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Guest Blog: Green Gathering

As winner of the International Greener Festival Award, the top accolade for sustainable events worldwide, The Green Gathering has ecological concern at its heart and aims to inspire festival-goers to change their habits and save the planet.

In our culture today, the intuitive and spiritual realms have lapsed as we focus on the practical, personal and political. At Green Gathering we know there’s an urgent need to keep pushing for climate justice, equality, democracy – and we believe there’s also a deep need to bridge the gap between the mystical and the everyday. We want to bring magic back into everyone’s lives, recognising that love, reverence and grief for the Earth add power to our fight for environmental regeneration.

Here’s how we’ll begin building the bridge at the 2023 Gathering:

The Voices of Gaia talkspace, Nature’s Way and Enchanted Woods will balance the direct action training of the Campaigns’ Field, the rebel rousing talks in the Speakers’ Forum, and the feisty protests of the Radical Flank.

We will invite festival-goers to explore plant lore, put bare feet on damp earth, lie on the mossy forest floor. Rekindle a childlike curiosity in the liminal, in storytelling. Recognise the place where faerie tale meets gardening, where a sense of awe in nature arises. Feel the deep knowing in gut and heart, where wisdom dwells without words.

By mapping tours through the festival, we will guide people from the Hill Village to Voices of Gaia, and then along Nature’s Way, through the Enchanted Woods to the Permaculture Community, and beyond to Transformative Adaptation and the Green Gathering Grove.

From The Hill Village…

The Hill Village is inhabited by elders of the festival and travelling communities. Much knowledge is held here, from deeply practical bender building and diy plumbing, to off-grid cooking, natural remedies and other creative ways of the wild, gleaned through years of hard beautiful lives on the road.

…to the Voices of Gaia…

The Voices of Gaia talkspace provides a platform for thinkers and wordsmiths to enlighten and inspire, with a programme of earthy and esoteric subjects – from the folklore of medicinal herbs to the mythology of diverse cultures, from a variety of spiritual and philosophic traditions to social anthropology and why festivals matter.

…to Nature’s Way…

On Nature’s Way the Seed Sistas share plant medicine and play games in an upcycled dreamscape of giant flowers and fungi. Jessica Rost hosts a pilgrims’ rest space, woodland artists create wonders from natural materials, and Earth Rise offers a safe space for exploring connections between body, mind, earth and nourishment.

…to the Enchanted Woods…

Interactive installations in the Enchanted Woods aim to enrapture and delight, to bring joy and break down barriers. What does ‘home’ mean to you? Will you add to or take from the Wishing Well? Which books from your childhood will you find in the Radical Trust Library? How do our nature shrines make you feel? Are The Guardians protecting you?

…to Permaculture…

From the woods, a path leads to our Permaculture Community where the Field Families collective showcases co-operative, regenerative practices – practically manifesting love for the land, and for all who share it.

…to Transformative Adaptation…

Go steeply downhill to find the Transformative Adaptation (TrAd) Village, a welcoming fireside sanctuary for activists, ecowarriors, joy bringers, the curious and the grief-stricken. Visitors will be invited to experiment with the kinds of transformations required to defend our wild spaces, build resilience, and thrive in balance with the Earth.

…and the Green Gathering Grove.

Before returning to the top of the site, to the music and workshops and stalls, we will encourage visits to the Green Gathering Grove. Here festival volunteers have planted rings of native trees to help regenerate the land and provide sustenance for people and wildlife in years to come. The Grove has fruit and nut trees, trees laden with blossom in Spring, trees to provide shade and shelter, awesome trees that will enhance local biodiversity. And in the centre of the Grove is a standing stone, raised by Green Gathering crew. This beautiful hunk of granite is a memory stone; a huggable stone; a stone we can lean against when we remember friends who’ve died, when we grieve for lost species, ground ourselves, build connections and celebrate life.

“It’s  simple really: when you love something, you want to protect it”

– Em Weirdigan, Green Gathering director

Whatever we call our relationship with the earth and nature – be it spiritual, scientific, or simply some vague inclination of the numinous without name – when given the chance, we can all recognise that our environment is something deeply precious. At The Green Gathering, we invite people to grasp that chance, and return to the everyday with magic and determination to make a difference in their hearts.

The Green Gathering, 3-6 August 2023