June 16, 2018
Ignatius Jesuit Centre, Guelph, Ontario
This workshop is aimed at giving the participant an opening into another more ancient way of gardening and working with the Earth. As an example of this way Steven holds up Indigenous gardening, which he calls (sacred gardening). Sacred gardening has a very different set of agendas and methodologies than the Western forms of gardening that came to North America via Europe. Different even than Biodynamic or Permaculture. What this more ancient way of gardening points us toward is not just new practices in ‘land-use’ and ‘food production’, but a whole new way of looking at, being with and co-creatively participating in the natural world.
In this one day workshop the goal is for participants to engage with non-human sentience (and I don’t mean aliens or God). I mean to see and interact with other beings who surrounds us, beyond the distorted mirrors of our perception. To move beyond our mirrors, is to be baptized into the sacred river of life, bathed in the constant reassuring flow of sensation, information, love and gratefulness that flows from the land. But to do this we must first grant back the rest of existence its consciousness. Realizing that we don’t own, but rather are sharing in a pool consciousness with everything else, just like all biological life shares in a limited pool of proteins, vitamins and minerals. This granting of sentience may sound like a theoretical exercise but nothing could be further from the truth. To engage with the Earth in a REAL way is no small feat for most of us. It requires we move our consciousness to a place beyond the restrictions of reason. That we let go of our small ‘superior’ individual self. Let go of time and space, and leap into a place of unity.
Steven starts the workshop with some breaking down of our prejudice (cultivation) and then reframes how we see the natural and domesticated worlds we inhabit (seeding). After an hour or two and some questions, once there is an openness created, he moves the group outside to the divine world of Nature.
Once outside, Steven is going to walk participants through the process of addressing the land. This is done in part through making altars and prayers, that can enable a deeper communion with the land.
After some examples and instruction, participants will have a time for individual practice. Then, we will gather again with Steven to share in circle, to question and receive further insights and guidance.