Hygge Life, dispatch 3

Greetings, feral homesteaders and those of the land!

Since the last check in, abundance is being created, the plants are overgrowing our gazes, mushrooms are sprouting, and its been raining, a lot… kind of like Norway or the Rainforest. This day we are awed by the rare solar event of the full eclipse, and I think of my ancestors, and the collective ancestors of everyone, and their relationship with the sun in the past. I think about we take for granted the sun as a society today and how we truly are out of tune with its cycles and its effect on crops, our circadian rhythms and moods, the quality of our water, our internal biology, and so many other things. People used to worship the sun, and many sun cults are the primordial forms of early religions. During a full solar eclipse, our planet is blacked out of the cosmos for an ephemeral but remarkable time, and it gives us a chance to contemplate our own worth and importance in this universe. I think about all the mythologies that have grown out of our connection with the sun or sun(s), as in some cultures, and I find it a life event, a kind of primordial nexus point that connects me to all other beings, through the suns energy and the sheer existence of it, this is also a night with ‘no moon’ or the new moon, and thus a very dark day worthy of constellate star gazing if you are so inclined, I hope you are somewhere without too much city light pollution.

There’s lots in season now, and I have been trying my hardest to forage, harvest and reap as much as I can, and process, or consume it while it lasts. Black thimbleberries, autumn olive, blackberries, ever bearing strawberries, sea buckthorn, raspberries, sumac, chokecherry and wild grapes are all in various stages of fruit. As a denizen of this land, in this part of the Carolinian bioregion, I like to get to know what is at hand at any one time, to make the most use of the available natural plunder. I’ve been out with our foraging baskets more than once, and love the feeling of coming back with a full pack. It means we are more connected to our food, and retain that food sovereignty, over relying on the corporate food supply chain. Most of the food that makes it to our table is either picked fresh from our gardens, scavenged from the wilds, fished from local watersheds, liberated from organic market waste bins, or traded with nearby organic farms, the rest comes from farmers markets, country stores, and the odd product from commercial retailers like butter or goats milk. I am looking for a connection to get raw goats milk, but non-homo water buffalo or sheep milk is the closest I can find to raw so far. As the seasons flourish, it is berry season, I am anticipating the pawpaws, persimmons, pears, and apples later on, and the last of our domestic vegetables and tobacco in our garden. I forage because it connects me to the seasons, my ancestors, and the source of my food. Last week I made some fruit leather from seaberry and homemade maple syrup, which went over well, and started a kombucha mother, with a strain of cacao orange tea. I am interested to see how a stimulant like cacao will come out after the fermentation process.

Last time I mentioned that I was beginning the process of tanning and curing a pelt, This is a highland cattle pelt, acquired within the family that I have now shaped, removing any rotten and dreaded fur, combed with a metal brush and clean with dr. bronners magic soaps, it is now racked and tightened to a frame awaiting scraping, this will have to wait until I get back home from the maritimes of Canada with my partner to resume. I am definitely no master at this, and have only dabbled with furs in the past of various small animals like raccoon, squirrel, sheep and opossum, usually already damaged fur found on railways and roads, but last year I had a change to work on a really large bull hide in Guatemala. It is definitely a labor of love. Once, brain tanning and curing was an entire career, taught in a guild fashion and passed down usually by men, to their sons, and their sons, and occupied several decades of a growing mans life, as his craft improved with each new skin. Something else I have been exploring is mycology and how mushrooms can be cultivated locally with quite a high sense of control and yielding abundance. We have some inoculated logs near a creek bed on our property, and with the balmy 30 degree+ climate during the days and the torrential waterfalls of rain in the evenings and nights, the ecological conditions for growing the fantastic extra-terrestrials is ideal. I like to knock the logs with a stick mallet to shake of the spores inside, and find it effective to grow larger caps. So far we have turkey tail, and shiitake mushrooms that have already sporulated and grown to epic proportions. Wild mushrooms have also chosen to colonize our cultivated dens like the puffball mushrooms. I check periodically on the shrooms and pick them when needed, which make great patties for burgers, or eaten alone soaked in butter, garlic, cheese and herbs. Mycology is an avenue for the average person to engage themselves with this kingdom of food, and with the price of mushrooms now, I am diving in to this alternative.

As a steward of the land, I see the importance of conscious action, and sustainable practices to ensure that all life can thrive here, not only my own. This extends deeply into whatever I do to the land, including the tools I use, and I wanted to make a point to mention a few of the tools I use and why. In the day to day practice I tend to use a small spade adapted to plant young tree seedlings. I used this to plant over a hundred thousand trees in western Canada, and find it extremely effective in the young gardens here, or for transplanting various small herbs and crops. I also use a sickle and scythe regularly to clear weeds. I have heard of using blowtorches as a way to destroy unwanted weeds, but there are some problems I see with this, one being the damage it does to the soil, as it can destroy the humus layer, where as a scythe or sickle merely distributes it or tills it lightly if at all. I enjoy learning the proper techniques for both of these tools and find that they are more kin-esthetically beneficial for our bodies. These tools were passed down through the generations and have acquired character and age. I find the machete useful for larger stalks and trail breaking, and have used a chainsaw for cording wood to ready for chopping with a maul. I think there is a sentiment and accuracy that comes with hand tools that can not be rendered by power tools, that being said, there are two workshops on the neighboring farm that we have access to, and I think I will be learning some new tools in the future.

During these longer ‘dog days’, sometimes I just want to take a siesta, and find some place on the grass to relax, or come back to the nest and take a nap. This is something western culture doesn’t really embrace, because we are made to think we should always be awake during the day, to work, and be somewhere for something important. When you start working for yourself, you start to realize though how essential sleep is, and how it is like a practice in itself. I tend to enjoy a siesta now and then, having traveled extensively in Mexico and Guatemala, where this is a normal part of the day, to sleep during high sun, and revitalize oneself, then continue a few hours of work into the early evening. Now we have obligatory coffee and cigarette breaks, but it is clearly not a substantiate for what a mid-day rest can offer the body. It also gets us out of the sun during the hotter hours of the day, and thus not depleting our energy stores unnecessarily. Here is my favorite spot on the land, until next full moon.

Be hygge.

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Hygge Life, Dispatch 2

Aho, wild ones! We are now coursing through the full luna of August, and a few flowers have decided to bloom here at the nest. Our Hawaiin baby woodrose, a.k.a wooly morning glory (Argyreia nervosa) has unfurled its petals and climbed our trellises side by side with some native hops, the main ingredient in beer of course. Morning glory is a well known hallucinogen, but its simple beauty is also something to take awe in. The garden which I planted last week has shown a few sprouts of melons, kale and snow peas, the transplanted tobacco is staying strong, and the cactus is recovering from being smothered by thistles, grass and mugwort which now sits next to my coyote skull beside our living room window. I would love to have an entire patch of cactus but we only have one native species here which is the eastern prickly pear. The abundance of wild things and life is in full swell here in the Carolinian deciduous woods. We live in southern Ontario, near the Niagara region, and share a bio-system that is not unlike that found in  New England to the south of us. The pawpaw fruit is native here, and we have a few trees ourselves growing beside a spring fed pond, which I am Ohio Pawpaw Festival 2013 | The Whispering Crane Instituteanxiously awaiting harvest in a month or two. We live in one of the only parts on Ontario with opossums and flying squirrels and many hardwood species, like ash, oak, walnut, hickory, chestnut, and tulip trees. Acorn season will be in a couple months, so I am looking forward to scouring the ground for these protein rich dietary staples, which I can use as a coffee substitute, or a dark earthen color flour. The flora here does have a kind of tropical to sub tropical ecology, and so rich in therapeutic hues of green, sunflower yellows, fruit reds and sunset oranges.

During these hotter months, I am a strong advocate for barefoot living; in the garden, in the forest, on the trail. Having the freedom to step out of modern, uncomfortable shoes, and regain my primal posture and gait with feet firmly planted in their right anatomical position to the earth. Of course anyone who also treads the earth with skin rather than rubber or plastic knows the long term damage that shoes do to the feet, and how liberating it is to have them free of constraint to move in their natural way, to breathe, and have the level of articulation needed for locomotion and navigation. When the ground is too rough, or covered in nettles and thistles, I enjoy wearing my minimalist fivefinger shoes so I still get the connection to the ground I need, while still feeling free. These seasons are dominantly spent outdoors by my mate and I, and I feel it is important for us to engage our biology and tune in with out natural movements. I love free climbing rock faces, the way a mountain goat would, or brachiating through tree branches, the way lesser primates demonstrate in their natural habitat. I’ve rigged out our porch with hanging gymnastic rings for those times I would rather stay closer to our home and still have the ability to hang, lift, twist, swing and suspend myself in appropriate ways for my physique.

 

 

We have three cats that live ‘part time’ in our home, and what I have come to meditate on is how feral the so called domesticated feline still is when they are allowed to be outdoor ‘pets’. Sometimes I watch them stalking in the tall grasses, and imagine them twenty times heavier with a muscular frame in the savannah, or high in the himalayas in the snowdrifts and I think of tigers and amur leopards, their ancestors and cousins, and I see then the wildness in their cat-ness. They are hunters and predators in their own ecology that often gets overlooked and leads to people keeping them cooped up inside with no freedom to move beyond an apartment complex or a bedroom, and they never get to enjoy a free life. I watch them fight other cats to defend their territory. I see the importance of retaining this wildness in our pets, and nourishing their ability to co-exist with us while still being unkempt by our domestic training protocols. They return to our home and their fur smells like the forest, rich soil biome, fresh rains, and pollen. They are all the more hygge to lay down next to as they rub against your hands and skin after being outside in the forest or planter beds, rather than in the city dirt, and the litterbox.

We choose to live intentionally off the grid because to us it makes more sense to keep an open habitat for us to thrive in, and not be inundated with the trade offs most people make for a stable lifestyle that infringe on personal health, well being, and privacy. We do not own a tv, or heaps of electronic devices, our internet/screen time is minimal, and we believe in the ceremony of homemade nutritious food made with love over store bought meals. Our focuses are on our basic needs before anything superfluous; having clean air that smells of wild things, our water comes from untainted springs surrounding our home that has  p7310002.jpgtraces of beneficial sulfur, there is little to no light pollution at night, and there is never true silence, but the sounds that are heard are not cars, sirens, and construction, but birdsong, coyotes, and thunder. If the nights are cool, we love bathing in our cast iron bath which sits in one of the gardens, sown into the shape of the female yoni, and being surrounded by plants. The other night we gathered sulfur water from a local spring and took a healing mineral bath when the big light went out in the sky.

I have been introducing some new foods into my diet and have been enjoying having a local meat monger who sells wild organic game and grass fed beef and pork, so I have been sampling some exotic, and more localized meats into my paleo-influenced diet. Kangaroo burgers are becoming a favorite for its lean protein, and bison sausage cooked slowly in grass fed holstein butter or ghee is a treat lately. I am also enjoying some full fat, non-homogenized, water buffalo milk, and goat milk rather than cows milk. The reason I prefer non-homogenized is because it is the closest you can get to raw milk here in Canada, and is more readily metabolized by our bodies, when the cream is separate from the rest of the milk. In industrial milk procedures, the liquid is heated and brought over a suitable temperature suitable to kill any form of pathogens or disease and mixed together (thus homogenization), which then actually renders the milk almost impossible for our guts to process, and we end up with extremely high levels of lactic acid build up, and the fat which sticks to our arteries. I’ve also been making my own protein energy balls from organic ingredients like cacao, almonds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut oil, and carob powder. Instead of the packaged bars that line the shelves of nearly every health food store, I prefer to something that is fresh, and not coated in preservatives. Health has taken up a sovereign place in my life over the last four years but especially in this last year, as I moved from a nomadic existence to one of a more bioregional nature, and getting to know the individual species which thrive here and in this environment, and not having to rely on sharing other peoples food diets while traveling and living on farms. I have a lot more control over the food I am eating now, and have recently acquired a new fishing rod for fresh/salt water which I hope to test my luck with later this August while in the Maritimes for cod, haddock, and catfishing, and around here on the reserves for bass and trout. I am looking forward to testing out a new rod in the sea waters of New Brunswick, and hopefully bring a catch back with me in the cooler. The pond here on the land holds bass, so I have been able to catch and freeze a few for breaded fish, and fish tacos for the future, yum…

Hygge Life, dispatch 1

Aloha, wild people, feral travelers, and dreamers…

This is the first dispatch of the Hygge life set I am writing from the Nest, in the beautiful Carolinian forests of southern Ontario. It’s berry season, and my mate and I have been scavenging the woods and our garden patches for our seasonal harvests of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, gooseberry, red and black currants, and strawberries. Most of these have built in thorns and spikes to prevent overgrazing mammals, birds, and other insectoid life from getting too close to these sweet sun ripened gifts, but with a little dexterity and the right tools, we can ambidextrously pluck, pinch and pull to our hearts content, and one thing with these berries, unlike many other wild foraging species there is no lethal harvest, so we have been preserving as well, making pure blackcurrant juice, which we are using as a concentrate, as well as jam, both have xylitol for sweetnees as currants are extremely sour when raw.

 

We also harvested several pounds of garlic, and have trays of mugwort drying in the solar dehydrator, which I am using the leaves of this medieval plant to make a dream pillow. It is well known for it’s use as an oneirogen, a naturally occurring dream enhancer, so there is a deep epigenetic value to using this plant for sleep practice. We have been catching and fermenting the wasps that have decided to swarm and build their nests around our home, as a biodynamic way to repel further hives being built, this is perhaps a lean to Rudolf Steiners teachings of fermenting and burning agricultural pests and then spreading the ashes on the fields to deter further invasions. Our bees are thriving, and have made a new queen after swarming a month ago. Half of the racks in the hives are being filled with sweet honey from the surrounding flora. I have been learning more about apiculture, and viticulture, that is beekeeping and grape growing. There is a hidden world of plants and fauna that always impresses me just when I think I understand them

On our forays out from the land, we have already found some favorite foraging spots for milkweed, hypericum, and queen annes lace (Daucus carota), also called wild carrot. This is a plant used traditionally used by women as a contraceptive. I have been using the milkweed flowers in some tasty kangaroo burgers which we tried for the first time a short while ago. I am going to be planting a new bed of seeds to overwinter, and for late harvest this year of some herbs like stevia and anise, and increasing my vegetative diversity with yellow pear tomatoes, red russian kale, melons, romano beans, and arctic kiwis.

I have been fishing off the local waters for bass, and have been able to bring in a fair catch each time of a few fish, which we have been trying as fillet, and breaded in spelt flour. I would like to build some snares for rabbit in the coming weeks. In the meantime I am getting a lot of naked sun time and soaking the photons deep into my body, setting my base tan before the autumn comes, using the energy from the sun to thrive in this beautiful setting. It is our natural form of photosynthesis after all.

The days are hot and tropical followed by torrential downpour every other day when we stay inside the nest, lay on sheep skins, watch the fireflies at night, drink hot cacao and dandelion root teas, and eat nutritious organic meals. The cats are out hunting at night, engaging their primal biology, and turkeys have been rummaging in the forest. I have bison sausage from a local meat monger, and plenty of wild rice. Sometimes we go to liberate the wasted food behind a local whole foods store. And in our downtime, we are planning new trips, exploring our love, dreaming, and laughing. Anything to make life more hygge.

 

‘Hygge’ Life

Aloha, those who loyally follow here or those who have stumbled upon this post through the tangle of the internet… I am going to be offering something different over the course of the next months while the solar seasons are nourishing ... of the little book of hygge the danish way to live well which explainsabundance and the sacred work is being done here at the nest. My partner and I try to live closely to an organic, traditional homesteading, wild foraging lifestyle as possible so that is what I shall be writing about here in the ‘Hygge’ posts. This is a word from the Scandinavian regions, primarily Denmark, Norway and Sweden which doesn’t have a direct meaning, but relates to a certain set of feelings the people have towards culture, social life, the comforts of home, and well being. It is a concept we live for, and about in most aspects of life, in the way we approach our work, our love, our shared space, and the pace we make through the day. I have found it describe in jest as

“Hygge (“heu-gah”). The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday. Hygge happens when we commit to the pleasure of the present moment in its simplicity. Its there in the small rituals and gestures we undertake to give everyday life value and meaning, that comfort us, make us feel at home, rooted and generous. Hygge is a kind of enchantment – a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about appreciation. It’s about how we give and receive. Hygge is about being not having.”

It’s a burning fire and woven wool sweaters on a cold wet day, it’s wild picked berries from a lush forest, or hot cacao in winter, it’s the closeness of your lover, or your cats, and sun bathing in the nude on a sandy ocean beach, it’s wooden cabins in the forest, music and dance in green grasses, it’s animal pelts adorning your furniture, and sleeping in on rainy mornings, and it’s something that moves you that leaves its imprint on your experience. I like this idea, and with a focus on country living, biodynamic farming, hunt/gather/forage lifeways, ancestral traditions, gaian ecology, rewilding, and many other branches of the feral path, I will regale some regular and seasonal posts about our life on the land, our continual acquirement of nutritious food, health information and forming an integral relationship with plants and animals, and more on rewilding lifestyle and biohacking our new paradigm with the world.

An Ancient Path & Finding Home

Into the WildOne time, we were all nomadic…

Every human living on earth has descended from successful nomadic people, who explored the planet and thrived on it, whether they were the Teutonic peoples of the Germanic North, the Vikings, the Sami, the Gauchos of South America, the Mongolian Kazakhs, the San Bushmen, the Native Americans, the Pan Eurasian cattle herders. Some followed animals, the megafauna prey, or tied to their own domestic breeds, by camel, dog, horse, others went with the seasononal ebb and flow and traced river veins through vast grasslands, or trekked in deserts, and over mountain scapes, while moving from climate pressure, waring tribal tension, the search for resources and indeed a great lure for the unknown and adventure.

At the age of 22, the wild and ancient instinct descended upon me for the need for ultimate mobility and freedom, the wanderlust of travel, enculturation, and raising my being to the highest branches of our species tree of growth. For those who have read this blog since the beginning, or are late joiners to my story, you have vicariously come to know where I’ve been, along with portions and parcels from this expedition through the world as a contemporary nomad. I experience life as an experiment in ontology and a building of a personal mythology, it is a deep and revelatory learning practice, and becomes a spiritual practice when the precious minutes of the hour are embraced. Travel is also a great medicine, as you walk over the earth, and collect the bones, talons and teeth of things that once lived, crawled, slithered, and flew, where you now walk, you come to know the ancient age of being and how it is connected in coexistence.

Unlike a wolf, a coyote has a bushy, thick tail, which it holds low to ...In the magic of the Northern woods of Canada I learned to yoke the primal awareness of Self with the essence of nonSelf, things like trees, cascades, avifauna, the flux of weather, but also more subtle essences like the tracks of animals, my own sweat, the way a well built shelter feels to the psyche, the feeling of being outside of time. I saw, physically, and metaphysically that there was more to LIFE, a lot more than I became accustomed to understanding, here there was gnosis, and a kind of expansion that even felt overwhelming to the spirit. So much openness, country, culture, and experience that I had not been espoused to. Nature was my bride, and a kind of youthful naivete couple with an organic lust for self-evolution and personal fulfillment drove me onwards, and stretched the sinews of my soul into portions of existence almost too great for the eye of the man. At least, it was the man I was, before seeing the wildness inside the reflected eyes in my skull, and a limited time to be able to explore this ancient push. Thus began four years of continuous travel.

To speak to purpose, and intentionally live, with a mission and a mind fit for new change, one goes into the fray with spiritual armor against anything that may harm his progress. It is important to remember that it is sane, and natural to dream, and long for something better. Our species has been doing this since the dawn of mankind, and our global cousins are not far removed from this archetypal calling of the world upon our imaginations. We are all native to earth, but as a species, we are technically invasive upon every other country outside Africa, in our human timelines, our bodies have changed little, only aesthetically, and we are still the creatures which roamed hundreds of miles through grasslands for woolly mammoths, or following herds of bison and reindeer by estuaries. We have crossed land bridges that took weeks to traverse, and sailed the open oceans in skin and tree bark boats to see what else was out there. We have ascended the highest mountains of Kilimanjaro and Everest to get a new perspective of the lay of the land, and let migratory birds decide our way through immense jungles and swampland. We have used allies to become nomadic, when our feet were too tired, or it was more efficient for us to do so. I have always seen the great wandering beasts as a source for traveling inspiration, the stallions, the bison and elk, the reindeer, kangaroos and the less herdlike fauna that go solo over terrestrial distance, coyote, auroch, mountain line. They all embody the kind of tuned in dynamic with the land and mobile territory that I am coming to intake from my own movements through my natural habitat.img_9701

Eventually, people started to ‘settle down’ into specific bioregions, the ways animals adopt a niche environment for the duration of their existence where they can thrive, and engage with their environment. The human ecology is unique in the sense that we have and will continue to live just about everywhere, from the arctic icefields, sandy dunes, humid jungles, and coastal paradises, to other planets and cosmic bodies. We are not a far way from Mars or other planetary moons, that represent the inclination of our kind and our ego to colonize. I don’t aim to say that there is a linear evolution that improves as we stop to claim space, and leave behind a nomadic lifeway as inferior, for surely the damage we do to nature, air, waters, etc. to build cities and box stores, and mine for the metals to run our technologies to keep us comfortable all year round is not an efficient example of a sedentary, ‘settled in’ lifestyle. At this point in my life I am experimenting with having a home base, and after four years of travel began to feel the ancient longing of belonging somewhere, setting roots, and being able to get to know one place really really well.

I didn’t know how long I would travel when I left Montreal in the spring of ’13, it seemed like the best thing to do at the time, and I had my heart set on a rural homesteading life in England, which of course only happened in part, and I Montreal Skyline and Supermoon Compositediscovered how much I liked the times in between places. The movements and liminal times before and after a temporary dwelling spot. As I commenced a journey much larger than myself, transiting between farms in the southern English isles, Roman villas, and Northern Viking territory, I came to my first winter, and took it upon myself to keep going, to see the other side, rather than get ‘normal’ work, or rent myself into a modified living environment while trying to salvage happiness from a domestic existence. I moved three times in my first winter and came out of it with a broad vision of my capability to transcend my own sights of what was possible in travel. For the next three and some years I kept this lunar like nomadism, and would be in a new location or country with each moon cycle, why I did this, I don’t know, but there was an intuitive feeling that guided me, while I dug in to my new setting over a one month time period, took time to explore and open energetically, and hone my being with new perspectives. Some zen masters say it takes 3 weeks to engrain a new practice, and I always experienced this fluctuating timeline to be the amount of time I needed to at minimum become exposed to a place, adapt a routine, and get my bearings, then I started to experience a transition from the virgin, new, vulnerable, and foreign energy of the land into a more grounded, fluid, dynamic relationship with where I was in space and time.

This kind of organic personal growth eventually led me to spend my days involved with people and cultures closer to home, and more like my own. The pan-Scandinavian lifestyles, rural Canadian farm societies, and a North American brand of radical politic, a form of hearkening back to an atavistic way of living. It feels normal to move in this way, in order to uncover more of the deep self in the process. I opted once to go more slowly, and seek land and tribe on the south shores of Nova Scotia, but experienced a kind of transitory limbo, where I knew that big change was imminent but one I was not yet fully matured to adapt to, nor ready to enjoy, it was a kind of dis-ease and I started to feel restless without a road to follow. At this time of my life, I still had not collected enough money from meager work prospects and fill in jobs on seasonal farms to make anything of my wealth, and thus had to keep moving and jump back on the train so to speak. It was too early yet, and I took yet more circuits through the Northern regions of Europe, and south into Central America to feed my lust for travel, it started to became a kind of vice because I could not sustain it, and thus I struggled like any other animal to get by, went into survival mode, and became more humble than I have ever been in my life.

p174_origLove kept me alive, and kept me going through the days, and I tried to inject every moment with meaning, while remaining open to awe, novelty, and beauty. It wasn’t until I had lost just about everything, that I was free to do anything, at least, I could start over, if I tried. In Guatemala this happened, and I turned to the one I loved the most at the time, my lover, to seek my wyrd, or a kind of fate. I had almost nothing left to lose besides physical items, and my health was degrading. I shed my ego and asked for guidance from Gaia, love, and the divine feminine which nourished me with soul food, and a reforged will. I returned to my homeland, where I came to manifest a revived life energy and a rerouted path towards where I find myself today. I met my anima in dreamtime, the woman who would then cross my path soon after, my consciousness was instilled with a sense of gnosis, of the deep metaphysical background behind this tremendous re-birthing. It was a much more mystical and beautiful than I could imagine or even expect once the fire had been lit, the way a bond forms between two wolves.tumblr_op9zstJatA1romrx1o1_540.jpg

Love again, brought me through the threshes of a nomadic life of four years, into a more refined, focused and slowed down version of the day to day living. From where I write now, I am living and thriving on seventy five acres of wildland, with minimal cultivation, in a bio-region known as the Carolinian forest, marked by deciduous trees, riparian zones, balmy heat, and wet tropical like weather during spring and summer. It is similar to that of Vermont, Maine or New Hampshire, and is ideal for the growth of crops, flowering bushes, berries, fruit and perennial vegetables of all kinds. It is a domecile, a beautiful nest, and therefore ‘domestic’, but one that is off grid, and out of sight from the urban chaos, the industrial pollution, and the altered landscapes of the city. It is a place I see myself staying for awhile now, at least a few years to sink into its gifts, and learn its teachings. There is so much abundance from the land, and potentials for exploration within its boundaries. I have chosen now to maintain a home base, and see the benefits of life in one place. While my former nomadic path is part of every muscle, fibre and sinew of my body, I am now moving my energies wholeheartedly towards the safe tending of this particular place, so that it may serve both my partner and I in ways that life in constant mobility can not. It preserves the ability for me to travel away at anytime and yet return to somewhere where I can feel as king, in my own domain with familiar sights, smells, and sounds. To me there is nothing more beautiful than that, and it is ironic to me to have encountered it at this time of my life, when I least thought I could end up in such a paradise found.

Wilderness God Quotes. QuotesGram

 

The Longhouse Ontology

“How is the longhouse a part of the longue durée? – in this context begs the question: Is living with plants and animals a part of the longue durée? How are these other beings so deeply embedded in the farmscape and lifespace that they are fundamental to being? Partly, the answer surely lies in their immutability, the cyclical nature of farming life, in which life is centered around animals and plants, individuals die, but the life force of the flock, the plants and the family remains. The farmhouse as an anchoring point brings all of these farming practices together. The farmhouse can thus be seen as an ontology unto itself, the basic framework upon which every aspect of life depended. The framework of the longhouse appears to have been a physical, spatial as well as embodied, structuring principle upon which social relationships were given meaning and were played out.”

-Kristin Armstrong Oma, excerpt from The Agrarian Life of the North 2000 BC to AD 1000, Studies in Rural Settlement and Farming in Norway, from the article Long Time – Long House

Microsighting Wilderness

The common man thinks of wilderness in terms of epic landscapes, fierce predatory fauna, untouched tracts of land, and inhospitable mountains, or maybe something more humble like a boreal trail through the forest of his own memories of times spent camping on silent occulted lakes, and off lost hunting highways. Rarely though is wilderness associated with the small and subtle details of the natural features that mostly likely surround the modernized domestic man in his environment. When one looks to the patches of old growth left on the world, it is probably the purest symbol of wildness will young plantations left to go feral, standing broadleaf timbers on country roads, and fringe zones surrounding so many cities and towns across the continent have remnants of the past, and micro-ecosystems in place that can easily be appreciated, only on a different scale, one more easily seen with the naked eye up close than with a telescope or binoculars.

Mallard ducks and Canadian geese on the icy lake waters in winter ...

This scope of the wilderness may seem far fetched at first but as a seasoned traveler, and having some merit in the world of wilderness exploration, then returning to a more domestic lifestyle, (read: domestic meaning of the domecile or home), and prospecting the land for small pockets of intact wilderness, a lot of rich and impressive life can be found. They are the simple and overlooked phenomena; the lanky squirrels digging up old protein stores from before the winter, the first fungal growths on sogging wet pine logs, the litter of black oak acorns left unharvested after the thaw, the first saplings starting the race for the sol of the sun, the fuzzy branchlets of virgin trees, or the small game, that would be so perfectly snared for a spring feast. I am coming to notice the local weather very intimately, the time of the first thaw, and when the lake finally loses its ice cover. I feel the light increasing just a couple minutes each night, and its so beautiful. I admit to having traditionally being a big nature, big game kind of guy. I craved the open, massive spaces, and always will. Yet, there is a cognitive difference in the perception of these spaces, as they usually stand on their own as a kind of thing to be observed. Only few look at such a landscape and think about the individual valleys which may hide watersheds, the high crests where the experienced hunter can glass out for whitetail deer, or the possibility of springs and rivers from which to harvest wild water. It is in the micrositing of the large epic land masses that we see and experience the almost overwhelming beauty in its intimate refinity.

I think there is a particular kind of affirmation in seeking out this tracts of wild spaces anywhere and everywhere, because it is easy to feel you are cut off from the wilderness when you live in a city, or even temporarily staying in one, but I believe separation is a kind of illusion and is just put on us. I would urge people to get out and discover these microsites that might just alter their day, or their conscious perception of where they live and try to identify as many species of life that dwell there, which animals make their home in the trees or the ground? Which mushrooms latch onto the rotting logs? What plants seems edible?

This is just something I wanted to bring to the fore, as my priorities change from a life of constant travel, wildlands seeking, nomadic backpacker lifeway, into a more rooted, and bioregional style of thriving existence.

Culturing Perspectives

Time is a testament to where we have been, and who we have grown to be. It is a running perspective of Life in the moment experienced throughout eternity, and it’s ephemeral nature of constant change is something worth convicting in. Four years of semi-nomadic travel purveys a significant wellspring of cultural exposure, and things to think about. You also become very keen on world issues, human relationships, and the overarching mechanics of society. I use the word from the proto Germanic, and runic root *kenaz meaning to know, or to ken something, as in digging to the root of understanding the thing in itself. Each time I return to the Canadian North, the state of the peoples awareness always strikes me, as if it were alien and gray. The immediate exchange of a foreign country, for the familiarity of home never ceases to bring me into a kind of ‘stranger in a strange land’ scenario, often because I have become enmeshed in an altered routine, a European lifeway, a Central American sense of time, a Scandinavian sense of being, that I feel I am bringing back part of those places in an almost Faustian way. A Faustian man in a multicultural age.

Love:

I have learned a hell of a lot about relationships, how they break apart right before your eyes, and how planning for the future is just about as fickle and inefficient as investing all your money into a personal business before you have any customers. The levels of maturity and mutual growth within a relationship at any time can be moved out of balance, because of each individuals personal endeavors and private lives. I have seen the miscommunication fosters bad seeds that will grow to destroy and poison perfectly harmonious bonds, and spoil any good intentions between you and your lover by creating a culture of suspicion, doubt, and mistrust. Sex turns into lust rather than a beautifully primal experience of altered consciousness and bonding, and becomes a vice very quickly, that breaks out of its own containing shell and reverberates in your personal life, you become addicting to pleasure seeking in all forms. For a relationship to be tangible in the sense that is has a lasting flame, it must be your number one priority, and the truth must be realized that it’s inevitable summit is domestic living, although in extremely rare cases it may be able to survive through the tumults of travel and vagabonding, it does not thrive, and you are forced to rise to a whole set of factors that effect the binding of that relationship, like geographical distance, the question of monogamy vs. polyamory, or having an open sexual life, and the always present need for money. Man needs his woman, as the woman needs her man, and the role of polarity needs to be strong in order for the love to thrive. In the words of Jack Donovan on the Way of Men, “He is not only called upon to be a good man, but to be good at being a Man”. In this way, the Man must cultivate the archetypes of primal masculinity if he wants a real woman, whereas being a good Man or Woman, entails a kind of contract to society and cultural norms, which is good and fine and useful, but not always in tune with what it means to be a Man at heart, only a man through a judgement system (lots of friends at work, two children, has own car, clean cut, etc.) A man good at being a man may not necessarily be a good man by some eyes, but this is all relative of course. Mutual differences are an integral and healthy identification that whom you love is complementing your own unique individuality, while you are supporting the things that are special brands of her name. The cross-hairs of shared interests of course must intersect enough for common goals, and direction in life. I would recommend the best partner is one who shares your beliefs or religion of the world, an exacting mythology of the way life is, and similar desires to the prospects of whether or not you have kids, where you will live, and what you will have, but you do not need to both have a passion for dancing, hunting or belong to the same social clubs, or share the same friends. When you travel, and your lover needs to go home to work, then you must be prepared to follow or allow yourself to be cut off for awhile, otherwise one person becomes dependent on the other and a tension arises that will cause ruin to the sense of interdependent love between you.

“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.” -Jack London, Son of the Wolf

Money:

In the old days, and still in some cultures, we had cows and sheep, and they were essentially a unity of currency. It is also the first rune of the Viking language because it seems to proceed all other needs in life, money equaled wealth, and wealth equaled freedom of ability and privilege, but it can easily be abused, and some people even do without much of it at all, like myself. The adage of ‘the things you own, end up owning you’ is a kind of two way mirror. In the beginning of my wandering days I had very few possessions, in a metaphorical way, I was un-possessed by materials, as in the sense that something bears a negative influence on you and you become possessed by its energy. I felt extremely free to be carrying little, even in the way of money, and I came to view money as solely a trap, when I ran out of it, I was forced to be dependent on someone else, for survival. I am guilty of this from past relationships, and made it an oath to never let it happen again by setting new boundaries, and ‘zero points’. This was a term shared with me by a lover who describes it as the time when your stock of personal money comes to a point where you must switch to survival mode, and change your financial priorities. For the longest time, I had wandered with extremely little, and found myself stuck on more than one occasion. Even living in cheap hostels, sharing food with other travelers, and transitioning from one volunteer situation to the next takes a hit on your budget, and the truth is you need money, or :fe:, in this world to thrive. You don’t need exorbitant amounts which usually foster a sense of foolish materialism, vice, and excess, but you need enough, that you are cautious with your money yet free to spend when you need to, frugal yet abundant. Now, we are in a generation that is exploding technologically, and people are waking up to the problems with the modern money system, crypto-currencies are being developed to ensure that we are not getting ripped off, and our money is secure. This is a future I look forward to, with a radical embrace of traditional trading systems and gift exchange blending with a modern contemporary use of money, saving what I rightfully earn, and using it effectively as a tool.

The Illusion of Community:

It seems that community is only talked about where the very essence of community is lacking, and those who are outside of community are always prospecting for it in the wrong places or failing to see it thriving in their locality. This is because community is not a point of reference but an intact and reliable system of relationships. A facebook page is not a community, nor is the i.d. generation of collective staff in your workplace, it is not found in coffeehouses, and meet-up groups. Community hearkens to a more tribal oriented lifeway, the obvious differences being the owning of land, the hunting and gathering of food, and the autonomy of culture and belief held within it. A farmers market is community, it fosters the interest in living of the land, I don’t really like the word self-sustainable because nothing is ever done alone in a community, the others are needed just as much as you, and the lone wolf will always die away from his pack. In order for the community to exist there must be a shared work load, and division of relevant skills throughout those members who choose to be responsible for it. A set of meta-beliefs that transcend the generic fandom of a social media phenomenon is a highly distinctive feature of the community, and those who belong to it find their own way into it, they are not sought after, or hired. The people will come of their own accord because they know with the primality of instinct in their heart that they belong there with no coercion needed. Having worked and lived in the Central American continent, I have observed authentic community thriving through the everyday rote existence, whence people band together and link their energies to sustain a lifeway. Different from tribalism, there is often no hierarchy, but an egalitarian sense of rites and responsibilities. I have also observed this in the maritimes of Canada, the sub-arctic regions of Scandinavia, and Saharan Africa. Community arises out of the need for a prolonged survival and transforms the patterns of tradition into a thriving mode of existence. In my own country I see a lot of community masquerading as commercialsm, “support your local community and buy local”, this is in essence what community can be about, but it is advertising for international businesses simply stationed within city limits, because truly local businesses do not have their name all over the country, they may have one or two or three outlets within a vicinity, and are not making much profit, just enough for the community, and that goes into the bands of families who truly live their mien, and walk the talk, not a blind consumer who doesn’t really care whose lives they impact, including their own by their conduction in the society. Voting with your dollar counts, but making the dollar secondary serve relationships equals community.

Work Ethic:

My engagement with work may seem to some as a fickle one, largely international skill trade in volunteer experiences for the basic commodities and necessities of life, without earning much more than that, but in a deeper context, and wide ranging view, my work ethic has become highly evolved to serve a purpose much bigger than myself. As someone who follows a largely derived Germanic tradition, that of the journeyman, and the freeman, travel has been the lynchpin of my work experiments and has lead me to seek relative skill building in Scandinavia, Europe, Central and North America and Britain. When I come home to Canada, and take a ‘normal’ job, which I have had fewer than I can count on one hand in my life, an entirely different work ethic tries to supplant itself. I clock in, I have a number, a schedule, and co-workers, I am persuaded to work as a team, I have a set wage, and tax taken off my pay, it is outside of my normal set of working conditions, and it is not my natural habitat. I have chosen this type of work though for very specific reasons, with big-picture thinking in mind. I am a farmer, and forestman, I belong to Thor’s people and engage my primal masculine in the world and all the work I get involved in. Reforestry, woodwork, demolition, planting and harvesting, building, permaculture, preservation of species, these are my comfort zones, these are the lay of my hands and heart, and to act outside of them is foreign to me. I am free to choose as is every sovereign individual his own course of work, and thus one does not build their own working jails where they feel trapped. Currently I am a meatcutter in a factory style setting, working with beef and pork. By today’s standards this is highly productive, and repetitive, and I have certainly worked small scale with processing meat in country farm settings or wilderness, so there is overlap involved, but thinking in big-picture, it is a skill that relates to almost all my other aspirations. The work ethic core remains strong, because despite which company may hire me, I am working for myself, not here simply to exist, pay my bills, and get wasted on the weekend. Making money must be matched in aspiration to learning and growing. I talk to people who are entirely negative, and speak of their years in service to a company that cares nothing for them, who have nothing positive to say during the lunch break, have not regard for their personal health, and live a life stuck in vice, and regret. There is an eerie comparison to olden day slavery, and in my eyes I still see it practiced, only with alterations in its style. A slave owner has full control over his workers, but he does not mingle with them personally, they keep heavy handed records of your activity, and their profits, yet is provided for handsomely for less work, does this sound like your boss or manager of today? One must always question the authority, and ask yourself what you are getting in return for your efforts, is there a balance? Why not forge a thriving life-way that serves your highest being? By your self induced masochism and suffering through the condemning need to work at places you hate, you become the inferior, the minority, and the coward. Gradually you become weakened and have no conviction towards your own personal power, the work ethic mode becomes the work ethic myth, there is no standard left. You are not providing for yourself in reality, because you are still buying everything you need, instead of growing it, building it, killing it, harvesting it, collecting it, raising it, loving it, such is the real work ethic, work for yourself or your community at all times, then let your work outlive that.

Travel:

Is a boon to every man, and a realization that life is a profound struggle. Four years ago I left the domestic trappings of life, swore myself to the Old Gods, and went in search of love and life out in the wider world. Now I am spearheading a new lifeway by preservation; of money, of resources, of tools physical and spiritual, of allies and friends, and ultimately of place. All the experiences of the last four years are being compounded and grown upon as I turn towards a slightly more sedent way of being, and staying in my own country for some time. Travel takes a hard toll on the body, but it also strengthens it to be fit for a new world. I have come to the often brutal realization of how difficult it actually is to travel with limited money, but through ingenuity and adaptation have been able to thrive even when my pockets were empty. There is a paradox in the travel world, but nonetheless true, that real freedom comes from sacrifice. This entails that one must live to decondition themselves from the constituted dregs of normal society, to think and act for oneself, and reconcile your abilities with your purpose. Travel, that isn’t holiday, is stoic and austere, a wanderering man gets to know the many faces of Odin, and it is struggle and success both. It is like if I watch any nature documentary, and see these wolves or caribou, who migrate long distances, and then settle into a place, the hardships they must face, the extreme weather, the physical toil, the chase, the hunt and the hunger. The need for the pack or herd community. I see myself mirrored in these beasts intimately. I have worked almost exclusively out of doors, have slept in hundreds of varied settings, from the cathedral garden of a medieval Norse cathedral, to a leather tipi stoking with fire, a metal trailer, to the forests of Newfoundland island. The real traveler must be prepared for anything, this means you are going to have installments with the law, as I have, you will need to represent yourself, you may be repelled in one place and attracted by another, you have to carry everything you own, and know that your story is more important than anything in your pack. Sometimes I was desperate, sometimes I had a luxurious life and money to spare, a woman in my bed, and the world in front of me. Travel is a way of being, just like some animals are highly localized who may occupy one specific tract of forest or river system, while others have their territory spanning thousands of miles. I have always thought that as long as I am a human animal, I want to explore my own territory which is the earth, and find the place where I can feel king. After four years of living in communities, traveling to foreign countries, crossing borders in the physical world and within, having everything lost, being ripped off, and then rewarded, and come to know part of this planet in a more humble way, I feel awe and hungry for more, but also I am tired, and my priorities are changing. The acquisition of land is important for me, the collection of resources, tools and useful possessions, the startup of my own operation that provides for me, whether that be a farm, a small cultural business, an ecological company, or all of these. Eventually I think, and most of my allies, all dream of the idealistic cabin in the woods, with a fire burning in the hearth, game to hunt, fish to catch, food to gather, and a place where we belong. It was never intended that I would tramp around forever, and this will still take some time to resemble the change I am enacting. I like to think it took me traveling to far fetched countries and cultures to come back and find my own, and where that will be, until then I keep moving forward and upward, with light in my eyes, love in my heart, and peace of mind, knowing I am doing the right thing for me, it is up to you to make up your own way. If you do not have a plan, you end up being part of someone else’s plan. If the system does not work for you, use the system to get out of it, and create your own.

Your Home Is Someones Destination

Whether it’s a quiet Gotlandic fishing village, a traditional Mexico pueblo, a trendy American city, or a struggling Indian slum, each gps coordinate of the earth has an attraction from at least a handful of globe trekkers who want to see it, experience it, eat there, stay the night. If you identify with the traveler archetype, it is easy to feel restless, always on the move, never quite satisfied with settling to one place at one time. This
https://i0.wp.com/a.rgbimg.com/cache1s2Igv/users/a/ay/ayla87/300/nqjLX0u.jpgis completely normal, as an inherent recognition of our primal nomadic nature. There is so much of the world to see, and we are intimately aware of our marginal and ephemeral time to explore it. There is always a billboard of another beautiful far away city in every airport, the swirling journey continues. Wherever you live, you can find people who have traveled from distant and remote parts of the world, to spend a short time in the place you live. Being from a small northern Canadian village built on the backbone of mining and fishing, with a few thousand inhabitants where nothing seems to change, and tourism appears to be nil, I would not expect to see internationals who desperately want to find it, but in reality there are.

For those intrepid few who have chosen a more stoic lifestyle, and opted to live minimalistically on the road, there is an unmistakable urge for movement, one feels the unrelenting urge to keep going in order to thrive. This puts you in some very interesting locations, and run ins with some eclectic folk that you would otherwise never meet eyes with. But when you learn to tread with hoof and paw in a slower fashion, you will see that people will come to you. Eventually even the cultured and seasoned traveler needs to put down roots and find a land where he himself is King.

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Then comes the stage of integration of seeing your home as your hearth and hall. But this is far from simple accepted sedentism or domestication, it is about seeing your homeland from a perspective that inherits a new bio-regional importance. If these ideals can be exemplified, and valuation can be extracted out of the normal and overlooked aspects everyday life, then chances are someone else will be able to see this, and make an effort to experience it as well. The intimately social creature need not worry, because if you tune into your home, you can probably bring out at least ten things that would attract a traveler to your city, town or whatever. A frozen pond near your house may seem like something you walk passed everyday without giving much mention to, but for someone who may have never seen snow or ice, it is an exotic biosphere, with opportunities for ice-fishing. Likewise for someone from the north who may have never seen palm trees, a trip to the tropics may be one of a great wealth of experience.

There is such a vast breadth of intentional travel in the modern age, that is also goes without saying that there may be several niche reasonings for someone to come your way that would otherwise stay at home. Hunters to stalk specific game in a foreign country where wildlife may only inhabit a small rural area off the beaten tourist routes. Food lovers who may be seeking out gastronomic specialties and exotic dishes, writers looking for the perfect b&b for finishing a book, or researchers looking to study rare plant and animal species in your backyard. More airports are being built and the people living there are crossing paths with new company, knowledge is being exchanged, and the world is becoming more accessible. When you start to think of your home as the culmination of a trip, one gains a new perspective on where you are in the world. It’s the easily recognizable notion of recognizing the significance of a place, and your position in it, the  symbol of the arrow on the global map that says ‘You are Here’.

THORSday

Our Teutonic ancestors called this day in time, Thor’s day. The god of the common man, a strong farmer, warrior, and something of a peasant shaman. Thor is the enigma of a truth that can only be known through mythology, and a cognitive system that allows us to follow suit with such a belief system, but on a more practical level I find there is a deeper reality in this honoring of Thorsday.

What does it mean, and what does it imply to the average man, who must face the same set of challenges, tribulations, and confrontations of a life in Midgard. Personally speaking, it helps me to humble myself to my own abilities and limitations in this world, and then to understand that even these constructs are not concrete, and are greatly altered by the power of the will. One is ushered to deal with the implications and surmounting responsibilities of his own work and wyrd, and in honoring the hail of Thor, a subjective evolution must take place in one’s own spirit.

Strength must be the ideal, for this is the hammer’s intentions, and we must be forged in the stoutest of fires, and tempered by the finest hands and muscles if our form is to be as impeccably wrought as we compel it to be. For Thor is a God of more than Man himself, he is of the quintessence of Man becoming great. When a man comes to terms with his own incredible nature, and seeks to exploit it for it’s full worth while here in time, he makes a testament to his species of his ability to conquer weakness. When I think of Thor, on this day, I must face my own inedible frailties, and see through them to the other side, to a point in my being in which these are no longer relevant, and I come to bear runes of victory for my success.

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Today we hail Thor, because he is representative of our slumbering primal masculinity, and we acknowledge the wild, yet ordered energy that erupts from our souls, when we hear the sound of steel, or run freely through the wilderness of our own souls.We wear the scars of our past as experiences and lessons, not of weaknesses and failures, and we come to bear the task of the hero, to fight against our own psychological and physical in order to see the golden sublime that awaits us in Valhall. The work of this Man then becomes not of doing, but of becoming, for anyone can simply react, but to actively participate in the formulation of our own heroic ideals, we are THOR, and the only reality is what we do here and now!