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Sharing from the abundance….….


….of a whole lunar cycle with people from this group sharing their correspondence with  the incredible life form that is fungus!



Village of mushrooms photographed by Emma Randall


This  offering was available to all who have previously shared in  Soul Shed creative community space, and was 10th in a series of 12 running this year.


We had Merlin Sheldrake’s “entangled life”  as a text accompanying us, and the incredible variety of fungus which was appearing around us in our corners of the earth in  Southern England and across North America.

Our mycelial group life was full of the experiences of writers, thinkers, artists, readers, spiritual seekers, inner workers, and was characterised by curiosity, warmth and generosity.  We were like a fungal network of mycelium, each drawing nutrition from the places we inhabit, and the group space itself, and fruiting from time to time with our content! It felt magical to me.




A celebration of a little white mushroom and fallen leaves

 

Puhpowee


We began by sharing the words that mushrooms inspire in us….and  Roz brought the inspirational work of Robin Wall Kimmerer into our shared learning space.


Kimmerer is a biologist of Potawatami heritage.  In ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ she writes that ‘language is the dwelling place of ideas that do not exist anywhere else. It is a prism through which to see the world’.

 

Here she talks about the power of a word to generate a whole new  world view….


'My first taste of the missing language was the word Puhpowee on my tongue. I stumbled upon it in a book by the Anishinaabe ethnobotanist Keewaydinoquay, in a treatise on the traditional uses of fungi by our people. Puhpowee, she explained, translates as “the force which causes mushrooms to push up from the earth overnight.” As a biologist, I was stunned that such a word existed. In all its technical vocabulary, Western science has no such term, no words to hold this mystery. You’d think that biologists, of all people, would have words for life. But in scientific language our terminology is used to define the boundaries of our knowing. What lies beyond our grasp remains unnamed.'



photograph by Betsy Garmon



We were off to a good start.


Amethyst Deceiver


Another early highlight came from a creativity walk that I led with Roz that coincided with our month with fungus, as a part of the Alton Walking Festival. We read some poetry together by an upended tree, and as we finished, Carol, one of our walking group, stumbled on a purple deceive mushroom! We learnt from Heather that despite their daunting colour, they are edible and delicious, and she had cooked up a dinner with them on an open fire on a foraging trip!



Photograph taken by Roz Tandy

 


Fascination

 

But why such fascination with mushrooms?  Perhaps because they have qualities that put us in touch with a magical sensibility…what are these?


Heres Sheldrake:


'Anthropomorphism is usually thought of as an illusion that arises like a blister in soft human minds: untrained, undisciplined, unhardened. There are good reasons for this: when we humanise the world, we may prevent ourselves from understanding the lives of other organisms on their own terms. But are there things this stance might lead us to pass over – or forget to notice?'



And here's Betsy Garmon, one of our group:


"I deeply appreciate the symbiotic and even saprotrophic qualities of fungi. It reassures that all has its place and purpose and that all parts of the life cycle - including death are of value. I mean it is Scorpio season after all. 💀"

 

We approached the months exploring, fully embodied, with instincts awake, hearts open, minds curious!



We were sometimes unsettled:




Beefsteak fungus photographed by Emma Randall



Heres an extract from Sylvia Plath's poem, 'Mushrooms':


' Overnight, Very

Whitely, discreetly,

Very quietly


Our toes, our noses

Take hold on the loam,

Acquire the air.


Nobody sees us,

Stops us, betrays us;

The small grains make room'.




We experienced beauty.


Fungus offers us colour and form in intense bursts!





Image from The Soul Shed



Our minds were expanded!


Fungus defies human categorisation.Slime molds for just one example, can problem solve and remember solutions to previous problems.



Emma, another of our number, found a toppled Fly Agaric mushroom and decided to take it home to measure. Here are her pics complete with PPE as this is a very toxix mushroom in its raw untreated state.its cap was 8.5 inches in diameter!


Here's a little extract from our chat!!




Image from The Deep-Mapping project



Fungal Advice


Pondering the question of what we might learn from mushrooms led to some brilliant spontaneous advices:



Fly Agaric mushroom photographed by Emma Randall



“Tune into the atmosphere – read the room humans!’


“Choose well who you collaborate with”


“Don’t be afraid of your spottiness – it makes you unique”


“Keep well-connected, share the knowledge and sustain each other”


“Respect each others space”



Image from The Soul Shed




Getting Present


One more thing ....


This project of correspondences with Nature puts us in touch with both our presence and our Interconnectedness...




If you would like to come to a Soul Shed event exploring this, I would be wonderful to welcome you to this one next weekend :


Intuitive collage and Haiku


Saturday 25th November


5-7.30pm BST


To check your time zone click here





Haiku is a short form of poetry that captures the essence of a moment!


This event is for new and experienced SoulCollagers  and deep-mappers alike. We will explore our imagery through our somatic felt sensing and let it really move through us into language and collage that connects our curious minds, open hearts, and instinctual knowing.



Image from The Soul Shed



I Look Forward to creating with you soon.


Big Love


Sam


The Soul Shed









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