What is Rewilding?
For us at School of the Greenwood, rewilding is a return to the core of ourselves. It is a journey of sloughing off layers of patterning from our industrial culture... and allowing ourselves to be exactly who we innately are. When we do so, we wake up to the intelligence in the world around us and to the fact that we are inextricably linked to every other being. We realize that everything impacts everything else in this great web of interdependence and take steps to ensure that how we meet our needs is in harmony with the wider world.
We humans have evolved throughout nearly all of our existence to meet the world as hunter-gatherers, in small egalitarian bands, living in tune with the more-than-human world around us. We are built to run, to stalk, to listen to the unfolding story of the landscape, to craft, to creatively problem solve, to care deeply about our human and non-human relations, and to play. We are patterned to live free, self-determined lives in harmony with our ecosystem, without coercive power and control manipulating and bending us to meet the needs of others. Our natural state is one of simple happiness, joy and deep presence, exhibiting incredible empathy, compassion, awareness and intelligence in navigating the world around us.
Even in our world today, children are still born wild, with all of the biological and psychological patterning of our wild ancestors. Children still have a need to run and jump, to climb trees, to express themselves freely, to speak with non-human beings, to be held and engaged with by a loving community of friends and relatives, and to be surrounded by the sounds, sights, and textures of the natural world... in order to grow into healthy, happy realized adults. Despite all of the desks, schedules, video screens, cement blocks, fluorescent lights, shaming, hyper-competition and rules, that wildness still runs through us like a river from the time we are born and yearns for expression.
We, at School of the Greenwood, have found that the more individuals are given the space and support to rewild (at any age), the more fully they come alive. The more individuals let go of the stories of who mainstream society expects them to be, and trust their instincts and intuition, the more whole they become. Peace, deep fulfillment, empowerment and creative brilliance naturally follow the more we come to know ourselves as part of this miraculous wild world.
What’s more, as we each begin to awaken to the wholeness within and without, we live as conscious and empowered participants in our ecosystem, making responsible choices as we meet our needs that ensure health, vibrance and resilience for all of the species we share this world with... and for the generations to come.
Our approach to facilitating rewilding experiences is unique and pulls from diverse experiences working and learning within primitive skills and nature-connection organizations on the West Coast, in the Ozarks and in the Southeast, work in public school education, creative arts programs, and our life experience living off of the grid and attempting to choose a healthy and fulfilling way forward. Our approach also draws from our historical, cultural, spiritual, psychological, and anthropological studies into the roots of oppression in our modern world...and our deep love of the wilderness.
At School of the Greenwood, we utilize the creative arts to support an awakening to wild consciousness and the honing of skills to live in harmony with our ecosystem. Each learning experience we facilitate is built around an overarching story which gives context to the experience and allows participants to engage as a character, with opportunities for participants to write their own individual story-line within it. Every story has a different theme that invites the participants to root more deeply into the wild world through honing ancestral skills such as: friction fire, herbal medicine, wild foods and shelter building as well as making crafts for living with the land such as: baskets, buckskin shoes and instruments. The stories also invite participants into deep compassionate understanding of the more-than-human world through activities such as: tracking, mimicry and meditative observation. All of our activities are approached with a spirit of curious exploration and creative play. While engaging in these practices the busy, stressed, hyper-rational mental state common in our society today is given a rest and our wild instincts, intuition, and reflexes are able to come to the fore, filling us with a sense of joyful aliveness and wholeness.
In a world that is busy writing stories for us, telling us what we need to buy, how we should look, what it means to be successful and drawing us into screens for our adventures, we've decided to re-route the signal and write a new, very old story of empowerment, resilience, love and deep consciousness together.
The wilderness is waiting for our return...
Photograph and artwork by the incredibly talented and world-renowned artist, Luke Cormack, in his series: 'Renegades and Poets'. www.lukecormack.com