Loving of all forms of life

I chose the name ‘Wild Heart Permaculture’ because to me, being in relationship with the land, humans and nonhumans, comes from my heart. I love and respect all forms of life and won’t stop working until all are free from exploitation. The ethics that form the basis of permaculture – earth care, people care and fair shares – are not theoretical concepts, they inform every decision I make, as does listening to your own heart.

Heart based communication & perception

“Words are the domain of the linear mind; only the heart can hear the language of plants” Stephen Buhner

We also use our hearts to communicate and gain teachings from the land. One of the most life-changing books I’ve ever read is Stephen Harrod Buhner’s The Secret Teaching of Plants. He describes how indigenous peoples worldwide say that they have learnt about the medicinal qualities of a plant through the plants themselves. They didn’t use analytical thinking, scientific research or trial and error, but instead learnt directly from the plants and the living earth. They used their wild hearts to connect to and to directly perceive the wild heart of nature.

“We in the West have been immersed in a particular mode of cognition the past hundred years, a mode defined by its linearity, it tendency to reductionism, and an insistence on the mechanical nature of Nature. This mode of cognition, the verbal/intellectual/ analytical (VIA), is now the dominant one in Western culture. There is, however, another mode of cognition, one our species has used during the majority of its time on this planet–the holistic/ intuitive/ depth (HID) mode of cognition. Its expression can be seen in how ancient and indigenous peoples gathered their knowledge about the world in which they lived and how they gathered knowledge of the uses of plants as medicines.

All ancient and indigenous peoples said that they learned the uses of plants as medicines from the plants themselves. For, they insisted, the plants can speak to human beings if only human beings will listen and respond to them in the proper state of mind. Gathering of knowledge directly from the wildness of the world is called biognosis–meaning “knowledge from life”–and, because it is inherent in our very physical bodies, it is something that everyone has the capacity to develop. It is something, in fact, that all of us use (at least minimally) without awareness in our day-to-day lives. It is a way of being that is concerned with our interconnection to the web of life that surrounds us, with wholeness rather than parts, with the very human journey in which we are all engaged.” Stephen Harrod Buhner

Understanding Sacredness

Perceiving the wild heart of nature is about much more than collecting knowledge, however. A profound knowing takes place; an experience and awareness of the interconnectedness and sacredness of the web of life that surrounds us all. “Redeveloping the capacity for heart-centered cognition can help each of us reclaim personal perception of the living and sacred intelligence within the world. Stephen Harrod Buhner

Beyond Romantic love

The heart as a symbol, doesn’t have to just represent romantic love. Chellis Glendenning says, “We must revive the full spectrum of the erotic, demanding that all aspects of work and community be infused with a spirit of aliveness and passion”. For me, I want to live a passionate life. I will throw myself into design work because I feel that working with creation is sacred. I don’t want to produce 2 dimensional designs of raised beds and borders, I want to help create spaces that are charged with life. That have a beating heart.

“The way of the heart is the way of creation” Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Falling in love outwards

Some of my friends think I am mad, living in a field in Somerset away from the city, from drink culture, from hardcore shows. But I need it for my heart to beat right. I need to be able to connect with the land, fully and wholly. Not just any land, but Avalon, its curves and its history. Through learning about permaculture, through working with the soil, cultivating plants and spending time in woodlands, I think you can ‘fall in love outwards’. That’s what I have done, madly and deeply. That’s why I’m ‘Wild Heart Permaculture’.