some seeds only germinate in a forest fire.

to become a flamingseed: one who uses challenging conditions to blossom rather than burn. light seedFor inspiration, I comb the streets — not to mention the forests and villages, as well as the contemplative and mystical traditions — for insights, spiritual practices and visionary ideas on cultivating a loving, generative world view regardless of circumstances. And I doggedly question cultural and spiritual assumptions so that we can open fresh to these changing times with curiosity, innocence and a sense of adventure.

Hungry for Blood and Eager to Help: A pilgrimage to West Bengal to meet the primordial Tara

taraI DON’T REMEMBER how I first heard about Tarapith. Perhaps it was in a book I read, but as soon as it entered my awareness, I knew I would go there. A temple in rural West Bengal, the Tara worshipped there does what seems at first impossible: she is both destroyer and loving mother, hungry for blood and eager to help. How could this be? I needed to find out.
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How people can talk to trees

monster treeYEARS AGO, I visited the Menominee reservation and met Earl, whose family for generations had been in charge of tending to a river where a dark serpent lived. The old stories said that when the serpent was calm, then there would be peace in the world. It was the job of Earl’s family lineage to do the practices that kept that serpent placid. I don’t know precisely what those practices were, but I do know that Earl lived alone in a remote place, in the shadows of the bluffs beside which this river flowed. The trees were tall there, the silence broken only by the sound of water running over rocks, the rustle of leaves or the trill of a bird. Earl’s children had grown and moved away. They didn’t want to carry on this tradition, he told me, and so when he died, there would be no one to tend the serpent.
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Update from friends in the rainforest of Borneo: No bulldozers! Plans for reforesting

house muara taeRecently, Ruwi (Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto) visited Muara Tae to meet with the Dayak Benuaq tribe and learn what is needed for them to begin restoring the areas of their forest that have been illegally destroyed by palm oil companies. He sent this update for friends who supported the ceremony they completed in September 2014 to protect their ancestral forest in Borneo:

There is good news, there is sad news, and there is weird news. The good news is that Muara Tae is having their rice harvest these days, and the harvest is very good. The natural world has been very gracious to them. A family harvest averaged 200 jars of rice, which was more than enough, as usually a family needs 100 jars for a year. Masrani says it’s a good time to come and visit, with the harvest and fruit season. (Anyone..?) More good news: Masrani’s iPhone [donated by a supporter] fell into the river. He simply picked it up and let it dry for three days and now it’s back on again.
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Three spiritual lessons from the Dayak-Benuaq tribe on how to live in the heart of destruction

dance before buffaloMY JOURNEY to Borneo was a pilgrimage into the heart of destruction. It was the darkest place I could imagine, because the Dayak people of Muara Tae were watching their ancestral forest disappear to illegal bulldozing and had been unable to stop it. While I was there, I agreed to help them crowd-fund an ancient vow ceremony on behalf of the forest, which the elders said was their last real hope. Now, with the help of collaborators around the globe, their ceremony has been carried out. In the weeks that have passed since its conclusion, I’ve been reflecting on that process, and here I share three spiritual lessons that I learned from the Dayak, which I hope will be as useful to you as they are to me.
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The 64-day Borneo ceremony draws to a close: A report from the village

at the ceremonyThe Dayak Benuaq hosts of the Borneo ceremony have spent the past month in a camp they set up at the site of the climactic vow and buffalo rituals. During this time, they made extensive material and spiritual preparations for this event, where they hosted somewhere between 700 and 1000 people from their own and neighboring villages to restore balance and unity in their care for the forest. Ruwi (Ambrosius Ruwindrijarto) has acted as a bridge to the people of Muara Tae as we made the effort to fund the ceremony and share the story of these guardians of the rainforest. On behalf of all supporters, Ruwi attended the last days of the ceremony and sent this report from the village:
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