At a time when everything in the prevailing culture seems to be focused on getting and greed, me and mine, here comes Bill Pfeiffer with a gift – for individual seekers, for humanity and for the Earth.
For years, Pfeiffer has been a frequent visitor to and passionate admirer of Costa Rica. During many happy hours here and in Siberia, where we traveled with him on two unforgettable journeys, we learned about his vision for the world, honed over a lifetime of humble eagerness to learn, gutsy single-mindedness, and a helpless love for the Earth and all her inhabitants.
Bill Pfeiffer walks his talk, impeccably. “Wild Earth, Wild Soul: A Manual for an Ecstatic Culture,”his first book, is the inspiring result.
The self-described “maverick deep ecologist” founded and for more than 20 years operated the not-for-profit Sacred Earth Network. Its activities included sponsoring visits to indigenous elders in America and Siberia and arranging exchanges among them.
Using everything he learned from these encounters plus a lifetime of searching and study, Pfeiffer evolved the Wild Earth Intensive – a 10-day spiritual adventure that guides participants to rediscover their wild souls – the real selves buried beneath the trappings of contemporary cultural brainwashing. (Writer and teacher Martín Prechtel, initiated as a shaman by the Tjutujil Maya, calls this essential self the “indigenous soul”; Andean master Américo Yabar, who transmits the spiritual teachings of the Q’ero elders of the high Andes, calls it the salk’a [wild, undomesticated] spirit, and insists that all the ills of contemporary life are the result of “disconnection from Pachamama [Mother Earth].”)
Pfeiffer believes that “wisdom and brilliance are encoded in every human and can be unleashed under the right circumstances,” and that the “severe amnesia” which has cut us off from Nature and our fellow beings can be reversed. Through the Wild Earth Intensive, as we remember who we really are and what we’re doing here, our wise, brilliant selves make themselves known.
This deeply transformational experience is the heart of Pfeiffer’s book. In elaborate detail, with practical, step-by-step instructions, he explains how an Intensive unfolds and how the process becomes a blueprint for a healthy, harmonious and hopeful way of living. He notes, “A WEI does not impose a belief system but inspires a belief in Life.”
The Wild Earth Intensive is based on seven principles:
- There is power in remembering ancestral wisdom.
- We can dream a new world into being.
- We are a tribal species.
- The Earth is alive and full of meaning.
- Humans naturally live in abundance.
- Women and men are partners in a common destiny.
- Ancient wisdom is mirrored by 21st century science.
With copious references to myriad works by ancient and contemporary thinkers, teachings from many spiritual traditions, and cutting-edge New Paradigm science, Pfeiffer devotes a section of the book to explaining each principle, then goes on to detail its application.
He shows how ancient techniques such as the talking circle, meditation, storytelling, ceremony, and shamanic journeying – all part of a Wild Earth Intensive – help participants rediscover forgotten life skills that are “hard-wired” in everyone and crucial for survival: humanity’s and the planet’s. Participants find themselves remembering the importance – and, ultimately, the joy and relief – of such things as listening, feeling, playing, and sensing Nature’s rhythms, energies and messages.
“It is a wonderful paradox that a WEI, while providing a nurturing container where we don’t lose our individual uniqueness and emotional stability, strengthens our sense of interconnection with each other and the universe,” Pfeiffer writes. “Participants come to recognize or develop their particular gifts and see how they enrich the group and, eventually, the larger community. We experience personal empowerment though activities that make us feel safe enough to be authentic: to be ourselves and to think for ourselves.”
“The premise is that this place of wholeness, connectedness, and gratitude is where wise actions, healthy lifeways, and sustainable cultures grow,” he adds. “It is the wisdom of the Earth herself, flowing through each of us, that can provide the clearest direction for the way ahead.”
It’s an intensely optimistic – yet not utopian – view. We are not trapped in the mess we’ve made; we can change direction; it’s not too late. Recovering lost wildness naturally sows the seeds of a joyous, peaceful and loving world.
Pfeiffer’s book provides all the tools we need to find our way back … and forward. It’s a gift of hope.
“Wild Earth, Wild Soul” is available for $15.65 ($7.69 in Kindle edition) from Amazon.com.