Tree Medicine


This winter has brought the sacred tree medicines in abundance, so I have been getting my local terroir in strong doses, birch chaga from Quebec and Ontario, maple syrup tapped from the many sugar maples growing on the farm, and several different coffee cultivars, hand roasted on an iron skillet over the central hearth. Sometimes I like to mix all three of these and have a mushroom coffee with maple, and starting my morning with a few drops of 95 proof pine pollen tincture, hand made by a friend of mine living in the Pontiac region of Quebec. These tree medicines are powerful allies in the cold months when our immune systems may be compromised and while most people go into semi-hibernation and stay in doors. Pine pollen being a natural source of testosterone, bio-identical to human t. Packed full of good hormones, and micro-nutrients. The chaga drunken black and earthy is immune boosting, adrenal support, life extension, adaptogenic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, phytosterols and triterpenes that give it a therapeutic benefit. I drink it piping hot and brew it 4-5 times before it gets weak. All the wood cutting of late winter would not be the same. And for the coffee, I’ve been using Peruvian beans as of late, roasted in coconut oil, another medicine. Bulletproof (that is blended with butter) is usually my go to, and though it is an imported buzz, unlike yaupon, I think of it as a minor medicine, and certainly a folk placebo for starting the day with vigor. This year we have had spells of warm thaw, and are expecting a week of -celsius in the double digits even now as spring is just days away. This will probably affect the maple harvest, and I have been learning a lot about the processing of syrup, the coloration, and alchemy behind this beautiful amber medicine. It’s health benefits are beyond compare when taken in moderation. Like I always like to say, all food can be either a drug or a medicine, it is about the dose that is dependent on how it will work for you.


Leisure: The Basis of Culture

“In our bourgeois western world, total labor has vanquished leisure. Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture.. and ourselves”

– Josef Pieper

This is the opening missive in an extended essay entitled Leisure: the Basis of Culture, one that I just finished reading and found particularly striking in its accuracy and conviction. The sentiment is postulated that total work as it currently makes the crutch of society, is dehumanizing and lacking in the spiritual and divine counterpart which is free leisure. In the essay Pieper explains how leisure was the foundation of Western culture, that hearkens back to Aristotle’s time, when he was writing his politics. He splits the hair between intellectual work and worker, Kant and the Romantics, how knowledge is related to work, and what the modern picture of work looks like now. He uses many greek terms, like acedia (meaning sloth or the inability to fully enjoy leisure), and brings in mythological figures like Sisyphus to represent the quandary of working for works sake, without taking the divine rite of ceremony between works. Attention is paid to the feasting days, when humanities gathered to worship, and let down their industriousness for at least one day a week in the name of his or her Gods.

Personally speaking, I have held the notion that our indigenous ancestors did not work as much as we do today, partly in reason that they were far more efficient than we are, and did not have a superfluous field of work that is so irrelevant to any sense of well being. Their ‘work’ revolved around procuring the basic needs of life, hunting for meat and fish, foraging wild food or growing it from the soil, procuring and bettering the shelter, midwifing, raising children, making tools and keeping them in good shape, fixing implements, boats, weapons, and tending the homestead.

Henry David Thoreau statue located by his Walden cabin replica, next to the Thoreau Society stor ...These would not all be done in one day however, and a lot of leisure time was freed up midway the tasks. Some anthropological studies I have heard stated that our tribal nomadic ancestors worked as little as 3 hours a day, while agrarian people around 6 hours, while the rest of the day was spent in leisure; singing, practicing their faith, making jokes, sitting around a fire eating or drinking stimulating foods and plants, making music, dancing and laughing. All the finer things in life, many of them, as Henry David Thoreau spoke of in Walden, makes to better an existence. The simple and beautiful things that make us essentially human.

Fast forward to the 21st century and it is easy to recognize how industrialized, co-modified, regaled, regimented, oppressive, and labor intensive the modern working man and woman fits into his world. One does not work to live; one lives to work, but shall the objective be to ‘work so we may have leisure’. All spiritual tangents come when the mundane work is done and the sacred work begins. The sacral can be infused into normal work as well of course, but the objection is about man’s enslavement to his work.

‘But the Gods, taking pity on mankind, born to work, laid down the succession of recurring Feasts to restore them from their fatigue, and gave them the Muses, and Apollo their leader, and Dionysus, as companions in their Feasts, so that nourishing themselves in festive companionship with the Gods, they should again stand upright and erect. – Plato

My own bias reveals what I think about this social stratification, and my careful observations of the working world, and as a hard worker who also enjoys plenty of rest myself, I have reached a conclusion that man is rather foolish, an echo Nietzche in saying that most of his work is futile, and that he is the accumulation of dust, as the north Germanic rune poem reads. I encounter many folks and have during my  travels who appear to be completely in bondage to their work, unhappy, misdirected and seeking a way out. During their time off, they ‘spend’ their time, literally or figuratively on experiences that have no substantial meaning or value like watching movies, or inebriating their mind with libations and speak no good words amongst others who are on the same level. Their energy is completely spent on their work, so often they will fill their leisure with more work, and eventually suffer burnout because they were never able to open the window for the divine to influence their leisure. Virtues can be obscured to the depth of masochism wherein a kind of believed true virtue only gains merit through struggle. Instead of mastering their natural bent in day to day life, to extract and refine the idle hours down into pure experience of leisure, the times are whittled away until they become recognizable, and he loses his will to power and his drive for spirit.

The Education of Ancient Greece | Interesting Facts for Kids

Aquinas writes “It is necessary for the perfection of human society, that there should be men who devote their lives to contemplation -nota bene, necessary not only for the good of the individual who so devotes himself but for the good of human society.”

Culture lives on in religion, and tradition through divine worship. And when culture itself in endangered, and leisure is called in question, there is only on thing to be done, to go back to the first and original source. The forced onset of total labor and man in perpetual work is like Sisyphus pushing his burden, never stopping to ask why? I think this book opens a lot of interesting materials and cover some ground that I have been perpetually looking to traverse in the classic literature. It is the only essay I know of in its kind, and hits close to home because I have always suffered my own questions and doubts of the modern workaday world, the relevancy of it all, and the importance of real work imbued with meaning. I think it is our job, our prerogative as human beings to truly embrace the being part of human, where leisure is allowed to thrive. Too often we are simply human doings, following a set of parameters and being far too good sheep. To step out of the constant, on tap supply, of doing and working oneself into the ground, take time out to write, lose your mind in a real work of great literature, recognize the ancient pagan holidays, and enjoy the finer strains of music, art or architecture that the centennial ages of yore have given us through leisure. Stop re-creating and re-acting and start creating new things, ideas, artworks and songs that out progenitors can behold and understand what it meant to live as full humans, all the way alive.


This upcoming spring I will start work on a Biodynamic Steiner farm in Tweed. The principles of the farm obviously espoused from the late and great Rudolf Steiner, who also invented the Waldorf schools, Eurythmy movement therapy, Naturopathic medicine company Weleda, a branch of philosophy called Anthroposophy, and designed several architecturally beautiful buildings throughout Europe. His lecture and subsequent book Agriculture held in Berkowitz has come to be a seminal sourcework for those integrating a biodynamic farm. It is a blend of permaculture, organic farming and astrological/astronomical cycles to build a holistic healthy farm. I decided to build up a permaculture cv of the last five years of my experience in the world, from my work varying from small scale homesteads, embassies, eco-communities, guilds, and permaculture farms. This does not stand alone as a summation of my experience but is a representation of what can be done with a lot of hustle and some creativity in the world of permaculture. I intend to use this to further my involvement in the organic agricultural circles, and add to it over the years for a future business. Click through the picture to view.


The One Eyed God: Odin & The (Indo) Germanic Männerbünde review

This is a book I have been trying to get my hands on for nearly five years while I perused the amazon market and found only overprices used copies and out of print stock from foreign distributors. As part of the old Galgragildi curriculum, it is one that intrigued my interest early on when I first forayed into the schools of heathenism and proto-European study. It is published by the Journal of Indo-European studies, written by Kris Kershaw.

The One Eyed God (referring to Odin), is a dense and academic work focusing on the central tenets revolving around the myth of Odin (wodanaz) and the various symbolic attributes that are ascribed to or involved with him, mainly speaking, the male oriented cult of initiation, the Mannerbunde. The archaic rites and rituals of the Mannerbunde are observe first from Scandinavian and European sources, in the gangs of Berserker and Ulfhednar, and then further into the Greek, Roman, Latin, Celtic, and Indo-Aryan sources, as well as the cults of Vedic-era India. Kershaw mines into great detail using heavy notations, and sourcing of scholarly works sourcing several languages and often referring to many at once in each sub chapter, this makes it a challenging read, but there is a conceptual and organized arrangement of the multi-faceted aspects of his central theme. To get an idea of some of the headings assuming the subject matter of each chapter, are; ‘The Einheriar, Furor Teutonicus, The Vratyas, Odin Analogs, warrior brahmins, Rudra, darkness dogs and death, and so forth.

After starting with the Indo European sources discussing early brotherhoods, the wild hunt, agrarian rites of sacrifice, old customs and beliefs, he branches further out into the greater European sources, talking about ancestor cults, the formations of cities like Roman by theriomorphic demigods and roving bands of outlaw men, and then further back into the Indian texts, and information about the Saivites, the Aghori, the soma cults, etc. There is much to digest, and I would suggest reading slowly. The book can be hard to follow at times with the constant language switching and annotations, so one might find themselves glossing over words or sentences that can be hard to comprehend. But this is a purely scholarly work, and contains such a wealth of information for those who are truly seeking to understand more about the paradigms of the mannerbunde, male cults, the wild host, and these early Odinic wolf god attributes of pre-Christian Europe. The parallels with other mythologies are extremely valuable as well, and Kershaw does a good job of drawing the comparative similarities of customs and traditions over spans of time that the student with only a surface interest of these subjects would probably not associated as potentially linked. The implications of the continued tradition and roots of the mannerbunde is fairly intriguing though I don’t agree with all of it. For the serious reader, who wants to implore the mysteries of the proto-cultic brotherhoods and early gang mentality of the early European empire, this is a solid read.

Hunting Rites

We have few real rites of passage in our western civilization. When we are of the age of sixteen in Ontario, one can acquire a drivers license, and two years later, are of legal age limit to drink. At twenty we are generally considered an ‘adult’ and are given new responsibilities but what are we doing to attain these rites of passage and new privileges? I would argue, not a heck of a lot, and though  rites of passage, ceremony, and ritual is a topic that is dear to my heart, one I can write at length about, I will just give an annotated version of what that means for me.

People believe that things acquire for free or gained without effort intrinsically do not have value. To simply reach a certain age is not a requisite in my opinion of having reached a personal stage in ones maturity and development where they are capable of taking on new roles, embodying man/womanhood, gaining new privileges that may or may not be reliant on a persons emotional intelligence, behavior, skill ability, and common sense. The majority of people between 18-40, don’t know how to handle their drink, because they were never taught how to, as banal as that sounds, and the sense of entitlement that young adults feel still eschews so many juvenile and immature tendencies as to wonder, how they were given certain autonomous ‘rites’, and responsibilities. This is because we lack the proper techniques of rites of passage and coming of age rituals in this age. Fortunately there are some cases where these tenets have been preserved still. The training of a hunter and fisherman.

Most folks I know who hunt, and fish have it in their blood. Their father taught them from young how to cast a line, how to reel in a big one, how to skin small game, or fillet a fish, how to stalk, track and spend days out in the woods at camp, hunting dinner with old school weapons and your wits. This aspect of the hunting and fishing world always appealed to me, that there is still a sense of tradition, even if it may not be as savage as it once was, there is a continuity of practice, a lineage, it’s the art of manliness, man as hunter/provider, and allows a boy to become born in his hero/fathers image as he takes up a shotgun/bow/baitcaster, and goes out into the wilderness to procure himself a lot more than just dinner, but his reputation as a independent, and also aid to his legacy. Hunter education in the 21st century can be fairly cut and dry but there is also a wealth of practical insight, application and first hand knowledge from real world hunters. The outlet has changed, learning in a workshop or classroom, maybe not from your blood born father or grandpa, but someone’s for that matter, and one who has lived the reality and walked the talk before teaching you. It is still much like a guild in that sense. Here we have something called the Ontario Federal Anglers and Hunters Association, which is first a group of hunters, but largely a large conservation act, which ties in the natural truth that humans are part of natural ecology just as much as a moose, salmon, or deer can be.

I recently passed my hunter education and firearms safety course. Though the firearms training portion I have levied to take at a later date to get a pal license (license to acquire firearm for hunting), the rites of OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthis particular course will open me to more freedom of acquisition of meat, fish, and game. While I intend to start with more intimate/primitive/skillful hunting using a bow, as the years progress I see myself opening up to using a shotgun or firearm for longer range and bigger game hunts. The course itself was engaging and laced with many relevant stories, comprehensive educational photography, tool/equipment handling, and thorough rules and regulations. As a celebration I cooked up a nice rainbow trout, with its brilliant red striping of scales for a reward to myself.

I have wanted to move into the hunting world for two years now and finally made the dive, after over a year of research, exposure, and dabbling with various hunting modalities on the fringes. To start I will probably save money for a used bow, and begin with small game, or deer hunting. I have always seen the deer as an icon of the wild, and it is one of my favorites animals, and venison, one of the tastiest protein rich meats in my opinion. I already feel very close to this animal, and the symbol of what it represents, to take the life of one would be hard, but also exhilarating and ancient feeling. From the forest to the table, this is where I believe our sustenance of meat should come from. Supplement mountain/lake/field, for this wild range, whence the living and breathing beasts of the land, share this space with us, and us them. We are all the descendants of hunters and gatherers, and this is the biologically appropriate diet I have come to realize we should be eating, as conscious omnivores. Knowing where your food comes from, and how it came to your hands, how it was slaughtered, and ultimately realizing that it too lived a full life, and life feeds on life. This is the first rite of passage in many that becoming a hunter of the land entails, and a ceremony of age that is determined by a keen sense of maturity, discernment, embracement of ones place in the universe, and awareness of our impact on the earth. To be a more sustainable human being, and actively involve ourselves with the nature around us, the way we always have from the time we peeked out of our caves, to the times of now, when we track, trail, and trust our instinct, that our instinct will not fail us, and in the end the encounter of predator and prey is the only thing that exists, and it is a fair hunt. It is there we realize just who we are as mortal creatures, and hunt to face another day.

Wife Finding: The Woman of Frigga

MAN RARELY places a proper valuation upon his womankind, at least not until deprived of them. He has no conception of the subtle atmosphere exhaled by the sex feminine, so long as he bathes in it; but let it be withdrawn, and an ever-growing void begins to manifest itself in his existence, and he becomes hungry, in a vague sort of way, for a something so indefinite that he cannot characterize it. If his comrades have no more experience than himself, they will shake their heads dubiously and dose him with strong physic. But the hunger will continue and become stronger; he will lose interest in the things of his everyday life and wax morbid; and one day, when the emptiness has become unbearable, a revelation will dawn upon him.

Haunting Fantasy of a Woman Running with Wolves in a ...

This revelation my friends, is one that has been a blooming seed, a fermenting loaf, and ripening fruit of solar fire that is becoming a new internal locus of mine. A grand importance. One that is not sudden and abstract, but like the fermented goods which needs a starter culture, and time to live freely at first, or the completeness of a single Yew tree which started with one rotting berry on the ground releasing its seed. It is the story of the fool who follows innocently and passionately on a blind trail, until he maps out the territory in which he finds himself in and begins to judge to correct place to build his home, in his true kingly habitat. Well, besides the metaphors, Jack London spoke this (probably out loud before he wrote it), as the first passage of Son of the Wolf, a seminal meditation on Nordic frontier living, hardship, rite of passage, manhood, and mans relation to the woman. Several of my ‘tribe’, my brothers are older than me, and have come to these same revelations right around this time in their life or even earlier, when there was no substitute for sating the hunger of finding the archetypal sex feminine, to help him become the holistic man he is destined to be, and thus help her become empowered in her own womanly role. Not travel, power, wealth, business, drug, or casual romance can supplant the morbidity that London describes, and it is at this time, usually a man in his mid-late twenties in this western and European society at least that he then settles to find good land, and seeks out his queen to build a thriving family clan unit.

Norwegian Organic Farm by Navanna on DeviantArt

And this is exactly where I find myself, drawing on a nomadic transient existence for just shy of five years, as a wanderer, lover, warrior, magician in the world. I have embraced these archetypes as I have learned their lessons and moved through them. The icelandic term :eigi einhamr: applies here, not of one skin. These were the required prerequisites for coming to the mountain which I look up now, the one that entails a hard and steady climb to becoming autonomous, building a family, packaged with all the mating and dating rituals, and ceremonies that come with it. images.duckduckgo.comSeeking a few acres to tend, to turn my external locus of gratification and knowledge pursuit from the novel world of change, wanderlust and abandon to one internally focused on nurture, settlement, and a conviction for life that allows the hard work to purvey itself to the coupling seekers. In simple english: To earn land, woo a woman with similar dreams, persona, beliefs, and attractive force, decide to go steady, marry in a traditional sense, to mate and create the family thereafter; romance, children, mutual friending, the growth from the soil, life plans, investments to spirit, these come naturally from the natural selection of HER.

Who is Her? Well, I mean the woman of Frigga, the one who is my reflection, as the title eludes, the nourisher, nurturer, one who can bear daughter and son, she is no longer a maiden but a wife, goddess of love, crafter, kitchen witch, healer. The woman who can match her man who is a provider, hard worker, one who can fight to protect what he owns and what he loves, the primal archetype of manliness, not only a good man, but being good at being a man. This is the distilled essence of what I seek out in a partner, and it is at this time that the ground is being cleared for such a union to take place. Rather than to shamelessly put myself out in a compromised way, and simply settle for less, for temporary love, it is here where the journal of my life is shared that I make it known. To come to conviction of this truth is one thing, to openly waylay it for those to see is another, and needs an intimate and empathic understanding of the nature of why I write this, and the what for?

“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place.”
:Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

We are spun in a locus of cycles, like the plant, or the crystal deposit, a mare and its calfs, a generation, a species. The individual human must become conscious of this and know when it is Time. When is the right timing for being alone, for being with others, for being with the other on their own, and being in the world completely. The wife-finding time is part of the quest, so is the child-rearing time, and land-tending time, and the time to settle, all seasonal aspects of thriving existence. Now is my time, and images.duckduckgo.comsomething I have been sensitive to for awhile now, while I carefully surveyed the scene and asked myself the questions of when, what for and how. We can not expect to find our life partners just waiting around for us to bump into them in our own city or some chance encounter online. I think this is unrealistic and counter-intuitive to think our own true soul mate is walking around somewhere on this planet of eight billion. Instead I believe one should seek someone appropriate, but not look too hard, and cultivate the passion and bonds within that connection. In traditional times and still in many less modern societies, the idea of marriage was a more practical pairing, and was based on what the two could offer each other, whether in terms of skills, land, animals, family lineage connections (inlaws), exclusive sex, children, etc. The modern dating culture is primarily based on surface appearance rather than deep substance. I want a highly attractive partner, but this is definitely not a qualifier on its own. I have my own persona, power, skills, experiences, history, that would need to match, and the metaphysical aspects of belief, ideas, life stage, sustainability.

It means commitment to the bad weather, and passing the stages of euphoric bliss that entail the first encounters. I think of love as worship, to look into your significant others’ eyes and see a world of potential, happiness, experience, and providence. As a male moving strongly into my provider, primal masculine, protector role, what I need from the embodied female is the nurturer, mother, home keeper, dedicated, with her heart in the right place.

The Feast of Váli

The Norse Mythology Blog | Interview with M ...

Have you been shifted into buying chocolate confectioneries , aesthetically perfect roses and hopeless romance cards for your significant other once again yet? Today is Valentine’s day after all, another old pagan holiday masked in Christian taboo and modern consumerism. But were you aware that this day was a special feast day to our Germanic ancestors, before it took its modern form? It was called the Feast of Váli. Far from being an awkward attempt to rekindle passion with your lover, or have a night of abandon in casual encounter, this day long before the time when the two martyrs whom the name Valentine comes from is actually a sacred gathering. It fell on the 22 of the older calendar in the month of Sokkvabekkr, and is a.k.a. the Festival of the Kin. In the North it is also called All Heart’s Day (Allrahjartudagr /AlþrurhertudagaR). Váli was the God worhsipped and toasted to on this day, because he represented loyalty to family, friendship, and the protector of the familial group.

Váli is the son of the god Oðin and giantess Rinðr, as well as the brother of Balðr, Þórr, Höðr. In the mythos Váli was one of the Gods who survived Ragnarok, he was a light bringer, and avenged his brother Balðr when he was struck by the mistletoe by Höðr. This can be seen mytho-poetically in the sense that Baldr was a son (sun), and was full of light and virtue, alike to the broadleaf trees, who is killed at his weakest point, when Höðr attacks him with the mistletoe. The mistletoe finds the crutch of the solar tree in the time of least light, during the polar midnight, and parasitically drains its vigor. The sun is killed in the arctic for three days and everyone weeps for Balðr’s death. Váli, out of honor, avenges his killer and takes care of Höðr. So this day could be seen as the day when revenge was paid and balance restored in the world of men, when the dark resentment of the death of Baldr, was lifted by the selfless act of Vali, for rightful vengeance and the boon for the rest of his people. It would be equated to ridding a murderer from modern day society that poses a threat to your people. In old honor cultures this is how it worked, to show resilience to slight and betrayal made you a hero, and to neglect this would make you a coward or less of a man. These matters mostly concerned men, as feuding, holmgang and the Ting were the main devices to settle disputes, law, outlawry, and revenges. So today we honor Váli as a man who did what needed to be done out of love for his brother. He represents love in a broad, the love between friends and couples. Not necessarily overtly-romantic love.


In the Poetic Edda, Váli is depicted shooting arrows, much like the contemporary Cupid in Roman myths, and he has parallels with the god of love in Greek lore, Eros. So Váli is the Northern European counterpart, which has been again adopted into a religiously branded confusion. Now the modern society has made it about over indulgence in sweets, and putting on a kind of performance for your partner, or ironically for a complete stranger in an effort to get them into bed, for pleasure and selfish means, even if such relationship is not healthy to begin with. In fact I have witnessed many relationships take the opposite turn of what is intended for Valentines day. For those of heathen ilk, this is a time to invite someone over you love, or are close friends with, or maybe a cousin, family relative, member of a community you belong to, etc. and truly honor them. Offer to make them dinner, make toasts to each others bonds, have as much fun as possible, and celebrating each persons presence and empathy. It is a time to ‘make time’, and have ‘quality time’ with those people who appreciate most, even if you can just call them, for lack of geographical closeness. Unfortunately we do live in this segregated age, where social media has made us farther apart and we do not always live in close proximity of our true friends, our real tribe. If you can gather any of them to you, then you should make it a priority for today. Enjoy feasting, eating well, partake in something you would normally only do with your best company, bring out your finest ales.

Most of all put away any resentments, hatreds, or longings you have and make a ceremony of the love that does live in your current life. Even if that is just self-love, you start there, it emanates outward, and others will attract to it. For me, I’m cooking up my rainbow trout, wild rice, and sending my heightened thoughts and intentions outward to my comrades amongst me, my empowered sisters, new friends and my prodigy, my 12 year old brother. I also think of those kind women who have loved me through the years, and unveiled new depths to my being over the years. Try listening to some Norse/Germanic inspired music named after Vali, with a softer acoustical atmosphere to create a lovely evening for this occasion.

Vali’s music



Make a Man of You

Hew wood in wind, sail the seas in a breeze,
woo a maid in the dark, — for day’s eyes are many, —
work a ship for its gliding, a shield for its shelter,
a sword for its striking, a maid for her kiss;

Drink ale by the fire, but slide on the ice;
buy a steed when ’tis lanky, a sword when ’tis rusty;
feed thy horse neath a roof, and thy hound in the yard.


For an Old Comrade


Hey brother, we knew each other for almost five years, drank mead and fireball like wolves on the solstice nights at ‘the spot’ by the lake, hiked the woods of Rattlesnake Point, and walked beside the Credit River. The women came and went, and we stayed true to brotherhood in the end. We went to every metal gig in Toronto we could manage, and had some mutual friends. Our ways branched off in a tree planting camp several years ago, when I went back to Texas, and you went home. Wondering if you still live in the province, Ryan Pryde? What are you doing with your life?

Living in the Round: Life in a Mongolian Yurt

The World's Best Photos of mongolia and yurt - Flickr Hive ...

Unless you’ve been to the Asiatic steppe of Mongolia and Tibet, you may not know what a yurt is. Actually they have been a primary dwelling space even back when Genghis Khan ruled the Mongol emprie, and they are round, made of indigenous materials and can be built down and transported across the land, hearkening back to the times when the Kazakh hunters and nomadic Mongolian peoples roamed across the land with their camels, yaks, and few possessions. These beautiful curved structures have no corners and only one wall that surrounds the circular space within. The walls are made of heavy canvas, traditionally probably made of leather pelts, inside is a think felted wool of sheep, with the inside braces hand cut of wood, tied with camel rawhide, held together with horsehair around the perimeter of the wall, on top the urgh which is a weather protective cover is painted with the unending knot, one that weaves into itself, and the interior yurt poles are also painted with designs of dunes, clouds, waves, and flowing steppe grass, at least these are the images I see. It is held up in the middle of the hut by two beams, almost like an Irminsul pole. They are functional in four seasons, are elegantly beautiful, they also have a propensity to increase dream frequency.

Who run the world? G I R L S! — Hello World Civ

I have made one of these small yurts my winter home and have now been in the northern Ontario forest for almost a month, lending my two hands and the fire of my accumulated skill and luck to some new friends who are trying to get off grid, and gather a small hamlet around them while subsisting off the land, and growing their own family.  My good friend who owns the yurts is also a herbal maiden, mother, yogi, ex-midwife, she hunts with a shotgun, and is a pretty good kitchen witch. I have come to know her as a sister of the tribe, and we have made some very important realizations about the future of this place. These nordic winter days wane early, and leave just the prime of the morning and afternoon for any real progress on the land, but we have been able to tackle a few projects, and initiate the land clearing deeper in the bush for the eventual spring move of the yurt farm. So far we have installed a new chimney in the sauna, where on especially cold nights it is favorable to sweat by the infrared heat of the flames. We built a deluxe dog hotel, for three German Sheppard’s, waterproofed the one man yurt, and are currently renovating a tiny home on wheels for winter sleeping spaces. Tombs of seasoned wood have been split by the cord, stacked, burned and cooked over, trees have been felled, and the wild hunts have brought us out on the land to stalk rabbit and partridge. We’ve fired no shots yet, but we did find the home of two such porcupines at a crystal vein on the ridge of a small cliff, where we built an inuk’shuk, and made offerings to the old Gods.

Time spent in the yurt is usually focused on preparing the next meal; bison burgers, hearty chilies and stir fries, pancakes, homemade pizza, locally caught fish, hunted partridge, lots of root veg, and the meat of the free range animals that lived and were harvested on the farm itself, both from this property and the first location in the south. This means, thick slices of bacon, and organic chicken. The food has been abundant and healthy. We’re also roasting our own coffee beans and brewing some kombucha, and making just about everything from scratch. In the mother yurt there is electricity, but in the one man where I live, there is no wired connection, only a solar panel on the outside of the yurt, enough to power an l.e.d. for about 3 hours, or charge my camera once. There is no running water which makes simple things like doing dishes or heeding nature’s call rather different than living in a normal home. Having to divorce one’s feeling from constant comfort, waking in the middle of a -25 night, stoking the fire over again and walking through two feet of snow to get to the outhouse is a kind of raw connection with place in the most humble of ways. Wifi signal is weak if at all on says when it snows, and I use a solitary beeswax candle for my primary light source in the morning when I groom or at night for brushing up on some books. Primitive housing is not unfamiliar to me, but these conditions are the ways in which I prefer to live. In touch with what is real, and stripped down. Lacking the material excess of modern consumer lifestyle, where everything one owns must have a multi purpose or it is in the way, and creates clutter. When you live in a yurt of only twelve foot diameter floor space, everything places therein takes on a kind of zen-like quality, to be placed aright, even the way the wood is stacked up and the orientation of the bed, I have my head to the west with the setting sun, the door of the yurt is low, facing the east, which encourages the guest to enter and leave with grace. I try not to bring any negative energy into the space, whether it be behavioral, emotional or electrical. In the morning I have been making chaga, and at night reading a Saga or verses from the Havamal. Sometimes the snow piles high at the threshold of my door then freezes it shut in the night, which can be a interesting lesson on the trickiness of winter weather. On clearer nights I can see the moon through the vinyl sky windows.

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In the meanwhile we are working hard on a tiny home that will be moved further into the bush to become off grid, and more autonomous. Tiny homes are gaining popularity in Europe and North America, this one has a barnhouse style and will provide the basic sleeping quarters. Life in the yurt can be challenging as privacy is compromised, and space is limited. The facilities are rustic, and are grounded in a more humble mode of life. There are the boasting rites as well of saying you live in a Mongolian hand-built home, shipped from the other side of the world. There is another yurt farm about two hours from here with buffalo, and living in the round seems to be gaining intrigue amongst old worlders, and it beats living in a box with four walls and corners, in my honest opinion.