Welcome to our School of Living electronic newsletter where you can catch up on what is happening in our land trust communities and SOL committee work.


The above image, courtesy of Heathcote Community, was taken during Heathcote's volunteer day to create an accessible garden.


On Saturday, October 16, 2021, a small group including SOL members gathered at StellaLou Farm to tour the Flowscape installation which is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2022. We walked along the dry creek, through the newly planted wildflower meadow, to the beginnings of the bamboo structure, and along the woods where a child's play area will be constructed. We finished the day with a potluck meal in the honey house.

SOL held their Q4 board meeting on Sunday, October 17. We started off with our check-ins and community and committee reports. Here are a few of the highlights of the meeting:

  • SOL is hiring Suzanne Pierce, a lawyer in Virginia, to assist in work with Common Ground and Stellar Roots Communities. She has experience with land trusts, specifically, with Agrarian Commons.

  • There was a consensus decision made to change the fiscal sponsorship agreements. Program generated income from fiscally sponsored projects (both levels) is now exempt . This will be put in effect retroactively for 2021 (calendar year). Refunds will be sent as required.

  • Ann Wilken is seeking solutions for moving the SOL library from her home. She will be taking an inventory of what is in the library. If you have solutions to share, please, contact

Below are images taken at StellaLou Farm courtesy of StellaLou Farm and Karen Stupski.

Starting the tour at the dry rock creek which directs the flow of rainwater to the pond.
Karen learning to lash bamboo together as we build the structure.
Ann tending to the littlest one at the edge of the orchard .

Discussing Flowscape, an installation which StellaLou hopes to complete in Spring, 2022!


by Yasmeen Muhammad

The accessible garden will be a place at Heathcote where differently able people can have access to Permaculture and sustainable farming skills. In our demonstration gardens we will inspire people to grow organic heirloom produce in small spaces. We will also have a multicultural medicine wheel and herb spiral. We should be fully operational by spring.


All images in this post are courtesy of Heathcote Community



by Ann Wilken


One of the ten historic pictures of Julian Woods provided by Ann Wilken in this post.

After many years of calm waters, Julian Woods Community is experiencing some rough seas. Some changes feel natural for a community group and some are disturbing. Long-time active members moving away, accusations and speculations both within the community and outside, relationship breakups, some of us growing very old. Even as these changes rock …

Read more

by Mick Vogt

The battle line between our dual reptilian and mammalian brain proclivities is more or less omnipresent, and our behaviors within geological time point to humanity being is in its terrible twos. The Zombie is an inner reality portrayed incessantly in media as being out there, but I wonder how many of us have seen the truth of the inward nature of the zombie myth bubbling up from the collective unconscious and begging to be brought home. The zombie energy is the soul eroding conditioning of an ugly culture that we have ingested, and to be free of that it must first be recognized, and then seen entirely as the adversary within.

Underpinning the malignancies of our culture is a basic issue: the sense of the sacred has been lost, and we carom helter skelter to try and address the psychic deserts within left in that wake. We may cling to beliefs, our pearly gates and white robes or whatever, but none of that brings authenticity to an interiority that must be deepened in order to free the heart. What we are first to consume is whatever momentarily quells or deflects our fear of the unknown.

Our culture does a poor job of educating the heart. Western man has an intense outward focus, and has paid a steep spiritual price for that. We treat silence as if it were a plague, and fear our own emotions; we are never fully at rest body, mind or spirit, and the rampant consumption of goods and experiences results.

The heart finds meaning only when the mind is willing to embrace what Alan Watts called “the wisdom of insecurity”. To do that the I creature within has to say and integrate “I know that I do not know”. That lifts the anchor for the heart, and allows it to freely float on a vast and unknown sea that can be greeted with wonder and trembling, loved and embraced, but not known or understood. Whitman said that “a kelson of the creation is love;” Kabir asks “who is it that we spend our entire lives loving?,” and these kinds of guideposts are ones that we can internalize and have a growing and meaningful relationship with that are supportive of what Keats called soul making, which in itself is the bailiwick of the heart.

The meaning of the heart is not attached to thought, to goals, to bucket lists, to grasping at experiences as foundations of meaning. Its' meaning is pure faith, and is not at all related to a fixed sense of salvation beliefs, nor any beliefs addressing the mind's desire for security. The faith of the heart is housed in an endless and ineffable mystery that thought can never reach, beliefs can never touch, and that faith can grow and thrive outside of the constraints of thought.

As I have aged my experience of the world is that what we see as fixed is actually adrift, and that which we call real seems to have become ever more ephemeral, fragile, and unsubstantial. Renunciation of the world has little to do with putting on an orange robe and eating weeds- it has everything to do with the deep recognition of the ephemeral and transitory nature of everything and everyone manifesting within creation, and by association everything and everyone that we love within it.

My lucid dreams began in earnest about 15 years ago. At first they were very fearful as I thought that I must be in a coma and I struggled to awake as soon as I could. Then I would stay a bit longer within them, mostly with shadowy and uninteresting vistas and plots; sometimes humorous, and then, sometimes, a vibrancy of color and clarity of landscape would emerge within the dream and seem more real than waking reality. It is in all cases a dream mind's lucidity, and when friends arrive there I urge them to note or view this or that as if we were all dreaming the same thing together.

And the waking then becomes more like a dream, the dream right now of writing these words, the dream of believing that things that we call real are made of real things when, in fact, as the physicist Neils Bohr stated, “Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real”. All that is seems to be “the stuff that dreams are made of”.

Echoing this sentiment, Mark Twain, close to his death, remarked “it all seems like a dream”, certainly an interesting observation from someone wildly famous in his own time who might have been thought to see the world as very real. Some nascent truths within tend to arise only by virtue of aging.

We who live in or have relationship to community, are often fed by natural beauty; moved by art and literature, and by a love of somethings and someones. To take that in directly, bear witness to it without thought, without an emergent desire that “I must hold this and fix it within time, I must have this again”, is to see from the deep emptiness and silence of a consciousness that has no name, and that way of seeing is meditation, is the beginning of the restoration of the sacred, the beginning of the sensing of a numinous presence that is everywhere and abiding within everything. It is a beginning that is complete, for the end is enfolded within the beginning itself; it all lives outside of time. We “arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”. The paradox of an eternal moment arises.

The poet says “Death is the mother of beauty”, and each timeless event of an apprehension of that which is beautiful makes it sacred and feeds what we call the soul at the deepest level. In the knowledge of our mortality, everything that we see takes on an inexplicable poignancy, a tender reverence and resonance that is tinged with both joy and an “inarticulate pain” that seem so often to be in the company of one another.

Intentional communities in their inclusivity can be incubators for acquiring and using an uninhibited language of spirit, for soul making, for the sheltering and nurture of iconoclasts and manageable eccentrics; for the out of step, the wounded healers, for those struggling for release from the conditioning of the world and of generational trauma- and all, and all that walk with them, can be the bearers and preservers of the grail vessel of the sacred.

The idea of communities being alternative is clearly tied to behaviors and values, but more fundamentally, more pointedly, it is about where one has learned or is learning to stand in relation to the false cultural edifices that have enclosed humanity, and obfuscated the expansive terrains of regenerative possibilities that lie beyond.


The Agrarian Land Trust gives a wonderful presentation of its work and mission. Here's a good place to start to learn about their work. You might find it inspiring with regard to CLT work.


Stellar Roots is a collective of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people rootedC in healing and in service of land based community living. They have been operating as a partner of the School of Living Land Trust since 2018 and are working and living on the Itsodi land, a School of Living land trust property. Learn how you can support this project. Note that Stellar Roots is not a non-profit organization and your donation will not be tax deductible.

The newsletter archive lives under the "Publications" tab in the primary menu of the School of Living website. From there, you will be able to access each newsletter and use its link for sharing. Contact if you need any assistance in retrieving these newsletters.

Edit this to insert text.