and you instantly bring together memory, feeling and the visual image of the blood on the counter and in the sink. In that moment, as you see that image in your mind, you are no longer present in your everyday or ‘normal’ consciousness. You have slipped into a dream-like state and you do it many times a day without even realising it.
Our lived experience is based on feeling and imagination much more than it is observation. We are actually far better at it than we are at observation
However, this is the definition derived from laboratory conditions and experiments on animals. In real life healing is rarely this linear or timely, because it depends on what is going on in your life. Suddenly, we have introduced a new variable, the context, or more specifically the scenario in which you exist at that time. This includes your environment.
Way back in 1984 a landmark study ‘discovered’ that post-operative patients with a view through a window over a park recovered more quickly than those looking at a wall. Since then many studies have ‘proven’ that the visual presence of plants has a statistically measureable benefit on physical and mental health. Yet more studies have gone on to identify which health conditions benefit most, what kinds of nature exposure have what effect, how much exposure is needed and even where the benefit might come from, such as humidity, air quality and even safety. (Absence of plant life might suggest that the area is somehow unsafe, which causes stress.)
All of these studies are fundamentally flawed. They assume that ‘we’ are somehow separate from the environment in which we exist, when we can never be anything other than another player in a continually changing scenario. They assume that there is only limited intelligence in this ‘backdrop’ to our personal dramas. They fail to consider feeling as a factor, despite the science of psychoneuroimmunology and the growing recognition of the interdependence of mental and physical health. They insist on a model in which our bodies are bound to breakdown and need experts to fix them. The entire paradigm of medial science is redundant, as determined by science itself! We do not exist in a mechanical, Newtonian Universe.
How do we encourage healing then?
Yes, you have to feel it to heal it, but what is the “it” in this question? It isn’t just the pain or the problem; that doesn’t quite work because that tends to get you more involved in your problem. The “it” is everything, especially Nature.
Every thing has a secret feeling; it’s individual essence, or secret kinesis, that is not apparent until we really look at it and connect with it. This connection joins us in a relationship and it changes both ourselves and all that we observe. These changes are subtle, but deep and always aligned to our highest potential. We exist in a sea of intelligent life in which every vibration wants to harmonise with every other vibration. In Gaian healing we learn to hear the hidden song of every living being, not via our ears and physical senses (although we use them too) but through the secret kinesis of how another being feels and what that means to us.
Anyone who begins to focus on their own healing discovers the plant healers sooner or later, swiftly followed by that overwhelming sensation of too much to learn. However, to learn for yourself does not take that much. You do not need to become an herbalist to support your own healing. If you spend time in Nature, barefoot if possible, Gaia will give you personally exactly what you need at that specific time, you just have to pay attention.
“Mother Earth was the first physician and healer. Some day, everyone will realize that she alone owns the true pharmacy in medicine, for all drugs are made from Her garden, or a chemical substitute that replicates the effects and benefits Her plants.”
Our healing and the healing of the Earth are deeply intertwined, we cannot have one without the other and we need this to be the way we live our lives – not just something we do when we are sick. Our disconnection from Nature and the illusion of our separation is the source of our disease and re-immersion is the elixir we seek.
“When all is said and done, the faith that informs the often chimerical art of alchemy comes down to one notion: we can achieve rejuvenation by deep participation in the processes of the biosphere. In short, immortality within Gaia-Sophia. The “Delectable Stone” is the Elixir of Life.”
We decided on a tree bog for use by our guests this year as it’s a great natural and easy option for summer use. We will only be running retreats in the summer and only for a limited number of people, so this seemed to be the perfect solution.
A tree bog is essentially a small shed raised over a hole with trees around. The trees eat the ‘humanure’, so it is a very ecological solution. Our tree bog is mounted on a frame and keyed into flat stones. It is on agricultural land so we couldn’t use any concrete or anything that might be considered to be a permanent structure. The walls are made of rough cut chestnut slats. The chestnut is local and very cheap. Every other slat goes to the ground for sturdiness and the sides of the hole below floor level are filled with straw. The side planks of the floor are removable, as are the front steps, so that the straw can be replaced as necessary. The roof is made of corrugated polyester – not the best option, but one of the most cost effective.
It is not quite a metre from the floor to the ground beneath the hole. We looked at many designs and everyone said it must be a metre, but we couldn’t find any explanation as to why! it just seemed to be something that was said and repeated. We needed to ensure that the structure was secure, so we worked out our own designs and construction. We’ll see how it works out!
The bench has a proper toilet seat and compartments either side for loo paper and sawdust. We find some sawdust works well as we use it in our composting toilet in the cabin. We’re oiling all the wood with raw linseed oil, which is a good and environmentally sound solution, especially for exterior wood. It dries relatively slowly, but only takes a couple of days in the heat. It’s a bit yellow at first, but that seems to fade. We won’t do the interior this summer, but will probably do it before winter.
We haven’t planted all the trees and shrubs around yet, but there are substantial woods behind the tree bog and we have transferred some local willows an bamboo. There are young oaks growing around too. The local farmer can’t understand why we insist on allowing the trees to grow in the fields. He wants to cut them all down and keep open fields of grass, which he says is to prevent fires! We think keeping the trees is more useful in preventing fires, but we are newcomers here.