It may be time to start building that perimeter wall, folks. After watching the 2008 movie Quarantine the other night, I felt my first authentic fear of zombies. I started experiencing the basic status-quo terror of zombies as a 9-year-old, when, having moved from Northern California to a remote property in Southern Oregon, I created a fantasy that zombies began shuffling up our gravel driveway whenever I rested my hands over my stomach in bed at night. I realize that this makes no sense, but hey I was nine. Continue reading Center For Disease Control Zombie Apocalypse Guide
I visited the cemetery on Crystal Lake Drive on a weekday in June of 1999. I was enrolled in an experimental university course called The Philosophy of Death and Dying, and this was an assignment. It was sunny, with white clouds filling niches in a wide summer-blue sky, and I managed to miss the torrent that came about five minutes after I left. It was Oregon, after all, where one can never rely on consistent weather. I’d never visited a cemetery before with the intent to record impressions. I’d also never experienced the weird sensations that came on that day under my feet.
I arrived and walked to the river, a space in the trees signifying its presence. I sort of naturally made this my beginning and ending point for this walk. I took note of the clumps of water plants clogging the river’s surface, an old rowboat tied to the bank, still above the water’s edge, wind in the trees, thick grass, and a strong wish suddenly to stay there beside the slow-moving water. Wild poppies and chamomile flowers crowded in at my feet.
Behind me, the cemetery was divided into two kinds of sections. The farthest away was for raised stones, and the first section I walked through was for ground-level stones. Flags from Memorial Day waved from almost every grave, creating an illusion of life through movement. Other movement in the yard was created by a Blue Jay hopping in the grass
to eat worms and insects, then landing on a grave stone, and a Gray Squirrel loping like a sail from one large tree to another at my approach. There were all types of trees of different sizes. I speculated during my walk on whether this sense of life in the graveyard was due to the life of the wind made visible by flags, the awareness of the dead themselves, or the leftover intentions of those who inserted the flags.
Store-bought bouquets dotted almost every grave. Stones had depressions under them and were old, weathered, rainstained,
cracked, and lopsided. I took a straight diagonal. Starting out into the empty lawn, I had my usual air of bohemian flippancy. Soon a reticence touched down on me, like one of the white clouds turning to gray and descending to within an arm’s reach. I started not wanting to be there. The first grave started to change that. A not-so-subtle tingling went up the bottoms of my feet into my calves. I started to see images of the dead bodies, the bones, resting a couple of meters under the ground, sealed off from this shining, wonderfully breezy day. I decided then and there that no one would ever bury me. I want to be scattered over a river and in forests and mountain meadows and such, a little bit of me returned to each variety of
As I found myself reading aloud names and dates and such, I noticed my flippancy dissolve, and it became interesting to be there. I read a lot of the tombstones, and I was particularly moved by the graves for folks who died in 1881, 1885, and 1888. It was such a long time ago. I wondered how the stones had gotten to this cemetery, whether the cemetery was that old,
whether the stones were that old. A hundred years is a long time to a human being.
All throughout this walk, the weird and unexpected tingling energy rode up from the ground into my feet. Once when I squatted, the tingling graduated to the seat of my pants. I also kept having a weird sense that there was a consciousness
present over the yard. Somehow the dead seemed to be enjoying this day. I was taken aback by this sensation, because I did not expect to feel anything at all while there. I’ve been to a couple other graveyards and felt nothing at all. This was really, really strange. I spoke the following into a micro cassette recorder and feel like it deserves to be included:
There is a kind of presence, I don’t know, all these stones, like, this solid sort of a – you can’t just run freely through here without noticing that there’s this…feeling – I’m getting a really strong feeling out of the ground.
Just standing there on the surface with the dead under the ground made me sad for their captivity. I noted each time I touched a stone, and after walking for a while, I felt like paying respect to all the graves I walked over. I said a “Thanks” of sorts. Just as I started looking for a baby grave, I found one of a three year old. I sat down in front of it to ponder the enigma of Wilbur’s death. But here is what I recorded:
Good or bad for my spirit, I believe in vibratory influence – vibrations of today and in a cemetery of all the vibration that’s here and all the time and energy that is spent in a certain vibration in this cemetery by the living, plus the presence of the bones of those who have lived – I believe all of that contains vibration and there’s a vibration that’s left here – just from every single thing that’s ever happened here, or every person who’s ever lived who’s been buried here – lot of vibration that’s left over that continues to emanate a presence or an influence upon – a contribution to the world.
Then I closed my eyes at the kid’s grave. It felt funny, like floating, and I didn’t feel still at all, not solid, not in one place. When I started back the way I’d come, I said goodbye to the little kid in the grave as if the stone was conscious. It was funny – I did it unconsciously. I never had a feeling or any ideas for why he might have died. I did walk away with a sense that people had lived to old ages long ago. I thought the modern idea about not taking your stuff with you when you pass on could mean that all these people were left with was bones, pure and simple, no toys. I ended up back at the river, and I took note of two things I hadn’t noted before. Two large dead trees crisscrossed the channel near the boat, and lots of new growth in
grasses and other weeds was occurring up against dead material. My walk among the dead was kind of like that.
We’ve all heard the term “conspiracy theory.” This is the idea that a master plot is being carried out by an elite group to take control of humanity. There are several tangents of conspiracy theory, from government control, to alien take-over, to hollywood satanism. After reviewing a number of explanations and analyses of these theories, I would like to bring some points I haven’t seen yet into the conversation.
While the main message of the conspiracy analyses I have digested seems clearly to be “get ready for suffering,” I’d like to insert Franklin D. Roosevelt’s deeply wise statement here, that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Those of us interested in personal and social evolution and grappling with ideas about how to best handle things like the Patriot Act and corporate personhood, for instance, can stock our toolboxes with methods for getting and staying connected to source energy from within our personal energy bodies.* Such enables those seeking a source of personal power or a stronger footing from which to do their best work to sidestep the destructive energy of such theories as well as that of various energy vampires who out of their own fear endeavor to hold back the light of the awakening soul. That mouthful basically means that within your auric field, you are safe, if you learn how to nourish and utilize its fascinating qualities. It also means that there are many people in the world who avoid their own truths, feelings, and shadow selves by tormenting anyone they see shining brightly. It seems easier to them to push others down than heal their own suffering and rise to a new frequency.
When I use the term ‘source energy,’ I intend to point the reader toward a consideration of whatever conceptual version of Great Spirit with with she or he resonates. When I say ‘God,’ I get a Christian vibe from that word. I learned from the Bahai faith, which I studied in college, to tolerate Christianity for its basic teachings of love and service to a higher good for all humankind, even though I can’t find the same attitude towards its mass murder of women intent to channel healing (W.I.T.C.H.es) back in the 15th to 18th centuries. Native American spirituality has always held strong sway with me, matching up with my own earthy sentiments in terms of a natural diety who wants humanity to evolve toward greater health, love, and harmony with Nature. As a natural mystic, in the style of Alan Watts and Van Morrison, I’ve chosen to weave that with a practice of Taoism, which fits my observations, studies, and experiences of the world. My sense is that it doesn’t matter what name a person gives to what has been called ‘higher power,’ or how exactly one practices reverence for this entity or energy, in accordance with basic shalls and shall nots of energy exchange, such as respect for life, which goes without saying for the most part. And I should probably say for the sake of clarity that I believe there to be only One, thereby rendering any arguments of satanic worship fitting into the definition of higher power irrelevant.
Having said all this, the main focus of this piece is the use of focus for protection. Or, to be more precise, sidestepping of unwanted experiences or circumstances. In my study of manifestation, which began when I lost a job in 2006, I’ve learned how closely it relates to Taoism. Allowing events their neutrality opens the path to deeper experience and opportunities one might have missed were focus frozen on what has happened and how much seems to be wrong with that.
How this relates to conspiracy theories as presented in videos like ‘Are You Ready?,’ ‘Satanic Hollywood,’ future world map projections, and similar story lines is that fear is the main tool of such supposed agendas, yet the expose efforts available online as mentioned above just generate more of the same fear. The tone of all the documentaries I’ve watched and articles I’ve read is the same, a warning. There aren’t many solutions or action-plans is this material. The movie Zeitgeist Moving Forward looks at one man’s design ideas about human settlements as a solution and does address the fact of our unique power as human beings to withstand and avert disaster from a spiritual base. But after viewing the movie I was left with an unquantifiable dread and no idea how to get to a safe place, so to speak. The message of hope seemed obscured.
Granted, not everyone will share my response to conspiracy theory. Some may digest it wholly as fact and spend the rest of their lives scrambling to build a zombie-proof fortress underground. Others might dismiss it all and keep on gardening, programming, trading stocks, or whatever they are currently doing. The message of conspiracy theorists, regardless, is to be afraid, and this discussion responds by suggesting an option for transmuting generated emotional thought patterns with regard to the integrity of the energy body.
So here’s the crux of my argument. Because conspiracy theory seeks to generate the energy of fear within you, it leaves its weakness open, and that weakness is the need to scare you. Once you recognize that weak spot in the conspiracy argument for what it is, you can simply know that fear generates patterns of energy within your bioenergetic organism that create that which is feared, and you can then change your frequency to that of love and appreciation. What this simple but powerful act does is move you out of the channels that lead toward the apocalypse or satanic alien takeover or nibiru collision or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, to be quite blunt. There are many scenarios for apocalypse, and I won’t go into them because why dwell on what is not desirable? In fact, that is exactly what this work is about. A great film about focus in this context can be found on Youtube, combining the coexistence of quantum physics and conspiracy theory.
One final point I’d like to make in the conversation about conspiracy theories is that fear of an apocalypse of any kind serves to motivate awakening individuals toward the development of inner spiritual-energetic resources that appear to be designed to serve the well-being and survival of the human being, regardless of the state of the environment… This is a Taoist perspective. Fear or empowerment? The supposed perpetrators of global attack on grassroots people can’t get you if you can get connected to the only real source of energy there is. By doing this you can get on with the unfolding of your unique gift to the world and participate in the evolution of humankind toward greater good for all life. That’s my $.02.
*I will be teaching a workshop in the near future on an effective way to get and stay connected to Universal energy currents that heal and protect us from within our personal energy bodies. Keep an eye on my calendar if you would like to attend, or sign up for my newsletter to be notified of dates and locations.
One of the main principles of Permaculture is to grow by chunking, or to start with a manageable piece of a site and build off of it so as to connect each area within the larger context. In other words, pick a spot that makes sense to you and go from there. “There” can be the back door of your new home in late Spring, where you only have space and time for a small kitchen garden. It can be a barn that holds your front-burner project. Whatever you choose, once you start working Permaculture into your site, it becomes easier in a way.
For my intern, who is building a cob pizza oven for this year’s Village Building Convergence on a double lot in Northeast Portland, Oregon, a Pizza Permaculture garden made sense. We assembled a design team and met on-site several times to assess and prepare the space for holding the workshop.
Design considerations were limited by other activities and features sited nearby:
· Sun exposure needs for the plants differ from that of the mushrooms, so I sited the tomatoes next to the “crusts” (burlap bags containing mushroom spawn & growing medium at the tops of the beds) without the use of cages. This will allow the tomatoes to drape over the burlap bags and shade the spawn inside, creating a microclimate.
· Proximity to the cob oven makes it easy for owners and their guests to bring fresh ingredients to the prep area when the pizza dough is ready to be topped.
· Leaving adequate space for movement around fire pit seats and the wildlife tree bench ensures a welcoming and comfortable space as well as a functional garden.
· Narrowing paths between beds allows for such a small garden to inhabit this special sun-drenched spot amidst other activities and gardens.
· Visually linking the garden to pizza via shaping the beds like slices is a fun way to key potential users into the social side of Permaculture.
A. Observe over time & design for specific site & client. The owners have lived at the site for six years & have been able to witness & cooperate with site microclimates, as well as weave the pizza garden in with other design elements, namely the cob oven. In addition, following the installation, they will be able to observe its success and make adjustments over time, extending the observation period.
B. “Start small with intensive & productive systems that are manageable.”* The design is for a very small overall area, but inside it much is happening. From soil layering to mycoremediation, the pizza garden allows for growth by chunking.
C. Obtain a yeild. Herbs will continually produce, and so will mushrooms. Plants like Basil and tomatoes are fun to plant each year and widely available. Giant zucchini can be shared with neighbors or provide potluck dishes to help the owners continue to build community with their neighbors and the Permaculture network of Portland.
D. Connect using relative location. We’ve placed the pizza garden in useful relationship to the wildlife tree bench, firepit, and cob oven. This means being able to walk between all of these areas, carry produce fresh-picked from the garden to the oven’s prep counter, and sit comfortably on the bench and around the firepit.
E. Use biological & renewable resources. Donated plants & organic compost & mulches, & volunteer design & labor contribute to social as well as natural capital, or the long-term establishment of beneficial relationships & stored energy.
F. Turn problems into solutions. When we recognized that the beds had been sited 12” too close to the bench in an effort to give room for firepit seating, we were able to plan for narrowing the bench around the wildlife tree as well as move the beds out. This solved the problem of people not being able to lean back against the tree before when sitting on the bench.
*paraphrased by Tom Ward
Watch this video from one of our site prep meetings: Beds Are Dug, Now Let’s Talk A Bit
Here are the steps of the workshop:
1. Scrape to bare clay earth, about 4 to 6 inches depth
2. Lay down a thick layer of innoculated hardwood chips (6 months’ old Alder, Maple, Birch, Cottonwood, Ash = no more than 20% of pile)
3. Spread a compost layer on top of wood chips and mix with chips
4. Layer with cardboard that is 3/4 wet and has been punctured with holes for each plant
Following the installation of the mushrooms and plants, children immediately began playing a guitar and swinging near the new garden, and a chicken hopped in next to the smallest Basil plant. We erected a chicken fence.
I wanted to make the workshop replicable, so that anyone not familiar with Permaculture could use it to get started in a manageable way, or show their grandparents how fun and useful Permaculture can be. A young woman from San Francisco wanted to use the workshop to introduce her summer camp group to sustainable gardening. A designer from Montana took inspiration from the lively discussion during the workshop for seeking a more deeply satisfying niche. Look for the workshop again soon. And start preparing your spiel to your grandparents. 🙂