Grief/Dirt: An Online Weekend with Stephen Jenkinson
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In this unique online weekend program, we offer you something like an unsentimental education about the Land. An unblinking, errant pilgrimage across holy ground. For Stephen, there is no other kind of ground. And there is no better time.
In tough times — ours, for instance — we crave security. For folks with deep pockets, some of the smart money goes into ‘precious metals’, and rides out the heavy weather there. For others, the psychic, mythic equivalent is that old rallying cry, Back to the land. Where the precious metals came from. Where most of us have never been. Except on holiday. While time has not dimmed our fond belief that the land is there to forgive and forget and to take all comers, consider this: When live ‘bush meat’ came too close to live domestic meat in a wet market in China, something seismic happened and the current plague was born. That is more what ‘rewilding’ looks like — when undertaken by nostalgic, truant, myth-illiterate seekers. It may help to remember that ‘nostalgia’ means ‘the pain of returning’! Literally: ‘home/sick’.
Among the earthy questions Stephen will dig into over the weekend:
What makes you think that ‘the land’ is awaiting our contrition or our reappearance? Or that it’s neutral where we’re concerned? Or that it has a bad memory? Or that it’s ours?
What ever happened to all those Deities of Place the world over, once people moved on to the more sophisticated myths of inanimism?
Do the misanthropes have it right? Is the only good human a wild human? Are we capable of wilderness?
A few stopping points along the way:
- An unauthorized history of agriculture.
- The Fourth Temptation, where the spiritual warrior is the failed farmer. Cain and Abel.
- What ‘sustainable’ usually means.
- The catastrophe of surplus.
- The Iron Age, when everything changed.
- Addiction and the mania for growth.
- Totems and ‘power animals’.
- Planting ancestors.
- The covenant in domestication.
- The moral quandary of cheap food.
- Tools and machines.
- Private property. Owning a living thing.
- Trade and commerce.
- How to fix a broken handle, and other useful stuff.
Stephen Jenkinson, MTS, MSW is an activist, teacher, author, and farmer. He is the founder of the Orphan Wisdom School in Tramore, Canada and the author of four books, including Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul, the award-winning book about grief and dying, and the great love of life. In 2015, he created Nights of Grief & Mystery with Canadian singer-songwriter Gregory Hoskins. With a 5-piece band, they have mounted international tours and released three albums, most recently “Rough Gods and Dark Roads”.