A new three-part learning intensive with David Abram – starting in late May 2019, near Santa Fe, New Mexico
– How shall we meet the strange times now upon us? The abrupt and calamitous events now unfolding throughout the world spell an end to longstanding civilizational patterns, signaling the twilight of many of the most deep-set assumptions that have shaped human life for millennia. We have entered the age of consequences. For many persons, the breakdown of long-held assumptions and the collapse of cherished ways of life provoke a trembling fearfulness, a loss of hope, and even (for some) a reflexive rage. Yet for those whose earth-born, animal senses are still awake – for those able to free their creaturely intelligence from the slumber imposed by obsolete ways of thinking – the breakdown of established certainties opens a vast array of possibilities heretofore hidden: prospects for radical astonishment, for beauty, for heartfelt encounter and interchange with other persons and other creatures, for modes of life seasoned by grief yet luminous with wonder and mystery. In an era swollen with digital dazzlements and techno-utopian fantasies, all who ally themselves with the wild, more-than-human earth are called to become adepts of outrageous creativity and embodied eloquence, masters of lucid improvisation.
The Alliance for Wild Ethics and the Broken Bard School is excited to announce a yearlong learning program with cultural ecologist, storyteller, and geo-philosopher David Abram. Entitled Depth Ecology and Wild Ethics: Between the Human Animal and the Animate Earth, the three-part program is an investigation into the reciprocity between our creaturely senses and the earthly sensuous, between storytelling and the powers of place, between human dreaming and the land’s imagination, between wildness and shadowed wonder.
The intensive is open to activists and artists, to scientists, philosophers and poets, to musicians and farmers, college professors and street performers, physicians and field biologists and fishermen, ethnobotanists and psychotherapists – to all who are in love with the wild, shadowed Earth and who seek a new, more full-bodied and creaturely way of thinking and acting in service to what matters, a way of living that doesn’t plunder but rather blesses this breathing biosphere.
Participants will gather three times over the course of a year, for a week at a time. The final session will take place at roughly the same time of year as the first (hence, if the first session begins in the spring, then the third gathering will take place the following spring).
Each of the three sessions will interweave close, participatory teaching, rich conversation, and experiential encounters with the local earth – exploring the high desert ecology of the upper Rio Grande Valley and the aspen-thick slopes of the southern Rockies. There will be quiet contemplation and solo time, vivid storytelling, and creaturely shapeshifting. We’ll cultivate our ability to engage deeply with shadows (both personal and collective) honing a wild and joyful lucidity in the face of intensifying losses. Solidarity with the winds and the waters, spontaneous poetics, and a grounded, earthly magic are the tools by which we conjure the real in its wonder.
Our aim is cultural metamorphosis.
Sessions will begin Saturday evening and end the following Friday (so participants can leave anytime Saturday, or choose to stay on for some days among the canyons and Pueblos of northern New Mexico. The first session will run from Saturday, May 25th through Friday, May 31st, 2019 — at the height of spring here in the upper Rio Grande Valley. The rivers winding through arroyos and canyons are swollen with meltwater streaming from the snowpack that gathered, layer upon layer, on the high peaks during the long winter. New life is bursting out of the branches on the high slopes, while far below, the desert is rippling with green.
The second session will run in autumn, from Saturday, October 5th through Friday, October 11th, 2019 – commonly a week when the vast aspen groves on the slopes above town are shimmering with autumn gold (surely one of the finest moments of the year to be in northern New Mexico)!
The final session will once again run in spring 2020, from Saturday, May 23rd through the evening of Friday, May 29th, 2020 – a chance once again to imbibe the exuberance of spring in the southern Rockies.
The cost will be $1000/session. The Broken Bard School will provide a nourishing lunch for the participants on each day of the workshop. Participants will provide their own lodging in the culture-rich city of Santa Fe (we will recommend some good deals), as well as breakfasts and dinners out on the town. (Santa Fe is renowned for a remarkable array of scrumptious cafés and restaurants, with many farm-to-table establishments).
Session 1 – May 25th – May 31st, 2019
Session 2 – October 5th – October 11th, 2019
Session 3 – May 23rd – May 29th, 2020
If you are willing to switch off your screen-fitted phone, now and then, in order to synapse your senses back to the palpable stones and the tangible bones of the trees, well then, For the lucid moon’s sake, what are you waiting for? If you yearn to align your heartbeat with the pulse rising from far under the ground – if you are loopy enough to dance with a snow-capped mountain, or to converse with a stream as it gushes over the guttural rocks – then please join us!
This will be a small intensive, with abundant room for personal interaction: space is limited to thirty participants. To apply for the program, please send a paragraph about yourself and why you’re interested in this work to the retreat coordinator, Marie Goodwin, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions, as well, may be sent to that address.