Plant Consciousness – 2016

9301513_orig

This was a wonderful event full of speakers, experiential activities and stalls. You can find out all about it at:

http://plantconsciousness.com

And a list of the speakers/performers at:

http://plantconsciousness.com/speakers.htm

Each person will have a list of their favourites or who ‘spoke’ to them most. Here are mine:

Robin Harford – Contemplating Plants: Coming to Your Senses

robin-harford

Robin calls himself an “ethnobotonist” and he runs foraging courses but my sense was that he is someone who cannot be put into an explanatory box. He spoke about his connection with plants and how he would spend a long time just looking at a plant to get a sense of its true nature. He spoke about how we categorise and classify so much in our culture that we can lose the essence of the plant.

He touched on his own journey from pain to finding Buddhism in Thailand and then to connecting with plants in the UK and their healing energy. Through this, he found out about listening which is part of creating a compassionate relationship. And from all of this, he talked about how plants can help us to connect, to feel, to become aware and to heal.

His authenticity and passion touched me and I feel drawn to know more about the healing presence of plants. You can find out more about him and his courses here:

www.foragingcourses.com

 

Kay Haw – Eco-psychology and Conservation: To Give is to Receive

kay-haw

Kay works with the Woodland Trust which looks after 1,200 woods across the UK. She spoke about the transformation of woodland in the UK particularly since the second world war with the over planting of conifers and how precious the ancient forests are in terms of biodiversity.

More and more studies show how important nature is for psychological well-being. For instance, one academic thinks that intelligence is declining and maybe this is because of our disconnect with nature. Kids are becoming addicted to screens and get depressed. Another interesting point was that when an animal is stressed, the DNA restricts and finds it hard to replicate;  it is also likely to mutate.

She spoke with inspiration about her passion for connecting with nature and how it has helped her on her personal spiritual journey.

She had a wonderful set of slides too – here is just one of them:

kay-haw-2

 

Judy McAllister – The Voice of the Forest

judy-mcallister

Judy has been at Findhorn for about 30 years and she  knew all of the founders. (Eileen Caddy, Dorothy Maclean and Peter Caddy) although she spoke about her connection with Dorothy Maclean the most.

It was through her explanation of Dorothy’s outlook that I started to get an inkling of the ideas behind Findhorn. One of these being that if we can connect with the seed of an idea that is contained in the web of life, then we connect with the potential of the universe. This is the same place that holds the seed of the possibility of a tree, a plant or an animal. The door to connection with this sacred space is love and respect.  In this way, we can work with the intelligence of nature.  It’s not that nature tells her what to do but nature provides a presence where she can connect with the sacred.

She also talked about her personal experience of being on the Atlantic side of the Amazon rainforest (now much depleted). She had a mystical experience where she felt she was walking in a living prayer. This experience had a profound effect on her and her connection with nature. It’s one thing to know about forest intellectually, it is quite another to experience it.

 

Seventh Wave – Echoes of the Ancient Forest Soundscape Journey

seventh-wave

Nigel Shaw and Carolyn Hillyer provided some truly beautiful and evocative music. One of the highlights for me was when Carolyn sung in a language that pre-Celtic – spoken by the ancestors of this land. Towards the end, we danced and chanted and I felt transported into the mystery of the universe.

You can find out more about their music here:

www.seventhwavemusic.co.uk

 

John Perkins – How the Plants are Guiding us to a New Consciousness

john-perkins

John gave a coherent (and rapid!) story of his life’s journey – from an economic hit-man to a near death experience in the amazonian rainforest where he was healed by a shaman and then onto his campaigning for a sustainable world.

The part I will always remember is that when John asked the shaman who had healed him how he could help, the shaman said that it was the dream of the western world that needs to change. And this was the start of John’s amazing journey where he became one of the founders of the Pachamama Alliance.

His wide ranging knowledge and experiences, for me, gave a depth to his talk. He has really journeyed – both physically and spiritually – and this has given him a vantage point to help show the way.

 

And Also

There were other speakers too – you can see them at:

www.plantconsciousness.com/speakers.html

The event ended with lots of claps, laughter and connections. I came away on a real high – knowing that I had learnt so much, experienced so much and connected with others on this amazing journey on our planet. Wonderful!

And finally, a huge thank you to Davyd and Emma Farrell for putting on this amazing event. Here they are:

davyd-and-emma

Ian Mowll
October 2016