NCAT

(Nature Connected Activities in Tarragona)

Last month we walked along Playa Larga near Tarragona and had several nationalities: a Dutch couple, a Portuguese, a Greek, several Spaniards, a Venezuelan, a Scotsman, an Englishman (yours truly) and a Swiss woman (Mika) – it sounds like the beginning of a complex bar joke (but it wasn’t, lol).  It was a beautiful place with forest right next to the sea. This month we go to the Febró ravine; I’ll tell you about that.

Recently we had our first NCAT English meet up. We were asked recently if we had outings specifically for speaking English, so we obliged and created a new branch of NCAT. This group is more for people that want to practice their English in an informal setting. We do have a few exercises to learn some basics, but just something simple whilst we walk. There’s plenty of extranjeros (foreigners, like me) that want to learn Spanish, so why not an NCAT Spanish?

We also have NCAT Eco-Art; the first workshop will be the end of this month. Here we use natural materials to create works of art (mandalas, “touchscapes”, etc.), but working with ecopsychological principles by becoming aware of the natural world around us with senses little used!

Here are the links for each group:

NCAT – for excursions and activities out in nature.

NCAT English – excursions in nature, learning and practicing English.

NCAT Ecoart – artistic activities in nature, combining natural materials with ecopsychological principles.

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Book of Poems

It’s been a long time in coming. A very long time in coming, but at last it’s happening!

For the last few months I’ve been looking through my poems and creating a book of poetry from them, using Blurb. I’ve written so many that I’ll be publishing several books. For the moment, all the poetry for the first book has been collected and I just need to work on the look of the book and put pictures in, then it’ll be ready for publishing. 🙂

New Year, New Direction

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. I felt I needed something where I could share my thoughts, but not with so much depth as The Grove of Quotes. Also it was made to accompany me through my work through OBOD‘s Druid grade (third and final grade that I started a little over two years ago). Now I’m coming to the end of the course I can reflect a little on where this blog has been and where it will go.

This blog has helped me express some thoughts I encountered in the course, sharing ideas on learning and creating languages, sharing other creative endeavours such as art and stories, and so on. And I shall carry on, but my focus will be changing. The course is ending, but the process of becoming a Druid is just starting. I have aquired the tools, now it’s the time to apply them in my life. For that reason “druid in training” is still apt.

In the new year I’ll be starting a course in Ecopsychology (Mika has just finished it) and we’ll be do more activities combining art with ecopsychological insight (Ecoart workshops). We’ll also be working with CEN (as mentioned in a previous post) and continuing our development of a sustainable ecological project, and so taking my druidry into action.

Happy New Year!

Writing Style

At the moment I writing a short story about a Brinkleginks first encounter with humans. I started it in a serious-fantasy mode, and I could start it, carried on it for a few paragraphs, but then there comes a bit where there’s a “pause” in the actual story, where I don’t know how to transition from one phase to another. Well, I’ve just written the same story but in funny-fantasy mode and found it flows much better. I think that, for the moment, this is really “my style”, as I discovered with Jake Fish, St. John de Monmouth and a few other short stories. For the moment I think I’ll just write what flows, and what entertains me by whilst I’m writing.

The Role of Magick

Inspired by a recent forum discussion about the role of magic(k) in modern paganism:

My attitude to and belief in magic has changed. I got into Paganism via “nature worship”, that’s what really drew me in, and magic just happened to be a part of the whole Pagan thing (my first excursion into the subject was through Wicca). The magic side of things did interest me for a while, but I was more interested in its significance than its practice. My questions to myself “why do I need it? Do I actually need it?” I once read something that really changed my view of it, which was that I can make a spell but the result will not be the exact one I want; it will be an unconscious change of myself that influences how I act in my life. I can ask for love, wealth or health, but unconsciously I will be making changes to myself that will somehow draw these things into my life.

I think I was more for personal development, making changes within myself than making changes outside of me. And since I can make change within myself without magic, why bother? On the other hand Buddhism influenced my thinking: instead of changing things, maybe it is my perception of things that needs changing. So I left magic behind, though I still held symbolic actions important.

Nowadays I don’t believe that simply by ritualised intent I can make things change (except myself). I believe making symbols (artistically, ritualistically or otherwise) to symbolise my intentions or wishes is important, but these act more as a “mission statement” to myself, a plan or vision by which I can act… and then the changes occur.

For me “real magic” is art and creativity. It is the way we can apply our imagination and perception to transform the world. It the the transformation of inanimate elements into living beings, the transformation of reaction into reflection, the transformation of imagination into concrete reality. It’s an alchemy of the world and ourselves that involves our perception of it.

I may have let go of certain ideas about magic, but it’s become something else as my perception and understanding of it changed. Magic itself has undergone a transformation of alchemy.

“Best Possible So Far” and Other Provisional Explanations

I’m into a small series of scientific blogs…

Science and art have this in common: they both need an imagination to work. Without imagination science wouldn’t have any new hypotheses or theories to measure, so contrary to popular opinion scientists do have an imagination. Where the artists’ imagination embellishes and transforms reality the scientists’ imagination creates abstract models which they then measure against reality thus testing whether their ideas conform to reality. Next, someone else replicates their methods to double check whether the results are replicable or not. In a way scientists actually look to have their dreams dashed to the ground! They seem to enjoy it…

Now they call this “objective”, but all it does is measure up various people’s subjective imaginary theories to nature, making it an “intersubjective” reflection of objective reality. And it’s just a way to accurately describe and explain nature, not to tell us what is true or not. So also contrary to popular opinion, what science says isn’t true; it’s just the best explanation so far! It’s provisional and subject to change and refinement. It’s falsifiable (i.e. all scientific statements leave room to be disproven). All scientific theories carry the implicit warning: “This is the best way we’ve found of explaining reality until further notice.” That “until further notice” is very important.

Anyway, what that means is we’re under no obligation to take science seriously because it’s as subject to subjective fantasy as art or religions are (although a bit more rigorous in testing its ideas).

Jake Fish

Just finished and published another story for Jake Fish: The Day of the Missing Paperclip. It’s soon time to wrap things up. Last year I started my TAG journey, which included a story on Jake Fish being propelled out of his nice, safe life into Imagi-nation. It’s been a transformative experience for him, either that or he’s gone mad, and a good opportunity for me to express myself through art and story.

You can check out Jake Fish’s story here: Fish Out of Water and to see my fellow artists own work through their own journeys just go here: The Travelling Artists Guild. It’ll soon be ended but you can still go back to these blogs and see the work that has been done.