A new book from David Sparenberg, our poet, philosopher who wrote “The Green Troubadour Source Book” an Eco-Shamanic Writing for Actor Training. But is better if we let the author to talk about his creation:
I do not write for profit, but I do write with intention. That is true here as in other titles.
The intention of this volume is here openly expressed. In the following pages I am inviting readers, as friends and as companion earth-walkers, to be earth-warriors and earth-healers, both male and female, and to join in the furthering of a radical social, spiritual and culture alternative to what is dominate and preparing not a furtherance of dignity, diversity and democracy, but of chaos, catastrophe and doom.
In this revolutionary invitation, actors and performing artists and adventuresome persons overall, whether trained, amateur or the many others of you seeking to discover a hidden treasure of your earth-soul, contributing through creative release by confrontations with evil through compassionate denouncement, or by encounters with justice through acts of beauty as compassionate affirmation—all of you who choose to share yourselves in the ways of human hallowing and liberating dedication to change, will find here suggestions of new roles for promoting global alternatives in communication—perhaps even for restoration of what Henry Corbin called the “Lost Speech” of the angels of souls—and for making of a heritage of deep ecology and eco-shamanic wisdom and conditionally appropriate, sustainable living.
In the bringing into reality of such alternatives energies can be released and put in motion. Can be and should be. Then what is seen, heard, felt through participation in the dramas and dialogues of connectivity, uniqueness and embodied truth-force, any and all such make lasting impression, leave an indelible mark on memory, plant in the interior of existence a new resource, and thereby, even in the aftermath of shared experience, the event does not depart out of the depths of identity maturity and dimension. This remaining within and between one and the other is true both for giver and recipient.
Human culture is something to be cultivated. And human spirituality was ever, until the empty and ruinous, life betraying materialism of modernity, the touchstone of community, growing up from and around a communion of recognition and reverence, and a cosmology of individual and group placement.
However, when culture is not cultivated as heritage of people, power falls into the hands (and pockets) of profiteers and we end up, as now we are, with little more than market manipulated fads and fashion. Here the outrageous and extravagant, akin to pathology, becomes an ever recurring fixation exhibited and sold under the rubric of innovation. And so influenced and contained, each and everyone of us is expected to forsake what was and what is for whatever is newest—and to do so with a narcotic fascination and nervousness of debilitating social addiction.
But to make culture for a future of green stability, dignified simplicity, sanity, biotic honoring and democratization is to cultivate a culture of soul and a groundwork of belonging: developing life skills and lifestyles of dwelling poetically on and with (embedded within) this living Earth. Let’s not be embarrassed here—the poetic, in its various forms and modes of communication, is innately human and was foundational in nearly every civilization where reverence and the imagination have been valued as techniques of mutuality, verticality and balance. Thus it has been, at least, for this species human before the machine established the cult of progress and forgetfulness, and the advance of that soul loss which now leaves us prey to mass confusion, devastating violence, narcissistic immersion and estrangement, greed, lineal madness and the lurking terror of shadowland infestations amid, amid our floating world phantasmagoria.
Now before moving on, let us ponder for a moment something Tom Cheetham has written about this native poetic of the human mentioned in the previous paragraph. The remark is from one of Cheetham’s brilliant studies on Corbin and is markedly similar to what the French acting teacher Jacques LeCoq referred to as the “universal poetic sense” belonging to the essence of life.
Cheetham: writes “To find our way we have to attend to our dreams and visions and the fleeting feelings that run just below consciousness. There are many ways to do this but they all involve imagination. Working with images…especially, I think, poetry is one powerful means of revealing and altering our mode of presence; it is one primary technique for exercising the spiritual senses.” *
Here then I say to you, take up the role, play with a wondrous purpose, heroic and enchanting, that does not require specialization, rather dedication and the conviction that there are potencies of genuine healing, genuine love and real justice to be freed into the actual, even as there are possibilities for crossing over into an unprecedented presence, to renaissance, into a revolutionizing re-genesis rooted in these interactive dynamics: compassionate denouncement, compassionate affirmation, spontaneities of verticality—unique existence turning inner evolution outward to connectivity and into revolutionary responsibility—finally, the embodied and re-ensouled truth-force of creative liberation emergent through acts of beauty into processes of biotic democratization and a quickening into a maturity of planetary citizenship.
Wherever we are, we are responsible toward lives and the context of life; wherever we go, the responsibility goes and grows with us. Life is not less in one place, among one people, or in relationship to one species, than in and among any other. Habitation and the conditions of planetary life are simultaneously diverse and integral.
Drama and the poetic—the eloquence of words, music, dance and ritualized movement—are ways into the theatre of memory, even anamnesis, into the public forum of heroic commensality: a democratization of deliverance from the parasitism the human has become; from the enforcer of betrayal, throat deep in crimes against creation, from the destroyer of self through accelerating consumption of organic otherness and contextual integrity, through the slaughter, dismemberment and devouring of the wild god Pan and the fertile goddess Gaia through collective rapacity. From all of that which makes us guilty, we must seek ways to move into more of that which makes us partnered, repentant, and free.
The way of the green troubadour, as lover, and the way of the eco-shaman, as healer and as sojourner in glimmering between worlds, expressed in what follows through the medium of public performing arts, are ways of being in the world with courage and humility, instinct and imagination, questing after a shared return to dreaming the truth of living reality and restoring the dream of the Earth—and at renewed and even at new levels of encounter and recognition, protection, dignified passage and celebration.
So to you who have come with me thus far, I say this: Please, friend, do a little something in your life and place to help lift the heavy wreckage of intergenerational misconduct and oppression. And may the words that follow be a crossing we take together and a path-finding and vision sharing. Here I can do no more than to invite you. Here I can hope no more than that we go together in trust.
Perchance, if we do go along and gypsy this life together, big with friendship and creative in adventure, we will occasionally turn and recite to one another: “If words are energy, if energy is power and our power moves into efflorescence; if stars, and angels in the imaginal sing, if grass, and children at play are praying; then the words that follow with us are medicine in the old way. And if the words that follow here are good words—fearless before darkness, returning the living to the way of beauty—then the medicine is good and good for the Earth.”
*AFTER PROPHECY: Imagination, Incarnation & the Unity of the Prophetic Tradition by Tom Cheetham, Spring Books.