The eighth Permaculture design principle is close to my heart. It asks us to ‘integrate rather than segregate’. I have been writing for years about the value of making connections to everything around us.
Making connections is everything. The more connections we can make, the richer, the stronger, the more resilient we are. And this works on every level.
If we make connections between elements in a land based design, those elements come to support each other and enrich each other. The favourite Permaculture example involves chickens. Put chickens on a piece of land, and as well as eggs you get a creature that loves to dig up a recently harvested vegetable plot and fertilises is at the same time. If you put their coop next to the greenhouse or the compost heap, the heat generated by one will keep the other warm at different times of the day and year. All these combinations enrich each other and create a living system.
In communities, much the same thing happens. If you manage to make connections with the guy who knows how to repair things with engines, and the lady who bakes delicious cakes, and the kid who wants to earn some money mowing your lawn, while you also give back something from your creative capacity, the community grows in depth and resilience.
People themselves are a collection of connections. Physically, we are systems of organs and cells that all work together to make a greater whole. We are connected to the Earth’s air with every breath and to the soil with everything we eat. Who we feel ourselves to be is made up of our relationships, our memories, our past and our aspirations. Each of us is a web of connections. So much so that it’s often hard to tell where we stop and something else begins.
Making all of these connections conscious and celebrating them is sacred work. I’d go as far as to say that this is my religion. It’s what I’m here to do. It’s the definition of my Druidry.
And since none of these Permaculture principles stand alone, each connected to all of the others, my Druidry is bound to be enriched by considering how each principle expands my celebration of Nature and helps it flourish.
Which brings me back to my thesis for this series of blog posts: Permaculture is secular Druidry; Druidry is Permaculture turning towards the sacred.