[permaculture] permaculture spirituality

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Fri Jan 26 13:28:45 EST 2007

And then there are groups of white people borrowing American Indian 
religious motifs (after borrowing their land).  I personally find 
elements of New Age subcultural beliefs as challanging to digest as 
elements of evangelical christain beliefs.  And I would suggest that 
christian practice can also feed the whole mind-body-spirit, just as a 
'New Age' practice, purporting to be whole, can fail to do so.  
Two-edged swords everywhere you look.  In my gut, I don't see 
incorporation of permaculture into sub-cultural cosmologies as beneficial.

The 'New Age' subculture is looking for unitary philosophical phenomena 
much like other evangelical faith-based communities.  And with slight 
adaptation, permaculture can be presented as a unitary all encompassing 
philosophy.  However I think this is a subcultural phenomena.  I would 
suspect that this list does NOT reflect a cross cutting demographic 
(referencing the esteemed mr. London's 'mainstream' comments earlier), 
and that keeping Permaculture free and clear 'New Age' cultural 
influences, is as critical to its expansion in America as building a 
legitimate connection to the scientific community.  As MLK used to 
say... keep your eye on the prize.

Toby, I like your last question... the correlation between 'new age 
flavor' and permaculture is important.

Paul Cereghino

>Toby and all,
>re Any other theories as to why Pc gatherings and courses often have a New 
>Age flavor?
>We are of the Earth and cannot seperate ourselves from it and every thing 
>around us. We seem to forget We (humans) are animals too !!! As PCers we 
>design relationships, connections, and guilds into every part of our 
>homesites. We therefore cannot seperate ourselves from Spirit (God/dess, 
>Great Spirit, Creator et al).
>The "New Age" folks get this better than some of the other "religions" and 
>being open to spirit they may adopt a "Findhorn" practice in the garden. Or 
>practice Feng Shui, or any other spiritual practice that Feeds the Whole - 
>body. mind, Spirit.
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "Toby Hemenway" <toby at patternliteracy.com>
>To: "permaculture list" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2007 8:57 PM
>Subject: Re: [permaculture] permaculture spirituality (was: Message from 
>thecurrent President)
>>On 1/24/07 6:51 PM, "Tracie Boellner"  wrote:
>>>Too many points to respond to that really aren't relevant to this list, 
>>>so I
>>>won't bore anyone with it.  My apologies for posting my original response 
>>>the list.  It was a kneejerk reaction, and I should have kept it to 
>>>Still searching for the facts,
>>>Tracie in Michigan
>>>----- Original Message -----
>>Actually, I want to thank Tracy for posting her response. Mollison has 
>>very emphatic about trying to build that "wall of separation" between
>>permaculture and any specific spiritual belief system. He, and a lot of
>>others (myself included) feel that connecting Pc with a particular set of
>>spiritual beliefs, while strengthening its appeal to that group, would
>>diminish its ability to be universally adopted by those with other 
>>But there has gotten to be a fairly strong link between Pc and Earth-based
>>or New Age spirituality. I've met plenty of permaculture practitioners who
>>are devout Christian, Jewish, or other faiths, but rarely do they 
>>express permaculture in spiritual terms. But I've been to plenty of Pc
>>gatherings that are strongly pagan/wiccan/New Age. (full disclosure: I'm
>>pantheist/Buddhist myself, if I've gotta give a name to it). Starhawk's
>>Earth Activist Training, for example, is a Pc certification course that is
>>strongly imbued with Earth-based spirituality. I don't know of any 
>>or Jewish PDCs. So why has Pc become linked with New Age beliefs?
>>The light went on with Tracy's post. If you'll pardon my returning to my
>>horticulture/agriculture theme: Horticultural societies, according to
>>anthropologists, tend to view all of nature as imbued with spirit. For 
>>God is in the rocks, the water, the plants. In most cases, a different 
>>ultimately interlinked) spirit is responsible for each place, each 
>>each plant. Agricultural societies, on the other hand, tend to see spirit 
>>coming from someplace out of this physical world, usually a sky god or set
>>of gods not connected with a particular place on Earth. Permaculture is an
>>attempt to create a contemporary horticultural society; at least that how
>>I'm thinking of it these days. So although it can appeal to a wide variety
>>of people, it is going to have a large following among people who have a
>>horticulturalist's view of spirit. That means it's going to be difficult 
>>keep that wall of separation up. Horticultural practices and ethics will
>>naturally be drawn to (and may even inspire) a horticulturalist
>>spirituality. An important task for those of us who have an Earth-based
>>spirituality is not to create a sense of exclusion of other beliefs.
>>That's actually a natural thing for pagans. The Romans, for example, 
>>allowed the people they conquered to continue worshipping their own gods.
>>Being polytheistic they naturally accepted the idea that there would be 
>>gods than the ones they worshipped. Each group could have its own as long 
>>they also recognized the Roman gods. They did become intolerant of Jews 
>>Christians because these monotheists would not accept the Roman gods, 
>>the Romans felt would both anger the gods and create political problems.
>>Polytheists tend to be pretty tolerant in this way; monotheists, less so.
>>Any other theories as to why Pc gatherings and courses often have a New 
>>Learn permaculture in a tropical food forest in Belize this February.
>>Details at http://patternliteracy.com
>>permaculture mailing list
>>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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