Program & Contents
This is a pioneer meeting in Portugal about the need to intertwine Ecology and Mythology; about the importance of how we tell stories, be they personal, cultural, social, scientific or even political.
Twenty-one 45 min recorded presentations, in English and Portuguese (English subtitles available), for you to watch at your own pace.
This event does not intend to define or crystallize the concept or territory of eco-mythology. Rather, it intends to take on its many voices and diverse contexts of time and space, just like a vibrant ecosystem where multiplicity is the key to resilience.
Here we speak the languages of the earth, its ferocity, and subtlety. We challenge anthropocentric perception. We make ourselves available to listen and feel through the lens of radical and eco-systemic relationships. Furthermore, we allow other nuances to nourish us, like the voice of the wind, the stories of the mountains, or the whispers of the deep sea.
Here you will find all the recorded contents – the password to watch the videos is: Ec0myTh2o23.
Weaving the Territory
Opening. We lay the ground for eco-mythological perception and its current importance and necessity.
Sofia Batalha (org) – Cosmic-Chthonic Cartography, Primeval underground mysteries of Iberian myth, ecomythology, ecopsychology, art and 8 books. DB @the_emergence_network
Welcome presentation by Sofia Batalha
Introduction to Eco-Mythology fundamental concepts.
Eco-Mythology as the ground of radical kinship. We remember that myths were never just by, for, or about humans; myths have always been contextually ecological, weaved by the landscape in communion with the human and the more-than-human. When we challenge epigenetics itself as an animist legacy, in a much broader heritage, it awakens visceral responsibility and relational symbiosis.
Story of the Three Ladies.
The story goes that when the old woman who is older than old things – the requevelha – spits into our eyes amidst the slimy, gooey liquid, our retinas begin to see beyond the smokescreen of civilization. The inanimate comes to life, and all the things that were known as names become verbs.
It takes courage to sustain presence in a world in constant motion where everything that had definite and secure form is now constant motion, a coming to be that never becomes anything we can pin down to a single definition.
GODDESSES, FAIRIES AND FOXES:
ANCESTRAL WISDOM FOR NAVIGATING THE INITIATIONS OF LIFE IN THE FEMININE.
All human beings, all over the world, throughout their lives go through initiatory stages that prepare them to play new roles, integrate experiences, and transition to new phases of life. In the case of women, these stages are perhaps most marked by the physical processes of transition. Threshold times, they often bring pain and insecurity, due to the losses they imply and the assumption of new realities.
The Place of the Body
Following the body, ancestry, and death.
EUA – Inabel Bee Uytiepo – pilipinx-chinese, deep collective care, somatic forgiveness & ancestral wayfinding
Inabel Bee Uytiepo
Ancestral communication arises regardless of our ability to discern or define it. Ancestral communication can be surfaced through healing arts modalities like somatic mindfulness, ancestral wayfinding, auric and energetic presencing and neuro-visceral bodywork. It is possible to uplift our individual and communal capacities by connecting and communicating with our vast ever-present knowing.
Since our varied interdimensional selves are interdependent with all beings, both seen and unseen, the communication is already occurring. Focusing on our curiosities creates portals to discovering and increasing capacities and abilities to understand. Suppressing curiosities close portals to ancestral communication and healing.
The cult of the Iberian Ladies is one of the most Ancestral, primitive and diversified in the world.
It unites Neolithic inspiration with the multiple ethnic-geographic crossings of the peninsula, between mountains, land and the abyssal sea.
Ana Catarina Infante – End-of-Life/Death Doula, Nurse C. Palliative, Author of the book – the passage, Founder: Community doulas end of life
Ana Catarina Infante
The term myth is often used to refer to a false story, however, a myth is a sacred narrative that explains how the world and humanity came to be the way they are today. The way you currently are.
I want to bring you reflections, individual and unique, about the stories we tell ourselves when death comes our way. Now. About who we are in each instant. I will not bring you closed answers about who you are. I am looking for an inward dive. A reading of the book you were born to be. To compassionately investigate the Art of your body and all the sacred Stories and Myths, from the origin of time, that it tells you. I don’t want to hear the stories told by others. I want to see You. What do your bones tell? Your silence, your screams? How do you commune and who do you share with the Body of the World?
Day 3 – Earth’s Narratives
We listen to the gods that whisper to us all the time.
Spain/England – Karmit Evenzur – Story-tailor, Cosmology & textiles, living landscape, mythic memory.
Where Europe meets Africa, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic, where the ‘old world’ once met the ‘new world’, we come to explore the connection between myth and earth energies.
The story of the Greek Heracles can be found in the ancient name for the Strait of Gibraltar: Fretum Herculeum. The myth still lives on today in the widely used symbolism of the pillars of Hercules which are the portals of the Strait, one being the Rock of Gibraltar and the other, Jebel Musa in Morocco. Jebel Musa, the mountain of Moses, is curiously named after the great biblical prophet who is said to have gone on a pilgrimage to look for the one who was more knowledgeable in God’s ways than himself. It is there, we are told in sacred Sufi stories, where the mountain meets the sea at the confluence of two waters, that Moses found the one he was looking for; El Khadr, the Green man.
Millennia of anthropocentrism have restricted the perception of our existence to the human context, and the importance of territories and the more-than-human world is, in our day and age, only concerned with their usefulness or utility in the human vision.
However, many of the emptinesses we carry inside take the form of longing, be it for that sacred connection with something we can barely explain, or for a feeling of belonging that never seems to arrive.
Samuel F. Pimenta
The myths we know are the oldest memory on Earth. But myths are not the same among themselves: some are true survivors, resisting through the ages all the forces that wanted to silence and destroy them; others are fragments, scattered echoes; still others are mutilated or subverted versions; and still others are nothing but lies.
Yet all of them are true gems, for through their multiple voices they allow us to get a glimpse of the memory they carry, our memory. All of them are the ends of broken threads, threads that, by telling and retelling the myths, we can retrace and put back together again.
Alchemy of Stories
We cook stories and alchemize landscapes. We remember Mythology in Ecology.
Kolam are intricate, geometric, ritual-art designs made fresh every morning using rice flour powder by Tamil women. They are considered to be offerings to Bhoo-devi, the Earth goddess, and are anchored in the Hindu belief that householders have a karmic obligation to feed a thousand souls, for having displaced innumerable creatures, seen and unseen, by the act of creating permanent shelter in the form of a house.
A kolam is also an impermanent, transient, immanent, evanescent and cyclical art-form, decreed to disappear every day, as the rice flour is nibbled by insects, rodents, slugs and birds, blown-apart by wind and erased by human footsteps.
In everything there is consciousness and reciprocity. The psyche turns inside out and integrates the net that nature sews. Like an attentive rabbit, we listen to the sweetness of flowers, are touched by the sound of sparrows, smell the sensuality of colors, taste the twilight, and smell the wind. We feel ears, whiskers, pads of paws, active muscles. We feel the connection between the human body and the earth. What if the psyche ran free and curious behind a sparrow? What if the psyche traveled to the body of the Earth with the seed? We belong to the landscape, and that is where the psyche lives. And we are also places, where the stones rest and the sun sets. We do not exist apart from it, we exist embedded in it, and it is when we become sensitive to everything, everyone, and everyone that we repair the wound of helplessness. We repair the primordial relationship in which nothing and no one is an object, nor alien to our gestures.
Q&A with Sofia Batalha
About the Land-Body and multiple ecological identities.
The richness of being poli-vocal in a nourishing kinship reality.
We discussed the valuable relational identity and the animistic psyche that knows it’s not just humans who tell stories or create meaning.
The Ancestor’s Pulse
Do we remember who we are?
Canadá – Pegi Eyers – Author of Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community
Embracing ways of thinking that pre-date Empire is a good starting point for all endeavors that revive the eco-self, and our re-connection to community bonded to the land. Shifting away from the patriarchy is possible, and from pre-colonial, Indigenous or egalitarian models, the worldview and values we need are just waiting to be re-kindled. Also known as “uncolonization,” we all have access to a well of deep knowing – or ancestral knowledge – that can be revived with immersion in nature, and by focusing on the Old Ways. Compiled from years of experience and research, Deep Time Wisdom will weave through a comparison chart that identifies the habits of modernity we take for granted, and the alternatives in holistic patterns of thought or action.
The coloniality of power – a western project of the world – persists and is sustained by another type of coloniality, invisible: that of knowledge and thinking. Thus, the maintenance of a type of subjectivity, forged, monocultural, constitutes the main raw material of the production of a world.
We create alternative and ancestral movements, intending to deterritorialize subjectivity, but which, not rarely, manifest themselves as forms of reterritorialization of a type of logic. Guattari and Rolnik (1986) evidence clues of a cartography of desire and the unconscious, in the micropolitical field, sustaining the logics that one wants to break. Going towards the rediscovery of an Eco-Mythology implies a work of regeneration of a type of consciousness, with the power to be raw material for other vital relations.
We hear it everywhere there is free time, that is: time and freedom. That voice that penetrates between the lines of what our grandmothers and grandfathers tell us and leave us. A voice that turns into a whisper, like the wind does, especially the North wind, like the rain (especially the strong ones), the frost, and the storms. A whisper like the one the rocks and mountains hiss as we pass by them, especially in winter. That whisper of black cloak and white hair, that breath from the chthonic depths of the earth. That testimony of eternity, that resists the harshness of all times and places, and that feeds and guides us from the core of what we have been, who we are, and who one day we will still be.
Day 6 – Feeling and Listening
Who are we when we recognize the intertwining? How many intelligences do we host?
EUA – Annabelle Berríos – Shapeshifter. Weaver, connector, and bridge builder. Writer inspired by terrapsychological inquiry and post-activist. Social impact consultant and trainer.
In modern society, many of us have been unconsciously cast in an anthropocentric narrative that increasingly disrupts our intimacy with ourselves, other human beings and other species on the planet. While symbols of this narrative are visible in our locales, they could appear innocuous, given that they promise comfort, convenience and control. Becoming aware of how we get hooked by sanitized substitutes for intimacy can be heartbreaking, disheartening even, especially because there is no “pure” remedy to possess, no magical solution to wipe the slate “clean,” and no guarantee we “do it right.” Responses to acknowledging the existence of an anthropocentric narrative often appear in polarities: ignore/dismiss it or “fix it.”
There are stories that are lost in time, but which shape human destinies. These stories are found at the core of the most diverse cultures and civilizations, depicting cosmological events, explanation of natural phenomena, sagas, heroes and gods. These myths, traditionally imbued by the dynamics of orality or embodied in the pages of a book, are the basis of many religions, rituals, and moral conduct, and are thus rooted in the collective unconscious, being responsible for a large part of the human attitudes and emotions of a people. If a myth narrates a man who dominates and exploits Nature, this will be the idiosyncrasy of the people who embrace it. The hegemonic civilization carries some of these myths and, also for this reason, it is a society where inequalities are glaring and it is heading towards climatic chaos and ecological collapse. But if a people has in its ancestry stories that tell of gender and species equality, stories that speak of a sacred Nature, of a relational and interconnected world, this people will have as its ethical basis the care and respect for all life.
Jorge Moreira – Researcher at the CFE – Centre for Functional Ecology – Science for People & the Planet. Societies and Environmental Sustainability. Department of Life Sciences • University of Coimbra
Inês Ripamonti – singer-songwriter, facilitator, authentic vocal expression, healing art: creativity in the service of well-being
The music that inhabits me is not entertainment music. Nor is it recommended for quick consumption. In its simplicity it dares to touch the depth, the humanity, the heart of “things.”
Music has been a learning portal and an unavoidable path for me. A powerful ally. It has been with joy that I have realized that the music I create (and create myself) is also a source of inspiration and soul nourishment for others. What a blessing…and at the same time, what a challenge.
Strands of Diversity
We weave, we cook, we compost, we ferment, we create, and we breathe.
Itália/Portugal – Chiara Baldini – Curator #liminalvillage @boomfestivalofficial PhD student @ciis_sf with a passion for ancient history, ecstatic rites and anything Dionysian
Six thousand years ago, Portugal was home to a thriving culture of megalithic builders.
They pioneered the technology and mythology needed to build impressive stone circles that encoded their worldview. They were able to incorporate into these structures the knowledge inherited by their ancestors about the cycles of the stars and plants, while caring for the future generations who would benefit from this knowledge, right up to the present day.
How do we find and re-animate fragments of local myths and stories at twilight in an era of collective amnesia, environmental degradation, and accelerated collapse of rural communities and their traditions?
For more than a decade in my academic career in Japan, I sought answers to these questions in studies focused on symbolic representation and in politico-cultural approaches that portray the spirits of folklore as constructions of the human mind in response to social changes and power dynamics brought about by modernization, colonialism, and capitalism, thereby hollowing out their concrete existence in the world.
Welcome to the first Eco-Mythology Gathering in Portugal.
A Gathering of Artists, Researchers, Activists and Authors, through Lectures, Rituals, Stories and Tales.
🌕 It finds us here, right in the middle of our daily lives: of speed, responsibilities, and all the things left undone by all the pressures, anxieties and expectations.
🌕 Exactly here, where all the stories whispered to us and woven together, where every moment meets the more-than-human narratives, always metamorphosing and unfolding.
🌕 So we don’t have to go beyond, we don’t have to run away, undertake, pressure or even control. We just have to go back to feeling and listening deeply. Humbly listen.
🌕 Because the place of living stories is the place of the skin, which touches and feels, which connects and vibrates. So is the place of bones, which recall ancient memories of ritual and belonging.
🌕 So this invitation to bring together these diverse pieces of knowledge and voices, different territories and life experiences, is to meet us here where we all are at every moment, simply in the middle.
🌕 It is an invitation to symbiotic and more than human dialogues with the stones, the worms, the wind, the trees, the waters, the clouds, or the birds.
🌕 I am delighted for this invitation and opportunity to be able to be together, even if virtually, so that we can listen to each other and feel the diversity and paradoxes, by different experiences of what it is to be place and what it is to anchor and belong to these stories and myths. So ancient and banal that we forget they are part of us.
May these multiple voices and wisdom, those of the shadows, the neglected, the forgotten and the mutilated, unfold and encircle Life, waking us up from the torpor of modernity.
It is an event in deep gratitude and reverence for the living stories that pass through us and rock us. Those that can remind us of who we are.
A big thank you to everyone who lent their voice and knowledge, fertilizing this rich ecology of stories, but also to everyone who participated in this event in any way! To everyone who allowed themselves to be touched, questioned and involved. ❤️🙏
The lectures were spread out over the days, meaning that each day the topics covered were present in their entirety. I felt more attentive to the details of the places on my walks, I connected more wholly and presently with the wind, the trees and the animals I came across, as if I were seeing them from a more present, less fragmented place. I heard stories that revealed themselves and arrived in different ways. At the same time as feeling more connected to the place, I also felt more present in my body 🙏 truly grateful.
It was transformative in the sense that the word ‘rootedness’ went from an abstract and mental concept to something real and effectively connected to our land. It expanded my awareness of topics that I considered hermetic.
That these initiatives are precious seeds for the human heart, so distant from itself and from the cosmos that it is. I hope they are mustard seeds that spread, little by little, and grow, in the invisibility of the dark nights, between the new moon and the full moon, and that they rise in the precious light of the sun, well rooted in the fertile soil of the Earth.
Deep, beautiful and touching, even with the difficult parts that have to be seen and felt. There are sensations and experiences that are still happening and that I don’t want to bring up just yet. Comforting and a beacon of hope in that I felt in a safe space and in a community like minded in Portuguese. I believe that on these topics and from what I have seen, there is nothing in Portuguese with this quality, competence and depth, and I have to say that even in English this was far ahead of other experiences. I hope that this is the beginning of a seed that can germinate and that I hope to be attentive to and in some way follow.