Having followed the journey of Sarah Spencer’s course, workshops and training about using principles from nature, tress specifically, to navigate and thrive in our lives, I was really excited when I found out that she was also writing a book about the same topic. And I’ve not been disappointed. Think Like a Tree, the book, is a beautiful and incredibly informative tool for us all.
The 42 short chapters are brimming with examples of trees from many parts of Earth, alongside every day case studies and ideas of how the nature principles taught to us by the presence of trees, can positively impact on our lives as individuals and within our communities. Each chapter covering one principle, are divided into 6 Groups – Observation, Purpose, Surroundings, Connection, Resilience, Future. There is a lot of information for each principle, as well as some really thought provoking exercises to undertake. I really enjoyed reading about 1 principle each evening and I can recommend this approach in order to take time to absorb and reflect on the details presented.
Sarah’s work with Think Like a Tree has been very much linked to her life through living as well as possible with Chronic Illness. This theme is evident throughout the book and means that Think Like a Tree could be particularly useful to others in similar situations.
Sarah claims that “Nature holds the secret to your happiness, health and wellbeing - Think Like a Tree guides you to discover your own personal route to happiness, health, success and fulfilment – whatever your circumstances” – and I agree that this part ecology, part sociology, part history and part self coaching tool lends itself to being a useful and meaningful book for a diverse audience.
Think Like a Tree can be bought directly from Sarah at
Water in Plain Sight
Judith D. Schwartz
St Martin’s Press July 2016
Water in Plain Sight is another engaging informative work from Judith D Schwartz. It furthers many of the issues she explored in her 2013 book Cows Save The Planet, alongside discussing some very timely new topics.
In Water in Plain Sight we learn many disturbing and essential to understand accounts about how our global history of violence towards our planet, in the form of agricultural practices, hunting and deforestation are drastically altering access to water. Then contributing to the destruction of our land and communities via political turbulence, discrimination, conflict and suffering on massive scales.
Judith takes us on a journey around the globe, Zimbabwe, Mexico, California, Ohio, Texas, Western Australia and introduces us to a wonderfully diverse group of people who are demonstrating some amazing ways of how they are re-engaging with the natural cycles of water, particularly in slowing water cycles down. In turn these scientists, farmers and caretakers of land tell the stories of soil, water and community regeneration through their practices.
The most powerful message I gained from Judith’s book though, is that drought is due to how soil holds and moves water, rather than a lack of rainfall, and that this flow and cycle is crucial to take into account in combating climate change.
Schwartz’s writing style as an Investigative Journalist, as in Cows Save The Planet, cleverly connects a huge amount of widely researched material which links the personal and the political. She ensures that the messages in her work are accessible to all of us, regardless of how much we already know about global water/drought subjects.
Reading and then rereading Schwartz’s work has again given me inspiration to make some very real positive changes in our communities and lands. I can recommend it to all. Water in Plain Sight provides us with motivation and hope, in the form of a whole global toolbox of solutions to actively heal our planet with.
This book review also appeared in Permaculture Magazine in 2016 and in the Permaculture Women Magazine @ Medium
Earth Based Spirituality & Permaculture
The Pagan festival of Samhain, occurs at the end of October, and today is the Samhain New Moon. One of the of the eight festivals from the Wheel of the Year, it also marks the end of one year and the beginning of the next, in the Pagan calendar.
Like some other permaculture practitioners, I love to use the solar and lunar cycles and circles within this Earth based spirituality, as a grounding tool and guidance for my permaculture projects.
The core symbolism of the death of one year, followed by the birth of the next, offers a welcome opportunity to reflect on how the permaculture projects in my life have progressed over the last year.
Im spending time using the roses, thorns and buds reflection tool with each of my current projects, to help me re explore and focus on the functions of each different design. Possible aspects of each project that are no longer useful can also be stopped. Then I identify the “seeds” of next steps to be taken in each project, plus seeds of other potential designs/projects.
Connecting with patterns in nature at this time, I have designed a ‘pause’ time within each project over the next few weeks, as the time ahead darkens towards the shortest day of the Winter Solstice. In practical terms, for me, this means that I have dedicated a blank page in my journal for each project, and with an open mind will be recording any ideas, possibilities, knowledge and insight gained over the next few weeks. Then, as the days start to gradually get longer again after the Solstice, and seeds begin to germinate, these pages can be used to help influence the next chapters in my permaculture work.
In addition, this year, I have decided to keep a dream diary throughout these weeks of inner reflection and contemplation too, which I am really looking forward to using as a new tool in my life!
I've enjoyed and valued the following resources over this Samhain festival: -
Starhawk - Wheel of the Year - Samhain - online ritual
Starhawk - Dreaming The Dark - book
Maddy Harland - Celebrating Life and Death During The Festival of Samhain - Resurgance and Ecologist Magazine
Glennie Kindred - Sacred Earth Celebrations - book
Earth Pathways - Website and Diary
Welcome to my new blog, born at the festival of Samhain 2018, the Pagan New Year. Here I aim to share regular everyday examples of how permaculture can provide healing and regeneration for ourselves, our communities and our planet.
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