ECOS 45 (6) – The spirit of rewilding

Releasing our grip on nature & rediscovering our own wildness


Rewilding has caught the public imagination in ways that conservation never quite managed, and recently, moving from an original position of indifference, even opposition, traditional conservationists have sought to learn from and incorporate the practice.

I have watched this process with some alarm. Rewilding, at least in Britain, is a radical departure from traditional conservation management and control and key elements may be lost as the corporate world of conservation draws it into the fold. Rewilding landscapes has the potential to feedback and transform the individuals involved, to nurture the wild within themselves, something I would argue is in its fundament, a spiritual transformation, and as important as any conservation benefits.

Many writers and even politicians have pleaded that we must live within the laws of Nature, arguing that we are out of balance with her cycles – something that ecologists have known since the early days of the discipline. Some writers urge us to turn for sources of wisdom to the remaining indigenous tribal societies living in harmony with Nature.1 Yet few have experienced life in such societies and have any real comprehension of the shift in values entailed in living that reality.

In what follows, I would like to address these issues – of how much we are capable of learning from the indigenously wild human and how conservation, with its scientific mind-set, is not well placed to appreciate the relationship of wildness, spirituality and the current crisis of control that humanity now faces.

Learning from the indigenous human

The indigenous tribal human is closest to the original wild human and, I would argue, the original spiritual human2 – and here, I will attempt to explain what wild and spiritual have come to mean to me with some reference to wildlife conservation as the profession that many of us share.

I have just enough experience to encompass the spectrum of human relationship that stretches from the academies and institutes of science in the modern world to the indigenous elders of peoples living in the remaining small pockets of non-civilised, non-hierarchical and non-technological society. Of one thing I am sure, the academic mind almost by definition cannot understand or comprehend the indigenous – it may classify, according to its own perceptions and categories, but unless there is an individual experience of the dimension within which indigenous minds operate, there is no real understanding.3

The academic issue arose forcefully in the last two years when traditional conservation organisations sought to define, explain and adopt rewilding as part of their portfolio – in particular, an initiative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature in the production of a ‘handbook’ of rewilding.4 I attended a IUCN seminar in London, one of several across the world, with many different organisations present – representing wilderness preservation, ecosystem restoration and even cooperative management of wildlife resources with indigenous peoples. I explained to the assembled experts that British rewilding had thus far eschewed definitions in favour of a broad church of initiatives – some quite small, some very large and that our motivations were broader than scientific ‘ecosystem restoration’, that we were not motivated by conservation science and that unless they had experienced on-the-ground rewilding over long periods (three decades) academics could not comprehend our motives. Unfortunately, we British rewilders had no published papers, or data!5

And then I looked more closely at what rankled. Rewilding had become remarkably successful, capturing the public imagination, and significant funding. Land under ‘rewilding’ had grown, whereas conservation appeared everywhere to be contracting. And now, organisations that had kept a distance, even perhaps with a hostility, were shifting and seeking not so much to learn, but to copy, to incorporate but with limited understanding of what it was they wished to make their own.

Moreover, however much any of us argued that British rewilding was different – more involving of local communities, with a long pedigree of cooperative developments between landowners as well as initiatives to deepen contact with nature, these aspects were now being submerged within the large-scale largely academic conservation-ecosystem restoration paradigm developed in the USA (with papers to support it). Whilst gaining some traction for the notion that rewilding could be transformational, the resultant IUCN text wrapped it all into an economic ecosystem restoration context – the scientific ecologists’ idea of a paradigm shift:

In alliance with the global conservation and restoration communities, rewilding means transformative change, providing optimism, purpose and motivation for engagement alongside a greater awareness of global ecosystems that are essential for life on the planet.

So far, transformational gets in, but:

This should lead to a paradigm shift in advocacy and activism for change in political will and help shift ecological base lines towards recovering fully functioning trophic ecosystems, such that society no longer accepts degraded ecosystems and over-exploitation of nature as the baseline for each successive future generation. This change in paradigm will also help to create new sustainable economic opportunities, delivering the best outcomes for nature and people. (Carver et al, 2021).

Thus, the paradigm slips back to ‘functional trophic ecosystems’ and ‘sustainable economic opportunities’!

In Britain, on the ground, where land holdings bring responsibilities to neighbours and local economies; where invasive species are common place; and where rewilded herds of grazers or wandering of potential re-introduced predators would present problems beyond our own boundaries, we early rewilders held to a pragmatic and gradual evolution, respecting the old ways, sensitivities and traditions of people who had lived on the land for generations.

I realise now, that we were dealing with a clash of cultures – an old and fading paradigm, and a new attitude that required new ways of working. The former was embedded in science, the latter in feeling; the former a realm of objective study and manipulation, the latter a sense of belonging and at-one-ness, with the possibility of learning from Nature as teacher and guide.6

In a recent ECOS article, Ian Convery at Cumbria University and Steve Carver at Leeds University see small-scale rewilding and lack of definitions existing in a catch-all that dilutes the message – in particular the challenge of creating true core-areas in National Parks that would be large enough to accommodate a larger guild of wild grazers and their predators (lynx and wolf). They are firmly within the American model of ‘cores, carnivores and corridors’ and its academic history – which is understandable and more readily translatable on a world stage, but also follow that model in its lack of grass-roots community involvement and educational potential.

The American model appealed to the English writer, George Monbiot in Feral – seeking enchantment on the shores of rewilding, and the large scale approach proposed for the British uplands fired the popular imagination but created huge problems for the on-going grass-roots rewilding initiatives in Wales.7

The former professional and scientific approach has led to an attitude of control, management and exploitation of Nature as resource­ – a resource even for our own recreational happiness.8 In contrast, lies the acceptance of Nature’s ways and establishment of Natural Sanctuaries. The former arises from a culture of domination, the latter of humility, respect and living in harmony.

An American, Krista Tippett, having been awarded a special humanities medal by the White House for her work on science and spirituality, when asked what constitutes spirituality said simply, ‘acceptance of what is’. I have thought much on the implications – being a life-long eco-activist! I realised this was actually the deepest human expression of wild. It meant no desire to change, to re-arrange, to dominate, to live outside of Natural Law, most especially the laws of change and the cycles of scarcity as well as abundance – and that must include an acceptance of death quite foreign to the civil mind. And, of course, I realised that such acceptance is simply not possible for the vast majority of the seven billion human beings, half of whom in this modern world, live in cities, many in fear of scarcity, disease and death.

Recognising this, I still did not want to surrender our territory to the conservationists! I gathered together four practitioners – Adam Griffin, one of the founders and first director of Moor Trees, an initiative to rewild Dartmoor; Simon Ayres, then chief executive of Coetir Anian – Cambrian Wildwood and the Wales Wildland Foundation; Alan Watson Featherstone, founder of Trees for Life at Findhorn in Scotland; and Eric Maddern, founder of Cae Mabon, a teaching and experiential centre in North Wales. I asked them to co-author an invited paper on the social dimension of rewilding to be incorporated into the IUCN Rewilding Handbook.9

I was concerned that our collective experience of what happens to the human being involved in rewilding at the grass-roots should not be lost – the experience is very often transformational. Indeed, many experience a particular kind of spiritual awakening for the first time – a connectedness to Nature and an awareness of a pervading spirit or presence, which is both loving, wise and familiar. Moreover, this presence speaks with an inner voice and offers guidance as if knowing our own inner journey and struggle.

This latter aspect of Nature once experienced, cannot be forgotten or gainsaid. With a little practice, this inner voice arises in concert with the particular spirit of a plant or an animal, as if each carries a different power, and of course, the experience does not need a church or a father figure and a priest to convey the sense of a loving presence. In a Christian, Islamic or modern secular world, this is a revolutionary step, an initiation into a much broader reality.

Yet this step has no name, no symbol and no real acknowledgement in the modern world.10

This was brought home sharply, when the editor of the handbook – a professor of philosophy with a strong record of concern for nature and involvement in conservation, asked that we expand upon our often-used word – the indigenous, because as far as she was concerned, it applied to many and varied indigenous peoples and one should not simply generalise. Of course, there are indigenous peoples across the world – in remote mountains, jungle, tundra and savannah, with differing ecologies, languages and concepts of divinity, all of which are intertwined. But they have one thing in common – they are not colonial, rather they have resisted or kept themselves distant, from the colonialists. Where they once lived in harmony with Nature – or at least, with minimal disturbance to the native ecology, with total respect to Nature’s Laws, they experienced colonists seeking not just to tame Nature and bend it to a corporate will, but to tame (and exploit, even enslave) the indigenous as well.

Thankfully, colonialism has had its day and would not be tolerated in its past genocidal forms, but I fear it leaves behind a colonial mind – a separation from Nature, a disconnected and under-nourished soul, often expressed in remnant religious doctrines of control and domination, even of the ‘good husbandry’ echoes of a patriarchy stuck with old linguistic forms and archetypes. It was the colonial mind that sought to tame ‘the savages’ – the wild people, and rather like its attitude to ‘nature’ to confine them to ‘reservations’ on unproductive land.

Conservation and the colonial mind

I imagined what it was that happened when the colonial mind occupied the territory of the indigenous. It always offered a deal – join us and we will give you security in exchange for your loyalty (and obedience). The issue, therefore was one of sovereignty. In our own European lands, this process began thousands of years ago – with the colonising of Celtic, Nordic and Slavic cultures. By the last of pre-industrial times and the birth of scientific mentalities, the Romans, who had by this time morphed into Holy Romans, and then the allied trading Corporations, had all-but eradicated indigenous Europeans and dominated the indigenous Americans, Indians, Pacific Islanders, and Australasia.

The world and its resources had been divided between the corporate trading empires of Britain, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Holland – and the one thing the corporate colonial minds had in common, was the Christian religion and its eternal battle with the somewhat similar aspirations of Islam. The colonial mind thus brought considerable religious baggage to the table when deals were to be struck – of superiority and an ultimate perfidy. Conservation was, of course, a later part of the package – an attempt to save the remains.

Imagining that first encounter – I placed myself in the indigenous elders’ heart, looking into the eyes of the deal-maker. It would not matter what was said. The eyes of the dealmaker were cold. Without heart. Disconnected from the land – and their own land. Eyes that saw only opportunity and use. And to refuse the deal… I recall, at the 10th World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca, the birthplace in 1539, as I was told, of international law and human rights, that Francisco de Vitoria, who had proposed an indigenous bill of rights, had included the right of the colonists to trade. Therein lay the rub.

The colonists were willing to buy land, but the indigenous mind does not own land, and hence cannot engage in the sale. The colonial lawyers then insisted on land-rights – of ownership, valuation and most importantly – the property market. The communal indigenous days were then numbered.11

We rewilders – and every conservationist I would suppose, carry that same form of separation. Very few of us own significant land. We do not have a right to own sufficient upon which to live – indeed, there are so many of us, there may not be sufficient. We have no real community. No security – other than via our jobs, pensions and insurances. We rely largely on hospitals and medical doctors. Our spiritual leaders are mired in a language of patriarchal gods, of a heavenly divinity coupled to an earth-bound science of causation. Only the humanistic psychologists under Jung in the 20th century, barely making it into any modern curriculum, dared embrace the astral worlds of consciousness.12

And from this remnant colonial mind-set, the rewilder attempts to escape and reconnect, whilst also avoiding the nets and lassos of those colonial camp followers – the conservationists!  Conservationists have been the ultimate pragmatists – the lovers of nature who agreed never to speak the name of Love, or think of the Earth as their Mother, not to rock the boat of the corporate sponsors and the subscription legions of the dispossessed and their longing.

The Mother and her children

But of course, few of us can escape for much more than for a few weekends in the year, or a summer camp, where we can invite the indigenous minded as teachers – of new songs of the Earth, new dances, new initiatory practices that will birth into us a shamanic awareness, as of old.13 And then we come back to be surrounded by industrial agriculture, and maybe an organic farm or two; fenced–in and separated Nature Reserves, or grazed by purposefully domesticated cattle and sheep; everyone still needs job-protected lives and an insured future.

Figure 1 The Gundestrup Cauldron, embossed silver dated about 150 BCE, found in Denmark but thought to be Thracian from a region where Celtic peoples also had their origin, The iconic ‘shaman’ invokes the ‘serpent power’ and extends his consciousness to the other animal powers.
Photo:  Marlene Thyssen (National Museum of Denmark)

Creative commons license :

We were long ago educated out of our native language and concepts and we watch as the system sucks in our young people dangling the same deal as always. Was it better not to have known? Not to have awakened? Because this is hiraeth – an unbearable longing for something we never knew.14

This, the easing of the pain, is what we at the grass-roots of rewilding have experienced. We are giving back, saying thank-you, being willing to experience material loss in the name of…..Her.

‘Can we please get beyond the Earth as ‘mother’ pleaded the editor-philosopher, in some intellectual desperation. No – we cannot. Rather, we need to go deeper into what that means – what kind of Mother has given us Birth. And we note now that Nature, from the colonialist’s Latin, actually means ‘She who gives Birth’. Birth being a Scandinavian word rather closer to our heart. And to what has she given birth?

We are the children, but colonist mind sees himself – usually a male, as master. There is no humility and no gratitude. The colonial mind sees itself as having built the world. When I was educated as a zoologist, the first in the class at Oxford was a biochemist who argued, and argued very well, that the Earth and indeed all of life in the Universe, was a self-assembly system. There was no evidence for a guiding spirit. The Oxford geneticist, Richard Dawkins, carried that torch for the modern generation – the one that birthed the Wuhan Institute, a chimeric bat virus, the resultant vaccine dependency and fear of an ever resourceful enemy evading our modern defences.15

Figure 2 Imported trees: Egongyan Park, Chongqing, China.
Photo: Yan Wang Preston

Meanwhile, the masters of Nature prepare a new arsenal of submarine-launched weapons of mass destruction, technologies of a geo-engineered control of climate change and genetically modified crops as the spectre of global hunger now raises itself after decades of growth and abundance. Where then, for us with the wild heart?

The liberation of the feminine mind

We do have something to offer jaded souls caught up in this failing civil order – but herein, lies a great mystery and a huge barrier. There is one aspect of the civil order and its colonial mind that even the most joyous rewilder hardly speaks of. There is a gender issue regarding consciousness. Every colonist has sought to suppress it or exploit it, hardly ever to embrace it. At risk of embroilment in the confusion of current gender wars, I would argue that Nature is wild at its heart and women, when free of the more insidious aspects of social control, live closer to their heart than to their mind.

I do not think anthropologists consider it much, but there has to have been a time in human evolution when the first hominid experienced the explosion of consciousness consequent upon an awakening sexual energy.16 In particular, a realisation that this energy needed to be cultivated. No other animal, even not the apes, has quite the same potential – only the Bonobo, comes close, and that species may prove more ancestral than the chimpanzee.17

In this regard, Western semi-scientific anthropology suffers from a deeply unconscious ethnocentricity with regard to sexual energy and spirituality – most practitioners are entirely unaware of a yogic science that goes back several thousand years and has parallels with ancient Celtic, proto-Greek and even Egyptian shamanic wisdom. Central to yogic practice is the cultivation of the serpent power that lies dormant in the sacrum. Advanced yogic practice raises a kind of sub-quantum ‘electrical’ energy drawn from the Earth into the base of the upright spine.  The tantric yogis learned how to awaken, cultivate and move this serpentine power up into the all-seeing ‘inner eye’. Here, the rising subtle energies triggered an astral awareness – a perception of an astral body in form but not substance, and one that could move great distances whilst keeping active its many inner senses, such as vision, hearing and memory.18, 19

I recall an episode where the Oxford anthropologist, Hugh Brody, in his book Maps and Dreams, signs up for a hunting trip with a Canadian ‘indigenous’ band and their pick-up trucks and modern rifles. They drive into the wilderness and make camp. There they sit around laughing and joking – for three days. He inquires of the hunt. And they point to the old man who just sits and sings quietly to himself. ‘We wait for him’ they say.

On day three, the old man jumps up and they follow. He leads them unerring to a moose, which they quickly dispatch. He learns that the old man had gone out into the dream-world and made contact with the spirit of the moose – a deal had been struck.

I surmise that the inner eye of the modern indigenous is likely a remnant ability of the original indigenous human and that the earlier version may have been super-charged by the learned cultivation of the serpent power – most likely led and taught by the women. Clearly, such abilities would have had great evolutionary advantages – indeed, just to have evolved the human sexual organs to their height of sensitivity, requires an evolutionary advantage – at least according to our best scientific understanding of genetic and physiological change. And this advanced human physiological form was completed more than 200,000 years ago with the culmination of the massive brain-growth that accompanied the upright walking tool-using hominid.20

I imagine the first tribal dance – a gathering around the fire, with drummers and singers and dancers strutting their stuff, and as with all social dances today even, a chance for romance. We know, anthropologically, that indigenous tribal peoples the world-over, like to marry outside of their immediate group. This is genetically advantageous as well as enhancing security and harmony with neighbouring territories. It was likely a process mediated by the older women of the tribe – who could see rather more clearly and objectively.21

Further, I know of no indigenous culture living in spiritual harmony with Nature that does not have a medicine chest of dream-inducing plant or fungal allies. Recently, professional psychotherapists (the Greek means something like ‘bringing the divine back into the soul’) have rediscovered the breakthrough benefits of psychedelic mushrooms.22 There must have been a point in human evolution where the first psychedelics contributed to an expanding environmental awareness.

This, I see, as a rather more important evolutionary crucible than the chipping of flint arrowheads, and even the domestication of the wolf, the discovery of clay pots and the first pieces of cave-art.

Where the unwild leads

The above largely unexplored avenues of human rewilding hold the key to wildness. How might we all wish to retreat to the safe shores of conservation mentality, the externalisation of nature and a more competent management of her resources, but are these not the shores of Hell – the plutonium-tipped weapons, the uranium power reactors, the nanotechnology of genetic manipulation and the final pharmaceutical solutions for our disease? This is where the unwild has led us…

And we the wilder rewilders, have been taught the sweat lodge and the vision quest, the nature of the old songs and the trance dance, and more often now, some secrets of Tibetan Tantra where ultimately, the serpent rises to the fiery heart and becomes dragon – the ultimate dreaming power.23 In yogic lore, everything that exists as the structures of the social and technological world must first have been dreamt, and the power of a dream is supercharged by raising of the kundalini energy to the sixth centre in the brow. Thus, the old environmentally destructive dream, the ‘American Dream’, must be out-dreamt – otherwise, we will have a New World Order, and in the words of Klaus Schwab (Fig.4), instigator of the Davos meetings and World Economic Forum – a Great Reset.24 The Covid and climate ‘emergencies’ are being used to justify a state of maximum surveillance and control to be orchestrated by a world government made up of bankers and green accountants.25

Figure 3 Klaus Schwab receiving his honorary doctorate from a Lithuanian university.
Photo: Wikimedia-commons

Whether the paradigms shift or not, I am consoled by the fact that all empires turn to rubble and dust in the cycles of time.26 And rather than filling our children’s minds with fear of a changing climate or viral plagues we need to show them how the wild spirit of humanity can weather it all.

Further reading

Carver S. et al (2021) Guiding Principles for Rewilding Conservation Biology. 2021;35:1882–1893. DOI:10.1111/cobi.13730

Convery I. and Carver S (2021) Time to put the wild back into rewilding. ECOS 42 (3).

George Monbiot (2014) Feral: searching for enchantment on the frontiers of rewilding. Penguin Books.

Hugh Brody Maps and Dreams Waveland Press, USA. 1997

Hargeneder, F. (2022) Healthy Planet: global meltdown or global healing. Moon Books, Alresford, England.

Hsu K.J. (1998) Sun, climate hunger and mass migration. Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences. Springer.

Isabella Tree Wilding: the return of Nature to a British Farm. Picador, 2019

Lloyd, Elisabeth (2005) The case of the female orgasm: bias in the science of evolution. Harvard University Press.

Merlin Sheldrake Entangled Life. Vintage Books, 2020.

Klaus Schwab Covid 19: The Great Reset  Argentur, Switzerland, July, 2020 & Shaping the future of the fourth industrial revolution. Portfolio-Penguin, 2018.

Peter Taylor The Spirit of Rewilding. Ethos, Oxford. 2017

Peter Taylor ed. Rewilding: ECOS writing on wildland and conservation values, Ethos, Oxford. 2011.

Peter Taylor, Simon Ayres, Alan Watson Featherstone, Adam Griffin, & Eric Maddern. Rewilding and cultural transformation: healing Nature and reweaving humans back into the web of life. In: Convery, Carver, Byers, Hawkins ed.  Handbook for Rewilding Chapter 31. Routledge Taylor Francis..

Taylor P. (2009) Rewilding the grazers – obstacles to the ‘wild’ in wildlife management British Wildlife Vol 20 No5, Special issue: Naturalistic grazing and re-wilding in Britain.

Taylor P.  (2013) The Road to Salamanca. ECOS 34 (3/4)

Wrangham R. (1997) Demonic males: apes and the origins of human violence. Bloomsbury, London.

Notes and references

  1. The most recent example being Fred Hargeneder’s ‘Healthy Planet’, quoting Sherri Mitchell: ‘It is time for us all to step into our role as ancestors of the future and dream the next seven generations into being…we must learn the spiritual language spoken by our ancestors and renew the relationship that they long held with the rest of creation’
  2. Such original cultures are few – with forest gardens or a hunter-gatherers’ existence, for example, whereas considerably more were militarily and culturally colonised and controlled, and although they remain on their land and self-identify as indigenous people, they live largely ‘western’ lifestyles. In this case, the UN seeks not to define and accepts self-identification as the key criteria with respect to human rights (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2007).
  3. For the great majority of time that Homo sapiens has existed – of the order of 200,000 years, the indigenous mind evolved without alphabet, writing, and the advanced logical thought processes associated with left-brain activity.  I would call this modality ‘shamanic’ – a reliance more on intuition and feeling, with senses finely tuned to the animal and plant life on which humans depended. I see this polarity as dimensional in the sense that the logical and calculating mind focuses upon the physical reality almost to the exclusion of the non-physical
  4. Convery, Carver, Byers, Hawkins ed.  Handbook for Rewilding, Routledge (in press).
  5. For academics, the history of rewilding begins in 1998 with an article by the academic ecologist Michel Soulé in Wild Earth advocating Cores, Corridors and Carnivores in the USA – essentially a program of connecting corridors for North America’s large core areas of wilderness. By then rewilding in Britain – under the name of wildland, but essentially with the same aims, had been practiced on the ground for more than ten years, particularly in Wales and Scotland – but without academic papers and definitions, and the different circumstances of Britain, of scale, land-ownership and tenant rights, meant a pragmatic and longer term vision emerged. This is documented in Rewilding: ECOS writing on wildland and conservation values Ed. Taylor, (2011). I agreed to be co-author (among over twenty others) of a paper on guiding principles of rewilding, but the transformative elements all-but disappeared by the final draft. See Carver et al (2021).
  6. An exception to the general constraints of academia has been the series of conferences on rewilding held at Sheffield Hallam University under the guidance of Ian Rotherham, where the more radical grass-roots elements have had a showcase, as well as provision of discussion on a more radical and spiritual philosophy.
  7. Cambrian Wildwood – Coetir Anian, ( began as a mid-Wales project for creating a wild heart of the Cambrian Mountains and purchased low-grade mountain land, introduced Konik ponies and has developed an extensive outreach to local schools and the Welsh community. The community work was severely impacted by the poor reputation of the national Rewilding Britain, with unhelpful (but true) comments about ‘sheep-wrecked’ hills, such that the Welsh Wildland Foundation decided ‘rewilding’ should take a lower profile. See also: Taylor P. (2009) Rewildng the grazers – obstacles to the ‘wild’ in wildlife management British Wildlife Vol 20 No5, Special issue: Naturalistic grazing and re-wilding in Britain, which followed a regional seminar on more naturalistic grazing that involved government, farmers and foresters.
  8. The most recent and problematic development has been the conversion of estates and purchases of farmland to sequester carbon and gain ‘carbon credits’. There has been a rejection of rewilding in Wales by the farming communities in response to corporate or private equity purchases of farmland for the carbon credit business – under the slogan ‘Conservation yes, Rewilding no!’ now visible as placards on rural roads. This has endangered long-term work in schools to change attitudes regarding wild land.
  9. Taylor P., Watson Featherstone A., Ayres S., Griffin A., and Maddern E.  Rewilding and cultural transformation: healing Nature and reweaving humans back into the web of life. In Carver S., et al (2022) Handbook for Rewilding. Chapter 31. Taylor and Francis.
  10. That broader reality can be termed the ‘divine feminine’ voice that speaks through Nature itself – in contrast to the one God, the ‘goddess’ speaks through many voices, and was still prevalent in the early civil cultures of Greece and Rome. However, to access this faculty requires a dimensional shift toward the feminine mind within the individual.
  11. Di Vittoria must have been shocked less by the fact of slavery, more by the repeated genocides, and sought to establish land rights and ownership – a concept more in keeping with the colonial mind ( However, this quickly led to land-value and above all, a market that was easily manipulated by the colonisers, leading eventually to an economic form of slavery still present to this day. See also Taylor (2013) The road to Salamanca.
  12. This is also an aspect of the feminine mind – a deeper connection to ‘consciousness’ itself, the expanded reality beyond individual form, and made up of archetypes living in what De Chardin called the ‘noosphere’.
  13. Eric Maddern’s pioneering work at Cae Mabon workshops has acted as a centre for the recovery of ancient shamanic knowledge, initiation, vision quest, song, story and the construction of low-impact eco-habitations (; and starting in 1987, and still current, camping gatherings of the Oak Dragon, that bring together many different spiritual disciplines (
  14. Hiraeth is a term in use in modern Wales – a land long colonised and barely hanging on to the old language and its concepts.
  15. For some time, the ‘party line’ in China was that the bat infected a Pangolin and this infected traders at the wildlife ‘wet market’ in Wuhan. The existence of a large virology institute nearby, with a long record of ‘gain of function’ (GOF) research on precisely this virus, was ignored. The ‘zoonotic’ origin theory was for several months perpetuated by the mainstream media and even accepted by a WHO mission – one man of whom, Dr Peter Daszak, head of the US-based Eco-Health Alliance, had funded the Wuhan lab to carry out GOF research. The WHO report was not accepted and the issue remains unresolved, with much evidence pointing to a leak from the laboratories – there is also a Chinese military bio-weapons lab in the same city.
  16. No other animal is orgasmic to the same degree as the human ape and western science gives this little consideration – indeed, Elisabeth Lloyd, an evolutionary biologist, regarded the clitoris as having no evolutionary function – see The Case of the Female Orgasm: bias in the science of evolution.
  17. Whilst sharing almost the same DNA with the chimpanzee, the Bonobo has a different social structure where the females cannot be bullied. The species is far more ‘sexual’ than the chimp and Bonobo physiognomy has changed accordingly – with a highly developed pleasure centre in the genital organs. See: Richard Wrangham The Demonic Males: Apes and the Origin of Human Violence.
  18. In advanced yogic practice, a subtle energy known as kundalini – the ‘serpent power’ which energises the sexual centre, can be raised upward in the spine to energise other ‘centres’ such as the heart, voice and vision. The latter faculty, with much practice, is transformed such that an ‘astral’ body can be projected over distance – although this is not the aim and is not recommended except under the guidance of a yogic master. Had Elisabeth Lloyd not had a deep ethnocentric bias herself, she might have come to a different conclusion about evolutionary advantages (see Hugh Brody, above)
  19. Tantric yoga is concerned with the union of opposites – most particularly, male and female, and involves practices designed to expand human consciousness beyond individual awareness.
  20. Most evolutionary work on the specifically human fossil record has focussed upon stone tools, cooking, pottery and eventually arrowheads, only the cave and rock paintings give indications of a social world where song and dance may have been a driver of change, albeit at a later stage – after the modern form had been reached. I have the beginning of a theory. It starts with the nature of language. Many species have systems of simple signals – like alarm, or pointers to game, or control of the young. Such signals do not require much linguistic subtlety. It is hard to see them driving the evolution of a hugely complex brain. However, if language is linked from the throat centre of voice to the vision centre – in yogic science, the sixth chakra, then as the fifth receives conceptions from the sixth centre (dreaming) in the brow, such as would be the case with song – there emerges a vast realm of linguistic potential, where the song becomes a dream, the heart can be energised and the emotional world opened, most especially on a social level.
  21. In tribal society the ‘grandmother circles’ gather for spinning and weaving of the social web, often singing while doing so. The cultivation of kundalini energy would give them better insight and even oracular powers.
  22. See the recent book by Merlin Sheldrake Entangled Life.
  23. Dragons exist beyond faery tales and Holywood movies – in Druid lore, for example, they represent the ultimate dreaming power, where thought forms are projected into the ethereal world of archetypes (the dreamworld) that is regarded as primary reality (also by Amazonian shamanic society). Here in Britain they do battle as competing dreams.
  24. See Klaus Schwab Covid 19:The Great Reset and Shaping the future of the fourth industrial revolution. Schwab initiated the Davos Meetings and the World Economic Forum, where the unwild future of humankind is currently being dreamt.
  25. The Wuhan virus turns out to be a reworked bat respiratory virus and whether it was developed as an economic bioweapon or simply leaked from a civilian research lab, it has caused a great many people to re-evaluate their lives. In shamanic lore, bat symbolises death and rebirth. However, Schwab and his cohorts envision a ‘great reset’ of capitalism itself – perhaps along the lines of Chinese techno-connectivity and surveillance, and very far from the reborn wild human.
  26. Kenneth Hsu, a distinguished professor of Geosciences in both the USA and China, wrote a seminal but in modern times largely ignored paper on the 1000-year solar cycle in climate and its impact on large, over-extended empires. The troughs of the cycles he named ‘dark ages’ and are associated with famine in China and the demise of many former civilisations – e.g. Minoan, Roman, Mayan, Norman, Viking and many others. See Hsu (1998) above and I recommend his wiki profile as an illustration of a senior, highly qualified climate scientist who disagrees with the UN consensus that humans are the main cause of warming:


Taylor, Peter “ECOS 45 (6) – The spirit of rewilding” ECOS vol. 45 (6) ECOS 2024, British Association of Nature Conservationists,

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