Starhawk and pot luck

It’s not every day you meet a witch. The American pagan peace activist and writer Starhawk was giving a workshop on a nearby farm. We all bought a vegetarian offering for the shared lunch (see above).

Food brings people together and if everyone brings a dish, it’s not hard work to feed 30. The tastes may be pot luck but they miraculously get on well.

Starhawk shared with us some magical methods for keeping our spirits up while saving the world. She said, try to be in nature every day for fifteen minutes. Take time to wonder at how that leaf falls or green shoots burst out of a cracked pavement, and use your physical senses to ground you.

Radford Mill Farm was the perfect setting. We closed our eyes and heard the wind in the trees and the birds, calling. We opened them and walked barefoot on the wet grass. We felt the sun on our backs and saw the sky. I felt like a cooped-up chicken allowed to go free range.

Green activists live with the doom-reality of an impending environmental crisis but they are remarkably upbeat, probably because they are doing something to make the world a better place.

Starhawk’s talk was organised by Sarah Pugh, the Transition Bristol maven. Transition Culture is about getting self-sufficient so when supermarket shelves are empty and petrol pumps are dry, we have by this time learnt to grow our own veg (and guard our allotments from the marauding hordes?).

Our vegetables will have to be organic when oil is scarce. Non-organic farming relies on oil to make chemical fertiliser in factories. As oil prices rise, so does the cost of food. Organic farming has no need for gallons of oil. It makes its fertiliser on the farm, courtesy of the sun.

Radford Mill Farm is converting to organic and is set on making it a community affair. The official term is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA for those in the know). Originally from the US, it’s about sharing a farm’s responsibilities – and rewards. You commit in advance, with cash or in kind, and in return get a share of the harvest.

When the going gets tough, we will need our family farms more than ever. Adopt one now!

Below is a picture of Starhawk listening to Siobhan, a co-founder of Tribe of Doris, the UK’s most prestigious cultural festival. Here’s a tip for keeping cheerful: if you want to learn to dance or play music and can live under canvas for a convivial few days over the Bank Holiday weekend, then that’s the festival for you. (And don’t forget Climate Camp next week).

5 responses to “Starhawk and pot luck

  1. Starhawk is an amazing person. She combines political theory with spirituality. Who can forget her account of the magic circles she created at the Battle of Seattle (the 2000 protests against the World Trade Organization) ? She believes we can move mountains with our minds. But will that be sufficient to create a revolution for social justice? How do we deal with resistance to our efforts to change the status quo? (such as prison, being tasered).
    A word about potlucks. This term comes from a Native American word “potlachs’ which is the ceremony in which Chiefs invite the tribe for dinner and provide the feast. Afterwards, she/he shares out gifts. This is for prestige, and because, being essential egalitarian societies, it was considered a priority to share the wealth.
    My motto is
    By the way, my husband Daniel has started a vegetable garden here in Flagstaff, Arizona. The lettuces have come up in just days! And we swear we see the rosy red of a radish nosing its way to the surface.
    Did you know that there are ‘good’ germs in the earth, which is what makes gardening good for our health? And, why does the word ‘germ’ have such a bad connotation? The verb ‘germinate’ doesn’t. And there are many more good germs than bad.


  2. On the subject of spiritually, had a spiritually brilliant swim today, July 30.
    Here’s what I did, in a perfectly ordinary swimming pool:
    As my head emerges from the water to take a deep breath during the breast stroke, I formed my mouth into a laugh. Instantly, my face received a much needed exercise, and I reached a state of nirvana. One lap should do it.


  3. Activism and spirituality is a welcome combination — they complement each other. And I would certainly need buckets-full of spirituality if I was in prison….Check out this website which Starhawk recommended


  4. Hi Phillipa, you found through experience what William Bloom claims, laughter is a great endorphins producer, just a few are all it can take to push you over the edge, into nirvana and bliss.

    I found a number of time whilst out doing walking meditation that it wasn’t working, what’s missing I thought, hey I’m not smiling, problem solved, time stops and bliss arrives.

    Keep well and enjoy the swimming meditation,

    Smiling Mike


  5. Now I thought Radford Mill Farm was already organic. Am I wrong?


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