This is slighly off-topic from my usual metal content, but I thought it might be of interest of some folk. I’ve been following the Tumblr of Danielle Fedorshik (Metalographer) for several years. She is an extremely talented photographer who documents the lives of a local collective interested in the concept of “Rewilding”. Her photos explain more about the group, their activities, and their connection to the land better then any manifesto or article could.
I know very little about the group, but would love to learn more. They seem to follow a set of spiritual practices based on Norse beliefs (perhaps Asatru?), while also supporting anarchist political beliefs. They are joined by a core set of values, a desire to return to more savage roots, to live in harmony with nature, to be part of a hunter-gatherer society. They may live permanently or at least spend a lot of time in the forest. They hunt and butcher their own meat, tan their own skins, and create their own shelters. Some of them are in a band called Hunter’s Ground, who play a kind of primitive, ritualistic black metal in the forest (at a place called The Ruins) and hand paint their own merchandise. One of their members, Grimnir, has another tumblr where he occasionally posts pictures and writings. I could be wrong about any of these things.
Although I’ve never heard the term “Rewilding” before, it speaks to me. As a girl it was one of my dreams to live in a log cabin in the woods (a castle in the country is definitely an extension of this!) being part of the stillness and the cycle of nature, instead of outside, looking in like it was an exhibit at a museum. Although eschewing all modern life and returning to the wild is on the extreme end of what most people would feel comfortable doing, I think there’s definitely a lot folk could learn from the efforts of others, whether it’s cultivating old skills, or learning to stop and listen, to live in the present, to work as a community.
Rewild Your Life 1 is a zine put out by the collective, exploring the ideas and ideals behind a return the the wild. Danielle’s layout and photography throughout help to illustrate the stories and the ideals of those who practice “rewilding”.
“Rest, nature, books, music… such is my idea of happiness” -Tolstoy
The authors offer a simple solution to the enslavement of modern society, one elegant way to free yourself from being a cog in the machine – to go outside, to be an adventurous spirit willing to explore, both literally and figuratively, the wild lands that still surround us. To look inside, at yourself, at what you love about your life, and what you despise about it, and to become responsible for shaping the course of your life. Try new things, master new skills, war against the obstacles in your path. Think about alternatives ways to live, question your preconceived ideas about life and enjoyment and comfort.
They recommend a lot of good resources for people beginning to think about rewilding, including “In Praise of Idleness” by Bertrand Russell, which I have read and loved, and “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau, about living in the woods and discovering yourself.
And finally, they draw on the power of community worldwide, on people – who might be lone-thinkers or part of a “tribe” – all over the earth who want to be PART of the earth. This community aspect, I think, is vital, because without the ability to share information, to learn from each other old (and new – often new to us) ways of doing things – we are lost before we even begin.
For me personally, I agree with a lot of the political and spiritual beliefs of the authors, and I need no convincing of the need for rewilding, for returning to a simpler, more connected way of life. I think it’s clear that many of us have lost touch with the natural world and our ability to survive and thrive within it. In that sense, reading this manifesto is a bit of practice in “preaching to the choir”.
I am more interested in learning more about the collective itself, how it is organized, how they live on the land, how big their property is and what they do with it, then I am with the anarchist writings, but I’m hoping this might come in later issues. That is simply because I own land, it is not pastureland but no less wild for it’s lack. I want to live off it, and I know some things but have much to learn about others, and books and resources and the Internet are usually all I have to go on.
In short, if you’re interested in these concepts, then reading Rewild, and checking out Danielle’s and Grimnir’s blogs, will introduce you to a world of people who live their ideals on their own terms. It’s inspiring stuff, and I hope others will find inspiration and knowledge there also.
You can pick the zine up in digital form from Danielle – email her at themetalographer AT yahoo DOT com. It costs a measly buck, and the money raised goes toward producing the second issue. I think this is definitely a fascinating project to support, and will definitely be picking up further literature from the group (including a copy of Paul Waggener’s training book, The Centurian Method, which I will seriously look at beginning sometime in the latter half of the year.