Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Entrainment Transformation Principle

"A physics phenomenon of resonance, first observed in the 17th century, has an effect on all of us. Entrainment is defined as the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. It is also defined as a synchronization of two or more rhythmic cycles. The principle of entrainment is universal, appearing in chemistry, pharmacology, biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, astronomy, architecture and more. The classic example shows individual pulsing heart muscle cells. When they are brought close together, they begin pulsing in synchrony. Another example of the entrainment effect is women who live in the same household often find that their menstrual cycles will coincide.

Discovery of Entrainment.
The history of entrainment is linked to Dutch scientist, Christian Huygens in 1665. While working on the design of the pendulum clock, Huygens found that when he placed two of them on a wall near each other and swung the pendulums at different rates, they would eventually end up swinging in at the same rate. This is due to their mutual influence on one another."

The process of Entrainment has been noted in transpersonal psychology and has been worked with in neoshamanic circles as well as in work with the manipulation of consciousness by various means. Entrainment is indeed universal "appearing in chemistry, pharmacology, biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, astronomy, architecture and more." It is a phenomena within nature, and a common one at that... synchronization and synergy are also ways of looking at the product of Entrainment. Entrainment can be consciously produced via many practices spiritually, and it would be my argument that many animist practices of altering consciousness are aimed at some sort of Entrainment in general.

Doing this practice as described above aids one in getting a much deeper understanding of bioregional animism. Being able to feel the land as part of ones self and to be able to feel that the land feels you as a part of its self is basically the root experience of Bioregional animism. I created this practice in the hope that more people would be able to actually feel and experience bioregional animism out side of it just being an idea for them.

Click to read the practice described above . . .

Monday, May 03, 2010

Coyote's Guide

A long, long time ago, maybe two hundred thousand years ago, and in a few places still today, the native people who lived off their land schooled their children – but they did it invisibly. Our ancestors’ children didn’t go to school. School surrounded them. Nature was a living teacher. There were many relatives for every child and every relative was a mentor. Stories filled the air, games and laughter filled the days, and ceremonies of gratitude filled mundane lives.

This Guide passes on this method of invisible schooling, so that people will connect with nature without knowing it. They’ll soak up the language of plants and animals as naturally as any of us learned our native language. Do you remember learning to talk? Probably not. Spoken language happened around you all the time, and allowed you to experiment with words, make mistakes, and every single day grow vocabulary. Mentoring with the language of nature happens just the same. With stories, games, songs, place-names, animal names, and more, you invisibly and subtly stretch your students’ language edges.

The invisible school of nature proves to be more than just effective, it is also fun, healing, and empowering. Like the Coyote whose methods at first seem unorthodox or even foolish, in the end, it works better than anyone could dream.

Click to Read More

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nican Tlaca Civilizations and Accomplishments

Our true Nican Tlaca heritage is something we should learn about and be proud of. We as Indigenous Peoples to this continent have a great history.

Tlazocahmati to Olin Tezcatlipoca, Nelyollotl Toltecatl and all of Mexica Movement who all made this video possible. Mexica Movement is leading the way towards Liberation for Our People. Visit their website at . Some of the pictures in this video were taken from the Anahuac Mural, a project of the Mexica Movement.

Visit the Anahuac Mural site at .

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Comic books and Animism?

Excerpts from an interesting post on comic books, animism, magic, saints and super heroes, psychology, history, alchemy, and Catholicism, Jules Evans @ The Politics of Well-Being


[This is an edited version of the first chapter of a book I wrote but didn't get published, about how modern animation, and particularly superhero comics, have their origins in animist beliefs that were pushed out of the mainstream by first the Protestant Reformation and then the Scientific Revolution. These animist beliefs may have been suppressed and discredited, but they remain in the folk consciousness, and give rise to cultural phenomena like our love of superhero stories.]

. . . Superheroes are a flight from the rationalism of the modern world, from what Max Weber called the ‘Iron Cage’ of rationalism in Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism. Part of that rationalism, as Weber noted, was the bureaucratization of modern life: the welfare state, the NHS, the web of government agencies and regulations through which the modern individual must try to find their way. The superhero was born in the 1930s, during the New Deal, which was the greatest increase in the size and power of state bureaucracy yet seen in politics.

Superhero myths express a longing for a simpler kind of politics, for an earlier age, when the people felt a strong emotional bond to a charismatic warrior or prophet.

Weber defined the charismatic leader as akin to a superhero, in that the charismatic is “endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader.” We remember that charis means gift in Greek, so it’s not so far from the Greek or animist belief that superheroism is granted as a gift by the Gods or the spirit world.

In a century of mass movements, mass production, mass employment – a century of the masses in other words – superhero myths celebrated acts of individual heroism. They hark back to tribal times when an individual could make a difference to the future of the tribe, could ‘save the day’. The heart of superhero myths, like other heroic narratives, is the trial by individual combat, the wrestle, the boxing match, the fighter-pilot dog-fight, the Western duel.

As Weber noted, the modern bureaucratic state asserts a monopoly on violence, while we long to escape from this cage, to indulge our pre-civilized desire to beat up, torture and kill our enemies. Comics give us an outlet for this bloodlust. They release the wild man from the iron cage. . .

. . . So superhero comics are imperialist, jingoistic, anti-democratic, anti-civilization and devoted to the worship of uninhibited violence and (in manga) frequently rape as well. They come from the same dark, tribal and irrationalist part of the psyche that led to fascism.

But we can’t say that comics created this part of our psyche. Perhaps they help us become more aware of it. Indeed, the present generation of comic book writers is very much aware of the amoral and even fascist strains in superhero myths, and they consciously explore them. The costume and character of Judge Dredd, for example, was consciously modelled on Franco-era Spain, although this, and the fascist tendencies of Dredd himself, did not seem to put readers off. “The more fascistic we made him, the wilder the readers went”, notes Dredd’s creator, Alan Grant.

Jamie Delano, creator of Hellblazer, has said that comics “are shining a light on the beast which crouches in the corners of our minds, giving us a chance to both recognize it and oppose it”. This is true of the most conscious hero myths – they make us aware that the demon the hero is fighting is actually a manifestation of his own psyche, a reflection of himself. This point is made in Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver, in the famous scene where Robert De Niro stands in front of a mirror and says ‘you talkin’ to me?’, practicing playing the heroic vigilante to his own reflection. The point Scorcese or writer Paul Schrader seem to be making is that this particular violent ‘hero’ is fighting his own shadow, his own demons, projected onto external figures.

We see a similar exploration of the hero myth in Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy, which to my mind is the greatest hero myth we have in our culture. At the beginning of it, Oedipus the heroic slayer of the Sphinx and saviour of Thebes is trying to discover what evil lurks in the heart of Thebes. As the play carries on, Oedipus realizes that in fact he himself unconsciously committed the crimes he is investigating. He is the monster he is seeking, the shadow he is pursuing. When he discovers this awful and humbling truth, the chorus says:

“Some demon of the night,
Some destructive impulse in man, prowling
Silently around you, waiting its chance,
Has sprung with inhuman strength, howling
At your throat.”

And yet Oedipus’ true heroism is that he doesn’t project these demons onto others, and then blame them for his mistakes and suffering. He takes responsibility for them. He says: “I’m the one / Who must bear the guilt and the punishment / And the shame. And I must bear it alone.”

While the rest of us run from our demons or project them onto others who strike us as strange, alien or threatening, Oedipus has the moral courage and self-awareness to confront his demons, to endure their wrath, to endure the loss of everything he has. And yet this submission, this annihilation of his ego, leads to a transformation.

By the second play in the trilogy, Oedipus at Colonus, the demonic spirits that tormented him are placated, and become his helpers, granting him magical powers. He becomes a shaman-hero, in touch with the chthonic spirits, able to see the future and to read the signs of nature, and his body has magical powers to protect the city where he is buried. So the hero goes from being a demon-slayer to the integrator of the daemonic.

Why do we need such heroes? Civilization, as Freud told us, forces us to repress or hide the primitive aspects of our self – the violent, the sexually uninhibited, the wild.As we hide or repress these parts of us, they become demonic and hostile to our conscious selves. They attack our realities, trying to gain expression and release. Our selves become divided and at war, like Jekyll and Hyde.

At a simple level, comics, like dreams, provide an outlet for that which is forbidden by civilization. Manga, in Japanese, means “irresponsible pictures”. Comics take us to the forbidden underworld – that’s why so many superheroes live in caves, like the Batcave, and why comic book stores like Forbidden Planet in London are so often underground themselves.

The underworld is home to demons and monsters. But, if Jung is to be believed, it is also the source of our divinity, and home to powers and forces that we have forgotten, and to spirits that guide us on our journey. Joseph Campbell wrote: “the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling we call our consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves…There not only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted psychological powers that we have not thought or dared to integrate into our lives.”

Campbell suggests, rightly, that the highest hero myths provide us with a map for this journey. They “carry keys that open the whole realm of the desired and feared adventure of the discovery of the self”. And a crucial part of that discovery is the confrontation with our daemonic self, the parts of us we have hidden or left behind in the progress of civilization.

We must confront the Unconscious, recognize it, take responsibility for it and integrate it, if we are to continue on our journey to enlightenment. Campbell writes: “The hero…discovers and assimilates his opposite (his own unsuspected self) either by swallowing it or by being swallowed. One by one the resistances are broken. He must put aside his pride, virtue, beauty, and life, and bow or submit to the absolutely intolerable. Then he finds that he and his opposite are not of differing species, but one flesh.”. . .

. . . in Princess Mononoke, the world of humans has become out of balance with nature. The spirits of nature, no longer heeded or respected by humans, have become demonic, and try to attack and destroy human civilization. The nature spirits are led by a magical warrior-princess called Mononoke. The only person who doesn’t try to fight the spirits is Ashitaka, a warrior who has been wounded by a demonic boar. He sees that the nature spirits are just trying to restore the natural balance, and that they are necessary for the flourishing of life on the planet. He risks his life trying to intercede in the battle between civilization and the spirit world, and though the humans’ city is destroyed, a new and better civilization is born, one which will perhaps be more in harmony with the planet.

The superhero, in these films, is like the Romantic poet or the tragic hero. They are the heroic intermediaries between civilization and the spirit world of nature that humans have left behind. They are seized, possessed, by spirits, who drag them down to the underworld. The hero manages to overcome this challenge, this death of the ego, and to make peace with the spirits.

He or she then returns to civilization, as the ‘master of both worlds’, helping us to accept the daemonic parts of us that we feared, helping to re-connect us to the spirit world, bringing the conscious world into balance with the unconscious, and thus protecting the conscious world (or the City) from destruction at the hand of demonic or unconscious forces. And this re-connection to the spirit world is also a re-connection to the world of nature. As Coleridge put it, the poet (or hero) helps overcome “the enmity of nature” – that feeling that our civilized selves are fake, inauthentic, out of touch and even at war with our deeper nature.

This old belief in the possibility of an animist relationship with the spirits of nature has been rejected from the mainstream of Western liberal, rationalist and capitalist society. And yet we find it, like a diamond in a junk shop, in the cheaply-printed pages of superhero comics, through which is expressed the longing, as Michael Chabon puts it, “truly to escape, if only for one instant; to poke one’s head through the borders of this world, with its harsh physics, into the mysterious spirit world that lay beyond”.

So superhero comics can turn up a lot of nasty parts of the psyche – nationalism, tribalism, sexual violence, moral simplification, the demonization of enemies. They speak to a primitive part of the psyche, which often feels itself at threat from invisible forces that it does not understand and before which it feels helpless. At their most basic level, they can appeal simply to the longing for violence and domination which civilization forces us to repress.

But higher forms of the medium can do more than this. They can help us to recognize, accept and transform the darker parts of our psyche. They can make us feel re-connected to our selves and to nature. Our divinity, Jung suggested, lies waiting for us in the dark underground of our souls, if we have the courage to descend there.

The artist, in this model of art, is the real superhero. He or she has the courage to descend to the depths, like Orpheus descending to the underworld, in order to re-connect us to the spirit world, and thus to our divinity.

This belief in the artist as superhuman medium between the mundane and the spirit world goes back to the earliest human art, to the idea that the shaman drawing a picture of a buffalo on the side of a cave would somehow win the favour of nature spirits for the tribe’s next hunting expedition. Shamans, as we’ll see, are artists as much as they were priests or doctors. They go into trances, become hosts to spirits, and then sing, dance, declaim verse and paint pictures. . .

. . . When the Protestant Reformation and the ensuing scientific revolution pushed animist and magical beliefs to the sidelines, this belief in the magical power of art was also marginalized. The polite eighteenth century poet Alexander Pope might describe the spirit world in his poem, The Rape of the Lock, but his description is reduced to little more than an amusing literary device.

The Romantics, however, passionately resurrected this idea of the artist as spirit-vessel in their rebellion against the rational and mechanistic world-view of their era. The poet, in the works of Coleridge or Wordsworth, was a man possessed, seized by the spirits of nature and made to act as their conduit, their lightening conductor, in order to communicate their message to mankind. Or the artist was a sorcerer who created Golem-type animated figures, like Dr Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Gothic fantasy.

The last gasp of this exalted view of the artist in European culture was probably in the 1920s, with modernist artists like Kandinsky or Duchamp, both of whom were influenced by alchemical or shamanic ideas, and with modernist writers like TS Eliot or Antonin Artaud. But the anti-democratic and often pro-fascist stance of some of the key figures in modernism helped to further discredit the view of the artist as some sort of exalted emissary from the spirit world.

As our idea of art has become less and less exalted over the last century, so our conception of the poet or writer has calmed down, until the writer is now, in the modern mind, simply a peevish and vain man trying, like the rest of us, to get paid and get laid.

But at the margins of culture, below the radar of mainstream literary culture, the comic book artist rebels against this mundane and commercial view of art, and reclaims the exalted conception of the artist as shaman. Thus Alan Moore, one of the most famous writers in comics today, said in a recent interview: “I think that artists have been sold down the river… I think that over the last couple of centuries, Art has been seen increasingly as merely entertainment, having no purpose other than to kill a couple of hours in the endless dreary continuum of our lives. And that’s not what Art’s about, as far as I’m concerned. Art is something which has got a much more vital function.”

Moore takes the view that European art, up until the last two centuries, was profoundly influenced by magic, and even in the last hundred years some of the best art was connected with occult beliefs. The artist communicates with the spirit world, and connects mundane society to that world. Comics, he suggests, are resurrecting this old tradition.

He is himself a practicing sorcerer, seeing himself as in the tradition of scholarly magi like John Dee and Girolamo Cardano. Like those figures, he believes he has been visited by spirits from other dimensions, including by a snake god called Glycon that he connects to the Greek snake-god Aesculapius. In this, again, he is connecting to an old tradition in European culture – Sophocles also believed he was visited by the god Aesculapius in the form of a snake.

Other comic artists are also practicing magi – Alejandro Jodorowsky, for example, who wrote the cult comic series The Incal, is also a practicing tarot magician and healer. And the idea of the artist as shaman or spirit-conjuror is very much alive within comic narratives. The father of the modern comic is considered to be the German artist Rudolph Topfer, whose works including a graphic re-telling of the myth of Dr Faustus, who sells his soul to the Devil in return for superhuman powers.

Another of Goethe’s stories of spirit conjuring, a poem called the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, was a main influence on Disney’s Fantasia, where the sorcerer Yensid (Disney backwards) has extraordinary powers to channel spirits into household objects and make them dance at his command.

We see the neo-Platonic idea of the artist as a being possessed by spirits in the first ever issue of Spiderman, in which we see the writer Stan Lee sitting at his desk in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, with superheroes leaping around his head and resting on his shoulders like spirit familiars. The comics writer Neil Gaiman has also repeatedly explored the idea of the artist as someone who channels or makes pacts with spirits from other dimensions, in his comic series The Sandman. And the tradition has its most recent addition in the figure of the artist Isaac Mendez, who goes into a trance and paints the future in NBC’s Heroes.

So there’s a strange situation where comics, supposedly the irresponsible child of the ‘serious’ arts, is actually arguing for a more dignified and exalted conception of the arts than exists in the cultural mainstream. The comic artist, at least in their own conception, has a crucial role to play in our society, in connecting us to the spirit world that we left behind some two and a half centuries ago after the Protestant Reformation. We may not literally or consciously believe in these animist beliefs anymore. But the success of comics and superhero myths in the last 70 years shows that, whatever we say publicly, these myths still resonate powerfully in the folk imagination.

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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Humans in the Upper Rio Grande

Discover New Mexicos Puye Cliff Dwellings, a historic National Landmark, uniquely owned and managed by the Santa Clara Pueblo Indians, descendents of the cliffs ancient inhabitants.

Originally broadcast on New Mexico PBS station KNME.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Aztlán and Bioregional Animism?

What place might the larger bioregion called Aztlán play in Bioregional Animism for those of us living here? Am I mistaking what I consider my bioregion for what is actually a watershed? Do different disciplines call use these names interchangeably? Either way, I think you know what i mean.

What issues might Aztlán bring up or/and address concerning cultural, ecological, spiritual, political, economic, and other relevant issues?

Mexamerica is a single bioregion, and trying to cut a boregion in half takes a massive amount of energy. Such an expenditure of energy cannot be sustained forever, and when that energy begins to fail, the bioregion will quickly reassert its wholeness.

What threatens the invasive culture’s dream most is the fact that a syncretic culture is already developing in the bioregion. Mexican culture had already achieved much of the bioregional syncretic ideal by mixing indigenous and Spanish elements to create a new, creative whole; that it is now so quickly absorbing the invasive culture of Phoenix, Tucson and Los Angeles testifies to the power of the Mexamerican bioregion, and the previous success of the Mexican culture as a syncretic experiment. And what better symbol could there be for the Mexamerican culture than the image of Our Lady of Guadelupe, patron saint of the Americas? . . .

. . . A binational, bilingual, bicultural region is not stable; the real problem agitating so many closeted white supremacists, lurking behind the “border fence” squabbles and the question of “immigration reform” is the understanding that the invasive culture is horrifically unsustainable. Mexican culture has already set a high bar for syncretic, adaptive culture in the Mexamerican bioregion, having incorporated Spain’s invasive culture long ago. Now, it is beginning to incorporate America’s invasive culture. What the gringos are afraid of is precisely the truth: when a sustainable, syncretic culture does eventually emerge, it’s going to have far more in common with the indigenous cultures before the invasion. They still eat the tortillas invented in ancient Teotihuacan. The Virgin of Guadelupe became a superficial mask for Tonantzin. The old gods of Mexamerica are still the Catholic saints venerated by Chicanos today; and it is not a secret continuity. It is understood, and even celebrated. The virulent racism reflects the growing awareness that the invasive gringo culture will simply become the latest palette of colors in which Mexamerica’s natives will paint the same murals they’ve always painted: the murals that express Mexamerica’s genius loci.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Indigenous Perspectives in Global Earth Observing System of Systems


By Paul Racette, posted on April 6th, 2009 in Earth Observation, Education, Featured Person, People, Technology

Dr. Gregory Cajete

Indigenous scholars around the world are leading a renaissance in understanding of traditional Indigenous knowledge. One such scholar is Dr. Gregory Cajete, a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico and author of five books on Native American education, history and philosophy. In one of his books, Native Science, Natural Laws of Interdependency, Dr. Cajete writes, “Native Cultures have indeed amassed an enormous knowledge base related to the natural characteristics and processes of their lands through direct experience and participation.” Dr. Cajete is director of Native American Studies and associate professor in the Division of Language, Literacy and Socio Cultural Studies in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. He received a Ph.D. from International College – Los Angeles New Philosophy Program in Social Science Education with an emphasis in Native American Studies. Earthzine’s Editor-in- Chief, Paul Racette, asks Dr. Cajete about Native American science and the role Indigenous perspectives have in realizing an integrated Earth observing system.

Earthzine: Describe native science and the natural laws of interdependency?

Cajete: From my perspective, native science really is a body of knowledge that has been accumulated by a group of people, Indigenous people, through generations, that deals very specifically and is very much founded on how that group of people has developed an intimate relationship with the plants, the animals, the places in which they have lived. It is also how the communities have integrated that knowledge within themselves, how that knowledge has been expressed in their language, their art, their music, their dance and their practical technologies for living in places in which they have evolved. Interdependence is a principle that expresses itself in the context of native science. Expressions can be seen in the life of an Indigenous group of people, the ways in which a group of people calibrates their agricultural cycle around key times of observation of the sun with regard to the equinoxes and solstices, how they understand when plants and animals are best to be harvested, when to go hunting, how to serve plants in certain kinds of condition for medicine and how to use those same plants, say for creation of shelter or as food. So there are many kinds of ways in which native science expresses itself in traditional native cultures. You almost have to be very specific in focusing on a particular group of people to be able to understand how the natural world is integrated in their life style and the expressions of cultures of those people.

Newspaper Rock, Utah

Earthzine: Why does myth and metaphor play a central role in human description of the world?

Cajete: That’s interesting. Myth is really an interesting term because in today’s society, myth is often viewed as a kind of a fable or false story. In native traditions, what are called myths, are better described as stories. Many are called guiding stories that were actually created to teach about something that was important to the people, such as how to survive, how to pick plants at certain times, how to create a context for sustainable hunting practices. The metaphor comes into place in the stories to teach about something else and the something else is really the core teaching of the story itself. Metaphors have been used in a variety of different ways in story forms to convey information and knowledge over generations. Story telling essentially is the first foundation of teaching anything. Human beings are story makers and story tellers.

Earthzine: Traditional Indigenous knowledge is founded on the understanding that we are all related, as in mitakuye oyasin. For some, this is a very difficult concept to grasp. What can you say to help explain this context in which Native science can be understood?

Cajete: If you understand natural systems, to say that everything is related almost goes without saying. I will use an example that I remember David Suzuki presenting in his talks where he uses the example of argon as an element that is contained in the air. They are kind of like tracer atoms. The air that we breathe and that is finite we share with each other right now and eventually we will be breathing those same argon atoms again. The idea is that air is shared by all living, breathing entities and through that physical process we become related to each other. It is using those kinds of ways to describe the fact that physically, socially, even spiritually there is this interconnection and interrelatedness that human beings share with each other and that is referred to by saying we are all related. Mitakuye oyasin is the Lakota way of expressing that idea and that reality. There are words in other Indigenous languages that describe the same thing, that we are all related. We use a term in my language, because corn is kind of our sacramental plant, a staple of our traditional diet, we say we are all kernels on the same corn cob.

Earthzine: You write, “We are Earth becoming conscious of itself, and collectively, humans are the Earth’s most highly developed sense organ.” NASA just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Images of Earth from space have transformed the way we view the world. How have images of the Earth, our planetary siblings, our Sun, neighboring nebulae and distant galaxies affected native science?

Cajete: In many ways it helps us to visualize what native science has always been, in one way or another, trying to define, first of all that we are all interrelated, we all breathe the same air, we are made of the same elements of the earth, we are conveyors of the sun’s fire, we are participants in the activities of the biosphere no matter where we are and so this idea of the photographs of Earth, especially the newer technologies that allow us to see the Earth as it is evolving its processes, its weather patterns help us to visualize a living, breathing, active planet processes, the life process of the planet itself. And so those images and ways of understanding ourselves, really do add to the conceptions and perspectives of native science. A metaphor that is sometimes used in native science is “we are all members of Turtle Island”. This is an idea that has been popularized by the Iroquois Confederacy but it is really a notion or an idea that is held by all native tribes. The metaphor describes Earth as a living, breathing, super organism and that we as human beings ride the turtle’s back. The thoughts that we think, the actions that we perform, the understandings and the insights that we gain, the celebrations as well as the sadness that we feel are all registered on the Great Mother of the turtles’ back. And so, we affect the consciousness of the Earth as she affects ours. This idea of the super organism which is the planet Earth has been held by every Indigenous culture that I can remember ever studying and can be said to be the prime philosophy of native peoples. It is the understanding that one comes to naturally; if you are a good observer you can begin to see how life forces interact on the Earth or just in the place in which you live, and you begin to have a sense that there is this greater organism, this greater process that is a part of life.

Earthzine: A principal goal of GEO is to integrate Earth observing systems into a Global Earth Observing System of Systems, GEOSS. What role can Indigenous perspective play in realizing an integrated Earth observing system?

Cajete: Much of the practical day-to-day knowledge of Indigenous people, what is called traditional environmental knowledge, is based on generations of knowledge and understandings that have been passed on through generations by people who live in certain places. Indigenous peoples around the world, living in the places that they do, have knowledge of their places that becomes important data that needs to be integrated into this broader body of knowledge if we are going to understand the ramifications and deal with issues of global climate change. These bodies of knowledge need to be a part of that broader story. We need to create a much larger story of the Earth than we have currently. What we now have is just bits and pieces of a much larger puzzle and so while we are able to see through satellite imagery all of the Earth and the system of the Earth, we don’t necessarily have the details of what is going on in specific places of the earth. The other contribution, before I go on, is one of attitude and one of philosophical orientation. It goes back to the Earth as a living system, as a living entity that deserves respect and deserves understanding and deserves some kind of reverence. Really the message of Indigenous cultures and traditions is you have to have reverence for that which gives you life.

Earthzine: We are all being impacted by climate and environmental change. The impact is now severe for many Native Americans and Indigenous peoples whose life ways are tied to the rhythms of Earth. Are there any needs or gaps that Earth observing technologies or satellite observations can fill for the Native American communities?

Cajete: One way that that technology can be useful to native areas, native reservations, native lands, and native communities, is through providing an understanding of how rapidly change is happening in certain land bases controlled by native peoples. There is a lot of interest among many tribes with regards to the GPS technologies. Tribes that have a large land base are able to see how their land base is changing due to deforestation, drought conditions, flooding or a variety of weather related effects In earlier days, let’s go back historically, the first Europeans found, what could be called the Garden of Eden, an amazing richness in America that wasn’t present in Europe. The tendency at that time was to think that this abundance was just a natural occurrence. We are beginning to understand that the abundance was what today can be called ‘terraforming,’ for lack of a better term, where groups of Indigenous people took care of the places in which they lived to such an extent that they were able to bring those places to an abundance of plants and animals and diversity. Practices of people enhanced living in those places to the extent that it created a bounty of plants and animals that humans could use for food. I know this was true in the Southwest as well because we supported much larger populations than are supported now due to an ability to work with the land in such ways that they enhanced wild food as well as traditionally domesticated foods. What I am saying is, today what the new technologies can help us do is to actually begin to understand our land bases in a much more intimate way, in some ways the way we used to understand them. I see a lot of advantages in technology.

Earthzine: You write, “This knowledge must now be transferred to others and studied seriously by Native and non-Native people the world over for the models and lessons that it can provide as we collectively search for an environmentally sustainable future.” There exists resistance on both sides. How can we lower the barriers of knowledge sharing?

Cajete: I think by helping each other to understand the cultural principles that both our knowledge systems operate from. A lot of the misunderstanding on the part of native people is the feeling that Western science is totally antithetical to native philosophy and maybe at certain levels it is. And at many levels there are aspects of Western science that are utilized by native people to enhance their lives. Likewise, consider native people’s regard, understanding and consciousness related to reverence for the land… how we are going to look at it in a generation from now. Is it going to affect our people and the people for seven generations or more? Understanding of an ecological reverence, philosophy and consciousness that guides the generation of knowledge in the context of science becomes very important and a much needed component. We are searching for, if you will, a revitalization of that reverence of the land and that reverence for all living things that we have always had because we wouldn’t be here as human beings if we didn’t have that. To bring it into a contemporary context to be able to then practice a more conscious form of science is what I am looking to. I know that Eastern traditions, Buddhism for instance, are also being explored for the same reasons, that there has to be a kind of consciousness that guides science rather than the consciousness that has guided it in the past. The big question is “how are we going to develop a kind of consciousness that allows us to work the future and work with the natural processes that are part of nature in a way that benefits both us as human beings but also benefits and cares for the finite resource which is the Earth?” Native traditions in their variety of very diverse kinds of ways were able to do that at one time and I think those are the things that we have to rediscover. This is a rediscovery on the part of native people themselves. There is one book that I highly recommend called Beyond Culture and it’s written by a gentleman whose name is Edward G. Hall who was my doctoral thesis chair. He really explored how conflict happens as a result of language and cultural difference and I think we have to begin to learn again a new kind of language of talking to each other that goes beyond those traditional barriers and traditional kinds of issues that we have culturally. Those kinds of bodies of research are very important. For me as an educator, a native educator, there are two quintessential issues that we have to come to terms with. The first one is how we are going to deal with ecological crisis which is an issue of physical relationship, our physical relationship to the Earth. The other crisis is how we are going to deal with each other, which is the issue of social ecology.

Earthzine: It has a spiritual dimension as well.

Cajete: Absolutely, the context is a spiritual consciousness.

Earthzine: You’ve called for a ‘mutually beneficial bridge and dialogue between Indigenous and Western scientists and communities.’ In your eyes, what do you see looking ahead?

Cajete: I see a lot of projects that bring together native communities and the body of native community knowledge with Western scientists working on projects related to issues that are viewed as meaningful and important to native communities. A lot of this is going on already in many ways. So, I think coalitions of Indigenous people are working with interested scientists to begin to address just issues and creating a bridge of dialog between each other. It happens actually in small ways at first in small projects in which there is a respectful and direct relationship around the issue that is established by the Western scientist and by the native community members. I have seen a lot of positive, very beneficial kinds of science being done as a result of that kind of relationship, but it begins with a social relationship, a social relationship that is established first that then leads to trust and then leads to mutual beneficial knowledge. I think those are the kinds of tasks and kinds of teachings that have to happen in the education not only presently, but certainly in the education of the future.

Acknowledgement: This interview was conducted prior to Dr. Cajete’s speaking engagement for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Science Colloquium on November 21, 2008. The seminar was co-hosted by Goddard’s Native American Advisory Committee for which Paul Racette serves as co-vice chair.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Don't Panic, It's Shamanic ~ The August Spore

The Santa Fe Spore will be holding our monthly conversation, collaboration and planning over fine food and drink at Flying Star in the Railyard, they are open late on Wednesdays, have good food and participate in the Farm to Restaurant Project. We can discuss other possibilities at the meet up.

This August we will be focusing on the current interest in Shamanism. What can we learn and integrate into our lives and culture that we lost as we moved away from more Shamanic or Animist societies? What do shamanic and animist ways of living, have to do with the flourishing of the human species? Bring your thoughts and ideas!

In tribal societies, shamans are healers and visionary leaders who go through dangerous initiations to gain knowledge from the spirit world. Modern culture repressed and dismissed shamanism as archaic and irrational. Today, our society seems increasingly irrational, unable to change its course in the face of looming environmental and economic catastrophe. Meanwhile, shamanic practices such as soul retrieval, journeys with sacred plants, and ecstatic dance are gaining popularity. What meaning and value do these techniques have for us today?

These are participatory events, they are what we make of them. If these ideas interest you, lets take the first step and discuss our ideas for future projects, events and actions.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

animist propaganda

I may be a bit behind the times on this one, but I don't usually watch kid movies. Visiting family I found myself watching The Ant Bully with my nephew. What a great piece of animist propaganda . . ur um education . . . um point of view.

I recomend it if you haven't already seen it . . .

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Evolver Santa Fe Offline Events

Animystic Muse

Be sure to check out this new animist blog focusing on "nature-centric philosophies and world-views found within literature, music, and art."

The Muses have guided creative people through out time and continue to do so. Animiystic Muse explores themes of Paganism, Animism, Eco-Spirituality, Naturalism, and other nature-centric philosophies and world-views found within literature, music, and art.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Toward 2012 -Fusion of Spirit and Science

Neal Goldsmith introduces us to psychological concepts of the self. As we evolved we compartmentalized our lives, science and spirit have been separated for millenia, isn't it time we try to reconcile them and begin to fuse them together again?

The Extended Mind: Recent Experimental Evidence


We have been brought up to believe that the mind is located inside the head. But there are good reasons for thinking that this view is too limited. Recent experimental results show that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even if they look from behind and if all sensory clues are eliminated. And people's intentions can be detected by animals from miles away. The commonest kind of non-local interaction mental influence occurs in connection with telephone calls, where most people have had the experience of thinking of someone shortly before they ring. Controlled, randomized tests on telephone telepathy have given highly significant positive results. Research techniques have now been automated and experiments on telepathy are now being conducted through the internet and cell phones, enabling widespread participation.

Speaker: Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 75 technical papers and ten books, the most recent being The Sense of Being Stared At. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, funded from Trinity College Cambridge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Essence of Permaculture

Essence of Permaculture eBook

A 16 page summary of permaculture concept and principles taken from Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren.

It contains an introduction to permaculture, thoughts about the future of the movement and the values and use of the permaculture principles. A great way to expand your knowledge in preparation for the full length book.

This pdf eBook contains interactivity that is best viewed using Adobe Reader, available from

English eBook download (468k pdf)
Spanish eBook download (612k pdf)
Portuguese eBook download (620k pdf)
Hebrew eBook download (2.2MB pdf)

thebuilders · D.I.Y. ~*~ conscious agents of change

~~~Avant Gardening, Building and Living~~~

There is more life on the edge where two systems overlap. Systems can then access the resources of both. Lets increase the edge ~ traditional, regenerative, cooperative and wise ways to build and live ~ adobe, cob, domes, yurts, living architecture, tents, wabi sabi, community networking, links/leads for learning, services and ideas, dreams, spiral walls, spiral gardens, permaculture, mycorrhizal fungi, strawbale houses, herbalism, crafts, furniture, musical instruments, festive protests, bartering, tool making, metalsmith, medicine/health, bodywork, yoga, Tai chi, Aikido, squating, ceramics, renovated ghost towns, nomads, qawwali, tea, animism, culture jamming, poems, thoughts, bioregionalism, primitives, bioregional-animism, experiences, Voluntary Simplicity.........

Lets share our stories and experiences around living a more balanced life, making this group a vehicle in bringing these topics out into the light and really happen. Sharing our experiences and ideas, and supporting each other to organize and build our lives, and communities in the "real world."

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Permaculture Ethics

Permaculture is unique amongst the sciences because above all it is an ethical system. Permaculture ethics are:
Care of the Earth (including all life),
Care of People
& Fair Shares for All.

In this short excerpt from the award winning documentary film about the suffering of animals for food, fashion, pets, entertainment and medical research, the truth about our connection with our fellow earthlings is revealed in graphic detail.

For more information about the full length movie please visit:

For more Information about Permaculture please visit:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ten-lined June Beetle – Polyphylla decimlineata

June Beetle Polyphylla decimlineata

Just the other day one of these fellows visited my home. I was surprised at how large he was and startled when he hissed at me as we tried to catch him to remove the lint from his legs and put him back outside.

Polyphylla decemlineata

He got some lint hanging out at my house.

Check out these links to find out more info on this guy . . .