"Permaculture and the Rocket Stove Myth - Light Fuel for the New Prometheus" - by Willi Paul, Mythologist, Planetshifter.com
Submitted by Willi on Tue, 06 Dec 2016 - 21:57
"A rocket stove is an efficient and hot burning portable stove using small diameter wood fuel. Fuel is burned in a simple combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney, which ensures almost complete combustion prior to the flames' reaching the cooking surface." Also called Rocket Stove because of its huge potential to bring people together and to accelerate planetary consciousness. (W. Paul)
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The Classic Myth: "How Prometheus Gave Fire to Men" -
Written by James Baldwin, based on Greek mythology
Many years ago, according to the stories told by the people of ancient Greece, there lived two brothers who were not like other men, or like the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. They were the sons of one of the Titans who had fought against Zeus and been sent in chains to the prison of the Lower World.
The name of the elder of these brothers was Prometheus (which means Forethought). Prometheus was always thinking of the future and making things ready for what might happen tomorrow, or next week, or next year, or even in a hundred years' time. The younger was called Epimetheus (which means Afterthought). Epimetheus was always so busy thinking of yesterday, or last year, or a hundred years ago, that he never worried at all about what might come to pass in the future.
Prometheus did not want to live amongst the clouds on Mount Olympus. He was too busy for that. While the gods were spending their time in idleness, drinking nectar and eating ambrosia, he was planning how to make the world wiser and better than it had ever been before.
So instead of living on Olympus, Prometheus went out amongst men to live with them and help them and he quickly noticed that they were no longer happy as they had been during the golden days when Kronos, the titan, was king. He found them living in caves and in holes of the earth, shivering with the cold because there was no fire, dying of starvation, hunted by wild beasts and by one another-the most miserable of all living creatures.
"If they only had fire," said Prometheus to himself, "they could at least warm themselves and cook their food; and after a while they could learn to make tools and build themselves houses. Without fire, they are worse off than the beasts."
Prometheus went boldly to Zeus and begged him to give fire to the people, so that so they might have a little comfort through the long, dreary months of winter.
"I will not!" said Zeus, "Not one spark will I share with them! For if men had fire they might become strong and wise like us, and after a while they would drive us out of our kingdom. Besides, fire is a dangerous tool and they are too poor and ignorant to be trusted with it. It is better that we on Mount Olympus rule the world without threat so all can be happy."
Prometheus didn't answer, but he had set his heart on helping mankind, and he did not give up. As he was walking by the seashore he found a tall stalk of fennel. He broke it off and then saw that its hollow center was filled with a dry, soft substance which would burn slowly and stay alight for a long time. He carried the stalk with him as he began a long journey to the top of Mount Olympus.
"Mankind shall have fire, despite what Zeus has decided," he said to himself. And with that thought, he snuck quietly into Zeus' domain and stole a spark from Zeus' own lightning bolt. Prometheus touched the end of the long reed to the spark, and the dry substance within it caught on fire and burned slowly. Prometheus hurried back to his own land, carrying with him the precious spark hidden in the hollow center of the plant.
When he reached home, he called some of the shivering people from their caves and built a fire for them, and showed them how to warm themselves by it and use it to cook their food. Men and women gathered round the fire and were warm and happy, and thankful to Prometheus for the wonderful gift which he had brought to them.
One chilly winter evening, Zeus gazed down from Mount Olympus and noticed fires burning cheerfully at the hearths of men and women in every village across the land. It did not take him long to realize that Prometheus had disobeyed him and given fire to men.
Zeus was very angry and ordered that Prometheus be chained to the side of a mountain to suffer there for all eternity. And there Prometheus stayed, thinking of the future, happy in the knowledge that he had given fire to men until he was one day rescued by Hercules, the mortal son of Zeus.
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I have two rocket stoves that I love to cook on, and part of the enjoyment is simply managing the fire, much like a guy at a campfire poking the wood.
Permaculture's Mythic Tool Kit -
I. 10 Elements of Modern Myths (W. Paul, updated 2016) -
1. Sci-Fi & Para-normal experiences
2. Universal struggle
3. Journey, Initiation, Community as Hero
4. Permaculture and Transition Values and Symbols
6. Nature is Sacred
7. Threat of apocalypse
8. Artifact Initiated
9. New rituals and traditions
II. Rocket Stove Symbols -
Rocket Stove is a symbol of re-use, resilience, pride, community, energy-saving. Its fire provides warmth, and is visually soothing. Its light is a beacon of hope.
III. Rocket Stove Alchemy -
(transformation from one state to a new one)
As a portable burner, the Rocket Stove cooks raw food by rendering unburnt wood to charcoal. The Rocket Stove, through a political lens, can facilitate awareness of pressing social issues by bring folks together at community sharing events.
IV. The Rocket Stove as the Artifact -
The Artifact serves as a metaphor of a specific nature - human synergy and as a new story catalyst. Examples can include graffiti, a highway bill board, an historic sculpture, or a permaculture garden, that include special messages for the neighborhood.
V. Rocket Stoves and Archetypes -
One: Permaculture & Nature Archetype: A love to preserve unique landscapes for future generations. Mistrust of greedy, short-term land and energy developers
Symbols: Tree of Life, Permaculture logo, Yosemite, Seeds, Amazon Rain Forest, US Gulf Coast
Two: Permaculture & Nature Archetype: The hope to build sustainable systems in our local neighborhoods and towns. Fear of food and fuel shortages and fights for resources between neighbors and governments
Symbols: Crude oil on rails, GMO; Convergence and sharing expo events; neighborhood plans and new rituals
Fire is one of the basic elements, the nucleus of camp life, and fuels many DIY (back to basics) crafts for new neighborly sharing and commerce. The rocket stove is also a symbol of appropriate / sustainable technology, including the use of recycled materials in a cradle to grave ethic. It can be used for signaling over distances and deployed for local security. As an alt-campfire, the Rocket Stove brings people together for discussion and song and supports the "Community as Hero" idea: heat for all!
"In many - old legends, told around the campfire or a roaring hearth, can be heard the approach of galloping horses, the whispers of phantoms in ghost towns, the far-off sounds of pistols blazing, and the sighing moans of the winds drifting through the ancient trees of hunting, mining, and cowboy camps. American History is filled with folklore, Native American mythology, and real truths that make for wonderful campfire tales."
Permaculture as New Prometheus -
The classic Prometheus myth is not supporting any headlines in today's run and gun world. It is simplistic and unconnected and requires an update.
Now use the Prometheus myth as a story template to see how Permaculture can revive it for modern meaning and implementations. Permaculture as the new Prometheus - bringing new ideas thru its Rocket Stove and Design with Nature values. Is not the underlying message of the emerging Rocket Stove myth about sharing - not stealing?
People and technology have changed but fire hasn't. And the need for more community sharing has never been more critical. Why can we not connect the divorced twins, Survivalists and Permaculturists, through a little camp stove to share the feast?
Can you write the Rocket Stove Myth?
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"- the downside of clinging so fiercely to old myths is that we can lose sight of a more compelling and timely ideal. What would that new cultural myth look like? I'm not sure, exactly, but I think it would celebrate the rich diversity of a country that values its flexibility and enthusiasm about the future; that can innovate its way out of a jam and absorb changes in the world while keeping its collective mind, culture, and commitment to freedom and opportunity open and intact. Anybody can be afraid of change. It takes an exceptional culture to manage evolving and complex social problems and embrace a changing demographic face, -."
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Also, please enjoy these New Myths by W. Paul -
Permaculture Propaganda Lab @ old seed bomb factory. New Myth #54. By Willi Paul
The Permaculture Sprout Cellar Network (A Transition Buckle). New Myth #23. By Willi Paul
The Hillsborough Alliance for Local Food Security - New Myth #87. Dedicated to 2016 Fall Permaculture Convergences in Fort Flagler, WA and Hopland, CA. By Willi Paul