"The Holy, the Wild, and the Emergent" - Interview with Abby Colehour in Celebration of the 2017 Kindle Cascadia Winter Solstice Gathering, Aprovecho, Cottage Grove, OR. Dec. 18 - 22. By willi paul studio / planetshifter.com
"The Holy, the Wild, and the Emergent" - Interview with Abby Colehour in Celebration of the 2017 Kindle Cascadia Winter Solstice Gathering, Aprovecho, Cottage Grove, OR. Dec. 18 - 22. By willi paul studio / planetshifter.com

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Kindle Cascadia 2017 Theme: Tending the fire of the kindred hearth -

It has been a trying year for our nation, world, and many of us as individuals. In the face of unethical corporate rule, unsupportive politics, divisive social movements, and the escalation of natural disasters, where do we find sense and hope?

In these times of strife and darkness, it is all the more imperative that we come together to tell our stories, support one another, and build our energy to move forward together. We cannot do this alone.

Kindle Cascadia is our time to feel the darkness at its most potent, to remind ourselves of what it takes to thrive, to reweave the web that connects us all, and to kindle our fire to last the coming year.

The Winter Solstice is a time of sharing and belonging. It is the time to transcend our differences and find our common ground. In Medieval England, the poor would go door to door offering blessings and songs in exchange for provisions-a tradition to remind that though we may live different realities, we are still neighbors, and we all have something to offer to each other. We are all kin.

In the hearth of Kindle Cascadia there is a fire that we tend together. It will warm and will feed us all, if we choose to show up and offer what we have to give. What do you have to bring to the hearth this year? Join us in kindling Cascadia!

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Interview with Abby by Willi -

+ Please tell about the symbology and alchemy in Kindle Cascadia? Are you creating a new mythology for us?

As people who have chosen to gather together to create traditions around the winter solstice each year, Kindle Cascadia emerges as a village. Though we are together for only four days and nights and the specific combination of individuals changes each year, the gathering holds an energy and intention at its core that speaks to each one of us who chooses to take part. It is the knowing that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, a way of being that connects us to ourselves, each other and the land. Many of us find at Kindle Cascadia the fulfillment of a deep longing to belong.

The symbolic center of Kindle Cascadia is the hearth, the central fire where all are welcome. The hearth is a place of nourishment -literally where large pots of food are made, where you can stand after a walk in the cold rain and be warmed, where you may find a companion with whom to share an intimate conversation. Radiating out from the hearth is the village - people being people in their most intuitive ways.

Small constellations scattered throughout the room, shelling nuts, spinning wool, playing with children, practicing a newly learned craft like spoon carving or basket weaving, sitting in quiet meditation, singing songs that tell of our experiences of life. By holding space for people to relax into more intuitive ways of being, we are able to more fully witness and celebrate the unique and shared experiences of being human, breathing life into our communities, kindling the fire that keeps us inspired throughout the year.

+ Combine some wicca, some pagan, some Nature lore; is this the foundation for "the Craft?" What more can you share about this time-honored practice?

Kindle Cascadia does not explicitly identify with a particular kind of nature worship or spiritual craft. We seek to provide a framework for honoring any and all energies and entities larger than ourselves - ancestors, Nature, spirit, Goddess, God, Gaia, mystery, etc. We use a basic format for our winter solstice ritual that is shared across cultures, religions, and generations, such as grounding, calling in, and stating intentions.

With this basic structure, each person is able to enrich and extrapolate to create a spiritual experience that has meaning for them. By honoring that which is greater than us in a shared space, our intentions are anchored in the support of the community and come to life more fully.

+ How do you interpret and reconcile darkness and light?

A catchphrase we use for Kindle Cascadia is Honor the Darkness, Welcome the Light. In the physical plane, the winter solstice is the darkest night of the year, and after it the daylight slowly begins to increase. As people who choose to live in alignment with the seasons and shifting cosmos, we take this opportunity to delve into darker parts of ourselves. In the darkness we can more clearly decipher our deepest truths, and let go of that which holds us back. In doing so, we prepare ourselves to share our gifts more fully, to shine our light more brightly in the world.

+ Does permaculture's community and design with Nature vision support Kindle Cascadia's spiritual work?

Yes, permaculture fits into the vision of Kindle Cascadia. Several of our regular participants practice and teach permaculture.

+ How do you feel connected these days - and what makes you feel isolated?

I feel connected when I am doing work with other people that meets real needs. For example, processing a big pile of firewood that will keep us warm for the winter, harvesting hazelnuts that we will crack and eat by a woodstove together, or maintaining the infrastructure that supports our daily existence. I also feel connected in coordinating classes where people leave inspired and empowered, or creating spaces where people can naturally express themselves with others, like Aprovecho and Kindle Cascadia.

+ It is clear that I had enough of the human experience long ago as my soul drowns each day in the porn-state, triple burger death and forth downs of my Fathers values and traditions. Are we just drudging thru a big lie?

We create our own reality. The human existence is a mirror of an energetic experience of the universe, the place where we manifest deeper meaning.

+ What is sacred to the Kindle Cascadia community? What are some of your key spiritual ingredients?

The earth is sacred. Community is sacred. Each person and their unique gifts is sacred. The forces greater than ourselves are sacred, however we name them. We cultivate intentional and spontaneous spaces for individual and communal reflection, shared skill building, interpersonal connection, and spiritual connection.

+ Your excellent vision statement reads in part: - "we reweave the fabric of our village in mutual commitment to the holy, the wild, and the emergent." Do you practice re-wilding? How do you see the prepper movement?

Kindle Cascadia does not align itself with any particular movement or subculture. Rather, we hold the container for a variety of causes and visions to come together to learn from and inspire one another. We strive to bring together a diversity of worldviews, if they identify in a basic way with our stated vision and mission. Within this framework, all are welcome to come kindle Cascadia!

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Bios -

Abby Colehour is a proud Minnesotan who has been working on life skills in the southern Willamette valley for the past several years. She is a catalyst and organizer for social movements and organizations, and devotes her energy to supporting people and projects working to develop meaningful connection with the land and each other. She enjoys meeting life's daily needs creatively and opportunistically with her eclectic toolkit: chainsaw, axe, knitting needles, sewing machine, gardening hand tools, food and herb dehydrator, kitchen implements, pen and paper, and most importantly her hands and heart. When she's not out in the woods wild crafting medicine, or building something with her hands, you can find her in our community working hard as the Residential Steward at Aprovecho, volunteering in various community projects, and as the pulse behind Kindle Cascadia.

Kindlecascadia @ gmail.com

Willi Paul is the Principal of willi paul studio and planetshifter.com. Willi partners with companies and individuals to provide custom contract media services including articles, interviews, edu-videos, roundtables and eWorkshops. He co-develops and expands each clients' creative vision and excels in delivering content in a captivating and authentic way. His target clients are Start-Ups, B-Corps, Incubators and Non-Profit Organizations.

Planetshifter.com is an online community resource, diverse database and outreach network that launched on Earth Day 2009. Planetshifter.com provides a deep database and wealth of information that includes 225 thought leader interviews with leading mythologists, permaculturists and artists, 1700 articles, 20 workshops, 104 New Myths, 38 eBooks and 173 edu-videos. As a globally-connected writer and activist in the Sustainability, Permaculture, Transition, SpiritNature, and New Mythology sectors, Mr. Paul is a visionary for the new global mythologist. Please find him on YouTube, academia.edu, Facebook, LinkedIn and DepthPsychologyAlliance.com.

willipaul1 at gmail.com