From Roots To Art


A dear friend posted a very valuable rebuttal to my ‘Bathing In Our Roots’ poem yesterday as that poem could so easily be read as a ‘burn the books’ rant, while here I am with published books and articles, and I am writing another book and composing a music album.

My friend has a wonderful passion for books, has an amazing past of being a university lecturer, and today is an inspiring, mentoring, and motivating environmentalist, gardener and native forester. Her cottage home is a stunning work of organic art.

So today, I would like to write a bit about my interpretation of the amazing journey of ‘roots to art’.

Other inspirations for this are this meme ...



Also, recently listening to the Paul Kantner and Grace Slick song, ‘Earth Mother’, last verse

“Your children are your salvation
They see your life as their own
They recognize no nation
They dance…”


The feeling behind my ‘Bathing In The Roots’ poem was after a reflection and imagination upon our various human ages of pure oral to oral language, oral language to scribing, scribing to printing, printing to our modern paperless digital.

These days, it seems to be getting common for family conversations to be texting, whatsapping, instagramming etc. around the table. Voices and debates may no longer be heard

There also seems to be a growing psyche of defining digital communications as being the core of our consciousness and that oral expression becomes an expression of this.

Before our modern digitals there was quite a movement of, if it’s not in the book then it does not exist! Examples of this are referring to the Bible, Quran, study text books, etc.

Add to this, the written legislation of law defining how we live to the letter.


Very different to the ancient Brehon laws 
based on attempted mediation and retribution 
in accordance to an attempted understanding of nature.

Hence back to my thoughts aroused from the last verse of the ‘Earth Mother’ song mentioned above. Constitution and legislation forms a nation. Its order does seem to stop most of us killing each other and stealing from each other. But, I hope that our morality is defined from consciousness rather than legislation.

In that last verse, children not recognising a ‘nation’. Not mentioned in the verse, I interpret children recognising their family and tribe well before recognising any nation.

The thought behind my ‘Bathing In Our Roots’ poem is not a call for banishment of books, but a call for us to return to a trust in a space without them, and without language.

From that ‘roots’ space, re-build our language, our stories, our books, web sites, and the digital apps. Its a space that I feel we should never detach from.

This poem also arose from my reaction to two small visiting groups where the people were right at the top of academia, incredibly well read, and very memorable of what they had read. Their lives were a constant joy of discovering new books, information, and ‘facts’.

However, their lives seemed to be of sadness from loneliness, longing, melancholy, guilt, and maybe a bit of shame. These are life challenges most of us seem to face at some point.

With both of these small groups, their attraction to hear and trying out the Tree Labyrinth was in response to trying to find spaces where they may feel better.


As I was sharing some local folklore stories 

and suggestions for using the Tree Labyrinth, there seemed to be a bit of a mixture of confusion, blankness, and even a liit bit of frustration that I was not following an instruction book with them.

The saviours of each of these events were the one or two who sprung into sudden child-like grinning and enthusiasm, and saying something like “Wow! I get this!”

It was then I considered that these people perhaps needed to try and let go of their books and book learning for a little while to discover that abundant flowing natural love and wonder. Then pick up their books, or better still, write their own journals after the rooted silent experience.

Many of us share a similar attitude to this when we announce, “I’m leaving Facebook and social media for a few weeks to go back to real life”.

I title this ‘From Roots To Art’ thinking again of the beautiful perfect shining petaled flowers. Below them, in the fermented soil, is their support of a dark wriggling root system. They are there in the dark hunting for food so that the perfect shining flower can shine on.


Our best expressions seems to come from our art 

... expressed from the unseen roots of life. I believe this also helps us to enjoy the books, art, sculpture, films and music that also emerge from these roots.

If we bounce around these things without stripping off to visit our roots, it seems life can become lost, empty, and longing, and then arousal of that lingering question of “where’s the meaning?”

So, if our world returns to texting each other around a table, I think that is the time to go back to those roots, our ‘food source’, for awhile. It’s energising to do that from time to time, anyway.

I could never scream ‘burn the books’ like that poem may suggest, but suggest be inspired by them, not ruled by them, and certainly not qualify elitism through them.


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