I am homeless. Out of place and hoofing it amongst a mongrel horde of other homeless beings. I am a creature of the land, yet my prints have not found their mark yet. The point where I stop retracing for awhile and set up camp. As I write this, it has been the longest time I have spent in a city since the past Spring. I am in the hands of a friend, currently calling the west midlands of Coventry my dwelling. But this is not my home, nor do I ‘live’ here. I feel completely destitute, and even though I have shelter, and food, there is no sense of connection, no magnetic belonging, no feelings that resonate with the primordial ancestral way. Surrounded by people that neither get me, nor attempt to. Their faces are faceless, their minds, a vacant lot. Their bodies on strings like flesh puppets. During a deep and aural meditation last night to the music of Sinyo͞o I pondered, and waxed over where it is I truly must go. I think most of are truly homeless in this way. If you live in the city, even be it, you may have an expensive condo, or a house by the pub where you spend waning your evening hours, but is this truly where you can be king? Is this where you thrive? Is it just a house or truly your home?
As it has been for the last 8 years, my desire to journey forth into the North, to the Scandinavian climes of Norway has led me to take gradual changes towards getting there. Becoming more involved in my gild and heathen tradition is now attracting me to the farmsteads, and volcanic, fjord ridden places of Iceland. I now think this may be my future home. I have lived in 5 different counties in the shire in just over 3 months, Watford, London, Isle of Wight, Somerset, and presently Coventry. But right now I am still homeLESS. There are no teachers of the land, I do not hear the animals call, and nary a bird sing unless after the rain when no one is around to hear them, the soil is rotten, the people supplicate their vices religiously and confine themselves to the walls of their safe place indoors. My body struggles to function as just existing here is an act of rebellion. I don’t want to have to rebel. My totem wolf is rummaging through the dim edges of society looking for reprieve before fleeing back to a quiet isolated spot in the forest. In wildlands there is not need to rebel, no sense of responsibility, or distance. But here, it is too oppressive. The aura around me is restricted to merely a room at most, How can one grow without the room to spread their branches.
Of home, is one of story. The home is where the heart dwells. So this is what has been on my mind as of late. My identity is animal, I am animist, and where I go I find my niche, my people, and portions of nature that speak to me. Each bio-region has it’s own language, from the badlands of western USA, the lush heath of the coastal English islands, and snow mountains of Northern Canada. All of these I have spent time trying to understand its riddles, and unfurling new parts of my spirit. Shape shifting to adapt and opening to awe. To be a full 5 weeks in a place where almost nothing can be gained, is harrowing to me, and I have been facing it with an acute degree of dysphoria. This is not the way it should feel. Thinking on how indigenous peoples would have gone about their daily routine, they rarely would spend time indoors, only in the winter, when time was spent with family, and on creative pastimes. But they knew still all year round, exactly the lay of the land, the fauna and flora, when the tide would come in, or the first days of the thaw after winter, and where to find their dinner from the woods. This direct intimacy with place, and not yet being able to attain it, makes me feel, simply, small. As I tramp along and visit new portions of the planet, I come ever closer to my HOME, but still like a stag that makes its foray off into the bushes when they sight the scope, it leaves me hungry.
How much can be said about your own home? I once read a ‘bioregionalism quiz’ if you will by a man most know as Condor. This was a series of open ended question testing ones awareness of their own environment. Those ecologic principles, natural phenomena, and biological array of natural data that surround you, what you know about them and how they impact you. It is of interest to animists, practitioners of shamanism, AND most of all, the average human being. I say this because this knowledge should not be specially reserved for few, and everyone should have these basic understandings of where they are if they will ever claim to be home. The condensed and lightly altered test as follows:
Describe the way your drinking water goes from its point of origin to your faucet.
How many days until fullmoon? (errors of up to two days allowed)
The place you are living – What type of natural ground is there?
The last precipitation in your region?
Where does your food come from?
What kind of food was usually consumed by the ancient cultures in your region?
Name five local herbs and the best time when they can be gathered.
From which direction the storms come during winter in your region?
Where is your recycling deposition?
How long is the tillage and the harvest period in your region?
On which day in the year the shadows are shortest in your region?
What are 10 species of mammal in your region?
Name ten kinds of trees in your region! Are they native to your region?
Name five birds which stay the whole year and five migrant birds of your region!
Do you know the history of utilization of your countryside?
Which ecologic processes were primarily influencing your region?
Which species of your region are already extinct?
Which types of plants are prevalent in your region?
You are sitting and reading this text now, point to the north!
Which springflower is among the first to bloom in your region?
0-3: You are absolutely blind.
4-7: Its difficult to be at two places at once not knowing where you are belonging to in the first place.
8-12: You have a good perception.
13-16: You are aware of your surroundings.
17-19: You know where you belong to.
20: You not only know where you belong to, you are one with the land.