Our lives are getting more complicated and less interesting. We wander through our world with blinders on, not acknowledging each other or even ourselves. Our electronics demand more and more of our time and energy, but what we really need is time in nature. Hands in the soil.
The energy of the Earth herself is the energy of change and healing, expression and integration. We, as humans, can harvest and harness this energy for healing. And I don’t mean that in a controlling, patriarchal, or commercial way.
We are the conduit between Earth and Sky. Therefore, we can refocus our lives simply by tapping into the transformative energy that surrounds us daily. All it takes is a connection with Mother Earth.
The foundations of Goddess Permaculture contain 13 lenses (design principles) that allow us to refocus not only our lands, but our lives and inner being.
These principles are universal, but the methods used to express them vary depending on the person, place, and situation. We apply the lenses to refocus our personal, cultural, economic, social, and political lives. It’s not about the superficiality of how many pounds of produce you harvested, but how you worked with Mother Earth to benefit all life.
Each lens is a doorway that opens to a way of thinking that is holistic and provides different perspectives that are understood at different levels of depth and application.
Goddess Permaculture looks through these different lenses to create systems that regenerate Mother Earth and shape our lives. As we tend her, we mend our souls.
These are the lenses of Goddess Permaculture:
1. Mother Earth First!
Everything we do affects Mother Earth—from our consumption to our waste. If we refocus our thinking and being to be Mother Earth centric, we are able to create systems that are regenerative instead of consumptive and wasteful. This is the essence of The Gaia Theory (Earth is a living being).
2. Observe & Interact
By taking the time to engage with nature, we can design solutions that suit our particular situation. It's time we let Mother Earth be our teacher, and listen with sacred ears, see with sacred eyes the life that we are part of.
3. Catch & Store Energy
Mother Earth is filled with abundant energy that can be stored and used in leaner times. By creating systems in our lives to harness times of plenty and releasing it during times of scarcity, we have a more even distribution of the abundance and security. This works for sun, wind, water, biomass, seeds, food, community, and even our own body.
4. Obtain a Yield
Be conscious about what you do, how you're doing it, and what resources you're using to make sure that there is value and purpose to it. Keep your life simple and effective to continue the flow of abundance.
5. Apply Self-regulation & Accept Feedback
Be conscious of what is happening in your life. Ask why for everything you do. Then, reflect and review your answers. Is it because that's the way it has always been done? Is there happiness and simplicity in your life? If not, what would make it so? Notice when things work and when they don't. Be willing to experiment and see what happens. And most importantly, be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them. Then, adapt and change to a better way of being with Mother Earth.
6. Use & Value Renewable Resources
It's time that we embrace nature's abundance and renewable resources and reduce our dependence on scarce resources (like fossil fuels). Did you know that there are many plants that yo ucan eat the leaves, flowers, shoots, skin, seeds, as well as the flesh? Pumpkin is one of them. Invite animals and plants to do the work that they are designed to do. Earth worms are a great example. They'll till the soil for you. Comfrey collects deep nutrients and makes it available at the surface for other plants.
7. Produce No Waste
We are a throwaway society, but there is no away. What's waste for us is food for other species. Consuming less is one of the easiest ways to create less waste. Embrace simplicity and frugality. It's the next "in" thing. Care for your things. Fix them and mend them. Go beyond recycling—rethink, refuse, re-organize, reuse, reduce, renew, re-purpose, repair, and reinvent. The latest and greatest will eventually end up in the trash. Think of that!
8. Design from Patterns to Details
Observe the patterns of your life. How does it flow? What patterns do you see in your work, relationships, food consumption, and home life. Look at ways to manage your ecosystem from the patterns to the details so they are cohesive, low-maintenance, and low-impact. For instance, you go to the grocery store once-a-week. Presumably you drive there. What would it be like if you road your bike? What about combining more errands? What if you had a friend join you with her grocery shopping? How can you design your life so it flows, and you have more time for the things that you're passionate about?
9. Integrate Rather than Segregate
All life is connected. When we integrate the elements of our lives (from #8 above), we have a system that flows with nature not against her. We connect to a life that is beyond ourselves.
10. Use Small & Slow Solutions
We, me included, tend to look for the most complex solution to a problem. However, if we use the smallest possible intervention, it is likely to yield the greatest possible effect. For instance, a friend had a problem with deer eating her blueberries. The most complex and expensive solution was to buy deer fence. However, I told her to plant more blueberries with some as a living fence along the deer's path. The blueberries for her were closer to the house, and the deer no longer bothered "her" blueberries.
11. Use & Value Diversity
Diverse systems are always more sustainable and regenerative. There are so many ways this comes into affect in society, right?! It also works in every aspect of our lives from the garden to the forests. Diversity is the basis for regenerative living and gives us the potential for new opportunities to engage and emerge. When we embrace different ways of seeing, we no longer put all of our eggs in one basket.
12. Use Edges & Value the Marginal
My favorite quote is "If you aren't living on the edge, you're taking up too much space." In my eyes, this is where the opportunities, creativity, and innovation reside. The wild edges contain diversity and productivity that connect systems. For example, your soul soil is the connection between Air and Earth and is the only fertile layer. Wetlands and Swamps are the edge between Water and Earth that supports so much life. Even the edge between a forest and meadow is one of the most beautiful spaces. Where are the wild edges in your life?
13. Creatively Use & Respond to Change
The only thing guaranteed is change. It will happen. How you respond is what matters. You can positively impact a system in your life with careful observation and acting in a responsible manner. You can see the opportunity for change and jump in with both feet. Embracing the changing seasons will provide a warmth in your heart and deep connection with life.
How to Use the Lenses to Refocus Our Lives
When faced with a decision, make the one that will bring you the most joy.
How many times have you decided on something that, in your gut, you knew was not right and would not bring you joy? Probably far too many times to count. Sometimes, we make choices based on trying to please someone else, what conventional wisdom would dictate, or a limiting belief that could be deeply ingrained.
Today, I invite you to spend a few moments in solitude and connect to your inner wisdom, that “gut feeling”, your intuition, that voice of the Divine that has been knocking on your door wanting to be heard.
Often we want to jump right in to get a garden started or change our lives. However, if we slow down the process and spend more time looking through the lenses and evaluating, we give ourselves time to express our personal missions in unimpeded ways and will instinctively know what actions to take on our journey.
If you want to learn more about Goddess Permaculture, my Introduction to Goddess Permaculture will show you how to take your love of gardening and the Earth one-step further. To leave a productive, regenerative world filled with diversity for future generations!
Goddess Permaculture is a revolution disguised as gardening!