A little lost paradise

After climbing a very lost mountain path, you can reach the little lost paradise of Damien. It is a place out of time. Seeds are germinating on the large stone table, while blackberries and peepers necklaces are drying under the sun and a wild plants soup is cooking over a wood fire…

Living in a small sheep barn and an old chestnuts dryer, Damien started some veggies gardens, planted dozens of hazel trees, installed a small solar panel and built a very natural shower and kitchen. And he still got many ideas in mind, as building a medicinal bath and a meditation place…

It is the perfect place to step back from the consumption world, and recharge his batteries by fasting, meditating or walking around in the forest… The place is charged with lots of energy and the surrounding areas is full of surprises (lost village, beautiful waterfalls, lots of blackberries, mushrooms and chestnuts to pick…).

To see some pictures, just click on the picture below:

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Promenade around the South of France

I first visited the community of La Borie in the Cevennes Mountains. An old stones house has been occupied to resist against the construction of a water dam decades ago. They won and the place became a peaceful commune hosting many travelers. Now owned by the village next by, the place extended with a straw-clay yurt, a few tipis and many gardens and orchards along the clear river…

I then arrived at the Mas de Jammes in the Aveyron department. Many builders are living there together in the middle of the chicken and the goats… They work outside to gather money and just bought an old lime factory. They want to renovate to place to host cultural events (exhibitions, dance classes, concerts…). The last generation grew veggies and medicinal plants according to biodynamic principles. The idea would be in the future to create an alternative medicinal retreat…

Afterwards, I spent some time with Cecile the herbalist, selling her own products on the market. I discover with her a whole world of alternative projects. We visited together a production of Spirulina (an alga rich in protein and iron) and mini phyto-purification sanitation system build by the neighbor. A random encounter rich in discoveries…

I also visited the « Oasis of Lentiourelle » following the ideas of Pierre Rabhi and agro-ecology. Seven people are living there together, taking care of some chicken, donkeys and horses. They organize many cultural and spiritual events and a participative construction project every month. Nevertheless, some of the shareholders decided to leave the commune, resulting in deep financial and legal issues…

I finaly rapidly passed in La Borie Noble, a commune existing since 40 years and following the non-violoence principle of Lanza del Vasto…

To see some pictures, just click on the link below:

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French Rainbow Gathering

IMG_1355“When Mother Earth is sick and the animals vanish, a tribe of all cultures will arrive, that believe in actions and not in words, Will help to restore the ancient beauty of the earth. They will be known as the Rainbow Warriors”. Hopi prophecy (native Americans)

 Rainbow Gatherings are temporary intentional communities, typically held in outdoor settings, and espousing and practicing ideals of peace, love, harmony, freedom and community, as a consciously expressed alternative to mainstream popular culture, consumerism, capitalism and mass media. Rainbow gatherings are an expression of a Utopian impulse, combined with bohemianism, freethought and hippie culture, with roots clearly traceable to the 1960s counterculture. The original Rainbow Gathering was in 1972, and has been held annually in the United States from July 1 through 7 every year on National Forest land. Other regional and national gatherings are held throughout the year, in the United States and throughout the rest of the world.

After taking part to a Rainbow Gathering in India last year, I participated to a French one in the Cevennes Mountains this summer. As I was going down a little mountain path, I could hear music and laughs coming up from the tents and tipis I could only guess behind the trees. As I arrive, everybody hugs me and whish me “welcome home”. It is a big family; we are all brothers and sisters, even if we just arrived…

We share everything, joy, knowledge, food, tea and dreams for a better world of course… Everybody can organize free workshop to share some knowledge on plants, yoga, massage, circus art or women issues for example. Meals are taken all together after making a big circle around the sacred fire and chanting together. The food is vegetarian and can even be raw if required… At the end of each meal, the “magic hat” passes among the family to gather some money for the food. There is always enough to prepare the next meal.

Everybody can get involved in cooking the meals, cleaning the place, organizing workshop but also taking some decisions with the family. In a talking circle, everybody can express himself when he got the talking stick. A big team of volunteers makes all this possible by preparing the place before the gathering (digging compost toilets, assuring clear water supply, settling a kitchen and some tents…) and cleaning it afterwards.

There is not much rules to respect. Everybody can arrive when he wants without notice and leaves when he feels like it. Some people don’t wear clothes. Only drogues, alcool and dogs are not welcomed. Evenings are usualy spent around the fire enjoying nice music, songs and talks…