Thursday, February 24, 2011

"VISITING A SACRED MOUNTAIN: A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART OF THE EARTH" JEFF PHILLIPS





















































































NEW PHOTOS POSTED HERE:

https://picasaweb.google.com/therockist2/MOUNTTITIROAFEB15202011#

Mt. Titiroa photos from 2010 posted here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/therockist/MANAPOURIMTTITIROAFIORDLANDSOUTHISLANDNEWZEALAND#

NEW PHOTOS FROM LIESBET POSTED HERE

https://picasaweb.google.com/ilnissky/NZ_SouthIsland_Fiordland#

NOTE FROM JEFF: The first two parts of this article were written on Monday, 21 February, the day before the Christchurch earthquake.

“We are ALL on a journey through the unknown. Life and the Earth have gone through similar ‘windows of change’ before, but each time is unique. Humans must realize that as a whole they are waging an unconscious war against their very home and mother; as a whole they are insane with respect to the ‘reality’ of global indigenous wisdom. If humans as whole woke up, questioned what they are doing, and renavigated their process, most importantly by greatly reducing immediate damage to the Earth, her eco-systems and life-forms, they will astronomically increase their own chances not only for ‘survival’ through these ‘Earth changes’ but may find themselves included once again with a place in the coming ‘new creation’.”

VISITING A SACRED MOUNTAIN: A MESSAGE FROM THE EARTH

Returning from an arduous and sacred journey into timeless wilderness, silent, clear and alive, undisrupted by human enterprise, is a profound experience, psychologically and spiritually. In the same way that we have found ourselves very much immersed in the “dream-time” dimensions during our travels around Australia, during the trek we just completed to Mt. Titiroa, the highest peak in southern Fiordland, south island of New Zealand, we found ourselves similarly in, literally, another dimension of experience, of being, of truly and immediately feeling the innate power of, and the love inherent in, the rocks, trees, waters, birds, clouds and mountains, of the Earth and Mother Nature, of a realm where the Great Spirit is audible and visible. A knowing of the reason that indigenous people sing songs to the wind and the stars; a distinct feeling that nature is indeed not only aware of our presence there, but that she is watching over us, guiding us gently in time and direction, in inspiration; a genuinely mystical recognition of and connection with a world that is infinitely more real, alive and eternal than the ephemeral and anthropocentric isocosm, the increasingly mono-cultured “artificial world of his own creation” into which mankind is retreating more and more each day.

This moment is a very special window of time during which one is still filled with the tranquillity and vibration of undisrupted nature, yet sufficiently re-engaged with the “comforts” of, for example, a place to write, to try to express these thoughts. The living pulse resounds within, even as the occasional noise of machines resounds without. A time in which to feel fully within oneself the immense contrasts, even contradictions, of “being here now” as a human being, of realizing how utterly insignificant at best, and destructive in general, most of the human enterprise actually is, for ourselves and the world we so graciously have been given to live in. A moment to reflect deeply on the central mysteries of existence as a person, and to understand how best to live, to refine the gem, the incomprehensibly wonderful gift we have each been given, this cosmically brief yet inwardly infinite existence we call a “life.”

Eventually we come back into our bodies, but for now our auras remain entwined with the unspeakable beauty of where we’ve just come from. I wish, I will for this magic never to subside, for the fibers of life-energy joining us back to the alpine serenity always to remain, so that the blessing of this special connection is never diminished.

In this special state of awareness I receive confirmation of what I already believed to be true: that the sum total of human activity is harming the Earth. What is more clear now is not only that this is the case, but that the Earth experiences this harm in an almost “personal” way, since she is a living being whose nature, whose “nature” is far beyond our comprehension as only one minute species of her life forms. What is clear to me now is that the Earth feels the pain of every tree that is chopped down, every animal, every person, who is killed, every mine that is blasted, every well that is drilled and not just the physical pain analogous to having a piece of your arm cut out, but the spiritual anguish of a level only experienced by a planetary consciousness, a mother of myriad lives and forms under attack by some of her own unique and special children. She is deeply hurt by our intent of greed rather than need, by our obsession with domination. What IS wrong with us? Why are we so different from everyone else who is incapable of being out of balance with life?

I am also keenly aware of my anger with people. This anger is not one born of negativity or destructive energy, but a constructively critical anger born from loving life yet witnessing an on-going descent of humanity into a pit of unnecessary degradation to ourselves, our fellow beings, our planet. Why must we continue to wage war on the Earth? How is it that our collective hearts have grown so cold, so distant from the embrace of the Earth and her love for us? Why have we as a whole become deaf to her music, her cries, blind to the damage we do from our ‘ways of life’? Why do we insist that we can’t make a difference, or that it’s all someone else’s problem?

I am only angry at people because of my love for them; I am angry at people’s failure to wake up, to question things they do that they know are not good but they insist on doing it anyway, at their refusal to change, to use the highest knowledge we already have. I am angry at greed, at stupidity, at inertia, at wanton destruction in the name of money, at the astronomical amount of needless killing of ourselves that we have done and continue to do, often in the name of something called or worshipped as “god.” All too often, our propensity for superficial rationalization conceals a deep unrest, a denial of what people will admit as truth if questioned. I am angered, and saddened, by how little people seem to ask of themselves.

In my life, in recent decades, I have heard indigenous elders going to great lengths to deliver messages sent down from thousands of years ago. These messages may differ in detail, in language, but in essence they are one: what we do to the Earth we do to ourselves. If we choose to destroy the Earth, to harm her, for whatever reasons we may find it convenient to rationalize as acceptable, we simultaneously inflict the same wounds upon ourselves and our descendents, possibly even precluding their existence. We ARE of the Earth: every molecule in our bodies came originally from stone, the body of the Earth. We are filled with her waters, we breathe her air; our blood flows with her iron, just as her “blood” of petroleum and “nerves” of gold flow with energies unknown to and possibly unknowable by us. “Civilized” humanity has no understanding of or respect for the spirit of a forest or a mountain, the life or right to peace of a wild animal, the solitude of an undisrupted place, the consciousness of a tree, whale, or planet for that matter. Each of these has an inherent right to exist; yet our “mentality” recognizes nothing of this, instead targeting all that is “natural” as a resource to be exploited, devoid of any meaning in itself.

In 1986 I heard Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya share the ancient prophecies from his ancestors. First and foremost was this warning: “If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster.” During the same week that I heard him speak, near Black Mesa in Arizona, the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred, releasing massive amounts of radioactive poisons into a densely populated region of the biosphere; the irony of this powerful synchronicity was that the uranium for the first atomic bombs was mined from Black Mesa, on the Hopi reservation.

I share with you now a message from the Earth, as one of the few people who may be capable of perceiving and delivering such a message. Undisrupted indigenous cultures and cosmologies are vanishing; elder carriers of ancient wisdom are dying with no suitable heirs to the gifts of their knowledge. Extremely few people in our own cultural milieu retain, nurture, have ever developed, or can even understand the importance of a genuine, deep and living real-time connection with the consciousness of the Earth. As someone who not only lives in an intermediate zone between human industrial civilization and the non-human realms, but who has also dedicated a significant portion of their total life energy to creating awareness of what the Oglala native Americans refer to as “mitakuye oyasin”, “all my relations”, of our existence as human beings within a much larger family of all of life as we know her, our responsibility for and our endangerment of this family of life, which includes the Earth herself.

My attempt to share this “message” is of course an intuitive expression; I advance no pretense of “direct translation” but offer a personal interpretation of what this message conveys. In essence, it contains nothing that I haven’t already been trying to share for decades; it is the most recent, comprehensive and concise condensation. Finally, this “message” does not originate in the domains of symbolic language; English as a vehicle of communication has its own parameters, its own utility and limitation. Mine is an attempt to bridge the worlds of nature and spirit with those of humanity and day-to-day life. Message priority: urgent.

THE MESSAGE

We as human beings are only one species of life on a planet who is home to billions of life-forms, known and unknown. All life forms are unique; in the most fundamental ways we are no different or important than any other living being, except that our beliefs about ourselves have set us apart in our own minds, in thought and in action, and in the ability of our technological-industrial civilization to poison and exploit the planetary biosphere. Dominant belief paradigms like Darwinism and Judaeo-Christianity have laid the foundation for the widespread separation from and destruction of the natural world which we now experience and exacerbate. Indigenous peoples who live simply and in touch with nature are systematically decimated; their lands stolen, resources extracted, and the remnants become assimilated into the modern “way of life” centered on materialism, over-consumption, and the religion of capitalism. In the words of Joseph Wood Krutch,

“Man is one of those animals which is in danger from its too successul participation in the struggle for existence…from the standpoint of nature as a whole, he is both a threat to every other living thing, and therefore, a threat to himself also…he has become the tyrant of the Earth, the waster of its resources, the creator of the most prodigious imbalance in the natural order which has ever existed…”

We as human beings require the Earth for our existence; the Earth loves us as one of her children but does not require our existence. As we poison and destroy the Earth, we literally do this to ourselves. Our “artificial realities” imposed on the Earth and each other have supplanted our relationship with the natural world to such an extent that nature is no longer a primary element of consciousness.

One in two people globally now live in cities. No city of any size can possibly be a healthful place to live. Cities are high-density concentrations of all the most destructive things that people do, and are permeated with high levels of toxins, electromagnetic radiation, noise and socio-cultural malaise. People living in cities are far more vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters than people living in more natural and de-centralized conditions in the country or forest.

The Earth is a constantly changing and dynamic being, a living planet undergoing transformations just as her life-forms do; the Earth simultaneously provides an encompassing context for life as we know it, but is also itself embedded in larger cosmic contexts, most notably, the heliocosm, or local solar system, which is itself dynamic, transformative, and influenced by energies and movements at the galactic level.

Current science tells us that life itself has survived several “mass extinction events”; 99.9% of all life-forms that ever existed are now extinct. Life is not so much a specific life-form, for example, an individual organism or species, but more of a process.

Human life has been around long enough to have witnessed cosmic catastrophes that have left imprints in our collective psyche. The Earth experiences cyclical variations that result in changes in climate and magnetic fields, with resultant effects on life-forms.

Ancient/indigenous cultures have knowledge of some of these cycles and have long predicted the accelerated “Earth changes” now upon us. The influence of the existence of our global technological-industrial civilization is a significant factor as well in how these Earth changes affect us and the planet. The choices that we make, individually and collectively, on how we live and what we do with respect to the Earth also comprise a significant factor in the overall equation.

In addition to the direct manipulative and destructive effects of our technological civilization, including man’s warfare against himself, we may also be precipitating a higher degree of negative influence from the cosmic levels due to the disruption of natural systems at a planetary level. These negative influences could be termed “karmic” as well as “energetic” and “morphogenetic.”

At the human level, our overall desensitisation to the vibrations of nature puts us in a frequency domain out of harmony with the Earth and out of harmony with the incoming energetic shifts. Our decision-making is affected and in general we are not living in ways that are compatible with the long-term health or even existence of life as we know it, human or non-human. When we are out of touch with the subtle intelligence of nature, we are not able to respond to urgent warning signals, psychic “alarm bells” which may alert us to impending danger. When the local environment is saturated with electromagnetic radiation and chemical toxins, our personal auras are distorted, our resonance with the Earth’s magnetic field is blocked and we are out of synch with the real world in which life as we know it has always lived and evolved.

The Earth is not “punishing” us for doing what we are doing; we are punishing ourselves, and the Earth. The result is that we are making it vastly more difficult for ourselves to make it through this window of time successfully, for example, by continuing to live more and more extravagantly, consuming more and more resources, instead of pulling back on our damage to the Earth like indigenous elders and true “old school” environmental leaders have been telling us to for decades. In no way are we using the best or highest knowledge; the opposite is closer to the truth, as we plunge head-long into accelerating destructive habits and the refusal to renavigate our course to oblivion.

In the aftermath of the development of atomic weapons, Albert Einstein observed that “everything has changed except our ways of thinking.” This same insight can be applied to the effects of our entire military-industrial civilization: science-fiction level technologies are being deployed of on an undreamed-of scale, yet as individuals we cling to totally out-moded beliefs and values that make no sense in today’s world. We each are affected daily by the results of the scientific “revolution” yet most people could be classed as scientifically illiterate.

The unknowns with which we as humans are now confronted are enormous. The biggest unknowns lie within each of us, the mystery of why, for example, we steadfastly refuse to wake up out of the hypnotic trance called “normality” and to examine our “ways of life” that are literally paving the road to disaster.

It’s clear that political “leadership” and mass-media are only making matters worse by reinforcing the unquestioned status quo beliefs that increased materialism, capitalism and “technology” are the solutions to the problems we now face.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We each have the ability to take charge of our own lives if we allow ourselves to disengage from the “artificial realities” which have come to dominate our existence. We each have the ability to choose to simplify our lives, to live closer to nature, to live as if the Earth and our family of life, “mitakuye oyasin”, actually matter as fellow beings, not as “resources.”

If we each get a little closer to nature and lessen the damage we participate in through our daily routines and things we take for granted, a wellspring of healing and love is there just waiting for us to be aware of it, from the heart of the Earth herself, our true mother.

If we drink from the fountains of life we become more alive, and regain our sensitivity and responsiveness to the intelligence of nature and the Earth which is constantly guiding and informing us about what is happening in the local universe.

This is the essence of the “transmission” I received from the Earth via Mt. Titiroa. To me, this is the “message” of the rocks, the trees, the waters, the whales and dolphins. Stated very simply: “We are ALL on a journey through the unknown. Life and the Earth have gone through similar “windows of change” before, but each time is unique. Humans must realize that as a whole they are waging an unconscious war against their very home and mother; as a whole they are insane with respect to the “reality” of global indigenous wisdom. If humans as whole woke up, questioned what they are doing, and renavigated their process, most importantly by greatly reducing immediate damage to the Earth, her eco-systems and life-forms, they will astronomically increase their own chances not only for ‘survival’ through these ‘Earth changes’ but may find themselves included once again with a place in the coming ‘new creation’.”

VISITING MOUNT TITIROA

Liesbet and I were first inspired to visit Mt. Titiroa just about a year ago. When we were in Manapouri in 2008 we saw an article in a magazine written by a photographer who had climbed to the summit ridge. He had taken photos of some amazing wind-sculpted boulders; we knew then that we had to go there. We learned that Mt. Titiroa is very unique, not only in that it’s the highest point in this part of Fiordland, but more importantly the whole top of the mountain is a huge deposit of a mineral called quartzite. I’m not a geologist but I do know that quartz and related minerals have unique crystalline properties; quartz crystals are used extensively by traditional shamans and medicine persons, as well as in computers and electronic devices.

The mountain itself is visually spectacular as the whole top is white from the quartzite. Not snow-white, but bright white. And it dominates the landscape from all directions coming into Manapouri. Particularly when you leave out to the south, or are approaching from the south towards Manapouri, you can see just how extensive the quartzite ridges of Titiroa are.

We made our first “ascent” in February of 2010, using a map from a south island guide book to show us the way. On the mountain itself no trails exist; many routes exist, and we continue to find out more all the time. The shortest and most direct way is the way we took first, which involves an almost vertical climb for over a kilometre up through deep forest filled with moss and dead trees. We left our base camp at Garnock Burn, and climbed the mountain only with cameras and water. This took us a lot longer than planned, and consequently we didn’t have ample time to get onto the ridge itself. We got back to camp just before dark, using and retrieving the trail markers I’d painstakingly left to mark our route. On this way to and from Titiroa, going up is easy, as all you have to do is head for the highest ground you can see and you’ll get there; coming down is a different matter, because you’re in dense forest and can’t see where you’re going. You could very easily get lost and go down the wrong way since it all looks the same.

When we got back to Manapouri after this first visit, we actually felt a kind of inner “sickness” for several days that we attributed to being on the mountain. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before, and seemed to be a kind of stress centered on my solar plexus chakra. Liesbet and I figured that this mountain must be a very powerful vortex or sacred area connected not only with local Fiordland and New Zealand geo-tectonic ley-lines, but also with the global energy Earth-energy grid.

We guessed that the inner distress we felt was a reflection of what the Earth herself was feeling, possibly from a combination of what humanity is doing to her as well as from changes in her heliocosmic environment.

I have always been acutely aware of New Zealand’s existence right on a major tectonic fault, and have often felt the distortions in magnetic field and other peculiarities common to such locations. New Zealand is also very volcanic. Not only the north island, with Auckland being built on over 100 extinct volcanos, and large cones or complexes like Taranaki, Ruapehu/Tongariro, Tarawera, and White Island; but also the south island, with Lake Taupo being the water-filled crater remnant of a huge volcano, and the Banks peninsula, a triad of extinct volcanos inside whose craters are the towns of Akaroa and Lyttelton, and on whose lava flow Christchurch is built.

Last year I wrote about what we felt in a section called “The Magnetic Anomaly Experience.” Here is an excerpt:

“The underlying reasons for this feeling are probably very complex, but not unrelated to the geo-physical stress generated in the Earth all along fault-lines and tectonic plate junctures across the planet, the disruptions/distortions in local magnetic fields due to this stress, and their exacerbations due to energetic changes happening throughout the entire solar system and beyond. In other words, what we were feeling may be being felt by and/or affecting people living on or close to fault-lines all over the world, in this case, the ‘Pacific rim.’ In case you weren’t aware, New Zealand is actually bisected by a major fault-line, straddling the transverse subduction zone between the Pacific and Indian/Australian tectonic plates. Even Kiwis as a whole don’t know of the existence of what’s called the ‘Stokes Magnetic Anomaly’, a cartographic region that basically follows the fault line along the South Island, but veers off to the west in the north and out to sea to the east through Wanaka and Cromwell. Within this region the Earth’s magnetic field is distorted because of proximity to the fault line, and any readings taken using a magnetic compass must be adjusted accordingly.”

We had all this in mind when we made our second visit to Mount Titiroa last week. We tried to time it so as to be on the mountain for the full moon, which we were, and hoped for a window of cooperative weather, which we had.

Since our first visit in 2010, Christchurch had experienced its first major earthquakes, in an area believed by many geologists to have been seismically stable for as long as tens of thousands of years. Amazingly, no lives were lost; but it seemed like a massive “wake-up call.” I actually heard the Boxing Day quake from Akaroa, and we’d talked with many people about the quakes and un-ending after-shocks. No one seemed particularly worried about it, although many people expressed concern over when it might eventually stop.

So when we set out for Mt.Titiroa last week we were consciously making a sacred journey to what we held to be a planetary power spot. We “walked in beauty” in the spirit of the land. Our plan this time was to try a different route to the ridge, along a river-bed. This route would be longer but maybe a bit less vertical.

Shortly after leaving Garnock Burn with all our gear, as this time our plan was to camp out up on the mountain, we met a guy called Warren walking with a girl, who had just come down from the summit. They told us the way they’d gone, which was up the next river beyond the one we were aiming for. Since they had just successfully done it, we decided to go the same way. As it turns out, Warren’s dad is a guy called Jimmy, who has climbed Titiroa perhaps more than anyone else; he had told Warren about this route.

Remember that once you leave Garnock Burn, there is no trail. We found the river and began following it up. The good thing about this route was that we were able to see where we were going a lot of the time, even Titiroa herself at some points, whereas on our initial journey we were in dense forest until the top. The going was ok; we were carrying a good deal of gear, Liesbet probably about 20 kgs and me probably about 35 kgs or so, including still and video cameras. The other good thing about going this way was that we didn’t have to carry much weight in water, as it was flowing right beside us the whole way.

As we went further, however, the going got harder and harder. At times we had to scramble over huge boulders, hoping that we could get around them; or leave the river and enter the forest, finding a path through dense undergrowth, fallen moss-covered trees, tangled vines and rocks.

Finally after about four hours along the river we made it to the convergence where two rivers become one; it was here that we were to climb the ridge that would take us above tree-line. The day was late but we were able to eke out a tiny but perfect camp-site just up on the beginning of the ridge. Here we spent the night of the full moon. A cloud-cover had come in, but no rain. We’d checked the big-scale satellite weather picture before we left and according to that, a large system was approaching the south island from the east but wasn’t supposed to bring cloud or rain until Sunday, but this was Thursday and clouds were here.

The next morning we headed up the ridge and encountered what was by far the toughest going we’ve ever experienced in a wilderness experience. This involved climbing, almost vertically at times, up through extremely dense under-growth, with back-packs and cameras, not sure of an exact route at any time. Luckily the ridge was pretty narrow and well-defined, so it was pretty easy always to stay on the back-bone of the ridge itself. This part took us about four gruelling hours to do, but we arrived at an awesome little clearing just below the tree-line that gave a fantastic view of the whole eastern ridge all the way to the summit.

This was where Warren and his friend had camped. By now it looked like rain could be approaching, but this was our day to explore the top. It was already around 3 p.m., so we set up the tent in case it was going to rain. We also had brought minimal water to save on weight, but now, the only water we could access was several hundred meters down a very steep ravine. I was going to have to do this to get water, but decided to do it after we returned from the summit ridge in case clouds started coming in.

We set out with cameras up the tussocky end of the ridge, then we came out onto the beginning of the quartzite out-croppings, kind of like beds of beautiful white sand with micah flakes, strewn with chunks of white granite.

The cloud cover that earlier we’d hoped was only a morning fog that would burn off had persisted; now it seemed that rain was only a short time away. We climbed up pretty much to the main ridge, but it was extremely steep…in fact, when we looked back at our topographic map, the part we came up is just about the steepest incline on the entire Titiroa complex.

Liesbet spotted a “Mr. Smiley Face” boulder that we aimed for, and beneath whom we sheltered. Liesbet played some flute, and we burned some sage for the sacred mountain in whose embrace we now found ourselves. We charged our crystals in the sand, and left a small perfect white rock from Ward’s beach north of Kaikoura as a gift for the mountain.

By now the wind was picking up, and a few drops of rain were falling here and there. A mist was now enveloping the actual summit which was about 400 meters to the south; we took this as a sign that we should go back down soon, as we wouldn’t want to get caught in cloud up this high. We were never out of view of our tent several hundred meters below, but we didn’t want to lose this contact.

At first we did feel a small degree of disappointment at not having been able to go all the way to the top, or to have several hours or even a whole day to explore the extensive ridge-top and the myriad rock formations there. At this point we knew we’d be returning again, maybe sooner than we thought, and with brilliant sunny weather, to see the wonders of the Titiroa summit. But we knew that for now we should head back to camp.

Early the next morning we were awakened by a tiny “pitter-patter” of rain on the tent. We were a little stressed at the thought of having to negotiate all that steep down-hill terrain plus the boulders of the river in rain, which would make it quite tricky and dangerous. Luckily, the rain served to get us up and going, but it never rained more than a few drops here and there. We went back down the ridge to the convergence of the two rivers, after having our asses kicked by what it took to get there. Going down was in many ways harder than going up, because not only did we have to fight out way through the brush again, we were quite often in danger of falling because of the extreme steepness of the incline. I actually did a good deal of damage to my knee in this process.

We were able to return along the river to Garnock Burn more quickly than when we came up, even having a little sun-shine beside a small stream with a huge bed of moss, a veritable miniature “Garden of Eden” with a tiny view of Titiroa! Because of the fairly extreme nature of this trek, we were constantly having to be on guard for this or that: weather, which way to go, careful steps, weight load. Since there were always uncertainties we were pretty much always kind of concerned about this or that. But especially coming down, and in moments when we were camping out or had stopped to rest, we could suddenly really realize where we actually were and become fully conscious of the dimension we were now in: the dream-time, the REAL “reality” of the undisrupted natural world in which human and non-human life alike had always lived since their origins in the dim mists of the past.

It could be that the exceedingly powerful experience we came away with from our Titiroa visit was not only a function of the spirit and energy of the place itself, but also related to the fact that we went there fully conscious of what we were trying to do: to “walk in beauty” to visit a sacred mountain, to enter into a special dimension that is in truth our real home, but that remains invisible or non-existent to most of humanity, wrapped up as they are in the noise and confusion of “artificial realities” of our own creation.

Out here we were beyond the fa├žade of human enterprise, and we could really feel that “mitakuye oyasin”, or “all our relations” were reaching out to us…the birds, the trees, the mosses, the clouds and mists, the waters and rocks…all were clearly alive in their own right, all were singing their songs of joy…and sadness. Birds, in particular the fan-tail, seemed to be delivering an important message.

This trip totally kicked our asses physically but amazed our spirits immensely! Ever since we returned we’ve been straddling the two worlds, of man and nature, feeling a little sad at having “left the womb” but maintaining the connection nonetheless.

Another important thing is that this trip wasn’t so much about what we saw but what we felt. Words cannot express what it’s like being out there, in a huge area that totally undisrupted by human activity, except for an infrequent distant plane or helicopter. The Mt. Titiroa area in general is so rugged and inaccessible that there’s never been any “tourism” or resource extraction, and hardly any hunting. In addition, there’s never been any deployment of the pesticides like 1080 that NZ DOC drops all over the more visited regions of Fiordland. Fiordland specifically is where the majority of 1080 is used in all of NZ. We’ve walked in some of these “treated” forests, and while they look nice, they seem sterile and devoid of animal life, even the birds who are supposedly being “protected” by the 1080 drops; they seem lacking in a subtle vitality, or maybe “joy” is a better word.

In other words, where we were is about as pristine as you can get, ini New Zealand anyway…maybe a pure Gondwanaland vibe. The overall place made me feel as if I were also back in south-central Chile, in Torres del Paine or in the mountains above Pucon…a very similar nature vibe and spiritual energy, of a place where very few people have ever lived, at any time, and where no killing or genocide has taken place.

What I came back with was so overwhelmingly powerful that I was inspired to write the first two sections of this article our first day back. It was as if I had been charged up with an energy and received an internal transmission of sorts from the consciousness of the Earth herself, and my job was to get this extremely urgent message out to humanity.

Imagine how shocked we were to learn of the massive earthquake that devastated Christchurch the very next day. But it all made sense somehow: the message I came away with was and IS an urgent warning for all of humanity about what is happening with ourselves and the Earth.

JEFF PHILLIPS

MANAPOURI

SOUTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND

25 FEBRURAY 2011