Buddhafield July 2018
“And where is your voice from?’ a Navaho Indian returned my question to him back to me, and suddenly Suffolk seemed so far away and I am so relieved to find this field which kept reminding me of India all those years ago.
I tried but could not hold Henry’s suggestion to me of staying local and gradually exploring more each day. Henry who’d suggested this as a festival to go to before Womad: ‘It’s a smaller gentler festival’, he’d describd. So it is I rocked up on Wednesday evening, just in time for the opening ceremony and sit by the fire to meet a Navaho Indian. Of course, I had to walk the space first though.
Set in the Mendip hills, surrounded by woodland – some plantation fir, some English birch, beach, hazel, oak – Buddhafield takes place over two fields, enjoined by a Fairy pathway of that raised bank edge they have in this west country and which we lack in the east of England. I’m parked up in the Live-in field, and beyond the tents, which decorate the hill opposite.
Check in. Hairy legged women (Oh Bryan!), men in skirts, faces painted, glorious hats, Indian kurta pajama.
A huddle of people are around a notice board packed full of events – how to choose? I find a certain relief that I can omit from the choice Speed Dating, and Sexual partnering, (although later regret this assumption). There are three distinct areas: DHAMA, HEALING and LAND / SOCIAL JUSTICE.
‘I’m going to aim for 2 things a day and to rest’, said one to another. Good plan, I thought.
1. (I’m going to number after that comment) Run – I’ll find yoga another day, I want to find the land where I am. We are on a farmers land, which is also a local aerodrome. The site is high with easy tracks. 2.5 k.
2. SOLAR – As if Paulo Coello is whispering in my ear do a foreign thing a day (like talk to a stranger a day). No idea what this is. She was late. And Dutch. An ex ballet teacher who’d fallen seriously ill, and healed herself, and so became a healer. The movements were slow and meditative but I wanted something more awakening for the morning. The Chi Gong woke me up and he was on time.
3. LAND and The Commons
Where does the Commons fit in with State and Market? Asked a beautiful student, implementing her PhD on a Commons based system to challenge the predominant capitalist one we exist in now.
Commoning – shared rather than individual property rights. A resource + a community + a set of social protocols. The opposite of commodificiation.
eg Fisheries or sharing water resources.
Commons eg Metfield Stores CIC eg East Lodge – sharing resources. eg Nile water
State Public – eg state owned eg National Health system eg social welfare eg National trust and other such bodies state supported.
Market Private – eg shareholding Corporations
My contribution was Buddhafield as an example: We had all paid to come here but once here all free for common enjoyment and participation.
4. Shiatsu with young Alex
Second choice of the day go to a stranger. £40. Randomly chose Alix out of the circle of camped out healers. She was young and strong. After some fragrance of a bunch of herbs washed over me, she pressed and lay and steadied at various points of the body – meridian points – she explained and once again I felt inadequate to understand and realised how the body had been neglected. Oh India how I miss you. I must have let go and found myself crying at the end. We hugged and I went into the festival.
Slept – it became a habit to have a rest in the afternoon.
5 We the Uncivilised
An award winning documentary it was billed as. In a film tent with the two protagonists, Pete and Lily, introducing the film, inviting a discussion afterwards.
It’s their years road trip to find of the seeds of a different story, to our capitalist system, and with it hope for the future.Grief and hope, meeting extraordinary communities and connections working away, and our yearning to live in relationship to one another and the natural world.
‘Have you seen the Hazel, flower?’ Mac Macartney, founder of Embercombe, asked a person. And I realised hadn’t. Starting at Embercombe, they travelled around encountering people and their stories. Polly Higgins, environmental lawyer, Tinkers Bubble in Sommerset. Dark Mountain project. A Scottish Island. Hastings.
A man, at a breaking point of his life, is advised to sit on a mountain for 4 days and nights. It was many things – above all boring with some moments of ecstatic revelation. ’It changed my life’, he said.
I return to Mac Macartney who said: i know the science and see the patten of human behaviour now I have lived the majority of my life. I see that destruction is inevitable. But having seen that I can still live a good and different life to the one opted for.’
6. The origins
At the Buddhafield shop I found its beginnings. Began in 1995 by some monks from the WBO disillusioned with Sangarachita. There is a story here.
Run / Chi Gong / Basket weaving / Dosa lunch / Flat Land confrontation to Ball Earth / Angus McEye, (determined son of fire)
Run / Chi Gong / Belonging Workshop / Dance with Denise Rowe /
Run / Chi Gong (Elephant testicles, Wrens Eggs, wiping off dog shit) Land Commons, Ceremony, Dinaz Stafford.