Monthly Archives: December 2013

Group Consciousness and Yurtopolis (or Yurt-on-top-polis)

As we have finally got to welding the last levels of zome connectors, I have been looking into how to weave group consciousness work with architecture, or more to the point of how to use the zodiac tent for that type of group work.

Let’s take a step back though, and introduce group consciousness work again, referring to a field of work that is very much our everyday reality, but i guess is unknown to most.

We had the fortune (or misfortune) of being drafted into a very peculiar state of affairs. Everybody knows about consciousness work and even some types of awareness enhancement, but few of us have ever ventured into it with others- en mass, I mean consciousness work or (almost everything) is done by all of us as separate beings.

At the level of everyday life, it meant to us that we became finely in-tuned to a group of others, firstly those that live with us – it’s like we are one unit, at times it’s not clear where one starts and the others end.

But it’s even louder as a phenomenon with those group members that are a part but don’t live with us (are apart from us), as we are aware of them as us even if they are at the other side of the world.

I guess usually the natural instinct is to avoid that level of conductivity with others, because ….

…well what is the point of experiencing another’s feeling and thoughts as your own?
Waking up in the middle of the night because someone you are sharing the group body with, is going through it at the other side of the world, or being in love when they are?

When we were drafted into this work 17 years or so ago, the boundaries (of the connectivity field, or the shared space) were established outside our immediate living situation, meaning that we could feel anyone in that space as if we were them, at times even hear their thoughts!, but as soon as they were out they were OUT. That applied to group members to a lesser extent too.  The largest space I recall being held is 4km, but usually it was the space around us, where the trucks where parked or where we lived.

These days the connectivity field is bound by another type of living situation and the criteria is different, but we will get to that later hopefully.

All of that ‘feeling others’ business and telepathically viewing them, is nothing in comparison to the depths that we uncovered in our-selves and in our direct group. (The criteria of ‘membership’ of this group is a whole other magical story).
You can sit in one living space and have the others on broadcast, knowing exactly where they are at,
physically, mentally and ho ho ho …. Emotionally. The thing is it often happens that you feel things as if they are ‘you’, whatever that means, and the challenge if to distinguish the subtle differences in flavour, to know who it is. Ultimately, the ‘who’s doing what’ level is not so interesting, other than to understand what’s happening. It is all just energy after all.

BUT…. real advantages of this type of shared awareness and telepathy or even sharing feelings is nothing in comparison, with its deeper elements. (Although some aspects of it are quite entertaining, like when a friend of mine used conscious cooking as a means to slip a love potion into her Italian sweetheart’s coffee ……. and he then fell madly in love with her).

The real jewel is in the capacity of a group to form a greater field of consciousness, one that has awareness of its own, independent of the participants (although intrinsically and energetically made after each one of the members).

We came to call that the Group Mind  (mind of its own). I always explain it to others like a tribal god, some people after all are religious.

You can take for example the biblical story of crossing the desert, where a whole nomadic nation was made to uphold their tribal god, and in return…….He (should I say it?) manifested in their midst as a phenomenon, the pillar of fire and of smoke, a being that led them on their journeys, and told them what to do, guiding them, I would argue that he was made out of their shared awareness, an awareness they where groomed to uphold to create it.

This type of experience is not only the stuff of religious legends (although some believe they are not legends after all). It happens in tribal society, like when a tribe reaches a trance together and some form of miraculous entity is born in ceremonies like a sweat lodge, or peyote ceremony when voices or things will be heard (or even seen) by the whole group, or where the “spirit” inherent in the herb is manifest as a “god” or teacher. SO alhough I believe there are powers at large inherent in power plants too, it is the phenomena of shared awareness that brings it forth as a mass, that we are looking into here.

In other ways it still does happen in or everyday. On the battlefield for example, sometimes a story comes out of another type of awareness leading a group of soldiers, a battalion, a patrol, to perform miracle feats of awareness. In fact, there is not one war that has been fought that had none such stories. I guess it’s because of the dedication and intensity of experience, but more so its the shared spirit.

We are not here to re-search these magical moments of group mind manifestation, but simply tried to find where anyone could look them up, not only in the magical legends of our ancestors, but here and now. I am forever intrigued by that stuff; when something else comes out the greater us.

So …. Well done for keeping up with this thread as it has taken some to read I guess, maybe not as much as it took to write, but all the same well done.

If you recall 100 years ago at the beginning of this very Blog entry, I said that what interests me these last days is how to create a merge between this type of work (enhancing group mind and body experiences) and nomadic architecture.

We started visioning possible uses for the Zodiac Tent as a group-conscious workshop space which goes like this-

There will be 12 surrounding zodiacal yurts, for the group members which will be on rails, but at some distance from the central space at the start of a workshop.

This is representing the individual who is called to experience group work but is not yet connected. As the work begins (and anyone who has been part of life coaching or group mediation workshop, or any similar type of group workshop knows the energy rises to some intense heights), the yurts will be pulled towards the main tent (the zome) on their individual (train) tracks.

The yurts can maybe come closer in every day, and maybe some yurts will need more time to come in and lock into the centre, representing the occupants’ inner process speeds.

At some point the yurts will all be joined in a circle, which is partially immersed into the collective tent which will be the trance moment, where the workshop goers will experience (hopefully) the totality of group mind, and for a moment, that seemingly ancient stuff of legends is going to be manifest in their lives.

As I was musing about all of that, I thought to myself would it not be something to make a 13th yurt representing the 13th sign Ophiuchus?, but also as a placement for that tribal godhead (as I said some people believe in God) and put that yurt right at the top where all the ribs of the zome connect?

If you have experienced some type of shared awareness, it will be easy and exciting to imagine how each workshop comer can experience embodying the group mind for a moment, becoming the oracle or the group mind representetive. (I was not going to call it godhead a 3rd time).

I then thought it would be nice to have a central pilar to represent the axis Mundi, or the world tree, as we earlier explored. The advantage is also that it  can become a spiral staircase which doubles up as a pillar for the central yurt on top in the air.

And finally …… a picture is worth a thousand (almost) words:


The Zodiac Tent, Yurt Palace

814 4×4 Winch Bumper or Pink Oxide

We have had some time to move on the 814 4×4 conversion. This truck started its life as an electricity board truck with a crew cab and we then chopped the cab and created a bespoke flexible chassis mount system.


814 4×4 fixed luton box

We then put a box on the chassis, now welded to the cab which is the reason for the flexible chassis mounting system, to allow the chassis’ off-road torsion to be taken away from pulling on the box.


Mercedes vario cab welded to box


814 4×4 luton welded to cab

Converting one’s own truck can be fun. The fact is some people enjoy it: welding galvanised sheeting to the thin cab metal is their cup of tea. I find it a full assault on the senses: you can’t breath it, you can’t look at it and grinding the welds in small spaces is the noisiest thing one can imagine.

The nice thing is that you can do what ever you like, you can commit vehicular atrocities and get away with it, after all its all just large scale mechano.

I decided to give this truck a back winch, that lives in between the chassis rails. I’m sure its a big no no in some Mercedes body building manual (those do exist and they are kind of German in spec).

But to get to the point: the other day I decided to give this truck a back Winch bumper, one that will be welded on to the box, rather than to the chassis (I am afraid to think what the Mercedes manual will say to that notion)

It will look nice. a mercedes 814 4×4 winch bumper-


The big winch in chassis rails


Pink back winch bumper

Box under side ready for winch bumper


Winch Bumper in position

The Winch Bumper does not only look mean, the angles on it will allow for some movement, so the lights don’t crash into the box, not that there will be SO much travel.

But the real glory is that I like Red Oxide paint , you can paint it with a brush and leave a good enough finish, it does not need to be sprayed on and this lot of primer is even better because it PINK, and I LOVE pink oxide!!!.

Land Rover Campfire Tent


Land Rover Tent in Brecon Beacons

Here is our Land Rover Campfire/Baker Tent in the Brecon Beacons: really the larger version of our mini Baker tent, both made after Bill Mason’s baker tent designs with some improvements. The poles live in canvas sleeves which gives the structure more stability and mush less sag.

This larger version of the campfire tent, has zips so the side flaps can be closed one at a time to provide a sealed bedroom, whilst the other flap still stays open as a wind break. The flaps use a line of toggles at the top to tie to either the side or the main section, via loops.

We have tried this in the stormy Welsh weather and it proves to be a winner.

The extra with this tent is that it is designed to mate with a land rover defender: the dimensions are made so it is just high enough at the level of the roof, and so you can park you Defender (because everybody has one) right on to it, backwards, or side on.

Like our other campfire tent it has room and capacity for an open fire this is what makes this tent so amazing in our view: the fire.



Land Rover tent closed


Land Rover Tent side rolled


Blue Eyes


Open sides


Bill Coperthwaite


Bill Coperthwaite’s legendary hands

It’s one of those things, that a week or so ago, I heard a thought to write a blog entry all about Bill Coperthwaite, but sadly, it has now turned into a eulogy as we just received the news that he died, when he drove his van into a rock, in his local town, Machiasport, Maine.

Bill has come into our story a few times: the last time was last summer, when we were on the road in Austria in the early conceptional stage of the zome, the central structure of the Zodiac Tent. He was a man of action and the weather then was such that we couldn’t really work outside so much, so Bill went wooding a lot and carved a few spoons, in-between design discussions. One of his memorable pointers was about the redundancy of jogging, and other exercise routines when instead you can go out into the forest, gather wood, carry it home then chop it. And be warm.

In fact, Bill lived alone in the wilds of Maine, miles from the road, and when we last saw him, he said that he had gathered 5 years of wood. For anyone who knows about cooking on a fire and keeping the stove going, that is quite a woodpile. Never mind that Maine is under snow for maybe half the year. And he was then 82 years young.

Bill Coperthwaite's yurt home

Bill Coperthwaite’s yurt home

It is said that Bill was the father of the Western Yurt as in the 60’s he designed the tapered wall yurt, inspired by the native architecture of the Mongolian yurt, starting a whole movement. This picture above shows his home in Maine, one of his concentric yurts, tiled with cedar wood shingles, made completely in the wilds only with hand tools. My favourite story is of how the bottom layer came into being. It was originally just the top 3 layers, and Bill decided he needed a workshop so instead of building one somewhere else, he jacked the whole structure up, and built the workshop underneath.

He had many amazing stories, and was like a guardian of the old ways. Living where he did meant that he had no email or phone, thus avoiding the increasing speed of modern technology, and its associated chase of the false mind. His letters always somehow came in that magically timed moment, and he was my one remaining penfriend: making me remember to take the time to handwrite, the creativity in decorating the envelope and sticking on real stamps.

I never did see anyone master ‘witless knitting’ which was one of his best stalking acts involving a method of knitting with one wooden needle, which I think he learned from the Inuits. On his travels, he would sit somewhere quietly knitting, and people, (particularly women), would be pulled in with intrigue and then learn something new, while he made a connection to the local community.

Being hooked by witless knitting.

Being hooked by witless knitting.

We first met Bill in 2009, when we invited him to be part of the first World Yurt Makers Conference Gathering which we organised in Canvas Chic, in the Ardeche region of France, and subsequently adopted him. When I picked him up at the airport he requested a coffee ice cream, which we later discovered is one of his quiet passions, (and is what led the boys to a folk craft museum in Austria, in another story). I said I would get him some ice cream in exchange for a song. When we got to the campsite, I took him to see the double storey yurt we had built. Now when most people saw it they would say ‘wow’, or ‘that must have been hard work’, or ‘how did you do that?’ Bill said, ‘Now you guys must have had some fun.”

I am grateful to have shared some of the story with him. He was a rare bird.