Reforesting Eastern Australia

There are some folks who are able to live without money, (rare) and even travel through the world without existing on the monetary system. This has always been a dream for me, but not really realistic or at least too far ahead still yet for my capabilities and wisdom of how to make it happen. Fortunately, I do alright with very little, and just try to spend what I have responsibly and with good intentions. As I see how money can corrupt and is it at the roots of most world issues, and it is tempting to leave it, but it can be daunting. I usually rely an the old codes of gift economy, exchanging my gifts for monetary support, volunteering my service, trading systems, and funding. It is a humble lifestyle without excess and luxury that doesn’t always work, and I am still figuring out the mechanics of it all. This brings me to something I have been putting into the works since February…
I’m trying to move from this island (Newfoundland) before the winter hits to go plant trees in Eastern Australia. This is my next big project and I can’t do it alone. I’ve created a fund for anyone who would love to help me. It is hard enough finding work in my own country, as the farming and fishing season is over, and the building year is coming to end. All visas are in place to move to Australia to work with the folks at Timberwolf. Help me in this mission, and support something larger than myself, an effort to bring back native animal habitat and large forest in the surroundings of Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and New South Wales.

The Mission: Travel to Eastern Australia to restore natural forest and create native habitat in both rural and urban areas through large scale reforestation, private land and landscaping.


What for: Any money raised from this will go toward the project. The flight from Canada to Australia, basic hostel accomodations, forestry gear, field specific training, and transportation costs. I am looking to make this happen with a start date during the Australia summer (December-February)

Where: Queensland territory:  New South Wales, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne.

Why: Finding public and community support to back me on this objective for planting thousands of trees to restore the balance of a healthy ecological function to Eastern Australia. To help me on my way to complete this job to return beauty to the country, and green spaces to the city, and in the process building a new sustainable example for commercial forestry.

I plan on spending up to 6 months in Australia on this project, in order to plant enough trees to make a noticeable difference. Using modern Canadian tree planting techniques, it is possible to plant 2000-4000 seedlings per day. It is non-invasive to the environment and does  not require heavy machinery, or destructive techniques that disturb animal habitation. Instead it is a smart, efficient, and non-confrontational method of planting, using only a shovel, bags, and fertilizer. I can not do this alone, and seek the donations of those who recognize the importance of healing damaged and exploited areas of this earth. For those who read my blog at aferalspirit.wordpress.com you are already familiar with my field of work in permaculture, rewilding and bringing forests back, as well as my documentation of indiginous peoples from my travels.
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https://aferalspirit.wordpress.com/category/rewilding/
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I don’t want to just ask for money without giving anything back, and I want to give people the possibility of supporting me if they feel they want to. I will be making a textually narrated photo album with selections from my latest travels, and stories in the coming months to provide to those who would like to own one. I have always wanted to put one of these together, and possibly in the future I can self publish it.

If you like what I’m doing with my life, what I write about, or if I inspire your dreams to come alive, to travel, to take an adventure or you just enjoy reading about my adventures, your energies, thoughts and donations are extremely valued to me.

$10 I will have your name on a personal honor page on my blog of contributors
$50 I will write a personal email to you and mention on blog of contributors
$100 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress from the work, and digital version of ‘photostory’ album
$200 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress from the work, photos of the land, & digital version of ‘photostory’ album from travels
$500 personal email, mention on blog, letters of progress, photos from the land, & digital version of ‘photostory’ album from travels, and a handmade gift

I am interested to get involved with travel and culture magazines out there who may want to support this journey too! And I am always happy to hear from you with feedback, insights, or recommendations of places I see myself traveling to next, namely Australia.

Here is a story from a fellow world traveler who wrote and made a video about his tree planting experience in Tumut, Australia, and the link below to my ‘gofundme’page.

Re:wild Eastern Australia

Australia: The hardest job in the world

My Argument Against a Sedentary Lifestyle

When we look at the history of our species, that is Homo Sapiens, the first thing is apparent to my eyes is the very liminal window in which we have existed relative to other fauna species in the animal kingdom, if we extend this branch to look to our earliest progenitors to homo erectus, and further, still not much of a dent in the history of our evolved ape minds. It wasn’t until extremely late in our evolution that we as an amalgam of collective life decided to transition from a hunter gatherer forager lifestyle, to one based on agrarian holidays and pastoralism. Even then, our forefather and foremothers who tended to a specific tract of land, who felt the earliest notions of bioregionalism, of belonging to places and spaces, never truly ‘settled’ down for the long haul. The early farming ages, or the age of domestication, which also ushered out the building of palaces, cities, walled villages, and fortresses were actually highly mobile communities. This was the human species attempt to create something permanent, that would last through their life, and those to follow, in our great need to control the mechanics of existence. But we failed…

These early villages, farmsteads, and palaces were doomed from the start because there is only cosmic truth, and that is nothing last, as McKenna described ‘not your fortune, not your misfortune, not your luck, not your children, and ultimately not yourself’ and I would extend this to the place you call home. I often think about what our earliest ancestors had to deal with in the everyday life. The problems were not whether the morning coffee was brewed dark roast or made instant, or the problems on the news, or not being approved at work for what they wore, or having to deal with a hangover and depression from an ill disciplined life, or any trivial details that people concern themselves with. The early homesteaders were at their core, a hard people, that would have to deal with a lot more, fires, animal starvation, invading tribe, stormy weather problems, keeping warm, food shortages, debts and threats from landowners, theft, these were almost constant problems, and for those transitioning from a nomadic existence, it was not uncommon to completely uproot everything one knew and move off to another country. The mass migrations of Irish, Scottish, Icelanders, Polish and other Europeans to ‘the new world’ is testament to this, even those who seemed to have a stable lifestyle, an inheritance, and multi-generational owned land, move away from the comforts of home to start over.

We are largely the descendants of these earliest ancestors who came to North America, or those who stayed behind, while even those who came early would often return with a new family, and returning to the homeland, re-establish themselves in their primordial culture. We still have this wanderlust in our spirit to move around. As a traveler I can tell you this, because I have been on my feet for six years, the first half of these living a domestic life, while still moving every 4-6 months, and the second half, a completely nomadic life, carrying everything I own, and living with new horizons by each full moon. After 3 years of this, I tried to settle, but I realized the train was going a lot faster than I knew, and it was going to take some time to slow it down. Once you get started, you come to the full understanding of what it means to be in flux, to adapt to new places, and be in almost constant movement. Our bodies were meant to move, not only in our local habitats, whether we are walking through the forests on a blazed hiking trail, or sharing the sidewalk with thousands of pedestrians. But more so, we have evolved to be active, and deeply involved with our landscapes.

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If you try sitting down all day, you will notice you feel a lot of pain at the end of the day, because instead of being outside for instance, brachiating through trees, running by the sea, climbing hills purely to see what is on the other side, and navigating virgin terrain, your muscles did not get the daily momentum is has been built to get. Thoreau advocated the need to get out of doors at least once a day, to take a walk or alter your routine even slightly, so one may experience the novelty of the days, for as long as one lives. To go beyond this even, and to ask the question; how do you feel, being in one city for a full year? 5 years? 10 years? As the time falls through the sand glass, the need becomes even more great to experience new sights, smells, foods, cultures, sounds, and re-birth your own spirit in places you have only then read about or seen in movies, or heard from those that have been. There is a paradox of this because those that stay at home never know the feelings of that that have actually been.

Who travels widely needs his wits about him, The stupid should stay at home: The ignorant man is often laughed at. When he sits at meat with the sage

He often degenerates, and domesticates from any further growth by cutting himself off from the world, like a hermit. His body becomes tired, weak, and ugly who stays in one place. Our skeletons are forming and changing to accommodate the lifestyle we are leading, do you want your offspring to be hunchbacked, weak, and unhealthy humans because your habits today are lending to the image of our descendants, as Daniel Vitalis put it ‘Homo Fragilis’. Well we need to evolve into those Vitalis species, the elite human who has learned not to have ultimate control his habitat, but adapted so well that he is ultimately thriving there. Our ancient dna is still remembered to us, and can be activated in this hunt to reclaim mastery of the sedentary lifestyles some unconsciously choose to adopt.

Rewild. To reverse the process of domestication. 2. To return to a more wild or self-willed state.

To lead a sedentary lifestyle ultimately snuffs out the primal fire we were born with in this privileged age, and though there are benefits to staying in one place; for the right to tend land, have animals, build culture, and root in community values, there will come the times when this is not satisfying in itself and one is compelled back into the world, to re-establish his values, and feed his hunger for far away lands, and boost his mental health. It is essential to rewild ourselves to deal with the changing climate of our demanding age, and though we don’t need to traverse hundreds of kilometers to find our next meal, the majority of people will still drive this far in their cars to work and back each week. The domestic life is ill positioned to thrive in this society, and our needs are not always readily available when modern cities our so nature divorced, or homogenized to such a great degree than nothing of any quality can be extracted from it’s culture. This culture is not your friend, because it enforces conformity, and the only thing that can arise from this, is a limited perspective of being where one is only seeing through one window of their house, on the vast panoramic of the world beyond it. We need to keep moving, even the most sedentary, the scientists, and scholars of the world know this. We are trying to colonize other planets, what will we become then. We need to constantly get out of our boxes and comfort zones or comfort counties and feel the nuances of the new world all over again, and stop being submissive to it.

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Unlearn & ReWild.

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Gone a’Viking: Three Years, and Searching for Home

the goathair blanket on the bottom, the work clothes folded neatly, a calfskin mat, icelandic sweaters, then the buckskin boots, animal curio collection and precious gifts wrapped in a bandana, some wool socks from the army,the denim vest, then whatever is left that enters and leaves my scarred, tired hands; a bush knife, some artwork, candles, some organic hygiene products, a bottle of whiskey, journals, and books…

There is a ritual in every packing, every move, and every mile across the land, air, or sea. Like the nomads of the last frontiers of life, drifting like pollen blown by the wind, or setting coordinates on the horizons of good prospects. I am but a man seeking his Scandinavian soul, filtered through a Germanic expression of truth and honor for life. Partaking in an age old comunion of being with tradition, a rite of passage for the journey of the hero through the wars and winnings of a life lived on the road. Everytime my bag is packed, I set my sails on a new waymarker on the map of my existence, and let the wyrd reap a new furrow into my life’s work.

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After thrice years and a day, I find myself reflecting on the heros I have kept and used as anchor points to instill my own myths into my journey. In the words of Jack London;
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”

To be athrive with the heat of life’s fervent love, and wander afar into fields unknown, confronting both the nadir and the zenith of ultimate human experience. I remember meeting a young man very early in my travels somewhere in rural England, so new to the world. He spoke with story, and spoke of two years of continual travel from his home. I still remember it, where we would walk to after a day on the farm to drink strong sprits and make bonfyres from rubbish heaps. I think the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling and the Havamal, have been like anchor points in my personal reality, and tools along the way to understand the experiences of a man gone on his own.

Keeping close companions has been hard, keeping a mate, near impossible. Having lovers and my deepening romance with women usually depended on what next country either of us would be in. We would meet in a Scandinavian flatland, and she would be going back to the sea, I would be deep in the Mayan jungle. Our lives separated by thousands of miles with barely a technological tether to keep the flame alive, this is usually how my relations would unfurl with the close feminine, hungering for more, living on rationed love. I’ve kept a few close and thought they would be there ‘in the end’, and others whom I shared the idle hours of night, never to be seen again. Tramp love I used to call it, nothing really substantial or of spiritual depth, and  those allies that have stayed to prove their honor are few. I’ve been wrecked and ruined, tied to the tracks of a broken heart more than once, seen good women turn cold, and well, haven’t always been adequate myself. I’ve seen that love is so new to our kind, and we are not actually fully able to handle it, so the easiest thing to do is manipulate it in a way where there is less harm. It can not be given, or taken, it is like a cool breeze midday in the desert, or a baltic gust on a winter plain. Sometimes pleasant, sometimes a vice.

If the road is the inspiration, then the community service is the fuel. Being able to offer ones skills for comfortable lodgings and three square hearkens an older time period founded on trade and ability over the dollar. It is realistically possible to travel cheaply from country to country, and volunteer with hosts far different than yourself, and form a symbiotic relationship that works, while making production on a sustainable way of life, and expounding your own self reliance from skill forging, and integration in other cultures. If one wants to meet people from other parts of the planet, they can not simply rely on multi-cultural mega cities, he or she should be comfortable in spending time at the source, being culturally sensitive to other persons will always offer new angled perspectives on who you are.

The lynchpin of nomadism is sacrifice, but it does not entail struggle, not necessarily. I have been able to thrive in harsh conditions, without money, without food, using primitive technology to make shelter, or modern luxuries such as the internet to find free lodging, and dynamic living situations in dream locations. Eventually the body does tire, and needs the primal rest stop in its evolution, it feels the need to settle, and redevelop the indigenous home where one is king is his own habitat. This is why I like to think these 1000+ plus days around the sun have actually been forming a kind of sacred pilgrimage back to my ur-home. It is if I need to visit and integrate in foreign cultures to discover, and strengthen the fibrous roots with my own. I am north conscious, I know my dwelling will be in Scandinavian lands, where I will not only survive, but thrive, and those that share the mutual experience of life with my weave will as well. There is a gift in comaraderie that is priceless, that is timeless, that is simply transcendent. I can relate to anyone in the world, I am sure, but these people will more often than not be only vaguely integral to my own personal bond forming. There are those I can consume with, take a night in the city to indulge, spend something, receive something, but at the end of the day, these are insubstantial to forming lasting relationships, because they are built on sand. There is no firm substance to the making of the friendship. Think of a pine forest that topples because the dirt erodes beneath it. The tree, or the relationship is not built on strength and honor, it was built out of money spending. I know a home base, and a lifetime woman is out there for me, and every breath of air I take brings me closer to that ultimate. Like the primal masculine dream, he seeks for land, a wife, sustainable power, and legacy. Each instance in my event horizon of the now, is another sentence in my personal mythology, cultivated through struggle, triumph, adventure, embrace, virtue, ability, and will.

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These are dark and humbles journeys into the mine of the self. John Trudell said “Protect your spirit, because you are in the place where spirits get eaten”. Such sentiments passed along from this grandfather are taken to heart every day. So few can walk the talk, charlatanism may get you an article in the newspaper and you will never be heard from again. The slower and methodical method cultures the spirit with strong instinct. One is confronted with the immediate reality of the experience, when each horizon of the day is as new as the last. To be a nomad is to become the wilderness, the weather chills the body like it freezes the sap in the trees, the sun burns the skins as it scorches the open plains, and the water comes as a treasure for parched tongues, and wilted plants. One becomes the forest, when he has spent the luna’s cycle sleeping on the ground. His blood becomes salinated, bathed in irish fog from a coastal fen, the promise of water in the mirage of the desert tunes the sun baked soul away from all mundane distractions.
“We are a spirit, we are a natural part of the earth, and all of our ancestors, all of our relations who have gone to the spirit world, they are here with us. That’s power. They will help us. They will help us to see if we are willing to look. We are not separated from them because there’s no place to go — we stay here.

 

Unlearn, Re:WILD

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Taking care of oneself, as a youth of the industrial age, is a complexing matter to be dealt with. When my dead grandfather was my age, he would have been outside every day as much as possible, in times long before the internet distractions, climbing trees, chasing his brothers through the sticks where a herd of deer or caribou may share in pace, swimming in pristine lakes not yet polluted by petro-chemicals, foraging for blueberries, drinking from the springs, and getting the diry not only under his nails but his entire body. In summa, just two generations ago, we did not nourish this fear of the natural world, of everything being dangerous, or harboring a sedentary life indoors with controlled climates, appliances, and satellite tvs to theive us of our precious life. Only two generations ago, we did not distinguish between ‘outside’ as if it were some vacational experience only for special occasions, the pinelands were our church where we went to pay respect, the birds and the animals were our entertainment as we observed their behaviors and our mutual sameness, the brooks and rivers were our baths, and we took them as often or as little as we wished. Now it seems, we must make appointments to ‘go to nature’, or take a walk in the mountain, as humans are living vicariously through tv personalities doing what we only wished we could do, but instead placate ourselves to be spectators, or observe the wilderness only through nature documentaries, and find our adrenaline boosts in extreme sport matches at the bar.

I am happy to have put my roots in the North of Kanada, and almost half of my life has been spent there, the first imprinting 7 years being especially important. I grew up in mining towns, hunting and fishing villages, small indiginous settlements, and far in the remote bush in populations of 10 families, where there were more bears than humans. Then by no virtue, I was indoctrinate into the ‘good system’ like everyone else, forced to go to institutional schools, church, and the like, and when I became a stubborn teenager learned to question authority and think for myself. I think this is when I looked back on my tracks, and decided I did take that wrong turn at Albuquerque, and ended up somewhere between enslavement city, and depression ally, because I lost my touch. I

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have spent the last decade ‘learning’ the ways of my ancestors, indeed, but I don’t think we truly learn these things, instead and with more perspicacity, I can say I have spent this last decade, and especially the last 6 years living on my own, unlearning, and rewilding of the self that I forgot somewhere on the trail. We have been conditioned, domesticated, endoctrined, governed, controlled, regimented, subjugated, dictated, branded, misdirected, and disillusioned that we have forgotten so much the way of our species. The way I think of this process of revitalizing our primal self is beautifully articulated by an elder who I close to my heart.

I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human.” John Trudell


We all are looking for answers, the scientists are looking for what’s inside their smashed atoms, the botanists are looking for new species of orchids, spiritualists are looking for new methods of healing and enlightenment, and junkies are looking for a new fix, but hardly anyone is taking a look at the scenery we have traversed and saying ‘what if our elders actually had something going here, and maybe we should try to honor the life they kept for years of tradition to pass on to us’, and not feed our beings with these filtered down replacements of reality. Gmo foods ruin our health, social media waters down authentic relationships, office buildings and apartment flats block us from natural sunlight
and environmental change 24 hours a day, universities teach us conform and delimit the endless range of knowledge we can have towards gruellingly pursuing a degree to earn a pretentious piece of paper, factories give us our cages, and repress the movements of our bodies to the same repetive tasks, and now we can go anywhere without effort, on trains, planes or emission burning cars. Yet we don’t even visit our neighbour, because we do not have ‘time’.

Some of the ways I personally have re:wilded my self, gone ‘back to the primitive’ and fused with an even more natural lifestyle beyond my nomadic travels and something anyone reading this could take to heart would be;

reading the ingredients list: what you put in your body is going to govern how you live and function, I see this as just plain obvious, and usually if there is an ingredient I can barely pronounce or if a can of beets or a carton of cream contains more than just that, one ingredient, there is something wrong, preservatives, gums, and thickeners have been added, vitamins have been taken away add replaced, flavors and colors have been mixed in, and massive amounts of monsanto sugar and modified corn has replaced the natural tastes, textures, and properties of the food.
sleeping with the window open: even in winter, this is important. many people crank up their heat in the winter or run the central air in the summer and then complain about high bills. If you have insulated your house properly, without that fiberglass toxic garbage, your house will regulate it’s own temperature and you should learn to live in the fluctuation of temperatures. having the window open gets ventilation and airflow. sleep nude under heavy covers instead of having several layers on and keep the window open, don’t sufficate yourself with shallow breathing during your sleep cycles, the ideal temp. would be 58, that’s F. for the Americans.

be naked: whether you need to drive out of your city cage or confine it to being in your own home, take your clothes off once in a while, let you skin breathe, and the natural airs clean and bathe you. If there is a special trail you can go to far from the public, then give yourself permission to go there and hike naked, you will see how much more mobility, vitality, wakefulness and vigor you will have, than being bogged down by clothing. Being nude in the house or outside will also have profound affects on the way you experience your surroundings, and the libidinal energy of your body.

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spend more time around young people: I have a brother, and I am 15 years his elder. I see his behavioral traits unfolding in ways not observed in common domestic and civilized society. Youth at this age, I would say 12 and under are so influential, innocent, and relatively unbiased and unconditioned. They still have those pure instincts and feral mindsets inherit from birth, unless they have been rigidly controlled by some other authority. One can really bring their mood up by spending more time around them and going along with their inspired ideas. Let yourself be moved by them, and just play with life for awhile.

music therapy: give yourself time to really choose your music, this is something I have always done, but I see it being ignored, as music becomes a background for multitasking and working. Spend more time truly involving yourself with music, or playing your own, singing (not to the radio), and truly immersing yourself in this universal language.

stop planning ahead so much: just let life live you. I picked this up profoundly while travelling through scandinavia and mexico, when you stop the monkey mind of always having constant control over the future, your fate will be able to be lived in a more organic way. this is the realm of instant manifestation, because what you think is what becomes, let your intuition be your guide.

meet real people: meaning stop spending so much time on social media, dating sites, forums, and networking sites, and actually meet the living breathing people. Since I cut out facebook, though I never had the others, I meet people in much more authentic ways, around the fire, in communities, on farms, or in nature as initial contact. So many people hide behind screens and devote their innermost selves to others they will never truly interact with and breed this inner loneliness.

adopt a mythology: so this one has been close to my heart for a decade, but it is important for every man, every woman to adopt their mythology towards life. normal is boring, start seeing the magic in every landscape, implore the depths of mysticism in the creations of art, seek the lineage of your ancestors, learn from the stories of the gods and deities of your locality, and find your footing there.
These are only minimal ways to tune in to your natural self. I have been listening to a podcast entitled Re:wild Your Self by Daniel Vitalis, and it is a true mine of information. Anyone reading this, should go there next.

Do not buy into these myths of advancement, careers, retirement, dating services, progress, domestic comforts, and technologies. The only things that these do to us, is make us lazier, more apathetic, more unhealthy, less willing, less creative, less intelligent, and afraid. Instead, unlearn, rewild, become who you are. Stop letting taboos, and political correctness, and doubt harbour your movements and power in the world. Stop being another cog in the wheel, and connect yourself to the greater chain of being that keeps us evolving, loving, being.

Turn on your true genetic potential, confide in the moment of the felt presence of the immediate experience, find the others, get outside and unlearn, Re:Wild!

 

 

Re:wilding Sacred Medicine: Redwoods and Mary Jane

this is the third and fourth injection of the sacred seed project I started over a year ago, of the rewilding of collected seeds throughout the continents. the summa of the project is here Plantman

In thee hills of Ocotitlan, Tepoztlan, 3 seeds of the magical Californian Redwood, and a single specimen of Lady Mary Jane of Christiania, Copenhagen stock have made their way to the sub-terra-nean.10838579_1592691920961016_1398870625_n

The new home.

Somewhere up in these cliffs, the triangulation of the oat-sized redwood seeds have been graciously added to the landscape, watered with my own dna saliva, and in the center, a single seed of our favorite smoking herb. The Ocotitlan hills watch over the rest of the valley of Tepoztlan, magico-pueblo, a UNESCO site. The hike up to the top was done spontaneously and circumnavigated before finding the right place to plant, near to a boulder where one can watch the pink sun set, in the land of Quetzalcoatl.  The Redwood seeds were collected from Dunoon, in Scotland, from which originally I had thousands, believe it or not I was down to 3 before getting to plant them in a suitable mountainous clime. A handful of them (probably 500 seeds) went to a friend to be planted in Slovenia. The others were lost or destroyed during my travels, but 3 remained of which are now waiting in the planetary incubator. They were planeted and dedicated to his the feathered serpent, and to Ometeotl, and the Aztec divinities. These hills are located in the Tepozteco National Park, and only 2km from the Magic Valley.


Here are the first two reports back from the queendom of the plant world.
Hen’s Bane Vinland
Maroc Toloache

Re:wilding Sacred Medicines :Toloache

hqdefaultThe first ov thee Toloache plantae have been submerged in the sands. In the soils of the Rif Mountains ov Northern Morocco. During an escapade there in these early Spring days. I found SOLace for seed in mud formed gardens painted sky blue. The Chefchaouen cliffs, thee grails of the hashish farmer. A walk down the mountain proved to find the suitable grounds for this sacred plant to be re:wilded back into the earth. 11 seeds, because one is one is one, in three different locations descending from the haus of a kief maker I stayed with. Guarded over by the sun in it’s bloom. I chose this place because Morocco is home, and I will return in time to smell their flowers and harvest their seeds, if they spread their solar semen across the face of the Rif, I will meet them with pride to know they have found home here.

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Re:wilding Sacred Medicine: Henbane ov Vinland

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The first of the sacred seeds batch has been re:wilded unto the earth. Atop a rocky crag on the coast of Newfoundland, in a village known to the locals as Wolf Cove. These hands unearthed the moist humus to make a nest for the seeds of the Black Henbane. Planted in the fashion of a sun-wheel, galdored over with medicine runes, and offerings of life essence, and Freyja’s hawk feathers. The most resplendent sunset emblazoned the sky thereafter, with deep amber and crimson hues washed over the Atlantic Oceanic abyss. There I sat and observed, as two gulls, a mating pair took evening refuge upon the same coastline I frequented, though oft in the distance. A clatter of squaks and guttural emanations between the female and the male, and then the latter hovered off gracefully above the waves for one last nightly hunt. To be privy to such an experience, as the female stood aloft on the golum of stone, and the wall, flying afar, so far. Their communication only know to them, yet an understanding know to all those who HEAR.

The Henbane seeds will go into stasis for the winter, under a slightly deeper level of dark chocolate soil, and coming to root in Spring. I am eager to return next year and observe their condition, though I have read that the seeds oft take two years to flower. This project is part of a greater working beyond myself of which was written earlier in the summer. A vessel of Morning Glory seeds hides in the damp urth of Nova Scotia, waiting to be dug up and replanted in the spring, this was done during a rite with a comrade on the south coast, and hallowed with a twig bindrune where the vessel is planted. Belladonna seeds will also take root here in Scotland, the places and spaces to be foretold…

Treeplanting Mythos Chapter II

The story goes on…

DSCN1278 The Scottish weather is washing down into the borderlands where I lay to sleep at night. Keeping the window slightly opened, the winds whips and howls across the gap, while foxes, nightbirds, and owls add a sonorous nocturnal orchestra to the soundscape of the night. The planting resumes, though temperamentally, as the conditions tend to come full blunt and make conditions quite masochistic for any outdoor laborer. A few unexpected days off once in a while, leaves me in quiet reflection on my progress, and allows me to take stock with my body again. Yule-times has come into the fray of my daily consciousness, and I prepare myself soon to go to moot, to meet with my distant kindred. Life goes along as it will in the village, and people keep to themselves mostly, and Mother Terra continues to revive with the medicine I give.

You shall be in the know already from the first journal that Kielder and Hexham have quite a full history and a genuinely extraordinary heritage. The remnants of Hadrians wall, situated around Hexham, Collerford, Corbridge and running to the West Coast of the Shire are possibly the relics of Englands most turbulent history. This wall that marks the further advancement of the Romans into the English kingdom, along which were built several fortifications, towers, and bath houses. Chesters_Roman_fort_barracksMy recent visit to the Cillurnum (Chester’s Roman fort) proved to be a tangible and influential experience. Several of the original fortresses are preserved in immaculate condition, including the Warden’s home, and the gatehouse. The Roman Bathhouse, like a modern day Sauna also sits nestled just up from the River Tyne beside a sheep farm. I paid my honors to the heroic establishment, and poured the honey madhu over the stones, and took in the grandiose beauty of the quintessential English countryside. A refurbished Anglo-Saxon hut survives standing in a nearby town, cairns, Celtic and Pictish houses, centuries old sheep folds, and natural earth features compile the landscape of the land North of the Wall.

“Englishmen everywhere! Bretheren all!
By one great name on your millions I call
Norman, Saxon, Gael, Celt,
Into this fine mixed mass ye melt.” ~Winterfylleth

The planting of trees seems to have an effect on the body, as does the repetitive cycle of living in the same house for years. Your very cells start to remember. You know how the tree feels in your hand and after closing the hole whether it will live or die. It is beginning to become instinct for me, the movements through the rough terrain, the endurance of the elements, the rough hands at the end of the day, and the endorphins pumping through me for 8 of my waking hours. This is something that I want to do, not something that I have to do for a job, or for some mundane reason because it seems bearable. I don’t believe any work should be like this, and though many would disagree, I experience tree planting as one of the platforms where those last bastions of honest and true ability is brought out in modern man. This season I planted 22,050 total and in life so far, that number sit at 117,766. I am seeking unique experiences, fitting in with this self styled mythos, of people who are here for more encompassing reasons. The level of conformity in the tree planting culture is harrowing, and few people I meet are outspoken of what really moves them, all they talk about is the planting and nothing else. In fact, as a planter myself, I aim to destroy these shallows directives of the ‘typicalness’ of the faceless. In my first proper season, I became to be recognized as the most unfit for contemporary society. Why? Because tree planting is not part of the mass producing, horde of industry that characterizes the modern world. In itself, the planting of a tree, is a heroic deed, a metaphor, a resistance against commercialization, it is anarchic, and outlawed. Because modern society does not value sentient life, and nature higher than it’s own gain. Constantly, radical environmentalists, farmers, anarchists, and guerilla rewilders are punished, questioned and even put in jail for their actions, because if you are doing everything you can to actually increase the true quality of life, of your folk and of the animals or the environment, it means you are not in Tesco, buying some new trend piece of electronic junk that was hyped up on the evening news, and you’re not lazy enough to buy your dinner at a restaurant, and you make your own entertainment with friends and worthwhile company. If you are not supporting the system, you are an enemy! This is part of the reason I am a fuckin’ treeplanter, because I want nothing to do with any kind of ‘on the grid’ living, or system or tax, or class of people. I have no bank account, or council bill, or rental agreement, or car insurance, these are worthless to me, and unnecessary in life. When I plant, I get very close to my animalistic nature, the sound of only my breath for hours on end, being exposed to any type of weather that afflicts too the birds and the deer, honing my physical capabilities as did my ancestors did in the mines, or in the forests waiting for the hunt.

I enrich my body with the yoga of the east and the rune stadhas DSCN1282of the North. Getting to know the local smith and his lass here in the village has been a worthwhile prospect for some elder craftmaking. I have the bull-roarer which I bring to the block and blow out before and after planting, and a couple ideas for some horn cut off bangles, like the ones given from the drighten to his men over in Lindisfarne in times past. The ‘Holy’ Island may be a travel destination in the not so distant future. Being out of doors for a time almost equal to the time spent in doors, I often witness things in the course of a couple days that would otherwise go unseen by some people in years or even their entire lives. Upon finishing planting a block and heading down the logging road, a gang of renegade goats stood blocking the way. I went out of the planting truck and chased them half a km down the road and over a bridge. The stampeded over and under the bridge, and then two of them starting brawling. Two black goats fighting with their horns, trying to gain supremacy. I also observed this with some sheep vying for some food while one tried to push the other down a steep slope. It’s survival of the fittest out here! and I am one of them, a black goat, rustlin with my horns. My planting level stays at a constant, fluxing naturally it seems with the amount of sleep I receive, usually directly related to how late I stay awake the night before for study, reading meditation, and the endless projects I keep to. Another purpose of my presence here is to spread the message of ATWA. I traipsed out to a quarry and left my tag on the stone cut wall. These quarries are located near some several thousand year old burials of early settlers here, and I fear the rock piles may eventually be stolen or destroyed by the quarry work. Some recent solitude has given me some time to reflect on this past month, and the year, of the person I am, perpetually in a state of change, RISING, and conquering my own fates.
I have heard tree planters described as a tribe, but if pressed if whether I DSCN1307agree, I don’t see a faction of this kind within any of the planters I have met. There is no tribalism, no clan structure at all. To share a common interest in not enough. The tribe is interdependent, frithful, and able to move mountains with their combined force. It is a scarce occurrence that the sentiment of this culture goes off on any primitive tangent in the way that tribalism decries. In my opinion, this work does open an outlet for the primitive that is overlooked. It paves the way for other past times I occupy my time with when not planting. I live in a wild place, and view it in the same. There are still parts that are primitive, and relatively untamed. My life here is not dictated by a status quo, or a pseudo idea of morality. It is let to unfurl, when I go for a walk, with my head in the forest, and my eyes on the sun. If we are to be called a tribe at all, we must look inside and actually realize it, that family still exists, and we are brash creatures, with wild reserves of skill beneath our facade. I come to this land and choose to know it by it’s own terms, I belong to it, not it to me. I wish to see it from a primal perspective, and everything I do, because it is the reason I am here, not to make a living, but to see if I can truly LIVE.

“As for the primitive, I hark back to it because we are still very primitive. How many thousands of years of culture, think you, have rubbed and polished at our raw edges? One probably; at the best, no more than two. And that takes us back to screaming savagery, when, gross of body and deed, we drank blood from the skulls of our enemies, and hailed as highest paradise the orgies and carnage of Valhalla. ~Jack London

Treeplanting Mythos: Chapter I

DSC_0258Wolfshaman my name, Woden working in the dirt, tramping again in the North, rewilding the land beyond the wall. My hooves cover stick and stone, from dawn til’ dusk in the clearcut making the seeds take root. I am dwelling in a village called Kielder, recently given an award for the darkest skies in Europe, which lives up to such a statement. At night the porous milky way is permeated with millions of those white celestia, while the surrounding dark maw looms like a wolf’s mouth swallowing up the parapet of the sky. Full of AWE, and mystery. I read the runes in the nature around; in the forests and hills, in the sunburst sky, in the feral fauna, and the stars. The land conjures up images of pioneers, and pagans in elder times, living off the hunt, and worshiping at the cairns and earthworks that are set into every square patch of the map. The place is Kielder, maintaining a population of less than 300 year round, 3 miles from the Scottish border. The area has a history of bloodshed, and outlaw raiders who stalked the borderlands during the war between Scotland and England. The vitriolic behavior of the peoples here reverted to survival-ism as families tried to ensure their livelihood. Folk were forced into this predatorial method of living, back to primitive human concerns of fight or DSCN1154flight, fuck the weak mentality. Livestock was stolen and taking across the lines, and people for ransom. The bastles (stone defense protection houses) and barmkins (stone wall surrounding bastle for catttle) are broken yet remnants remain in hundreds of areas along these parts. If one person was raided, they were allowed to make a counter-raid within six days, carrying a burning turf on a spear to announce their presence, and using sleuth-dogs to follow tracks of the former raider. Being so far from both hubs of governmental law in Glasgow and London, the borderlands were somewhat a lawless region. It reminds one of the utangard of early Germanic society, the ‘heath-land’, where heathens lived. Outside or on the fringes of the country where nature had more sway than the powers at be. Though no longer hostile, and not nearly as dangerous, this is where I live for my treeplanting season, and the sentiment of the past casts a silhouette on my thoughts often, being outside civilization, and much of the modern trappings allows for the cultivation of local story. The heritage. The myth. This is what this journal is about. It is on building your own myth. Transcending the mundane through the medium of the profane, and finding the sacral in the simple.

“To the darkest place that we know, Outside of the rider’s domain
To the heart of the wood, To the hidden places beyond the briar thickets” ~Wolves in the Throne Room

Thousands of other planters have entered the fray, as a greener, a crew boss, a highballer, they plant their trees and give their orders, and supply the timber for the logging companies, and the government makes their money and everyone is (mostly) happy, but then they leave after the summer ends and go back to their normal boring lives. It was just another job, money for university, or a place to ‘catch up with friends’. I am turned off by this banal mentality, of doing something just because it serves another complacent void you need to fill in your life. Working for the hierarchy, and I hate to say it, where you have no fucking choice in much of anything, DSCN1217you are the bottom tier, the thralls who are getting paid 10 cents an hour to perform masochistic labor for the profit producing companies at the top who will exploit you at every chance they get, the tree salesman I am talking about. I know this because I have done it as well. This season though, the winter of 2013 I am going a different way. I may still work for a Forest company but this is not the means to an end. I aim to fortify my planting experience this year with more than just numbers or quality specs. I feel the need to conquer, and if not redefine at least innovate what it means to be a treeplanter. Does it sound arrogant, or crazy? Maybe it is, but change never happens by sheep in wolves clothing.

The saga goes…

Well underway in the planting now, becoming more attuned to our animistic diurnal activity clock. I wake while the moon is still a starling white, and by the time the first tree is patched into the soil, the dawn has come and Sol, pulled in her chariot starts its course above the horizon. I see the land with blithe eyes, and breathe the cold northern ether. In a mad run, I could pound in almost 2000 bare root trees before the darkness comes again on these December days. The runes swirl about in my headspace, on a circuit of 5-10 seconds, the time it takes to find the next tree and repeat. A day deep in the logging roads, isolated a half hour from the closest thing resembling a town, one becomes instinctual, if they allow themselves to realize it. I am not merely going through the routine, but enveloping myself completely within my own consciousness, and meshing the physics of my body to the rugged natural elements, the final law. Here, the primal initiative takes place, and I turn into the beast. I slough off weakness and dross, limits and expectations, and trade them at the crossroads for life experience, apostasy, and mythic revelation. Thor strikes the fallow earth with the Mjolnir hammer and fertilizes the ground, god of the good harvest. And I am one in the same, striking soil with shovel, instilling the might and main of my power back into the earth.DSCN1119

England is a region with layers of ancient history, and surviving heritage. The remnants of which can be seen on a walk in the country. There are stone structures, burial grounds, centennial old homesteads, Celtic and Roman fortifications and some surviving native forest. Most common here are the cairns, and Celtic buildings, Hadrians Wall, and medieval architecture. I shall relate the experience from a 60 hectare Sitka Spruce block. Planting near an abandoned defense house, as I clambered over slash and jumped over water pits deep enough to submerge me, my pulse and heartbeat holding a rhythm above sixty the whole day. I found some ruins of an old Celtic settlement with what looked like 2-4 rooms. I climbed on top of the walls, built of individual stones. 3 old growth tree stumps marked the true age of the ruins, the girth was at least 6 times that of the surrounding forest, which probably only lives to 60 at its wisest before being cut. The surviving stumps drew back my perceptual time frame several centuries, and I started to ponder what life would have been like. What would have been around the house at the time, surely no graveled roads, and mass farmlands. I started imaging the peoples of the Celts, and maybe a few Scots who could have come down to trade, being so close to the border, where they may have buried the family members as they died, probably in the corners, what the looked like and bizarrely, what they would think of their home now, as it is with the extreme change in environment. On a returning day, while planting in a gale that hit the northern counties. 100mph winds, forcing my way across the broken and scarred wasteland, while Odin tried to pick me up into the skies in his chariot and Midgard’s breath became my bane. I planted my final tree as I was nearly knocked off my feat, and a spruce 10 times my height fell to the ground 20 feet from me. I ran and threw my gear in the truck and we left with other trees falling ahead and behind us. I cultivated the experience because I had the choice to stay home, but I didn’t and left soaked to the skin, feeling completely vulnerable to nature yet, like a primal energy moving through the land. We went home early to a complete power outage in the village, :UR: and I cooked a dinner of blood pudding, root veg, and apple strudel over a fire that I kindled in the backyard, then sitting with candlelight, fire and some rebel country tunes playing on in the night, I hail Freyja for the food, and sat glistening with the Wodened sneer of a day done well.
Mistral wind, chaser of clouds, Killer of gloom, sweeper of the skies, Raging storm-wind, how I love thee ~Friedrich Nietzsche

DSCN1118Living in Northumbria and so close to Lindisfarne, I feel a connection to ancient ideals, the wilderness has become domestic sure, but the local lore still survives if you know where to look. After dark, if I take a walk into the bush, I see the sky as it was when the Vikings would have seen it, untainted by artificial light, when they raided here in the 8th century and ran with torches under night cover on the beaches with their loot. There are places named after the Germanic gods, and the ruins of Bastles for miles across the borderlands. Between planting days, I work out at the castle, or do some crafting at the smithy. My personal Yggdrasil tree is halfway up a hill, where I go to make offerings of my DNA and pilfering I have collected from months past; shells, feathers, Norwegian rocks, food….

Planting is the REAL work, testament of what the body is capable of. I always think about the bygone stories of the forefathers who who spend all day in the mines, building their homestead in the dead of winter, or in the bush for days, hunting for the family. These are the kind of people that are remembered, and the ones I honor, because they actually make stuff happen, instead of watching other do it for them. Treeplanting to me is of the same ilk. It’s brash, hard, sometimes monotonous and a test of mettle. Not many people want to do it, and there is no special treatment. But when I plant a tree, I don’t think about the 10 cents I am earning per seed. I think of the habitat for that roe deer or I just drove by on the way in, the hyperborean landscape it will resemble when trees grow 40 years on and the snow comes to douse them in powder, the refuge and stalking grounds for the hunter and trapper, and the resistance against a society that believes in exploiting the natural lands. There is an acute feeling of feral abandonment when I am walking the logging roads, and see a falcon or a buzzard spying for it’s supper, or two ravens quarelling with bleating croons. The wights symbolic of north country have accepted me into these places, and I am privileged to observe them in their ways. I am unfurling my own modern mythos back into the land.

I am here in Northumbria until the end of March, but before me I have the prospect of planting for the Ojibwe and Cree peoples in Manitoba and Northern Saskatchewan for next Spring Summer. I would like ideally like to live with them as well, and partake in other re-wilding projects concerning their ancient customs and traditions. I support Native resistance in anyway and would not like to see their boundaries and property become raised into non-existence. I believe the mythic and spiritual aims can be accomplished on a grander scale and make more powerful change in these setting, and am working my Wyrd will to make such potential a reality.

Treeplanting Sagas Chapter 6

In our last bush camp, we drove 3 hours from Upsala Ontario I was planting a lot of old plantation ground. This means there had previously been planted spruce and pine or it was aerially seeded, and we are supposed to space apart from them. Treeplanting has a lot of requirements in order to mimic nature. I decided to take these last 5 days quite lightly on my body, since I had been in it for 63 days already. During one precarious day, I ended up having my most serene and memorable  moment as a planter. After being given a piece of bracken bush land to hack out on my own all day, and getting ravaged hundreds of times by deer flies and horse flies, I finished my piece and cut through the bush down into what opened a lush moray of small islands. The sandy shore had imprints of moose and bear and jutted out with rocky boulders and sedge. I swam out to one of the islands and lay on the hot rocks meditating while the sun wrapped its warm cloak around me. I performed the Laguz stada and galdr for the land wights, and hallowed this special place. The clean, and sparse vegetation that sprouted on the stoney islands decorated the entire lake. On the ride home to camp, I had the privelage to see a young wild lynx running into the forest. I finished the day in some fine company, and had a deep restful sleep. The last two days were spent engaging in just slowing down and enjoying the planting to full, plunging into some deep conversation with a friend all the while. The last day of the shift was the night for people to be acknowledge for their traits throughout the season. I was given the title of ‘most unsuited for contemporary society’ by our tree runner Nij. The aurora borealis also streamed over the sky, first appearing in the shape of an eagle, and then each band shifting and dissipating back to space, in hues of green and light red. It was a perfect ending in my opinion to the treeplanting season, as I had been at it for 68 days. From all it’s worth I planted 86,916 trees.

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