August 07, 2013

Book Review: Wild Earth, Wild Soul

In modern culture, when we have forgotten the ways that once the ancients knew, we need books such as Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture to help us remember. I am reading this book through a second significant summer spent in India, the land of my birth, and have again and again found myself feeling utterly grateful to have such a wise, clear-eyed companion on my journey, a companion of the sort that urges us to form deeper relationships with all we encounter and with ourselves even as we traverse worlds, landscapes, cultures. It has reminded me that no matter where I am, I am not far from the medicine of Earth. 

Manuals for good living--with their pragmatic approach--make up a distinct genre, pointing to the values that are important for a cultural moment. Bill Pfeiffer's visionary manual is not just a delineation of exercises and activities for an ecstatic culture--although it is that too; rather, it is helping co-create, usher in the very world it is dreaming about. This manual does not want to tie its co-dreamers down to a particular way of doing things; rather, it is an invitation to participate, to play. It is an invitation to acknowledge the tremendous grief that so many of us feel on account of being disconnected from nature, from our indigenous selves. It is an invitation to compost this grief into the possibility of creating a life-sustaining culture.

The Wild Earth Intensives (WEIs) that Pfeiffer has been facilitating over the years model a contemporary rites of passage, and this book is almost an alchemical container where the principles, philosophy, structure, and practices comprising these workshops, which Pfeiffer beautifully elucidates, come together to become a powerful remembering of our interconnectedness with nature and with each other, of the sacrality of nature and of each other. 

This is a book that trusts our innate capacity to co-create with the creative intelligence of the cosmos--it trusts in our capacity to yet transform the stultifying, often violent dominant paradigm with its allegiance to rationalism, mechanism, and global capitalism. I am grateful to Bill Pfeiffer for having written this book--for having enough optimism and faith in human beings to have written this book--and I am grateful to all his teachers, all his communities, all his relations for having accompanied him in all that led to the creation of this book.

We are all cognizant of the urgency. Here are our edges. We need wildness, we need profound love, if we are to continue dancing on this planet. We need guides to help us find our way out of the morass of industrial culture. Here is a guide I will turn to over and over again.

Get it on Amazon