August 25, 2014

August Review 2014 › Tributes to Ann ›

A Tangible Legacy

A Tribute to Ann Napier                                                                     Maddy Harland Helping hands have been, and will be offered. All you need to do is... View full article →
August 25, 2014

August Review 2014 › Tributes to Ann ›

A Tangible Legacy

A Tribute to Ann Napier                                                                     Maddy Harland Helping hands have been, and will be offered. All you need to do is... View full article →
July 01, 2014

Earth-based Spirituality & Shamanism › harvest › Sacred › seasons › spiritual › world ›

Reclaiming the Celebration of the Harvest

There is a very powerful practice to attune to the seasons and the wheel of the year at the time of the Celtic festivals and create our own ceremonies, together or alone in the stillness of meditation. We both animate and reclaim the past wisdom of our ancestors whose very survival was bound to the... View full article →
January 29, 2014

compost › hotbeds › hotbins › nature › trees › Working with the animal and plant kingdoms ›

Hotbeds and Hotbins

In 1999, the year the total eclipse of the sun was visible from Cornwall, Tim and I took our then small children to see it. They were awed by the experience. That same holiday we also visited the Lost Gardens of Heligan to see a fantastic collection of plants in 200 acres. Far from being... View full article →
November 25, 2013

2312 › Amma › calm body › Earth-based Spirituality & Shamanism › love › nature › scared › teachers › unconditional ›


I have a philosophy. It is to go where I am invited, to walk through open doors rather than push against the ones that are closed, to listen to my intuition to hear the call. Some weeks ago I had an email from a charming American called Meredith. Would I like to come and meet... View full article →
October 24, 2013

burner › economically › Environmental & Social Transformation › meditations › sustainability › winter › wood ›

Wooding and the Rhythms of the Seasons

My birth name wasn’t Maddy Harland, it was Madeleine Wood, and wood has always played an important part in my life. A deepening love of nature Early memories are of camping with my parents in wild places. We would light fires with sticks on tiny islands on Loch Corrib in the wilds of Connemara. After... View full article →
August 21, 2013

adventure › ancient › creatures › environment › Environmental & Social Transformation › exploring › free › spirit › wild ›

Further Explorations of the Wild

It all started with a walk from the Vale of the White Horse to Avebury with a lovely group of people two summers ago. As I walked in that ancient, symbolic landscape and shared the warmth of community on the road and around the fire every night, I merged deeply with the wild self, the one who loves to commune with the stars, with plants and creatures, with exquisite landscapes, and to hear the song of the Earth.

A recurring theme

I came home and started working with Glennie Kindred on her book, Letting in the Wild Edges [230711]. She got me thinking deeply about what it is to explore our own wild edges and how we can enter a much deeper relationship with Nature through what we grow, forage, craft and celebrate. I wrote about that process in the last Cygnus review. Earlier this year, synchronously, Ann sent me The Eyes of the Wild by Eleanor O’Hanlon [230215], an incomparably fine and insightful book, overflowing with wisdom, natural history and beauty. I reviewed it here too and have since become friends with Eleanor. She is a wonderful, clever, funny woman.

Why has the wild well and truly entered my life? I think it is a balancing reaction to the frantic, digital, artificial world in which we now live. We are resource rich and time poor with a vast global population, industrialised food system that thinks it is rational to grow meat in the lab rather than support agroecology (proven to be more productive than industrial monocultures), agroforestry and permaculture. In my exploration of the wild in me, I am reaching out to my soul’s impulse towards the Beautiful, the Good and the True. I am working to strengthen my capacity to hold the vision of a saner, more balanced world: For what we think, we create. I know I am not alone. Many of us speak of the same journey.

Wild, by Jay Griffiths

Seeking further inspiration and reading on this subject, it was inevitable that I would discover the writings of Jay Griffiths and her book, Wild. Jay is a poet, wordsmith as well as a social, political, and environmental commentator, but I must warn you, she is not always a comfortable read. She is frankly visionary, brutally honest and deeply incisive about our industrialised colonisation of all things Wild.

Her book by that name is a tour de force. It explores what is wild on a grand scale. This is a travel adventure, the author’s personal journey to wholeness, and a literary masterpiece. It is also a first hand, comprehensive exploration of the world’s indigenous cultures and their profound insights into what it is to be Wild, unconstrained by the confines of linear, western, mechanistic thinking and culture, with all its teeth and claw. A scathing critique of corporate greed and the evangelical missionaries who collude with the mining and logging companies, it describes their end game: the destruction of fragile cultures, poverty, and alcohol and drug dependency.

Stark realities, profound metaphors, poetic language

Jay Griffiths structures Wild through her travels to the lands of Earth, Ice, Water, Air and Fire. It is often poetic, beautiful, stunningly insightful and, at times, harrowing, especially during the tales of the lives of the Inuit (Ice) who are so stripped of their culture that they no longer have the traditional skills to venture into the frozen wilds of their own lands without risking death. In West Papua too I grieved for the indigenes at the hands of the Indonesian Government, which operates hand in hand with the mining corporations and is armed by western nations (specifically Britain).
Jay has the ability to express stark realities as well as deeply profound metaphors. She uses language, even invents it, like a poet laureate. However personally discomforting the subject matter can be at times, I read every word and savoured each page. Like Eleanor O’Hanlon’s magnificent Eyes of The Wild, this book brought me into greater relationship with my own constraints and my yearning to merge with the great spaces of the wild, unforgiving, natural world. It made me long to connect with my own free spirit which is too often suppressed by the routines of our obligatory desk and four walls culture. This is a big recommend for anything this stunning author writes.

Maddy Harland is a writer, editor and speaker. She co-founded Permaculture magazine – practical solutions for self-reliance, as well as Permanent Publications, a book publishing company, and The Sustainability Centre, an educational charity in Hampshire. You can find out more at (a free online magazine updated daily with practical features, news, reviews and reader’s solutions).

Letting in the Wild Edges
by Glennie Kindred

In this beautifully illustrated book, Glennie Kindred inspires us to celebrate the bounties of our wild native plants and find a richer relationship with the natural world around us.Click here to buy.

by Eleanor O’Hanlon

Eleanor O’Hanlon takes us into the magnificent wilderness areas still remaining on Earth to experience the wisdom and wonder of the natural connection between animals, the rhythms and cycles of the Earth and the waking of the soul within each person.
Click here to buy.

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June 26, 2013

Earth-based Spirituality & Shamanism ›

Exploring the Wild Edges with Glennie Kindred

I first met Glennie at a Big Green Gathering over a decade ago. I was a permaculturist who had come from a healing background, and Glennie was running the Healing Field at the festival. We both wanted to discover how we could bring a greater awareness of seasonal celebrations, art and healing to permaculture. Since then... View full article →
March 26, 2013

Environmental & Social Transformation › Food & Nutrition › Health & Wellbeing › Working with the animal and plant kingdoms ›

No Dig Organic Heaven

I have been a no dig vegetable grower for over ten years. A kind friend of ours gave us some recycled railway sleepers that had lined a slurry pit on a local farm. We used them to create a hexagonal pattern of six triangular raised beds with a further two triangles to the side with... View full article →
January 30, 2013

Environmental & Social Transformation › Working with the animal and plant kingdoms ›

The Consciousness of the Wild

Years ago, before Tim and I were about to become parents, we planned our ‘last’ wilderness adventure. In the days before questioning the carbon spent on air travel, we flew to San Diego and took a 90-foot fishing boat down the coast, amongst the Pacific swell, to Baja California and into the St Ignacio Lagoon... View full article →