Diggers and dreamer (part 2)

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And so my love affair with open psychic spaces and the inner landscapes they conjure was met, content meets intent, it was just right for it to start that way, I was the third generation to come to that quarry, with my grandfather and father to work the stone before me, though maybe my stone was different to theirs, because my quarrying certainly was, and this is in a way the beginning thread, I have a burning notion that places individuality or maybe better, originality at the fore of everything, being arranged for a place to live in the wilds especially by the kibbutz people felt like a failure of sorts, because I was looking for a way to live away from the western mind set, and living in any sort of dependency felt like falling into the cold, but safe, arms of socialism again.

Already in the kibbutz people found me strange,I guess the fall of the movement itself also contributed to a sense of something being lost, maybe it’s a fear people that Have a life sorted by communality have, that they wouldn’t be able to deal and make a living as individuals, my fear was maybe deeper, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to live with people altogether, so the notion of having to be dependent again felt like a step backwards in a way, it offered the time and space to integrate, in retrospect, the quarry people didn’t want anything from me in return for offering me a place, bar a cup of coffee when they came.

I  learned later that falling in with that gang saved me from the kibbutz administration, people that have had dealing with kibbutz life all know that each kibbutz has some outlaws, kibbutz Gesher had some of Its outlaws in the quarry people, the fact they work outside the kibbutz, the amount of money they brought in to the community and maybe all the big diggers made them feel above the rest, but somehow that allowed me to fall in between the cracks for a while and for that I was grateful.

But there is another story line, a deeper one, the story that’s is woven around the heart itself the quarry of dreams, the ethereal one that exists in another realm, the realm of story itself, and we would meet it I hope bit by bit as the story unfolds.

I was given a dog, a bus and an axe, the bus was parked by the old corrugated iron shed my grandfather built, and I officially became the guard of the quarry, I was guarding against people coming to the lake, one of Israel’s secrets, but known to all locals, it was called the disappearing lake. The quarry being abandoned, have now filled up with underground water, that amount of natural sweet water in Israel was not a thing to ignore!. The lake was also filled up with fish, one of the quarry man threw in, so they can come and fish when they felt like it, Instead it ruined into a pilgrimage location.

The quarry equipment was moved further south in the Jordan valley to the new quarry at Doshen, right under the Qauqab or Kokhav Ayarden in Hebrew (the star of Jordan) the ancient Templar castle called belviour, that overlooks the Jordan valley, home to Meir Har-Zion; one of Israel’s warrior-heroes, a man that crossed the border to Jordan and is reputed to have murdered a whole village singlehandedly to avenge his sister being murdered, and with a knife only!, his farm near the old templar fortress was called Shoshana’s (rose) farm, and with the place itself being called the star of Jordan and my dyslexia that brings meanings into unity I saw it as the rose of the winds, or the star if the winds (Kokhav Ruhu’t).

But neighbouring heroes aside, I grew amongst a people where every other grandfather was a hero, walking on the lawns of the kibbutz you would meet one of the old generation and with respect the kids would whisper that is the guy that threw the Molotov bottle and turned the Jordanian tanks around, My grandfather was one too, he blew the bridges over the Jordan and when the fuse didn’t catch on the explosive he went down and lit it with his cigarette, later one of his comrades was given a medal for that action, whilst he kept quiet. He had a bullet hole through his cheek and when he died, the family found he kept secret weapons (no one knew about) in the attic. So to us every other man was a hero, I always looked elsewhere, for some deeper heroism, but those were the hills I grew in, strong and high with ancient fortresses and surrounded by warriors and high ideals of socialism and communism, the rocks.

The old quarry and the lake that it held was called the disappearing lake because it was surrounded by cliffs, and you couldn’t see it until you got right to the cliff’s edge, it was simply too much to ask for people not to come and enjoy, the cliffs provided a daring jump for the braver Israelis, the fish grew into the stuff of legends and the cool sweet water in the white and pink of the alabaster was an oasis at heart of the Jordan valley and It all was beyond refusing.

Living in the quarry was more than a gift, it was a moment I could explore that psychic space and new abilities, without the toll of others around me. I have reached a state, living in that old gypsum quarry where I believed I could hear the thoughts of anyone in a 4km radius, not having anyone live within that radius allowed me to explore deeper, and swim the psychic waters of the mystery itself, the cool lake of the being.

In later years this contrast between the barren hot hills and the cool sweet water, as an osmosis to the inner pool that comes out of the harshness, or as the watery dreamer I was hewn  out of the hard stoney men of the Jordan valley, would be highlighted even further as my father would come back to that quarry as its manager and would drain the lake again to reopen the quarry, to the chagrin of the locals of course, it’s like a story that runs down and back up again in the male side of the family, the diggers and dreamers, their work with the hills and the stone.

The place took some kind of liking to us or better still, it’s story became ours somehow, at least this is how I interpret it, but whatever it was that story ran alongside us, or at east it’s an easier way to put it, because the truth is that the place took a liking to me and that I know why, but I think that for now, explaining that a place as a mind, or saying that one and a place can communicate would seem little far fetched.

The quiet and open space and the power of the spot, but more so the isolation, allowed me to go beyond being alone. it allowed me to see that there really was not such a thing as personal thoughts, learning to turn them around and find their roots, I realised that the internal dialogue itself wasn’t ours to begin with. Maybe the most important thing was that I’ve discovered that not being shackled with the exceptions of others allows me to find out that I was indeed crazier than I thought (my personal thought in this case), and that I could indeed command the weather to a degree, and that actually telepathy wasn’t so complicated an act once one quietens up.

I guess this last paragraph calls for some elucidation (as throwing big statements to the wind might seem empty): we think that our thoughts are ours simply because we hear them as conversations inside our own heads, it’s a voice that “we” hear, meaning that it belongs to us, the simplicity in being able to become telepathic is very plain, all one needs to do is turn things around, what if the barrier of “me” – that individual being, was actually a construct made around meta physical relationships, maybe there was no clear boundary, but a set of receptors, couldn’t it be that the things we hear inside are not ours, could it be that those thoughts originate somewhere else? Could they be the thoughts of others?.
The complexity of social relationships on energetic level means we never have time to quieten and slow things enough to have a real look, but if one could take each thought to its root one would find out ….. that except the fact we repeat things over and over, at some point in the thought’s origin, there was an energetic interaction, a line that was given or taken, the rest is just repetition or a reaction on our parts, a masking of sorts, designed to keep us in the dark ages by thinking we own our thoughts, it is a construct that shuffles things around and repeats things over and over, based on our image and feeling of self import. But that is all, in fact this construct is very foreign to us, so if we learn to listen in carefully and so isolate the “live” threads inside the pattern and repetition we stand a chance to make a head out of the tail we grow between our shoulders.

Maybe I didn’t really make anything clearer,  what I’ve discovered, is that there isn’t such a thing as thoughts, the thinking process  itself is made up of an overlay of mechanisation, which is also the construct that makes us think our thoughts are ours, but it is also constructed on top of an inner core, that inner core has deeper energetic truth, what makes things more complicated is that we hear the thoughts of others, meaning we can hear the mechanisation of other people’s thought process, or we can hear the thing itself, which is in simpler words the thoughts of something that is not a person, some people call the ability to distinguish between them all “seeing”, for Native American pipe carriers, hearing the voice of the thing itself, could be when the pipe “talks”, or when the spirit does.

The actual method, if there is one, that I took to get there, was sitting and gazing at the hill in front of the bus, that quietened up the repetition of my own thoughts enough, than I took each thought and turned it around, meaning – if I thought of someone I would turn to see that it was actually them thinking of me, but here lies the hard truth of this practice, that in order to be able to truly turn your thoughts around you must learn to conquer the reactive part of the self, and make sure that the thought wasn’t originating in the mechanisation of your own mind, it is hard but it is possible. In order to really be able to do so, one needs to conquer the self, to stop needing and wanting, to be able to withstand whatever it may, in order not to allow that foreign installation we call our minds to take precedence, or one can go at it directly, by willing oneself to not think at all, to know will before it turns into words in ones mind, after all words are just surface thing with us,  and thinking is much clearer without words.

To be continued ….

Diggers and Dreamer (part 1)

Below is an excerpt from a book.

When I was 19 I had a profound experience that left me “psychically” open. I thought I was going crazy, it was either that or that I developed the ability to read other people’s thoughts. To make things worse, I became convinced also that I can control the weather to a degree. In Native American society a pipe carrier (peace pipe or medicine pipe) would have had rings on his medicine pipe to demonstrate that he can summon the winds or hold control over the weather, but in our society the notion of such abilities is an aberration – I have had the fortune to find people who have rings on their pipes, and this is the story of that beginning.

I had just returned to Israel after traveling over Southern Europe for almost a year.
Together with a friend exploring in the north of Israel, looking for a place to live away from society, I was really losing the plot, I could hear thoughts inside my own head. I guess the fact she was little unstable herself didn’t help. We roamed the hills and conjured magic, calling rain and sun and exploring communication abilities that meant either one of us could start a topic and the other would know what subject was meant without needing a point of reference, it went as far as having silent conversations, yes telepathy.
Being poor we also practiced the art of magical begging; how to get people to give you what you needed, and if you wonder, this type of sorcery only works for those in need, as otherwise something else takes over Maybe “need” is a sort of cleanser, but it sure is closer to the story line than “want”, even though it isn’t it either – the core we are after here is the calling of intent.

After a while we found an amazing spot in an old Syrian village (don’t get confused with the current Syrian crisis) in the Golan heights.
It was ideal: running streams and stone built houses, a whole village which had been abandoned. There were signs that someone had recently lived in one of the houses, and we later learned one of the kibbutz boys (I think maybe from Givo’ot Abashan) nearby had it with not having his own room and took to the hills, so we avoided that house, and chose a nice empty one, after all the village had quite a few to choose from.

Thompson gazelles where running free, and the local kibbutz had its cattle roaming in the hills nearby. It’s the part of Israel that feels like Europe (especially in winter) and being the old borderline with Syria on the slopes of the Golan, it also symbolizes a sense of being in between the attentions, and this is exactly where we wanted to be, (although at times I think we wanted to be across the border, at least attention- wise).

The Golan had always felt like a land of mystery to me, a place of strong rock and hills, wind swept at times, it was the land of giants called Bashan in ancient times, with stone mounds and circles, like Gilgal refa’im (meaning the wheel of ghosts or Ethers) in Arabic it is called Rujm il hiri, meaning the cat’s stone I think.
A massive stone complex bigger than Stonehenge, with an underground chamber; concentric rings of basalt stone, with a massive mound at its heart, and a secret chamber – I always thought those raised altars were the biblical Bamot, meaning stages literally.

The important thing is that I felt I have found the place I could integrate my current psychic situation as I was determined that only living away from others in a real isolated spot could sort me out.

We were both elated and hitchhiked to the nearby town of Rosh Pina to get some supplies, though just the basics, as we were going to live of the land as much as was possible – it being the rainy season, wild edibles were in abundance, mushrooms and mallow and even wild garlic grew on the slopes under the house. We made Bedouin bread in the coals and thought it was heaven, it was the ability to live without needing to be dependent on society, dreamers always have their oasis away from the world and this was ours, we found how to communicate without words. I could call the rain, we could get people to give things to us by a high form of positive begging, but more than it all we could live away from the choke of society and practice entering the other attention.

We treated ourselves to a coffee in one of the cafés in town and sitting down I got talking to a uniformed soldier who took some real interest in our story. I was a pacifist and had just managed to avoid the compulsory service, so the conversation was somewhat paradoxical, I was telling him how we are going to leave the world for a spell to live in the mountains, and the beauty of that spot….. Ho, on and on I went…
The guy listened and was real gentle with me, he seemed genuinely interested in our story.
Eventually he said – “I know the abandoned village of “Darbashya” well, but I have to tell you something…. I happen to be the local authority ranger for this area, and that Syrian village is a nature reserve that falls under my jurisdiction, I happen to be on my yearly army service (the men of Israel serve some time every year in the reserve army) for two weeks, but on Friday I’m back, so you have 5 days to enjoy yourselves but don’t let me find you squatting when I’m back”.

I was gutted, this proved not to just be some real hard luck, it was a confirmation that my worst fears are real, it indeed seemed hard to find an isolated spot in nature in Israel, but it was proving impossible to actually live in one.
I was lost, and I was losing my mind too and wasn’t sure I could cope with my new psychic abilities and I was afraid I would never resolve the craziness.

Maybe what scared me most is the idea that the only way is the mainstream way and I wasn’t ready to start considering things like paying rent and life insurance.

Salvation was to come from closer quarters than I expected and bring things into a deeper meaning. I told my father all my problems and he having just left the kibbutz himself, thought maybe I could live in the old quarry. He was the manager of the gypsum factory on the kibbutz only a short while before and good friends (actually business partners at the time) with the quarry’s manager. He said he will find out if they would let me live there, it was doubtful because I too left the kibbutz (actually expelled) a year before, but the quarry people were happy to help.

To be continued…

Wood and Earth

Winter has finally come around and although it is  our busier time of the year, I took a moment to lay in some garden beds for the next season, at our land in Italy. The weather has been amazingly sunny and warm: we seem to have endless string of sunny days, and the little dusting of snow we had just adds to the beauty of it all. The mountain is majestic and it is so good to be outside all day long in the sun – we are even sweating  most days.

We decided to take a moment break (well I did) and make some raised garden beds. There is an old method that used to be practiced in Eastern Europe and Germany for decades – it is called Hügelkultur, and it calls for burying wood under earth, and layering to create compost, which ensures constant moisture to the bed. It is said that this method can be used in the desert and would not need watering if done right so I thought well we should give it a go, as we sure did water our garden last year in the hot, dry summer.

We have dug a wide long trench. This was quite easy as we used our digger instead of having to do the work by hand and the ground is nice and dry. The commotion drew the neighbouring farmer so we used the opportunity to have him deliver some horse manure.

First step was to fill the dug section with logs and as we have just been clearing the old orchards, there was quite a supply of weeping elms.

Weeping Elm Logs

Filling the trench with logs

 

Horse Manure

Horse Manure

The logs were covered in earth and we piled some straw out of an old straw bale that came from another neighbouring farmer, it seemed it was all just flowing, whenever the next layer was needed someone would happen to be driving along and come and deliver it.

Raised beds covered with straw

Straw covered earth.

The best thing about the straw bales is that they need to be really old or one has to go through a process of maturing them, and the good thing was that the old farmer that came to pick the bales for his horse, was picking up last years bales and some have got in a bad way or might I say, they ended up in a raised bed.

As we were rather rich in horse manure we thought we would lay one layer of that afterwards to help the composting process. The whole Idea of the process except for its compost quality is that once the wood rots, its acts more and more like a sponge collecting water when the earth is wet, and delivering it back slowly once it dries up, or in another sense, as I was telling the local farmers who could not really believe I was burying my wood pile in a nice clear field, it’s a method for having a garden without the need to water it.

Horse Manure being used for gardening

Laying horse manure

As things were in swing and all the local farmers seem to be out and about in our parts, I thought maybe we can kill two birds with one stone, and got one of them to come with us to pick up some of the olive branches of the olives we just pruned. These olives have been neglected for 10 or so years, and there was a surprising amount, and i thought great that would be another nice layer for the raised bed. Back in the day Olive wood was quite sacred, and its amazing smell when burnt made feel like a sacrilege to just throw it in the ground, but somehow we managed.

using olive branches for raised beds

Olive branches delivery

To top it all up we have put the remaining earth, another load of horse manure, and another whole straw bale, seeing that no manual digging was involved I was rather pleased with the speed it all came together, and it was nice education for us and the local farmers, who promised that if my gardening experiments work they would make their own garden the same way.

Abruzzen Shepard

The bed is raised!

It felt funny teaching them how to garden, like selling snow to eskimos, but in a way it is time for new ways to take place, and as the Italian country side is suffering from the lack of governmental reforms more than most and the old day farming methods seems to have been swapped to simply plowing in grain once a year, I guess it is a turn for the good. It sure felt like it was flowing and I hope the abandoned lands and olive groves would flourish again at the foothills of the Magellan. The locals seem to have put a little more effort than usual this year into their fields and I hope we helped in some way to revive the abandoned fields and get the locals to not abandon their plots.

 

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.

joinus copy

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

13 copy

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.