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" The world is mud-luscious

and puddle-wonderful "


Fake Alien Invasion

July 24th, 2009

I see I’m speaking just after Ian Crane:
“Fervent truth campaigner, ex-oilfield executive and founder of The Alternative View, Ian shares with us his latest views on the unfolding global agenda and his belief that the world is being manipulated by a dark elite with a huge plan – the staging of a fake alien invasion…”
Perhaps I should mount the stage wearing an alien suit? Where is the nearest fancy-dress shop?

A great desire to live and a great dissatisfaction with living

July 24th, 2009

Every so often there is some communication failure between an event organiser and a speaker (called in new-speak a ‘disconnect’). In checking how my talk tomorrow in Glastonbury is being advertised I read to my surprise that:

…author of the stunning new book Sacred Places, Philip will be looking at how a return to ancient folklore and a renewed knowledge of sacred plants and their spiritual benefits could help balance the effects of the current world crisis.

I’ve had it up on my site for months as: ‘Beyond Belief’ – a talk at the Glastonbury Symposium at 3.40pm. In this talk Philip addresses the fact that many people now don’t want to be restricted by an allegiance to one religion, and yet are still searching for a meaningful and spiritual life. If we are inspired by the words of the Buddha and the Sufi mystics, and yet are also drawn to the beauty of Celtic spirituality, for example, are we just New Age dilettantes who are not disciplined enough to follow one path, or are we responding to a new call: towards a deeper Way that transcends the artificial divisions of creed and dogma and that frees the spirit – beyond belief?

Oh well, as Heraclitus said: ‘A wonderful harmony is created when we join together the seemingly unconnected.’ He also said, I have just discovered: ‘The world is nothing but a great desire to live and a great dissatisfaction with living’. He was apparently known as Heraclitus the Obscure. Well that seems pretty clear and recognisable to me!

That Roundhouse

July 22nd, 2009


Hello. Welcome to That Roundhouse. This is an ecohome of wood frame, cobwood and recycled window walls, straw-insulated turf roof; with solar power and wind turbine for electricity, compost toilet and reed beds for grey water. We designed and built it over the winter 1997/8, and it was turned down for planning permission several times. After several court appearances, we decided to demolish it over Easter 2004, but changed our minds after demonstrations of huge public support in its defence….. For more see

That Roundhouse

Ecstasies Beyond Telling

July 21st, 2009

In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love revive, filling it with sublimity and exaltation. And those who come together in the night and are entwined in rocking delight do an earnest work and gather sweetnesses, gather depth and strength for the song of some coming poet, who will arise to speak of ecstasies beyond telling.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The TreeHouse Gallery

July 21st, 2009

The TreeHouse Gallery is a collaborative project that is taking root in London’s Regents Park throughout July and August, re-imagining one of the great outdoor public spaces of the city. The site, situated on the banks of the Boating Lake, will form an array of tree-top structures that will act as a catalyst to ignite the collective imagination, encouraging adults and children alike to explore a variety of creative responses to nature.


I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen

July 19th, 2009

From The Library Journal Blog:

Forget the National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prizes, and the National Book Critics Circle Awards. I am anxiously awaiting the winner of  the annual  Diagram Prize, whose shortlist was announced today. Never heard of the Diagram Prize? Sponsored by the British trade magazine, the Bookseller, the award goes to the oddest book title spotted by booksellers, librarians, and publishers around the globe.  Despite fears of increased homogenization as publishers become more corporate, Horace Bent, the prize’s custodian, found to his relief that “oddity lives on.”

Here are the 2007 nominees:

I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen
How to Write a How to Write Book

Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues
Cheese Problems Solved
If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs
People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood

Landscapes of the Mind

July 17th, 2009
For More information see

For More information see

As the planet is poised at the tipping point of irreversible climate change, we
struggle to conceptualise this potential catastrophe and its consequences.
Too awful, perhaps, to deeply contemplate the consequences of inaction,
we bury this awareness in order to maintain the emotional comfort zone
of denial. Believing, perhaps, that we are individually helpless to impact on
this terrifying escalation, this helplessness is often felt as despair and moral
How profoundly does this drama play out in the psyche and in our emotional
health? Do psychotherapists have the listening and vocabulary in place yet to
really relate to fears about environmental degradation? How can we develop
this skill? Could a deepened sensibility to our place in nature enable us to shift
from passive anguish to psychologically-robust problem solving and greater
emotional health? What is the relationship between therapy and nature?
Between deep ecology and well-being?
This conference will examine how we can creatively harness our awareness
of our relationship with nature – rather than suppress it – and will question
whether we develop our mental health and cultural depth by relating to
nature as a subject to be nurtured rather than an object to be exploited.

For more information see

The Dream of a Wanderer

July 17th, 2009

I am reading the autobiography of Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence magazine, who was a Jain monk for nine years from the age of 9, until he became involved in the Vinoba Bhave Land Reform Movement, and then set off on a walk from India, without money, across the world. His story is inspiring. Here is a quote from it:

In wandering I felt a sense of union with the whole sky, the infinite earth and sea. I felt myself a part of the cosmic existence. It was as if by walking I was making love to the earth itself. Wandering was my path, my true self, my true being. It released my soul-force, it brought me in relation to everything else. I stood like I stand in front of the mirror. People, nature, everything became like a mirror and I could see myself in them, what I was. I was born in a dream of wandering, a seed conceived in my mother. . .

No Destination – An Autobiography by Satish Kumar, Green Books, 1992

PVF, The Future of the Planet and The Prince of Wales Digging Deep

July 14th, 2009

One of the peculiar features of a good holiday is that it relaxes you so much, you feel exhausted within a day or so of returning, and can easily fall prey to that dreaded syndrome PVF – post-vacational fatigue. The body having slipped into a deliciously slow pace when on holiday finds itself stunned by the hectic pace it is expected to resume the moment you return!

Despite the PVF I’m having at the moment I managed to watch the Prince of Wales Dimbleby lecture on the Future of the World last night. It really is a tour de force, and if you’re in the UK you can watch it here:

You can also find the full text of his speech here. Here’s a sample:

I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the legacy of Modernism in our so-called post-Modern age has brought us to a crucial moment in history; prompting a lot of uncomfortable questions. And I just want to ask quite a few of them tonight. What I hope to do is give you some idea why these questions are so urgent, starting with what might appear to be the more philosophical aspects, and then to describe what, in practical terms, a particular change in our thinking might lead to.

The first question I want to ask is how we have landed ourselves and the rest of the world in the mess that it now struggles to overcome? Because it does struggle. We have more than enough scientific evidence that proves this to be so. But more than this, what is it that drives us on to exacerbate the problems? Why do we tip the balance of the Earth’s delicate systems with yet more destruction, even though we know in our heart of hearts that in doing so we will most likely risk bringing everything down around us?

In the thirty years or so that I have been attempting to understand and address the many related problems, I have tried to dig deep and ask myself what it is in our general attitude to the world that is ultimately at fault?

HRH Prince of Wales

Read more here