Planetary Vision Quest Retreats 2016

Planetary Vision Quest Retreats 2016

 “There is a dream dreaming us.”

The Planetary Vision Quest Retreat is the unique rite of passage ritual for the “new aboriginals” of the 21st century. That is the poets, novelists, dancers, musicians, herbalists, body-workers, stone-workers, animal-keepers, artisans and gardeners who live beyond the mainstream and yearn for connection with the origins of life, pre-civilization and pre-religion. There is only one source of life for the creatures of this world and that is the planetary environment in which we live, the earth. Our lives, our trials and triumphs and the stories we tell ourselves and each other about them, cultural achievements and civilizations, as well as the lost stories of our ancestors hidden in myth and folk-lore; none of these things would exist without the dreaming power of the earth and they will all be lost and forgotten too, unless they are grounded in the earth’s own story.

The living earth is the physical body of the Wisdom Goddess, the Aeon Sophia. Many of you reading this will already know Her Story, the Fallen Goddess Scenario and for some of you this will be a new discovery. The call to the wilderness comes through the ‘Dreamtone’ of the Goddess who is dreaming you into being at every moment of your life. If you answer the call and devote yourself to this particular practice of discovery, you will find yourself on an adventure in magical realism that consecrates your entire existence into the divine source of sentient and animal life. The identification of the living planet as the physical incarnation of the Goddess Sophia, is the unique realization of the Gnostic seers who founded the Pagan Mysteries to teach humanity “who we are, what we have become, whence we have come, where we have been thrown, where we are going, how we are redeemed, what is birth, what is rebirth.”

The Planetary Vision Quest Retreat is grounded in the Sophianic Narrative and follows the teachings of the Terma of Gaia Awakening, through the practice of Planetary Tantra. Gnostic scholar, teacher and nagual, John Lamb Lash brought these treasures to the world and the retreat is faithful to his work and the guidelines he has set in all respects. His web site, metahistory.org, offers free access to all his research and the materials that show the provenance of the Planetary Vision Quest. You can also buy his book, Not in His Image from Amazon. It is not necessary for participants to be familiar with his work, but all applicants are required to read the three basic texts listed below BEFORE applying. Planetary Tantra is open to all, but it is not suited to all and you must inform yourself in order to make that decision for yourself. If you read these texts and find yourself hungry for more, that’s a good indication of suitability, but you must also hold within yourself a pre-existing and deep love for the earth and a fervent desire to get to know Her intimately.

The Planetary Vision Quest Retreat 2016 is a week-long adventure in Galicia, northwest Spain, ‘the land of milk and light’. It is a back-to-nature retreat, in a beautiful and wild location, with no towns or villages within walking distance and most activities take place outside. (To find out more about the facilities click here.) The Planetary Vision Quest includes all the elements of the traditional rites of passage, exponentially amplified by the superiority of the guiding myth, the Sophianic Narrative, and the practices that have emerged through living that Narrative – Planetary Tantra is the only spiritual practice in the world dedicated exclusively to the final 200 years of the Kali Yuga. Each participant in the Planetary Vision Quest will return to the world at large with a greater understanding of how to weave the thread of his/her life into the fabric of the universe and how to live on the tantric path of seeking liberation through desire, not from it – a vastly expanded vision and mission. Participation in the Planetary Vision Quest carries the commitment to be an emissary of Planetary Tantra and to propagate the sacred narrative and you will not get the full benefit of the retreat unless you are able to come with this intention.

The crowning feature of the Planetary Vision Quest Retreat is the telestic session, in which initiates will be guided into a state of cognitive ecstasy using shamanic plants, with the intention of witnessing the Organic Light, the naked body of the Wisdom goddess. Instruction by the Light is the trance-learning technique practised by the ancient Gnostics. This is a very specific process that does not include individual journeying or encounters with imaginary beings. There will be extensive preparation and briefings for the telestic session and de-briefing after.

The retreat covers all aspects of Five Element Planetary Tantra:

  1. Performance of the Gaian Tantra Vow
  2. Studies and applications of the Shakti Cluster
  3. Dakini Shifts, the Tantric Zodiac and real sky observation
  4. Cordings
  5. The retelling of the Fallen Goddess Scenario and perhaps The Legend of the Grail

The Planetary Vision Quest Retreat is precisely calibrated for these troubled times. It is built on John Lash’s work of the past forty years, which itself draws on a lineage that is several thousand years old and also, intriguingly, from the future. This is a robust event for those already practising Planetary Tantra, or with a serious interest in discovering it. It might be considered as an introduction to the path of the warrior shaman, although there is no obligation to follow through in that way.

Qualifications and application process: no formal qualifications or experience are required for the Planetary Vision Quest Retreat, except for the fervent desire to connect with the Wisdom Goddess. However, acceptance is by application only, due to the desirability for gender balance and with regard to the dynamics of the group.

Potential applicants are required, at minimum, to read these essays before registering interest:

The Fall of the Wisdom Goddess:  http://www.metahistory.org/GAIA%20SOPHIA/Synopsis9SM.php

The Terma Of Gaia Awakening Synopsis:  http://www.metahistory.org/terma/opepagesynopsis.php

Introducing Planetary Tantra: http://www.metahistory.org/tantra/PTintro.php

After registering interest you will receive a short questionnaire to be submitted as your application. There is a waiting list, so please apply promptly to avoid disappointment.

The retreat dates are:

Summer Solstice Retreat:  17-23 June 2016

Applications to be received by: 31 March at latest

 Sovereign Moment Retreat:  2-9 August 2016

Applications to be received by: 30 April at latest

 

Price: €500 pp full board. See Booking for more information and Terms and Conditions.

  • Dawn over the finca

 

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Planetary Tantra Andalucia Retreat 2015

Intoxication of the Aztec Elixir

The mission for our Planetary Tantra Andalucia Retreat, turned out to be the merging of morbido and libido and the re-birth of the Warrior-Shaman.  I’m feeling vulnerability in myself as I come to terms with this new pretense.

Andrea and I watched the crescent moon dissolve in the the sunrise on the 10th November, in completion of the Visvamata shift.  We watched for close to an hour with Jupiter, Mars and Venus perfectly aligned and dropping into the chalice crescent of the waning moon.  I had no awareness of the transmutation that was happening within us, and many other human animals, at that time.

Aztec Elixir 10-11-15

Image from Stellarium of that predawn morning in Gaucin

(thank you Stephanie)

We were, of course, drinking the Aztec Elixir:

AZTEC ELIXIR” : codeword for Gaian psychotronics, the hidden and magical aspect of the wide-open war (public, enacted in the world at large) against psychopaths and the enemies of life whose core executive group is the Zaddikite/Talmudic Jues.”

John Lash, 1 October 2015

This is how Planetary Tantra works.  You don’t need to believe anything.  You don’t even need to know anything.  You just show up with the heartfelt desire to interact with the Aeonic Mother, Planet Earth, and observe the phases of the moon.  The dynamic tension between the earth and the moon is always in a state of flux, perpetual motion, that calibrates the attentions of the earth.  When we observe the moon, we are intentionally involving ourselves in that process, even though we might not know what that does.

When it came to deciding on the subject to explore in our telestic session, we were of one mind.  No small feat for a group of 12 people from different countries, USSA, England, France, Turkey, Serbia and Sweden, most of whom had not met before.  We were able to decide the question to take to the Light quickly and with minimal discussion. I’m not going to disclose the question we took to the Organic Light at this time.  It is in the process of being proven.

John reminded us that the primary objective of the retreat was the engagement in the Planetary Vision Quest. the discovery of how we co-create with the earth. This was a good reminder as no one can guarantee that anyone will see the Organic Light, but we would all experience transmutation through the telestic session, nonetheless.

More than half of us witnessed the Organic Light in that session.  It took me several weeks to unpack the answer I received to the question, such is the complexity of Her response.  At the time, Shakti moved my body into comprehension of what my mind could not yet hold.  My mind was still.  The energy that moved through me was fierce and strong, erotic, invincible and ravenous.  I felt as though I might tear the enemies of life limb from limb, bite the flesh off their bones and spit it out onto the ground and stamp on it.  Yet, at that same moment, I had the feeling of holding a fragile butterfly in my hand and letting it fly free above the carnage. The butterfly represents Itzpapalotl,  Obsidian Butterfly, the Aztec war goddess.

Itzpapalotl

I was surprized that we found ourselves in a Kamala shift.  I was expecting that the shift would be called for the Snaketamer, Vudasi, with the dual intentions of healing and harming and there were strong Vudasi elements, but we were guided by Kamala, the goddess of love and desire, who beautifies us.  The exquisite tenderness with which She handled us through this experience is absolutely essential to the warrior stance, so that we never forget that we fight as deathless warriors, with and for Beauty.

Back home I’ve noticed that I view the world differently.  i am a peaceful person and I want to be able to live and play and love in peace and freedom, but I don’t see any chance of that happening until the enemies of life are eliminated.  There isn’t time to wait until the trees are all dead and the waters poisoned from geoengineering, or until all the food is poisoned with GMOs, and we are all sickened with cancer and driven insane with the archontic frequencies polluting the atmosphere.  Many people will prefer to remain ignorant of what is going on, but once you discover the damage and the perpetrators, I challenge any sane person to not be enraged.

What are you going to do about it?

Do not call for things to be done,

Do what you will, and it harm none

Except those who do harm and deceit

Who now you see in the throes of defeat

Amor fati is the cry

Kalika warrior, do or die

 

Planetary Tantra in Andalucia

Theoria 2015 Andalucia

Planetary Tantra in Andalucia

November 12 – 20 2015

 The Maine terton and I are planning a shamanic retreat in Andalucia, Spain, to be held from November 12 (arrival day) to November 20 (closing day). The event comprises seven full days of which five will be dedicated entirely to the Mystery School method of instruction by the Light. There will be one all-night session in telestic trance to attain theoria – the Greek word for beholding the Divine Light. The event is limited to twelve participants (see below, details of the caryatid with basket).

JLL will conduct this event in the manner of a telestic gathering on the model of the Mystery cells. He will show how to work with directed intention and guide the experiment at every step. Participants will be closely briefed on how to encounter the Organic Light in a trance state. The entire group will unite in an experiment with the telestic method using a question to posed to the Organic Light.

The event includes plenty of time for walks in the spectacular hills, instruction in cording, local excursions (if desired) and sky-viewing lessons.

 

Sacrament basket

Image: Caryatid handmaiden of Demeter from the porch of the Acropolis, bearing on her head the sacred basket containing the psychoactive sacrament of the Mysteries.

Source: http://www.clavielle.com/the-temple-of-demeter-and-the-curse-of-eleusis/

Note that the basket is decorated with a twelve-petalled florette, enclosing a smaller florette of eight petals. At Eleusis and other Mystery Schools, people were taken twelve at a time into the inner sanctuary to be initated for instruction by the Light. Of those twelve, neophytes who succeeded in encountering the OL were eligible to advance and become core members of a Mystery cell (eight petals).

The time for the Mysteries to spread via the internet and archontic media has passed and is replaced by real, face-to-face connection and group interaction. The focus now must be on developing confidence in the basic PT practice of interactive magic with Gaia. Discussion through the week will include routine topics of Gaian sorcery, as well as considerations of the challenge to prepare and set up groups and communities based on PT and the Terma of Gaia Awakening.

Event fee €50/day, €450 total, food and lodging not included. An event coordinator will assist attendees in finding local accommodations at €20-25 per day, most of them within walking distance of the venue. It is suggested that two atendees arriving by air to Malaga rent cars, the cost to be shared with other attendees for transportation. (Some airline deals offer car rentals for €10/day or less.) Those who stay in the village will need transportation. Other expenses will be food. Attendees are expected to make and share food or eat in town.

We are inviting interest in this event, with advisement that limited participation will require selection and vetting of applicants based on previous experience with psychoactive plants or mind-altering substances.

Andrea Avanzato is coordinating the advance enquiries on our behalf.  If you are interested, please contact me using the form below and I will forward you her email address.

Yolanda

 

 

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Planetary Tantra Beltane Retreat 2015

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.

Planetary Tantra is:

“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.

 

 

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Regeneration and the Equinox

“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.”

 Antonio Machado

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.

 

 

Autumn Equinox Retreat 2014

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

Activities:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation with the sounds of Nature
  • Qigong
  • Principles of Energy Healing and how to make them work in your life
  • Making natural shampoo, toothpaste and non-toxic household products that work
  • Nature walks
  • Mandala making
  • 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.
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Gaian First Aid Kit

Gaian First Aid Kit

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:
• Headaches
• 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.

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Tree Bog Construction

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.

 

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Lammas Permaculture Retreat

Lammas Permaculture Retreat

Our permaculture retreats focus on immersing ourselves in Nature so that our needs emerge in co-evolution with our environment. The essence of permaculture is not really about designing sustainable gardens, but recognising that everything we need is already here! We need to shift our perception. Sometimes this just happens, or you can prepare with shamanic work, sacred plants, mantra or mindfulness.

1. Relaxation

The first principle of permaculture is “observe and interact”. Our approach is to take a few steps back and start with relaxation. We can’t immerse ourselves in Nature, or observe and interact in harmony if we are tense and our minds are full of junk.

We use meditation, Qi Gong, yoga and sacred plants to bring ourselves into a peaceful state of mind, so that we can align with Nature on Her terms. Nature isn’t busy with thoughts, judgments and plans; She just flows.

2. Intent

Our next step is to invoke intent. Intent is not the same as intention. Setting an intention is to make a decision and impose it on the environment as an act of will. Intent on the other hand is a capacity, the force of life that manifests reality. It isn’t ours, but we have access to it.

Invoking intent is not about wishing or thinking or deciding anything. It is the perfectly articulated expression of a heart-felt desire that emerges from deep inside us, without any chatter or conflicting thoughts from the rational mind. This takes practice.

In The Power of Silence Don Juan explains how “intent is beckoned with the eyes” by moving to the “place of no pity” which is characterised by a specific shine to the eyes. The “place of no pity” is Don Juan’s way of describing the point where you get over your self-importance and are fully present, without mental chatter. The power is in the silence.

The ‘shiny eyes’ is like being ‘moved to tears’ in the presence of great love or beauty, humbled, fully present and self-less. To bring yourself to that state and then focus the attention is to act with intent.

We can’t do any better than to start with the intent to be fully present with Nature!

3. Observation

The act of observation involves so much more than just seeing. When we look at Nature, do we see what is really there? Or do we see what we expect to see, or what we have been conditioned to see? When you look at an untended garden, do you see weeds or a cornucopia of healer plants?

 “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

It is much easier for us to “project” what we think we see onto reality than to be able to witness what is actually there. Without relaxation and conscious observation what we  “perceive” or take into our experience is only a narcissistic illusion, our fantasy, and not real at all.

When we are relaxed and have invoked intent our powers of observation are liberated.

4. Feeling

Feeling is a direct sensory experience not to be confused with our emotional responses, which tend to be ego-modulated. Although we might feel through our sense of touch, we might feel hot or cold, wet or dry, we are essentially decoding this information via our hearts.

To quote from Stephen Harrod Buhner’s wonderful book, The Secret Teaching of Plants:

“The whole body is cradled within the electromagnetic field generated by the heart. The information embedded within that field is communicated to the external world through electromagnetic waves reaching out from the body. It is communicated within the body through the blood stream, which conducts electromagnetic impulses throughout the body…….

But the heart is not only concerned with its interior world. Its electromagnetic field allows it to touch the dynamic electromagnetic fields created by other living organisms and to exchange energy. Like all nonlinear systems that display self-organization and emergent behaviors, the heart is supremely sensitive to external perturbations that may affect its dynamic equilibrium. The heart not only transmits field pulses of electromagnetic energy, it also receives them, like a radio in a car. And like a radio, it is able to decode the information embedded within the electromagnetic fields it senses. It is, in fact, an organ of perception. “

Simply put, we need to stop, breathe and feel the biosphere in which we exist.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance is related to observation. We need to accept what we observe, even if we don’t like it, so that we don’t waste our energy. Acceptance is like an anchor that keeps us connected to reality. For example, you might not like the fact that your garden is on a north-facing slope, but if you cannot accept that you will waste a lot of time and money by trying to do things that will not work in that situation.

Acceptance is about non-resistance; it’s got nothing to do with approval or agreement, it is just a conscious acknowledgement of what is.  It is the foundation for everything that comes after.

At a deeper level it is an expression of unconditional love.

6. Desire

Desire is the basis for creativity and creation and to suppress desire is completely unnatural. Our aim is to recognise, accept and express our desires in a way that is in harmony with Nature.

What do you want?  What is your Highest Desire?

7. Imagination

 “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Albert Einstein

“The imaginatio, or the act of imagining, was thus a physical activity that could be fitted into the cycle of material changes that brought these about and was brought about by them in turn.”

C. J. Jung

As we imagine we are also imagined and this is the key to co-evolving with Nature.

The ‘peak permaculture experience’ is about Love and Oneness, not about yields or usage; everything emerges from immersion.  In our permaculture retreats we connect deeply as we work on projects or participate in workshops.  We are always learning how to apply the wisdom of natural ecosystems to insights in our lives, our communities and in the garden of our heart. We will practice stopping, dwelling in the wonderful present moment, taking our time and doing everything in mindfulness: walking, sitting, eating, working, relaxing, having fun playing in the garden and becoming aware of all the wonderful conditions that support life in us and around us.  In this way we learn to look at our own lives and all the elements that come together to create what we are living right here, right now. Is this what we really want? Is this what the world needs? What seeds can we water more, which ones should we be careful with?

Our next retreat is Lammas 31st July – 3rd August.

Activities:

  • Introducing Mindfulness and Meditation
  • Qigong
  • Yoga
  • Introduction to Effective Micro-organisms and how to use them to enhance productivity in the garden
  • Principles of Gaian Healing and how to make them work in your life
  • Making natural shampoo, toothpaste and non-toxic household products that work
  • Introducing muscle-testing and how to work with your bodies innate intelligence
  • Introducing the Gaian First Aid Kit and making an essential salve and tincture from weeds.
  • Stargazing
  • Nature walks
  • Cooking outside (basic alchemy)

Contribution £250.  See Retreats for more information.

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Medicine, Alchemy and Cooking

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”   Hippocrates 431 B.C

Food as medicine doesn’t sound that appetising does it? The usual diet for many westerners is neither food nor medicine; it’s just chemicals pretending to be food. Likewise, our “medicine” is chemicals designed to mask symptoms; not medicine at all. Food as medicine was the norm for thousands of years and still is in other systems.

In the Ayurvedic system, one of the oldest and longest standing in the world, herbalism and nutrition are a single science, and no healing can be truly successful that disregards one or the other. Specific foods are prescribed therapeutically as herbs, or in combination with herbs. Eating correctly, according to your body type, is the most important aspect of Ayervedic healing.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is rooted in the Ayurvedic system, food is regarded as indispensible in regaining the yin-yang balance and healing. Traditional Chinese Medicine designates four uses for food: diet, medicine, tonic, and abstention.

Doctors are not required to advise on nutrition in the UK, it is covered in just a few hours in the first year of study. Their job is to diagnose, prescribe and refer. It doesn’t really have a lot to do with healing. Hippocrates turns over in his grave one more time.

Hippocrates was considered the “father of medicine”. He is well-known for rejecting primitive medicine and its superstitions and magic in favour of a scientific and rational approach. He is also famous for establishing a code of ethics, doctor/patient confidentiality, note-taking and patient record management. It is less well-known that he insisted his students study astrology, saying, “He who does not understand astrology is not a doctor but a fool.”

The Greeks had medicine long before Hippocrates. Their medicine originated Egypt, the home of alchemy. The historical and cultural links between alchemy and medicine have been systematically destroyed over many generations, but the memory still remains in the endo-psyche of our species. What does that mean? It means that if you sit quietly in nature, or look into the fire and pay attention to your body you will experience specific sensations and feelings and these will direct you to exactly what you need. It never fails, but it does take practice and this is how we get to cooking.

Alchemy can be arcane and complicated or as simple as bringing together a container, a substance and a catalyst. Purists might argue that cooking isn’t alchemy, as the substance that is cooked is not transmuted; a carrot is never transformed into ice cream, no matter how skilled the cook.  However, carrots protect you from heart disease and cancer, are anti-inflammatory, can improve your eyesight and support your brain and liver. I don’t go along with the notion that everything works exactly the same way for everyone all the time. Sometimes I want a carrot and that’s exactly when I need it.

Cooking as alchemy needs to be outside with a real fire. The first stage of alchemy is called the nigredo, blackness, suffering; the medieval manuscripts are full of references to putrefaction and death. In psychological terms it is about depression and the dark night of the soul, but in cooking as alchemy we are not talking about anything that intense. But wait until you are hungry before you start the process. Feel your hunger. If you have a health issue or are stressed about anything, feel that too and don’t push anything away. Then look at the flames for a while.

Flames have a wonderful way of quietening the mind and gradually begin to think about what you would like to eat. Of course, you will have had an idea before you start and you will have certain food available, but make sure you have a good supply of different ingredients and spices to hand. Notice the flavours, spices and textures that appeal to you. As you allow the recipe to emerge notice how you feel about different ingredients as they come to mind – the White Queen is always present in the feeling.

This process of feeling your responses to different ingredients corresponds to the albedo, or purification stage of alchemy. The purification is in the process of identifying and selecting the ingredients that make you feel good when you think about them. This is how you free the spirit from the physical matter of the food. It’s not about following a fixed recipe, this food is perfectly tailored to your needs at the time you are making it. If a new combination comes to you go with it. The Red King guides you to discover something new, or a different combination. The cooking corresponds to the rubedo or reddening stage. In this stage the spirit is reunited with the food, through heat, and a new “wholeness” is achieved through the combination of the ingredients and the intent brought into the process.

This is something to play with and is fun to do in a group. The alchemical marriage takes place in the merging of the ingredients to create something new. And where is the Philosopher’s Stone? Perhaps in the way you feel when you eat food prepared in this way.   With time and practice you will find yourself guided to the foods that support your healing.

Cooking is just one aspect of the practical alchemy of healing that we enjoy here. We work with the local healing plants, grow much of our own food and make most of our household and personal care items. It’s all alchemy!

Our next retreat is at Lammas and runs from 31July-4th August 2014.

Yolanda

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