In the beginning, or as far back as we can fathom, a functioning hunter-gatherer unit consisted of around 30-50 highly interdependent people with an intimate material and spiritual relationship with the plants and animals in the waters and landscape they came from.
Today the smallest functioning post-industrial human family unit is one person living in a one bedroom apartment with their smart phone and who may or may not know the first name of their Deliveroo person.
This is the absolute pinnacle of individualism and it’s set us so apart from nature and each other that it’s let us put our personal happiness above other people’s, above clean air and oceans, above the existence of thousands of plants and animals.
And though we harbour a deep yearning to live as islands somehow we can’t help forming ourselves into so many archipelagos.
Last night on the village green at CERES 800 people (but for lack of space we could have held another the same size) tucked in around the fire to bid goodbye to the “beautiful darkness”. And as the flames licked the sky, all around Melbourne thousands of people gathered around blazes large and small to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
Larger hunter gatherer communities spend about forty per cent of their time in ceremony. Why so much? Because it’s our shared stories, songs, dancing and rituals that maintains healthy relationships between large groups of people and complex eco-systems.
Our planetary biogeochemical
Deep down we know the importance of coming together and maybe this is why rituals like the Winter Solstice attract more and more people every year.
And all those times I wonder, “How on earth will we ever be able to live in some kind of harmony with nature again?” Perhaps it’s this irresistible regathering that’s our first step back towards the light.
If you’re going away have a wonderful break and remember to stock up on all those things you love but aren’t available where you’re going – for us it’s many kilos of apples, Ian Cuming’s kiwis, Madeline’s garlic, Smalt fudge, litres of Schulz milk and a large bag of coffee.
And while you’re at it I’ve recently discovered the immense joy of putting in an order before we go away and coming back to a fresh stack of Fair Food boxes on our verandah and no need for an emotionally challenging late night trip to the shops.
Have a great week