Why permaculture with alchemy?
The title of this blog links permaculture with alchemy because permaculture is my way into alchemy, magic and the dreaming power of the Earth. Alchemy is the science of regeneration and exaltation – working with the raw materials, the naked elements and putting them together in the best way possible. To make something original and beautiful. It’s synergy and reverence and the constant refining of the essence of the human potential, through action – growing stuff, digging in the earth, making our home. No doubt there are other ways, but for me, the daily challenges of living off-grid, creating and maintaining a garden through the (increasingly irregular) seasons and observing how nature works, learning what works and what doesn’t, keeps me focused and grounded and gives us great pleasure.
It is a terrible and dangerous thing that so many of us rely on distant third parties, for how basic and essential needs, that is water and food. We are learning how to use permaculture methods, mixed with organic polyculture and we’ve just been introduced to JADAM – Korean ultra-low cost organic gardening for ‘people who are like nature’. We don’t want to eat food that grows in chemicals and is sprayed with poison, so getting to eat our own fruit and vegetables isn’t just an added bonus, it is a must for health and regeneration and a living reminder of the cycles of life and the physical relationship with our Planetary Animal Mother – it is right in your face mutual interaction – if you like to look at it that way.
Although I use the terms alchemy and magic generously throughout this site, they do not denote a lack of scientific method. They are instead indicators of an approach that predates religious scientism and is based on the observation of natural phenomena within their context. I’m calling our kind of permaculture Heathen Permaculture. To my mind, that differs from other types of permaculture in that it goes right back to the roots of when the indigenous people of Europe first began to settle and put down roots and make gardens. What happened to us after that, and the abomination of industrial farming is another story, but there is another way, isn’t there?
My ‘experiments’, such as they are, are intentionally playful and part of an ongoing conversation with the Nature in which I am immersed and which is also immersed in me. I write about what I’m discovering and testing. I need to know the healing properties of plants and minerals, because I cannot use the (mostly fraudulent) medical system and so much of what is available on the internet is also false or incomplete. I need to know when the frost will come, so I can protect the garden. I need to learn how to call in the rain. Is this archaic wishful thinking, or living fully in the presence of Nature and using my imagination to discover what is real?
The Great Work of Alchemy refers to the completion stage of the Divine Experiment in which we discover the co-creative power endowed in us and begin to use it correctly. We are already using these powers, but unconsciously and destructively for the most part – and at the same time as we become disconnected from our own power, it is also being used against us. Slowing things down, removing distraction and engaging in the intense observation of natural phenomena, changes you and you also change it! But how does that work? What are the processes involved? What is the evidence? That’s mostly what I write about here; discoveries and experiences in alchemy and magic. (See: Subtle Alchemy for more details.)
The aim of this site is to share what I’m learning about using the senses and imagination for healing and regeneration, living as a fully functional human animal, participation in the Divine Experiment and, ultimately, co-creation with the designers of the experiment. I cover some pretty big topics (and some mundane ones) for the pleasure of sharing and because in expressing what I’m learning, I would be delighted to think that anything on this site might inspire anyone to begin to live magically.
About the author
As I rewrite this piece in January 2020, it’s been around 10 years since we began our transition from the city life of London, to living in rural Galicia. Looking back, the last few phases of my life have fallen neatly into decade blocks. 2000-2010 was when I left corporate world, healed myself and began sharing what I’d learned. 2010-2020 was a decade of physical transition, moving to Galicia, building our own home, and rooting ourselves in the land.
As this decade kicks off, our previous lives seem to be from a different reality, the points of reference are no longer there.
When I started this blog in 2013, I knew very little about either permaculture or alchemy. Now, I’m beginning to learn how these activities intertwine, how being enmeshed in nature enables us to co-create a very different reality than the one I was born into. And that’s where my passion lies – in writing my own script and co-creating our own reality, through developing a more complete understanding of how the mind-body system works.
I write about some of what we’re learning here, because I want to share and inspire others who feel the call to dive in, but it barely scratches the surface of what we’re experiencing. I just don’t want to spend that much time online. It was never my aim to be self-sufficient, but the further I move away from civilization the less attraction it holds for me and the more satisfaction I get from living a simple, yet magical life. Ultimately, reality is far more mutable and magical than I thought.