Kung hei fat choi! This traditional Cantonese greeting means “May you have great wealth!” and is expressed at Chinese new year often followed by Lai see dow loi, meaning “Give me me lucky money” ;-).
are many new years celebrated around the world starting from October
(eg Divali in India) to the ancient Babylonian new year, Akitu,
celebrated at the first new moon after the spring equinox (i.e. around
March). Our focus is usually on the solstice, but, hey, any excuse for a
gathering of fun is welcome 😉 .
Here’s a quick round-up at the beginning of this solar cycle …
Thank you to everyone who joined our Walk in the Woods on 29 December. Niall, generous as ever, lifted our spirits with a shot of whiskey to toast the new year! Then, Richard and Jaspar, who had spent the previous day hacking at the brambles, led us all through the woods. It was a glorious day as the lovely photos from Milena on facebook show.
in the meantime, here are a few of our snaps scratched from a video
…part of the problem is that we think its about the election. It’s not. It’s simple. He betrayed a US citizen. He connived with the head of state of a foreign country against a US citizen. Could’ve been anyone. Could be you, one day, Mitch. No, it’s not good. I don’t want to be in that gang, whoever they are whatever they stand for. Lethal.
Of course Mitch knows his gang’s days are numbered. And that’s why he’s twisting it for all it’s worth. He’s old. Maybe he’ll last a decade or so. But that’s the maximum widow in which system breakdown will result in chaos.
America is only one example of where system transition is burgeoning to break out.
People like Mitch choose how it happens. He’s chosen the volatile path. People put up with the boot on their neck up to a point. And the inmates outnumber the wardens, Mitch.
So if you want to do the right thing the right way, point out that The Impeachment Story is not about politics, not about the upcoming Presidential election.
No. It’s not about that.
It’s simple. He betrayed a US citizen. He connived with the head of state of a foreign country against a US citizen. Could’ve been anyone. Could be you, one day, Mitch. No, it’s not good. I don’t want to be in that gang, whoever they are whatever they stand for. Lethal.
And there are loads of people like that around the world dividing one against another. They are lethal. And they are dividing us all with violent rhetoric.
We could choose another path. But we haven’t so far. And the signs have been thick and strong since 4 April 1968.
Time for you to change course, dear reader? Even if the system hasn’t, yet.
Life’s journey has no beginning or end yet events, like seasons and birthdays, mark its progress. So, in anticipation of astraea turning 20, and to say “thank you” to all the people who had helped us along the way, we thought about having an exposition of our work and a party.
people around the world have helped and supported us, so, while we
would gather here at Ballin Temple, we wanted to share with everyone
who couldn’t come. We planned to broadcast the event on the web.
We planned to share a broad, experiential perspective on our adventure over the past two decades. We’d give a walk around the vegetable plots, tool shed and so on offering little demos such as digging, harvesting, chainsawing, splitting logs and so on. Then we’d have a chat in The Tent on big picture perspectives like holonics, metaphysical dynamics, money, nature, consciousness and more. Followed by “tea” and chat (to include drinks, snacks and music).
The following piece comes from Media Lens. It combines the magic of legends with the reality of today. Perhaps it will help you look up from the rush to decadence and notice the paradise you can enjoy. To get a glimpse of paradise visit Ballin Temple where the air is fresh, the water clean and the people lend a hand …
The great emperor Bahramshah, the Sultan of Ghazna, was
moving with his army to conquer India; at his side, Hakim Sanai, the renowned
court poet. The army was in a hurry, as armies always are – the time was right,
but short, for conquest.
And yet, at some strange moment, riding past a great walled garden,
or ‘firdaus’ (the origin of the word ‘paradise’), something happened:
the Sultan stopped. It was impossible to do otherwise. The Indian mystic
and master story-teller Osho takes up the tale:
‘The sound of singing coming from
the garden caught the Sultan’s attention. He was a lover of music, but
he had never heard something like this. He had great musicians in his
court and great singers and dancers, but nothing to be compared with
this. The sound of singing and the music and the dance – he had only
heard it from outside, but he had to order the army to stop.
‘It was so ecstatic. The very
sound of the dance and the music and the singing was psychedelic, as if
wine was pouring into him: the Sultan became drunk. The phenomenon
appeared not to be of this world. Something of the beyond was certainly
in it: something of the sky trying to reach the earth, something from
the unknown trying to commune with the known. He had to stop to listen
to it.’ (‘Unio Mystica, Volume 1, Discourses on the Sufi Mystic, Hakim Sanai,’ talks given from 01/11/78 to 10/11/78)
We can imagine the scene: the enchanted emperor, his impatient army
stretching back as far as the eye can see. Throughout history, it has
always been the same story – huge effort expended on a cause that, at
the time, seemed so vital, so just, worth any cost.
In a couple of minutes you can hear what is wrong and how we can change to save ourselves from our most primitive instincts, like fear and greed.
“The real power belongs to the people.”
“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.
But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
Everyone knows that fuel is used to grow our food and that petrochemicals are used to feed and protect food. But it’s probably worse than we realise. Most food has more fossil fuel energy in it than natural, current energy. It takes about 10 fossil fuel calories to produce and transport each food calorie in the average American diet. That’s about three times as much fossil fuel as we spend on transport.
We’ve been trying to take fossil fuel out of food we grow here for a couple of decades now. If you’re realistic about it, there’s hardly any chance to make fossil free food these days. In the garden here we make a pretty good attempt. There are organic or self-grown seeds, no sprays, no artificial fertiliser, etc. We do use a two-wheel tractor (diesel so can use biodiesel), chainsaws, cutters, mowers etc, but we use a lot of Tommy Power!
There are always fossil fuels involved somewhere. It’s hard to avoid. Starting with me. I eat food that comes in a bag. Paper or plastic that bag was made with energy from fossil fuel. And of course I drove to town to pick it up, and it came to town on a big truck running on fossil fuel. And the food was made almost entirely with fossil fuels – big tractors (possibly with auto-satellite drive), loads of chemical fertiliser, pesticide, herbicide, transport, sorting (by machine) etc etc The saga of our reliance on, our addiction to, fossil fuel continues. But if you want food with less fossil in it, buy local, organic, or grow your own. 😉
Where the rubber hits the road, or the spade hits the soil, we do a pretty good job. We use a lot of physical effort, sowing, weeding, harvesting. Here is a little glimpse of what it’s like to grow natural food avoiding fossil fuel and fossil chemicals.
There are three tools on show here: spade, 3 prong hoe, and swivel hoe (aka hoop/stirrup/oscillating hoe).
The spade, being used to dig and turn between rows of carrots. The ground in the patch is very weedy because it was broken, turned and planted for the first time this year. (The ground above and below has been cultivated for over a decade.) You can see the physical effort and technique employed. You can get an idea of the rate of progress – much slower than a big ol’ tractor! But no fossil fuels are being burned and no chemical sprays are killing the soil.
The 3 pronged hoe is being used to drag away the couch grass, and other weeds turned over by the spade.
The swivel hoe … ahh the swivel hoe. What would we do without the swivel hoe? It was one of the first tools we bought 20 years ago when we started. We have a 175mm (used in the clips) and 125mm. They are still going strong. The blades and handles wear out. We’ve replaced the handle on the 125 but had to use a broom handle replacement. The 175 handle is still original and we like it because it’s long and has a concave taper which enhances its handling. We replaced blades on both. (Check Dunmore Country School for them if you’re in Ireland.)
The clips are an example of light weeding potatoes, weeding tomatoes in the greenhouse and one of heavy weeding along the back wall of the greenhouse.
In 1999 we guessed that we had 20 years to change systems if natural cycles were to be protected from anthropomorphic destruction. Our guess was pretty good – nothing changed and here we are with climate breakdown …
Now we reckon we’ve got 20 years of fossil fuels left. They’ll always be around, but only in small quantities, as was the case before the industrial revolution. Why do we think they’ll run out? Because we passed peak oil some years ago and consumption is increasing. When everyone realises oil is running out, things are going to be very difficult as food supplies will shrink, transport capacity will shrivel and no one has any useful life skills any more – like carpentry, gardening, metallurgy, … Infrastructure will disintegrate as all those little plastic washers, valve, osmotic barriers etc which allow high tech to function will not be available …
So in the meantime, we’re enjoying growing fossil free food and eating and sharing it.