Tag Archives: Heartland

A Spring in the Wood: Sustainable Tourism Event at Heartland

Burning holes in Yurt Wheel

This will be a month long event, tying together some amazing wood work projects, wild outdoor living (in yurts), and fire side cooking. We will explore the creation of some products to help Glamping in Central Italy take off: making yurts, a Shepherds’ hut, a cruck frame marquee. We well know how beautiful and versatile yurts are as a living space, and are introducing the others, the Cruck Frame Marquee being more suited to a kitchen/dining room/workshop/event space. We will be living as a little tribe around the camp fire, and alongside all there will be the the Beltane celebration, conscious cooking, a sweat lodge, and some energy work exchange, maybe even a small participatory performance.

One of the structures we plan to make is a Shepherd’s Hut, a wagon which was, since the 15th century and into the 20th Century, used by shepherds during sheep raising and lambing, primarily in the United Kingdom and France. It has become a popular accommodation on UK glamping sites. We intend to construct an oak chassis and frame with prefabricated iron wheels. 

Shepherds Hut

Shepherds Hut Chassis

Another structure is a Cruck Frame Marquees a traditional timber framed marquee, based on a 13th century Gothic design. 

Cruck Frame Marquee

This mini festival is laying the foundation for the Heartland spring festival, where we come to celebrate the sacred marriage and the start of the season. This year’s theme is Sustainable Tourism, but with a twist – we will explore the role sustainable tourism has in helping to create economy in marginal rural areas and the role well-being practitioners and organic farming plays in this.

But mainly we will be having fun, living togther in a tribal setting like we always do, exploring nature and our inner connection, eating good food and working outside.

Sweat Lodge

Admission is free, the event is run by the Heartland Association which is a small non profit, but we suggest a donation of about 12 euros a day towards food so we can keep it flowing with honey from the hive of the queen bee herself.

We will be hosting from around 16th of April up to 10th of May.

See Facebook page for more information.

Glamping as a Solution with The Glamping Revolution

Ready for the GlampItalia Revolution…? 

After 10 years of so, the Glamping (glamorous camping) trend in the UK shows no sign of cooling off, with new campsites popping up all the time and there are hundreds, maybe even over a thousand of such sites in the UK. By glamping I mean the holiday experience of staying on a site which has structures (mostly nomadic canvas tents), with a level of comfort above that of ‘traditional’ camping. (Personally I dislike the word ‘glamping’, with its connotations of drinking martinis around a fire and a sanitised experience of nature, but it has become the all-encompassing term for this type of holidaying). Of course, living in luxury in nomadic tents isn’t a new thing by any means: the Mughal Emperors, for example, in the 16th century travelled with entire cities of nomadic tents with a large and opulent palace tent  for the Emperor which had the most ornate decorations and was sumptuously furnished. (To give you an idea of the standard – the Taj Mahal was built by one of the Mughal Emperors).

The market for these sort of holidays is big in the UK as the UK has a strong tradition of outdoors and camping holidays and many know the experience of pitching a tent in the rain or taking a caravan park with rows of identical caravans, so the glamping idea presents something more comfortable and closer to nature, and now has become a mainstream vacation. These sort of sites, also lend themselves to spa-type of retreat or a luxury resort with a natural edge.

Over the years we, as tent makers, have been involved in the setting up and/or maintenance of a very many of these sites in the UK, other countries in Europe and Israel. After looking for many many years to find a place where we can build a campsite of our own –  Abruzzo, known as the Green Heart of Europe, called us into its heart of hearts two years ago and we have been  building up Heartland, our own wild, yurt campsite in the Majella Mountains.

Kissing Yurts at Heartland

The Italian rural mountain villages in this area are generally very traditional and conservative with few foreigners, but the local people have been overwhelmingly open to us from the start. (A while after we first arrived, even the local priest came to our little house on a dirt road, in full ceremonial dress and blessed us and the house with prayers and holy water. And local farmers drive by in their tractors and deliver boxes of fresh produce). The main 12 hectare site is in an isolated place a few km from the village and is not yet accessible without a 4×4 vehicle, which means that it is only the adventurous and/or inquistive who make the journey. The locals might have not fully understood what we were intending to do down there but the support and positive reports given by visitors and participants in events, have created a sort of excitement in the village, about the ‘English’, who have brought new energy to the area.

glampitalia

Torricella Peligna

However, as you may have read in previous posts, these mountain villages are suffering from the disease of rural depopulation, which means the outlying farmlands have become overgrown and abandoned, and the younger generation have left, meaning that there is no one to continue the traditional ways of agriculture..
The are old ways still there : the families going out to pick their olives at harvest time, the old people getting their wood for the winter taking a picnic into the fields, the guy going out at first light all summer to look for truffles, the knowledge of the day in June when, if it rains it will be a bad year for the olives and the day in September when you can tell if it will be a cold winter. The traditional recipes, of sowing seeds. These old ways are disappearing as the village collapses in towards the centre leaving the outlying properties and lands to be taken over by the overgrowth of forest and wild boars. There are whole olive fields abandoned and classic stone houses and barns falling into ruin. 

So GLAMPING TO THE RESCUE…we are bringing the glamping model to local land owners to start initiatives with anything from a single yurt B&B in their field, to complete campsites with several units and a restaraunt. This sustainable tourism allows farmers to supplement their income and brings people and energy to these abandoned areas.

yurt in abruzzo

Yurt B&B in Abruzzo

Italy is ready for a GLAMPING REVOLUTION with the idea already caught in the North and slowly filtering down from the North to Abruzzo which is surprisingly undiscovered as a holiday destination, with its wild mountains, medieval villages perched on the mountaintops, national parks full of wildlife and the Adriatic coast with its endless beaches. We certainly don’t want to encourage a massive influx of tourism to this magical area, but slow, sustainable tourism is a needed to boost the area, and bring life to the lands.

As pioneers in the industry, we are enflaming this revolution in Italy, and alongside Heartland, our wilder site, we are working with an Italian partner to set up a campsite at the top of Torricella Peligna, the local town to Heartland, which will be a shop window of sorts, for the glamping scene. People who are new to the glamping idea and interested in setting up an initiative can experience it first hand, as well as experienced site owners getting some new ideas. This site will feature examples of the possiblities for a eco-site: yurts, safari tents, tipis, shepherd’s huts, wooden saunas, hot-tubs, compost toilets, off-grid energy solutions as well as access to experts in the field offering business advice from geographical considerations to finance and marketing. 

The GlampItalia Revolution is on. Get in touch if you are looking to start a new eco-tourism initiative in Italy, or want to expand an exisiting site with new ideas or are have suitable product to put out to the Italian market.

Models of Repopulation

As you may know, alongside making yurts and other tents and supplying replacement yurt covers for a big chunk of the UK campsite industry, we also are looking to create a sort of multi-use site in the centre of Italy, yes juggling many balls may be demanding at times,

Lately we have had a short break from making yurt covers that has allowed us to focus on a model for repopulating rural villages in southern Europe.

We are now working on the creation of a cultural association called Heartland (like the site we are building), whose aims are to promote eco-tourism, organic agricultural and low impact ways of building, as ways to repopulate the abandoned lands of southern Europe.

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The abandoned church of Valley Piola

In Italy there has been a very strong trend of rural depopulation: whole villages on the Apennines are now empty, one example is valley Piola now for sale as a whole village and in other places, you can be given an old house for free if you agree to renovate it. The historic centres of quite a few villages in south Italy are drawing investors that way.

We felt that we want to find a way to give something back to the region of Abruzzo and the best thing we can focus on, is to help this amazing region to introduce systems of sustainable tourism and green building legislation. Italy, as a whole, is still behind Northern Europe when it comes to the green tourism wave: yurt campsites, holidays on working farms, low impact building etc., even though the Italians love going on holiday and have lots of it.

Anyway we are getting off track here, the issue is that many places in southern Europe have become depopulated, due to economic issues (mainly), a change in life style and the hardship of mountain living and agriculture –  the village contracts inwards so to speak, the land furthest from the village core, at times become totally abandoned, the dirt roads fall into disuse.

The model we are developing currently is one in which those lands which are furthest from the village get developed as a sort of green belt, – we realise that the fact the village contracted inwards, (meaning that most people from the surrounding countryside now live inside the village), means that change in the centre is hardest. The Italian village is like a fortress. In the mountains it usually has a very strong identity, people still mill around until late at night in summer, sitting on benches and having coffee. It is hard to bring change to local communes – the village people are welcoming of course (it’s Italy after all), but the strong identity of who they are also serves to inhibit change, the traditional way which is so attractive, serves to keep things as they were.

So instead we are focusing on developing the furthest reaches of rural communes in the mountain region where we want to create the Heartland centre as the place where new movement will come from.

heartland-9 copy

yurt campsite

The focus is on creating an eco-centre in each commune, it could be a green tourist attraction, a small yurt village or maybe an organic farm where you can stay, maybe a place that studies new organic farming methods one that can be implemented in the fields of the old farmers, crops like giant bamboo, truffle growing, ancient grains.

Or it could be a small mobile saw mill focusing on km zero production in this region where massive mountains oaks grow wild. The only forestry the locals know is called firewood. Anyway you get the point, endowed lands gets developed into a green zone, that serves as some sort of responsible and ecological attraction.

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mobile saw milling

Next we are looking to the Region to establish new laws to help green building and low impact structures to be built in that green zone, with the hope to attract those green operators: the people that will come like pioneers to dig the ancient hills and plow it into an organic paradise will get an incentive The back-to-the-land movement is strong, if a bit under publicised, in Italy.

There has been so much in the area – growing ancient varieties of grain, fruit and vegetables, there is so much nature, amazing mountains, in fact Abruzzo has more national parks than almost anywhere else in Europe, walks between caves in the mountains, wild life to dream of, but yet it is still falling into abandonment. It is amazing, because, being specialists in alternative tourism and professional campsite builders, we feel we are able to help this region take a leap into a sustainable future, away from creating hotels on the mountain and paved walking paths. We envisage more old stone houses becoming Alberghi Difusi, yurts serving as small places to stay, safari tents as places to holiday on working organic farms, small dirt roads that lead from one small mountain municipality are tied together green area to neighbouring green area, what a dream right?!!.

There is a lot of work to do that is for sure, but it’s nice seeing the first seeds starting to grow, people coming to the region in a responsible manner, no more of selling whole villages to some foreign investors. Rural communities need to maintain their identity not to sell their soul, if you too are looking to help the sustainable future of southern Europe we urge you to get involved, thinking about having your own campsite?, your own little bit of paradise where you grow organic produce? The situation in a lot of rural Southern Europe is similar to that in Abruzzo, Italy.

Little by little we see how our small area of activity has already made a difference, our centre building is already forming new relationships, already bringing energy and people to an abandoned area, and its amazing to realise that the whole side of the local hill would turn back into jungle if it wasn’t for our efforts, to know the olives are cut again, the wells are all clean, to know that the thousand year old road is now being resurfaced by us in conjunction with the local commune. It feels good to be able to make a difference and help those mountain people of southern Europe come back to their roots in a new people, a new generation of green mountain people.

abruzzo road building

Building old roads

If all of this speaks to you too feel free to contact us, you can also become a member of the Heartland Association or subscribe to the mailing list (button at bottom of page) to keep abreast of new development of the association and our tent making activity.

Group Work

Wow, long two weeks of events and having people in Central Italy, we started by building a masonry mass heater stove, a week of hard work with a master stove brick man called Martins Brikmans, between laying bricks in sand and call mortar we got to work on some inner realm, mainly dreams, it was interesting to see how people move in connection to our energy and place, also learning to work within our own group much more, the stove took place bit by bit layer by layer, it is constructed of an inner shell of fire bricks, covered by normal clay bricks, the heat is diverted to a masonry bench, it than crosses the wall, and passes to another masonry bench, and only than it goes up the chimney.

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Masonry stove work

masonry stove

The bench at the other side of the wall

The high energy and work week meant there were moments it was hard to keep up with all that was happening, working with power off-grid, running the camp, building and keeping a level of energetic clarity through it all, we felt like we lost the space one night, than a quick turn around and we started our next event of yurt making, a small group this time and so it was easier to get going.

It took a few hiccups until we got the momentum going again, it was nice again to be making yurts and teaching to people that actually plan to live in one later on.

We had more time to practice holding the campsite for a group, and oiling the dynamics we have within ourselves, learning how our own group work tends to spill over into the event if we aren’t on top of it but seeing how its important to keep things in the open rather than create a false front.

drilling the yurt wheel

Drilling with the brace

Beduin bread

Making bedouin bread

Beduin bread

Beduin bread comes out of embers

burning the yurt wheel

Burning the yurt wheel

pizza

Pizza night

 

 

 

The Fire of Dreaming

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At the end of May from the 24th to 30th we will be hosting a special man, for  a workshop/event in which we will be building a masonry rocket mass heater.

His name is Martins Brikmans, a specialist masonry stove maker from Denmark, and he will be teaching us through building, one of his wonderful stoves, inside La Difesa, our old Italian house at Heartland.

You will go away with the knowledge and experience to build one of these in your own home. These stoves are an amazing way to heat a house with 90% efficiency. The usual method of heating which our Italian neighbours use is to cut a green oak tree from their land, and make a big fire, placing massive trunk pieces in the fire place as feeders, with a few small bits in the middle to keep it going. This does work, and does heat up the place nicely, but the amounts of mature oak trees that need to die each year for the fire is incredible. This is a much more efficient way to keep warm.

Alongside this outer focus, we will be intending to become more aware in our sleep with the aim to go into lucid dreaming. Although it may be easier for some than others to ‘break through’ and wake up in dreams, with enough effort and intent, anyone can access this space. So at night we can travel beyond, grounded by the Brik work by day!

This will be a week of work and laughter: we are looking for a group of 5-8 people who can work hard, are open to learning and dreaming, people that are comfortable with living in wild open nature off grid in yurts, washing in heat fired tubs, and eating the best organic vegetarian food cooked on the fire.

If you can come for the whole duration the cost will be 180 euros or 35 euros per day.

There will be a yurt making event directly following the stove making.

Contact us on spiritsintent@yahoo.co.uk with any questions and to book. This event will only be open for 5-8 people so speak early to secure your place.

Phone numbers
UK mobile: 0044 7895 019028
Italian mobile: 0039 338 8622686

For travel info contact Angelika on aquilamelek@gmail.com

Here is the Facebook link too.

The Dance of Collective Alchemy

 

Sitting by the fire

Spirits Intent’s next event at Heartland, our campsite in Abruzzo, Central Italy, will be The Dance of Collective Alchemy – a telepathic, cleansing journey into the roots of the inner being. This event will be centred around the Spring Equinox, leading up to the Full Moon in Libra: 19th – 23rd March.

This is the first event we are hosting in collaboration with Anahata Healing Centre, from the nearby town of Lancing. Anahata is focused on the research and teaching of awareness through the healing arts and Angela Schmel, the facilitator, is a pioneer the movement of holistic events in Italy. This event will be bilingual (Italian and English), so is a good chance for any of you who want to improve one or the other languages.

Morning exercises

Alchemy, in its exoteric form, is an ancient art which laid the groundwork for modern chemistry and medicine and is popularly known as the process of turning “base metals” (nonprecious metals such as copper and iron) into gold, using a substance called “The Philosophers’ Stone’. Alchemy was thus seen as a science but also as a magical spiritual tradition, as, in a parallel process to purifying base metals, alchemists might gain the ability to purify the human soul. We are thus borrowing this term to represent a process of purifying the essence in us, to use our channels for something more than feeling, seeing and hearing.

The idea of Collective  Alchemy is the fusing of separate parts into one collective whole, a process where the separate individual is replaced by a greater entity: The Group Body. Our events all have this process as an underlying theme where the participants walk gently through the barriers of The Self. We aim to allow people to see that what we call the self is just a receptacle that holds many aspects.

heartland

each yurt has a sign

This particular event, has two parts – the first part of the event will be focused on working on our abilities to extend the senses into other realms – using the technique of gazing to silence the mind so we can start hearing thoughts and working with them, with the goal that perhaps we can realise that telepathy is simply being connected to others through the group mind phenomena, and isn’t so hard to perform.

This part will involve a celebration of the Spring Equinox, the meeting of the Dark and Light, when Persephone returns from the Underworld and the Earth is reborn – culminating in an Equinox celebration, with celebratory dances and songs around a big fire.

The second half we will be taking those abilities hopefully a step further to be able to affect the outside reality, a sort of magic if you want. The idea we aim to arrive at, is that even the outside world isn’t separate and we can affect it with our inner sense of being.

bill whitefeather

(Photo from friend, Bill Whitefeather).

In this part of the event, the outer focus will be centred around the building of a sweat lodge and the journey of purification it brings. This is a ritual of entering the Earth’s womb and being reborn and the women will prepare for it by going through the 13 Munay-Ki Rite of the Womb and the men will learn to build a structure both externally and on an inner level.

The sweat lodge is a traditional ceremony to cleanse the body and soul, and is built as a simple hut-like structure of saplings and covered with blankets. A fire pit is built in front of it, in which stones are heated. The ceremony involves the group entering the lodge, after being cleansed with the smoke of sacred herbs and into the darkness. The stones are brought in one by one by the Fire keeper. The door is closed, and a designated person, the Pourer, pours water onto the stones, and thus creates the cleansing steam. Prayers and Intent are called, and  songs of several different traditions are sung (which we will have learnt the night before).

It is done in 4 rounds, one for each of the directions, and in each round, more stores are brought in. After the ceremony we jump into the cold river, or pour cold buckets of water over ourselves and then have a simple meal, with a purified Body and Mind.

This event of group formation is obviously an organic process and will tell its own story as it evolves and we can’t plan for things like the weather – may be sunny, wet or windy…

We will be living as a tribe on the Earth – sleeping in our nomadic structures: yurts, tipis and baker tents (although you are welcome to bring your own tents), cooking on the fire and bathing in the rivers. There is also a hot fired bath, and of course the sweat lodge is the deepest cleansing for our bodies, but also our spirit. At nights we will gather around the fire for songs, stories and celebration. There are also local guest houses if you need more comfort, although much of this experience is the wild living.

Dates: 19th – 23rd March 2016

Cost: 280 Euros (concessions available).

If you are a Facebooker check here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1672401523037087/

Come to Heartland and be in The Dance Of Collective Alchemy

Contact Us for more information.

dance

The Circle Grows and Anti Terrorism Acts.

The big upheaval of the Paris terror attacks (don’t worry its not one of those political posts) came to us with a twist.  It’s hard to find your head and tails in all the latest war in the middle east drama, the refugees coming into Europe seem to have given a whole lot of people something to concentrate on to make them feel like they are doing good.

The other week a friend of ours came around to visit, it was funny in a way because he works for the Associated press in Italy – ANSA, as a camera man, we were proud of the fact he still chose to stick to the plan and come around and spend the week end although he was due to go to Paris instead, he took some nice photos all over the site, down to the river, and back up.

It was hard on him to drive back to Rome and fly straight to Paris, a little soul churning.

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Scorpio and Libra

The Zodiac Yurt circle has grown after the Yurt making event we did this autumn, we now have the third yurt in the making and the first two on the ground, so between fixing diggers, picking olives and the never ending amount of yurt orders, I’ve taken a moment to post some of these nice pics he took up here to take your mind off the terrorism.

zodiac tent

View to the Majella

Abruzzen shepherd

Abruzzan Shepherd  with yurts

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Yurts with tree line

by the river

Down by the river

Olive oil

We have had a busy season, the summer ebbed away into Autumn and it was a little hard to keep up with all the activity, always busy sewing and making yurts, balancing building our Italian centre, and now November has come its also olive picking time.

We have the fortune to have landed our site in an area full of wilderness: only the other day one of the locals was telling us to be careful that our dog does not get killed by the wolf they have seen the other morning.

But one of the best things about this area is that a lot of the old cultivation has been abandoned, it means there are scores of fruit trees for us!, this month we have spent a good two week picking olives of old olive groves, that have grown wild.

The Italian mountain weather was at its best, and so we picked some 500kilo of olives, all from wild uncultivated trees, organic and in the fresh mountain wilds, the Oil is simply Amazing.

There are three main olive varieties in our area, the big eating olive called olive grande, the small ones I can never recall, and the middle sized one that mature latest, called in dialect la gentile (the gentle one). traditionally olive groves are planted with some sort of a mix of varieties so to offer one the best of all worlds oil, and eating olives.

 

olivegrande

olivo grande

 

The olive trees we resurrected around Heartland  are of the eating variety around the area we are going to be putting all the yurts, and further up and down are mostly of the la gentile kind.

We use the old method of making green olives, so instead of chemicals we cure ours in water, but we also use ash from the fire,  placed in a sock inside the water with the olives, it makes them go “sweet” so after a week or so they can go into brine.

The black Olives are done under salt, simply put them in a sack with a load of salt and keep turning them.

This was the capping stone over a summer of fruit collection and gardening, having a site to manage travelling to our usual cover and yurt making, is overly demanding but it is rewarding, Sitting now by the oak fire, with a big pot of mushroom and nettle soup, knowing the olive oil in the bottle was picked by our hands from our own local olives is great, and the taste is superior to anything you have ever tasted.

olive press

Olives to oil

The local olive oil press works long hours for those two months, finishing some nights at 12pm, it takes about an hour from arrival to oil. Nice friendly locals all bringing their olives to be pressed its a real good way to get involved with the locals.

olive oil coming out of press

Mountain Olive Oil

Our second olive picking being little latish, got us 35litres out of 200kg, which is an impressive 18%. this is due to the fact that most of the olives we picked was of the la gentile type (they have more oil) and because the olives were little more mature, as we only got 15% a few weeks earlier, the earlier Olive oil is little less acidic which is a good thing too.

On the Other Side of The Yurt Makers’ Heart: The Libra Yurt is born.

The Libra Yurt is Born: the next yurt of The Zodiac Tent.

Having been clearing and flattening the site all summer long, a lot of the ground was bare and the new grass has not caught yet, so we were worried that an increase in rain will turn the site into a mud bath. We spent a few weeks getting the place up and together with the help of some friends and relations: we first made a large workshop area near the Zodiac Tent site.

Workshop space

Next thing we rigged up the tents again: the Scorpio yurt was up all summer long, but we had taken the Sibley tent down (its a type of hanging tipi) so that had to go up again.

Luckily we had some friends to visit just in time, and it was lots of fun putting it all up, and it  felt like the event was already on.

The Sibley tent is a tent we made earlier this year, it is traditionally pitched with a tripod, under which one has an open fire, but we just hang it from a friendly oak.

sibley and yurt

Sibley Tent and Yurt pitched for the event

sibley

Sibley Tent

The last tent to go up was the latest addition to the Baker Tent Family, the ‘Kitchen Tent’, which is a double sized Baker Tent.

kitchen tent

The Kitchen Tent

So, the group  arrived,  a few of the participants had already made a yurt before, and one friend was a professional yurt maker.

Breakfast in front of the Majella

Breakfast in front of the Majella

Everybody where keen to get into it, we started the week by going into the forest and cutting poles.

tammy cutting poles

Tammy cutting ash poles

We than started the peeling and steaming process, every body getting into peeling and shaping rafters, tying trellis poles, and glueing the wheel.

busy bees

Busy Bees

All through we were introducing group work and inner focus, but with little emphasis so not to make it too emotional for the group. However it seemed, at times, that there was so much people were going through because of the ‘open psychic space’ around, and working together out in nature. at one point an Israeli participant even commented, “wow where is all this emotionality coming from I thought we came here to make a yurt”! (He was just joking, trying to keep things light).

The community making process, was taking place and it was interesting to see the group going through the motions, how the first high of coming together was replaced by disillusion and how harder feelings started coming up, it was amazing to witness some of the things people went through. The weather mirrored this process with more rain than we’d had all the summer in a couple of days. The collective mud-bath did bring the group together.

Campsite in rain

Campground in rain

At one point it seemed the whole gathering was falling apart, but that too was part of the community making process, than out of that harder space something amazing started to bloom, a real sense of togetherness. Seeing people pitch in, working until the evening making the yurt parts, sharing the fire-heated bath water, and more than all some real life change was starting to take place in all it was the perfect balance. We were afraid the rain would be too much, or the winds, or that being so far out in nature without comforts, mobile phones or chocolate would prove hard, but it wasn’t. (The food came out more than amazing,  with 3 meals a day cooked on the fire!)

It proved that group process work could be maintained simply by intent, and our job was simply to hold the process and the place together.

in the wheel

Happy Yurt makers, after steaming the yurt wheel

There is simply too much to say and the inner processes that took place are too private to share here, but it was a deep experience seeing a little tribe form and go through it together facing the elements together, at moments even crying together.

Face in the element

Face in the (watery) element

In a way some of the best things to come out were the resolutions people came up with at the end. We got some amazing thank you’s, and were told by one woman that it was a life changing experience and she has decided to up it and go into a new life within the year, that coming back home after all the nature was trying.

At one point in the middle of this gathering we were sitting by the fire, and Lucy said we need to look for an omen to find out which sign this yurt will represent. With the Scorpio Yurt, we had a clear sign when a Scorpion crawled out of one of the door posts whilst it was being made.) Her feeling was that this yurt was the Libra yurt as this gathering started as the Sun moved into Libra on the Autumn Equinox, going until the Super Harvest Moon Eclipse the night before the yurt went up. As she said it, we were all outside looking at the sky for Libra and there was a collective gasp as a shooting star shot through the sky. We knew this one was the Libra yurt.

Libra Yurt next to Scorpio Yurt

Libra Yurt next to Scorpio Yurt

yurt makers

Yurt Makers (with T-shirts)

Here is an article by Dayana Piccoli, who participated in the event,  in ‘Chi si dicie’, the magazine of Torricella Peligna, our local town. Amidst the pages of town history and rural life,  Dayana’s article (page 17) shines through, and says much of what I was gonna share here, and a little more! Better polish your Italian.

Contact us if you are interested in participating in a similar event. We are also starting to look for people that want to get involved on a more regular basis, help with the work while living in nature for longer periods, or even help us run events.

And here is a little Video that shows some nice moments from the gathering.

The Yurtmakers’ Heart – A Nomadic Craftsman’s Gathering

From this coming Autumn Equinox until the Harvest Moon, we will be delving into the realm of the inner yurtmaker, discovering  this ancient art of making nomadic structures that has been passed from generation to generation of nomadic craftsman.

From its very origins nomadism depended on the art of making movable dwellings and the aim of this one week workshop/gathering is to get us back in touch with that simplicity, as a way of being, and so we intend to construct more mobility into our life too.

At this one week workshop, not only will you learn how to make a Turkmen yurt, going through each of the frame components one by one, we will also be living as a small tribe, working together and creating what we call the group mind, and a tribal way of being as a whole.

yurt wheel in Italy

Making Yurts in the Wilds of Italy

The setting of this tribal yurt makers’ camp is at our site in the centre of Italy, in front of the majestic Majella mountain, where we will be living around the fire, getting up early every morning and working on waking up our inner selves, then making breakfast together, and walking out to collect the yurt poles from the land. There we will then be cutting the ash saplings by hand, then using draw knives we will be peeling them, and bending them into the various yurt’s component.

The aim of this week is to teach each person to construct a yurt frame (with the option of staying on to learn the art of cover making) and we will be also doing some inner energy work alongside the outer work, so each participant can take a deeper look at his or her life, to become more fluid inside at the same time.

We will be using hand tools only, cooking on the fire, and living in tents, in order to maintain the tribal feel. You are welcome to bring your own tent or you can stay in one of the structures we provide, but space in these is limited. so book in advance if you intend to stay in one of these.

Our Own Tents

Scorpio Yurt sleeps 5-6 people

Sibley Tent: 3-4

Baker Tent: 1-2

Australian Swag/Bedroll: 1

As part of the “Yurts for Free” school of yurt-making, we are also aiming to show how you can make your own yurt for free, at home. The idea is that you too can create a workshop teaching others the skills you have learnt, and letting the workshop fee pay for the materials needed for the yurt. In that manner, not only you are learning how to make your own yurt, at the end of this week you have the tools to pass on a similar workshop and teach others how to make their own yurt for free.

At the end of this one week workshop you have the option of staying on for  3-4 days of yurt cover-making tuition, but this would be a separate workshop.

Yurt fireside cooking

Yurt Fireside Cooking

We will be living in Nature and cooking our own food, so each person will need to take part in gathering wood, food preparation, lighting fires and washing pots.

You will need to be comfortable with washing outside with a bucket or in a fire heated bath, and going to the toilet in a hole, cleaning your behind with water and without paper, and generally being wild and close to the earth. We may encounter wild animals, like snakes, scorpions and wild boar and deer roam the land on daily basis, so if you are scared of nature, it,s probably best to avoid this workshop.

Dates: 22nd-29th of September: frame-making workshop. (We ask that everyone arrive      and leave on those dates).
29th September – 3rd October: cover-making workshop.

Price: 150 euros would cover your accommodation and food for the week and the cover making course to follow is 70 euros for the 3-4 days.

Languages spoken: English, German, Italian, Hebrew

Bring: Sleeping mat, bedding, good clothing for the wilds, a bowl and spoon (although there will be some available), your real self.

Watch this space and our Facebook page for more information.

And contact us to book on spiritsintent@yahoo.co.uk

0044 7895-019028 (UK Mobile)

0039 338-8622686 (Italian Mobile)
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