On September 13, I embarked upon a remarkable five week road trip in the U.S. west. The original prompt came from the fact that I was called to go to two places, 1) the five-day North America Permaculture Convergence in Hopland, Northern California, where I would give a presentation on the Evolution of Green Acres Permaculture Village and 2) one month later, a five-day sibling reunion with five siblings and their spouses in Idaho to commemorate the first-year anniversary following four years during which we endured the deaths of both our parents (in their mid-90s) and our sister Mary, who had been chronically ill, off and on, for four decades. The first event started September 14, and the second on October 13th. And, since I hate to fly more than necessary, I decided to fly to San Francisco, rent a car, and then relinquish the car at the start of the sibling reunion, in Sun Valley.
This decision, to be gone for five whole weeks, as set by those two five-day events, felt both natural and totally impulsive, wild. What was I doing? This is CRAZY, I told myself, as I purchased two one-way plane tickets.
To make the decision more palatable to both my dutiful self and those to whom I feel responsible, i.e., in order to “justify” such an extended trip, I decided to offer four different “presentations” along the way, each one featuring an aspect of my current work. Of the four, only three actually proved “popular.” I presented on the “Evolution of Green Acres Village” four times, on “Hildegard’s Unitary World View” twice, and held one “exopermacultural conversation” with two women. What may be my favorite “presentation,” an evening when a circle of intimates view and tell stories of about the baby picture that they chose to best represent their original nature, before being conditioned by culture (see babypictureproject.com), almost, but not quite happened, once, on Vashon Island.
Since the entire journey would be undertaken during the intensity of the Saturn/Neptune conjunction during Jupiter crossing, which I knew would tend to dissolve (Neptune) all sorts of big (Jupiter) plans (Saturn), I was not surprised. Rather, I looked forward to seeing myself as “a fool, falling into mystery.”
And, since the journey was also held during the current rare and intense deep background conjunction of discontented Eris and unpredictable, excitable Uranus in aggressive Aries, I was also not really surprised at the passionate intensity of each of my (usually overnight) encounters with others, many but not most old friends of crone age, plus one-to-one overnight discussions with several members of my own family who live in Seattle, prior to the official reunion in Idaho.
All in all, during the entire journey I literally felt cushioned, held, supported by the presence of hundreds of familiars, both visible and invisible. Utilizing the times when I would drive from place to place to “process” in silence the intensity of my most recent riveting experience with others, I centered myself daily through the usual daily practices of walking, yoga, chi kung and tai chi — and, on three occasions, attempted to climb three mountains!
The final 24 hours, when I faced a what should have been a “grueling” trip home (Sun Valley to Boise to Seattle to Detroit to Indianapolis to Bloomington), found me sailing through with ease and presence. This fact especially, surprised me. However, looking back, I can see that this may be one of the “lessons” of this trip, one I was guided to solidify by repeating the longer cycle of 35 days into 24 hours: to learn how to move deeply within in the present moment, and to remain there, no matter what — and no matter how intense the experience! I.e., “Be at ease with whatever is arising!”
The idea that my five week journey was meant to create a spiral on the map felt crucial. I would begin in northern California, at a permaculture convergence, my most recent preoccupation, the one at the far end of my 73 years on this earth, and from there spiral north, then somewhat east, then slightly south, and finally curl tightly into the Wood River Valley of Idaho, where our family had spent many years decades ago, and where I would meet for five days with most of my original eight siblings, once again dipping into the watery emotional womb of multiple interconnections with intimate others.
The sibling meeting just happened to coincide with the powerful October Full Moon which conjuncted the Eris/Uranus conjunction in Aries, a “nuclear moment,” if ever there was one. (See this AND this.)
I used to say, cynically, that “nuclear families explode.” Now I say that they can also evolve, transform into a surprising new creation. This we did. Over those five days. So grateful. My life — our lives — will never be the same.
I didn’t know how many blog posts, or of what kind, I would write on the five week journey, but I ended up blogging about my experiences and documenting them through photographs, a total of 25 posts. Here they are, in order: first, the original impulsive plan on August 4, then starting in September, Day 1 through Day 35.
If you will notice, not just intense human encounters, and not just treks uphill, but gardens, individual and community, plus magnificent western landscapes, filled my days. For if the hilly, intimate, soft, subtle woodland beauty of the southern Indiana midwest, where I now live, is that of solace, then the vast craggy, tough, wild desert beauty of the mountain west is that of vista. Being a craggy wild type myself, the subtle intimacy of InDiana helps to soften me.
First, the plan:
Then, the journey:
Day 5, NAPC: Starhawk remark, mushroom dreams, NuMundo, personal humblings, Peace Altar, and old cars with trees growing through them
Day 13-14: from brother John’s house in Magnolia to Vashon Island, with crone Claudia and daughter Eugenie