What was inside the minds of our far distant ancestors, who lived before ‘civilisation’. What was inside the ‘uncivilised mind’. At school we are told it was a primitive time, and that we have evolved so much since then. I am not so sure.
A few years ago Jason and I had an idea to hold a retreat where we could delve inside the minds of these distant ancestors from the Stone Age. Where we could go back to a period before agriculture, when we were hunters and gatherers, roaming the land.
When I look at artefacts in museums, I am fascinated by them for a short while, and then move on to the next display. I can’t touch them, hold them, glide my fingers over them. I am detached from the experience. So what would it be like to sit with them? To cup them in my hands? To journey with them? To journey to the person who created the?. What messages would there be for me?
So, Jason and I decided to give it a go. We arranged for fifteen of us to spend the weekend at a beautiful farm in the Yorkshire Dales, overlooking Ingleborough, and we loved it so much we are going back again this year.
Such an extraordinary community was built for the weekend. Right on the back of the recent EU Referendum of 2016, we were in need of some grounding. Wildflower meadows beckoned. Waterfall swimming awaited. Sleeping under the stars, stories around the campfire, feasting in the farm courtyard were all for the taking.
During the Saturday we spent time with the farmer Tom, who is an archaeologist. His father built up an extensive collection of really special artefacts, many dating back to the Stone Age and beyond. It was these that we were working with for the day.
I chose a smooth black stone-age cutting stone. So precisely and painstakeingly crafted, not for functionality but for beauty. Art for arts sake. Here is what came from my experience – a piece I wrote that afternoon of the insights that came to me.
Community, Connectedness, Freedom
My fingers slide across the smooth contours. The heaviness, the magic, the mystery. This object of simplicity allows me to time travel back to thousands upon thousands of years ago. To connect back to its maker, who too sat listening to the call of the crow, as their fingers glided back and forth, back and forth. The sharp edges styled to perfection, beauty matching functionality.
The bee buzzing from flower to flower. A baby crying. Jackdaws cackling in the trees overhead. Their sounds travelling through time bring me closer still to the toolmaker, a different life, a different time.
I call out, ‘Toolmaker, what have we lost now which you held so dear to your heart?’
I hear the reply through my pen moving across these pages.
Community, Connectedness, and Freedom.
Not freedom in the sense of needing to keep moving to survive, but freedom from the trappings of others who have a hold over your mind. Freedom from others agendas whom you have never met, and who do not care for you and your survival.
Connection to the great Universal Mind, the magic of all the is in the physical world. Connection with the magic which lies behind the door to the Otherworlds. Connection to all of life on Earth, to each other, to our own hearts desires.
Community, the gel which sets our understanding through life, our sense that we belong to something worth living for. That we are valued, and understand what really matters to us here in this precious life.
The bee manoeuvres around me, finding sweet nectar amongst the green grasses, just as it has always done. How man has changed themselves and the world they live in in the time between now and the six thousand years which span me and Tool Maker. What might I leave behind which will be of interest to fellow kin in six thousand years time. Only time will tell.
The Tool Maker holds the cool stone to his lips, whispers in some sweet wisdom and lays the treasure in its hideaway holding place. A gift to the Earth, held in darkness until a time when its message is ready to fall on listening ears, curious minds and open hearts. A time when human survival is in great question, when the wisdom is needed most of all. This time.
Since this experience, Jason and my thinking and work through the Way of the Buzzard has grown, building some more on these three concepts of Connection, Community and Freedom. The whispers from Tool Maker ran deep, and I am so excited to be going back to Lower Winskill farm again this year for another Craft & Creativity experience.
I wonder what messages will be in store for us now the Wheel has turned once more…