Category Archives: Primitive Skills

depression

Modern Depression Is A Symptom of Our Society

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, is the number one cause of disability in the world for people aged 5 years or older. Approximately 1 in 8 children suffer from depression in the United States, and a total of about 14.8 million American adults have been diagnosed with the disorder. That’s a lot of people, and the number is frighteningly high when you consider depression is the main contributor to suicide, which claims more than a million lives per year.

Depression takes the most basic things we find joy in, and hides them away behind the shadows of sadness. Sleep, energy, focus, memory, and even libido are stolen from us. The loss of these simple necessities can destroy a person’s desire to love, play, work, and most notably, their will to live.dealing-with-distress-discouragement-and-spiritual-depression091911

In a recent TED Talk, Stephen Ilardi said, “Depression lights up the pain circuitry of the brain- to such an extent that it’s torment, it’s agony, it’s torture. And many begin to look to death, as a welcome means of escape.”

Ilardi, author of The Depression Cure, explains further to help us to understand what depression really is, what is really causing it, and how to make it really disappear.

Similar to our flight-or-flight response, the brain has what Ilardi refers to as a “runaway stress response.” He believes depression to be the result of prolonged exposure to this specific response. See, when our ancestors were faced with vicious predators or life-threatening dangers, the fight-or-flight response evolved to assist them with these situations. When the fight-or-flight response was answered with a feeling of safety, or security, the brain and body reverted to a state of reduced-stress. This reversion could only take place after the runaway stress response triggered intense physical activity, which could last for a few seconds or a few hours.

“The problem is for many people throughout the Western world, the stress response goes on for weeks, months and even years at a time, and when it does that, it’s incredibly toxic to the body and the brain,” Ilardi said.

The conditions in which we live today are extremely stressful, and this contributes to society’s rapid decline in health. Modern-day life disrupts our brain’s helpful chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, which can cause sleep deprivation, brain damage, inhibited immune response, and inflammation. This finding led Ilardi to another fascinating discovery: “Depression is a disease of civilization.”sad-man-with-umbrella-walking-in-a-lonely-street-digital-art-artw_preview_e2cd

Just like diabetes, cancer, allergies, and asthma, depression is considered a disease of civilization. Have you ever wondered why these diseases are so pervasive nowadays but were unheard of within indigenous cultures and tribes? It’s because we weren’t meant to live our lives like this- flooding our stress-receptors with trivialities while consuming poisoned food after a long work-day behind a computer screen. Continue reading

blue ridge mtns cropped

The Mountains Are Calling

Think about what it would be like to spend a week in the mountains, learning from modern practitioners of ancient earth skills. Think about taking that knowledge home and using it to ground your diet to the earth in the same ways that your ancestors did. If you’ve been wanting to actually learn about living with the land, this spring in Asheville, N.C. might be the time to do it.

 practictioners

Local practitioners and teachers of permaculture, such as Wild Abundance, hold weekend gatherings and week long intensives like Ancestral Foods Cooking Class at their homesteads, where hands-on skills are shared by true teachers of the ancient crafts.

 

Botanists, herbalists, foragers, and homesteaders flock to these mountains, as they are the oldest on Earth and make up one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Being able to explore these beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about the forest and its secrets is one of the most profound experiences you’ll find. It connects you with more than just your food, it connects you with the spirit of these mountains and the life to be found in them.

 

The permaculture and homesteading movement offers a chance to break out of the dependent consumer cycle that is killing our planet and our spirit. We owe it to ourselves to learn how to unplug from that. Taking back the food you eat is a great place to start.

 garden veggies

There are those that say switching to a diet of simple, raw, wild ancient foods and foraged foods have miraculous health benefits, including relief from common illnesses to more advanced diseases such as diabetes and even cancer. But the fact of the matter is that eating off the land just tastes good and feels good. You will soak it up and enjoy it in your every cell. You’ll feel happy and healthy and juicy and nourished and you will love it.

 

The permaculture movement also offers hope of a world that marries 21st-century technology with the ancient skills of cultivation and stewardship over ourselves and our land. Our ancestors developed these skills from a loving, nurturing, reciprocal relationship with the earth.

 

Here in Asheville and the surrounding areas, you will find a celebration of these values and the sacred lands that it occupies. Join us this spring as we celebrate the ancient ways with the gifts and wisdom of these mountains.

 

 

sagebowl cropped

Cleanse And Heal Yourself And Your Environment Using Simple Smudging Rituals.

For thousands of years, Native Americans have burned sacred plants in a bowl or on a stick to drive away negative energies and restore balance. You can use this same wisdom in today’s modern world to heal and restore balance to your life. When you light a smudge stick you’re connecting with a spiritual tradition that originates from the depths of time.

sagestick cropped

The herbs most often used in smudge sticks are sage and sweetgrass. The spirit of sage has the power to drive out negative energies, spirits, and influences. The powerful spirit of sweetgrass is used to attract positive energy and to aid healing after all the negativity has been banished by sage. Cedar can also be used for this same task. A small ceramic or stone bowl or a large shell to place your smudge stick is useful as well as a large feather to waft the smudge. Smudging summons the spirits of sacred plants, asking them to drive away negativity and put you back into a state of balance. It is the psychic equivalent of washing your hands before eating and is used as an essential preliminary to almost all native North American ceremonies.

native_american_smudging_ritualcropped

For self clearing or clearing someone else, light the end of your smudge stick until the tip starts to smolder. Call on the spirits of the smudge to cleanse and protect you, saying; “sacred sage, drive away all negativity from my heart; take away everything unworthy and impure.” Waft the smoke toward your heart holding the smudge stick away from you and use the feather to waft the smoke towards you. Take the smudge smoke over your head, down your arms, and down the front of your body. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions, and energies that have become attached to you. Use exactly the same technique to smudge someone else.

sweetgrass cropped

Smudging not only cleanses people; you can also clear a room or area of any old or stagnant energy. All rooms need cleansing, just as much as they need physical cleaning. If your life feels stuck or things just aren’t going according to plan, you may just find that simple space clearing may solve the problem. Walk around the room wafting smoke into each corner. Call on the spirit of sage to drive away negativity from the room. Then ask the spirit of Sweetgrass to bring harmony and balance to the room. You can also face and call on the four directions if you wish. Remember, you should also smudge anything you will be using for your blessing, such as crystals, candles, flowers, or stones. Other reasons for smudging can be sick room cleansing, cleansing following an argument, protecting your home when you’re leaving for vacation, and even celebrating a birth or honoring a passing.  Studies have also revealed that smudging can kill bacteria and prevent them from returning for quite some time.
No matter how you use these techniques smudging will assure you that you have the tool you need to keep your space and your life clear of of unwanted negative energy.

Inspired by Jane Alexander

shutterstock_125263139

7 Crucial Reasons to Learn Basic Survival Skills

Connect your spirit to your sustenance by learning a few primitive skills! What do I mean by primitive skills? From raising chickens to making fire to growing squash and stitching clothes, primitive skills refer to a broad set of practices and knowledge that all people used to have.

These are the practices that fed us, kept us warm, and allowed our species to survive. They pre-date the industrialized way of life, and they were as essential then as reading, writing, and paying your bills are now. Here are 7 reasons to learn some of these skills…shutterstock_366906995

  1. Help save the planet – This one’s kind of important… Primitive skills were all we had to survive when we lived in harmony with the Earth. In fact, they were all we needed. In the face of global warming, water shortages, and an atmosphere of general global chaos, we all need to step up and do our part. Marrying our modern technology with the wisdom and skills of our most ancient ancestors will set us up for centuries of beautiful abundant living.

  1. Builds confidence – Taking the time to learn a new skill is rewarding, but the results multiply when you do something that resonates with your spirit. When you do something that your ancient ancestors would be proud of, you are inspired in a way that is uniquely and characteristically human. If you can make a fire with your hands, you’ll feel like you can do anything.shutterstock_364512071

  1. Grow your own food – Rewarding and delicious! If you haven’t ever grown something, waited to see it form and ripen, and eaten it for dinner, it’s time. You’ll love it and you’ll feel your connection to the Earth grow every time. Take it a step further and learn to can or preserve your food when it is in season and abundant, (whether you grew it or not).

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety – No tricks, pills, or self-help books to buy here. Pick up your tools and walk outside. Leave behind your iPhone. Connecting to the natural world around you will disconnect you from your daily stressors. Unless that stressor is a mountain lion, in which case you should go back inside for the time being.

  1. shutterstock_372521689Great family activity – Everyone can help when it’s time to set up your spring garden. Parents, children, and teens will find engaging outlets outside, and can often find positive ways to spend time together. Take it a step further and try out a weekend primitive skills gathering, (like this one). On the homestead, your family is your team. You will find something for everyone.

  1. Be more self sufficient – You don’t have to go totally off-grid to establish your dominion. Having even a few permaculture-related skills and some experience will empower you in the way you see yourself and your capabilities, and it will never look the same again. Look up homesteading schools near you to learn what works best in your environment. Here’s an example of a great one near Asheville, NC, called Wild Abundance.shutterstock_378721531

  1. This stuff is really fun! If you’re going to put time and effort into a new skill, do something you enjoy. To me that sounds like bow making, but to you that might be studying plant medicines or making an earthen oven. To each their own.

In this modern world people need to return to a symbiotic relationship with the land and life around them. The great news is that this doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Bringing this ancient wisdom into your life will bring great joy, fulfillment, and a chance to bond with your tribe.